Having a sim card is indeed a necessity when traveling to a highly-modern city like Hong Kong. This allows domestic workers to connect with their family while working in Hong Kong. On top of that, domestic workers will also need a prepaid sim card to do certain activities like sending a balikbayan box, chatting with families back home, reserving hotel rooms, and many more. Here come the good news, you have a lot of prepaid sim cards to choose from that will suit your needs and preferences.
Complete Comparison: 6 Best Prepaid Sim Cards in Hong Kong
With the plethora of prepaid sim cards to choose from, it can be quite confusing to choose which one to buy. Listed below are the ones overseas workers and domestic workers from the Philippines and India can choose from.
CSL Prepaid Sim– CSL 4G Travel Card
|HK$98||30 days||5GB||Free 500 local minutes for 30 days||Not included|
|CMHK– Rekanan 3G/4G Data Prepaid Sim||HK$50||HK$88 for 30 days (after activation of promo)||Not included||$0.3/ minute||First 300 intra-SMS are FREE|
|3 Hong Kong– Indonesia/ Philippines Sim||HK$15||60 days (after activation)||HK$88 for 30 days||HK$0.3- HK$0.78 per minute for Indonesia and HK$1-HKS1.11 for Philippines||Not included|
|ShineTown Telecom– Airsim Data Sim||HK$120||Reusable||Flexible roaming package||Free 30 minutes calls in every data package||Not included|
|SmarTone Prepaid||HK$158||8 days||5GB||Not included||
CSL is a merger of two small companies namely PCCW-HKT and one2free. Hong Kong Telecom merged these two after Australia’s Telstra sold its shares in 2014.
Subscribers may avail of top ups in any amount between HK$50- 300 online or through vouchers sold in outlets such as csl. Shops, 7-eleven, 1010 or Circle Go kiosks.
CSL offers local prepaid sim cards and all-in-one prepaid sim cards. Both are valid for 180 days after activation or the last top-up. After thirty days, users of both types of sims will be charged with HK$3 for the monthly administration fee.
As for data, subscribers can get any sort of pass worth HK$8 at cheapest, which will last for an hour, and HK$168 at the priciest, which will last for a whole year.
China Mobile Hong Kong (CMHK)
In terms of subscriber population, China Mobile Hong Kong stands as the biggest in the world. CMHK operates in Hong Kong as well and offers 3G and 4G services which are compatible with any GSM devices from any part of the world. Data is not censored either, compared with the mainland’s condition.
CMHK offers different roaming sims with different allowances. These sim cards are also not refillable once used up. Subscribers who want to make calls to Indonesia and the Philippines can avail a 3GB access for seven days, amounting to HK$188.
A free self-help call can be dialed in case a subscriber needs to switch languages.
3 Hong Kong
3 Hong Kong, better known as 3HK, is owned by Hutchison Telecommunications. Theymarket advanced sim card types such as 3G, GSM Dualband and CDMA mobile telecommunications services and even automatic international roaming and GPRS roaming services.
3HK sells plans and prepaid data sim cards for domestic workers and overseas workers alike. They even offer DIY or do-it-yourself plans, which bear no contract and monthly admin fee. One can avail a package for as low as HK$10 per day. A VPN data plan can also be availed at HK$298. With their promos, a subscriber can already have 500MB travel data upon activation.
Despite being a small company, SmarTone has gained the market’s trust through excellent reviews for their 3G and 4G services. It’s availability drives more and more customers as they have more than 900 authorized dealers– that is in addition to the official SmarTone stores already serving and vending machines found in Mong Kok and Kowlong Tong stations.
SmarTone’s Travel Data Card offers different types of sim cards, coming in three sizes as well. All of which provide the cheapest roaming data in neighboring Asian countries. The package for the Philippines and Indonesia costs HK$158, valid for 5 days.
ShineTown Telecom AirSim
Though based in Singapore, this telecom company’s product still makes its presence in the markets and convenience stores of Hong Kong. Its first prepaid calling card CHAT CHAT made its debut in 1999 and has grown ever since. Highlighting excellent audio quality, fast interconnection time, and competitive rates, this company has proven why it has and deserves the attention of the market.
One unique feature of AIRSIM is that it is reusable. Once all the roaming data has been used, you can always recharge it with any of the data plans they have. AirSim has coverage to more than 130 countries worldwide, so roaming data will never be a problem for an AirSim subscriber. Upon purchasing a data package, the expiry of the sim extends by a year. Simply make sure that you have purchased the appropriate data for your destination to enjoy data and voice services.
Prepaid SIM Card FAQ
1. Where can I buy a prepaid sim card in Hong Kong?
Direct purchase from providers
For foreigners, buying from the airport is the most recommended option. However, in the event that you didn’t have the opportunity to do so, (maybe because you are carrying one huge balikbayan box or more) directly purchasing from providers is your next best chance. You can simply type in the service provider and Google will supply you with the locations of the nearest direct-buy stores.
This is another convenient option if you weren’t able to purchase a sim from the airport. It’s also a good place to buy sims from if you suddenly ran out of data. You’ll have a lot of sim card providers to choose from. However, the disadvantage of purchasing here is the hassle of activating it by yourself. Since the 7-eleven clerks are not specialists in using these sim cards, you’ll have to figure your way out of it– either with the help of Google or hopefully, a fellow buyer there who knows how.
This option can be done even prior to your arrival at Hong Kong. You can order a sim card online and have it delivered to your address in Hong Kong. You will save time browsing through shops and save you from worries. Again, like the 7-eleven option, since the prepaid sim card is delivered right to your doorstep, expert help in activating the sim won’t be available for you.
2. How to use a prepaid sim card?
Sim card operators send out activation instructions, in compliance with the real-name registration law, upon attempting to use the sims for the first time. Once the registration is completed,
To use a sim card as an overseas worker, in a place like Hong Kong, one must have an open line or “unlocked” smartphone. This means that your smartphone must be able to accommodate any prepaid sim card, whether local or international. In other words, the smartphone is not restricted to only one service operator. It is highly-recommended that users check with their providers if their phones are unlocked. If not, they can always ask for the help of these providers at their centers or stores.
Upon having the sim card inserted on your phone, register with the mandated details to freely use the sim. Some prepaid sim cards have freebies upon activation such as free texts, minutes of calls, data, and so on. It’s good to figure out first what these freebies are.
Next, check out the promos and package deals that each prepaid sim card provider offers. Check out the number of SMS, data allowance, and minutes of calls each package gives. If you intend to use the sim card to contact your family and friends back in your home country, it is best to select the one with IDD calls. Don’t forget to check IDD rates as well, as some sim card providers offer different rates for weekdays, weekends, and certain times of the day. Be aware of the validity of the promo to make sure you can maximize the services and reload when necessary.
To activate your desired load bundle deal, simply dial the number indicated at the back of the package, whis is usually a series of numbers in between a (*) and (#). Buying another sim card is easier than having to reload your sim. Despite that, you can still find reload vouchers in convenience stores like 7-eleven or Circle K
3. Do I have to register my real name when using a prepaid sim card?
Starting March 2022, the government had already required citizens to register prepaid sim cards using their legal names. This measure was put in place to avoid crimes. Details that users will have to provide include their full legal name (the name that appears in your IDs), identification card number, date of birth, and a copy of their identification document.
It actually came in two phases, last September 1, when operators were given 180 days to implement a system that can register the customer’s given details. This means that sim cards activated prior to that date can start registering their sim cards. After March 1, 2022, users were given 360 days to register prepaid cards. Such time allowances will enable the linkage to user’s details by February 2023– both pre-existing and new sim card subscribers.
Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Edward Yau disclosed that the measure was taken to plug in “gaping loopholes” in the current ordinance and aid in better and faster investigation of crimes.
Yau added that a lot of commercial crimes are conducted because of the by drawing on the anonymous nature of SIM cards.
He clarified, however, that sim cards purchased abroad are not covered by this law.
4. When do I have to register my prepaid sim card?
As mentioned earlier, prepaid sim cards and service sim cards purchased after March 1, 2022 must complete registration and provide the details, along with the necessary documents requested by the government.
Registration is required before the sim can be activated and ready for use. Therefore, registration is necessary to make the most out of your prepaid sim card. Any unregistered prepaid sim cards after February 2023 will be deactivated.
5. Is a prepaid sim card reusable?
As per the general terms and conditions of most Hong Kong sim card providers, a prepaid sim card’s validity depends on the load bundle or package availed by the users. If the load package is meant to last for a week, then it is valid for a week. However, in the event that the subscriber fails to reload the sim, all the promos and freebies are forfeited and no longer reusable.
Also, as mentioned, given how hard it is to reload compared with buying a new sim, most subscribers opt to go for the latter. As far as commonly-available prepaid sims are concerned, only AirSim offers reusable ones..
6. Can I use a postpaid sim card instead?
As many sim card providers indicate in their websites, they offer a couple of postpaid sim plans. However,there will definitely be changes in prices and inclusions in the package that is fixed. On top of that, you’ll have to comply with requirements asked from locals who avail of the postpaid services. Some of which include identity documents, passports, and others. Potential buyers of postpaid sim plans must visit stores directly and consult with the workers and officials of the sim card provider. As different sim card providers have different requirements, even for foreigners, it is best to get in touch with them for these matters.
Buying sim cards may be tougher than having to choose what to put in your balikbayan box or arranging things in the room. However, it can be a task done with ease with a little guidance.