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wwbusch (Offline)
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Default Prepaid SIM Hong Kong Internet - 27-02-2007, 16:29

hi there,

i need to fly in april to HK and searching for a prepaid sim which i can buy online and will be shipped to europe.
or is it easy to buy them in HK everywhere?
are there Prepaids which i can use for GPRS?

Thank you very much,
great forum
Wolf.
   
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Yazcedric (Offline)
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Default 27-02-2007, 21:21

Hi, wwbusch

It is very easy to buy a prepaid SIM card in Hong Kong.
There are many shops (Vodafone-Smartone, 3, etc) that sell a starter package (particularly in Tsim Sha Tsui area).
These stores are located almost every 2-3 blocks in the east side of Tsim Sha Tsui and they are usually open ~9:00 or 10:00pm.
When I bought my Vodafone-Smartone value-stored (prepaid) SIM card in summer of 2006, it was very easy to activate the service.
The sales people (at least Vodafone-Smartone's shop; I don't know the other stores) were very helpful.
When I purchased a starter package, I did not have to show anything (except my money)
- unlike France; I had to show my passport and report my "hotel address" in Paris when I activated Orange SIM.
As for Vodafone-Smartone, you can top up airtime through website (at least, they accepted a credit card issued in US).

I am not sure whether you can activate the brand-new Hong Kong SIM card while in Europe.
If you have a friend in Hong Kong and SIM is activated and tested before shipment, this is not an issue.
Also, the roaming is available, but relatively expensive (compared to the rate for making local calls/long distance calls from Hong Kong).
So, I use this SIM only when I stay in Hong Kong.

I had two minor issues with my Smartone account.
1) Once I activated my SIM, I received several SMSs indicating my balance, expiration date, and password.
My initial SMSs were all delivered in Chinese (or Cantonese? well, my Nokia E70 has chinese fonts)
until I made a call to the customer service to change the language option to English.
You can guess the expiration date, account balance, and password (for recharging your account) because these are all numbers or $ anyway.
So, I would take the phone to the store when you buy SIM card and activate the service
unless you are savvy in understanding Chinese characters.
Or, this just happened to me because my phone accepts Chinese font.

2) I visited Hong Kong last December and an earthquake in Taiwan damaged communication cable during my stay.
I was able to top-up from Smartone's website before I left US for Hong Kong,
but I had to purchase another voucher because internet was not accessible due to this damage.
Interestingly, I was able to make a call to US by this SIM card without any interruption (internet was more vulnable than cellphone, I guess).
When I tried to top-up my airtime by a voucher purchased at 7-eleven near subway station, I could not charge the airtime to my account by SMS.
I was quite upset because I got a message that "the card is invalid" and no credit was given.
When I went to Smartone's shop, they just looked up my account and the voucher and fixed the issue in a minute!
They recommended me to purchase airtime at their shop or through web site (well, I could not choose latter option at that time).
I still don't understand why my voucher card did not charge airtime,
but I would use website because these convenience stores usually do not carry different denominations
(or they just want to sell you more expensive voucher by saying, "oh, we only have these cards").

Sorry, I am not sure about GPRS for these prepaid SIMs because I used my SIM for voicecalls (well, internet was non-usable when I visited last time...)

Hope this will help your upcoming trip.


Yazcedric

Cellphones: Nokia E70 (unlocked), Nokia 6010 (unlocked), Nokia 6030 (T-mobile USA)
Prepaid SIM: T-mobile USA, Smartone-Vodafone HK, Yackiemobile, O2 UK
Expired SIM: Orange France (prepaid)
Unknown status: MeSim (most likely expired)
Prepaid phone: Softbank Sharp 201SH
VoIP: Voxalot, voipcheap, Tpad.com, Freedigits.com, Globe7, Gizmo project, voicestick
Mobile VoIP: Truphone, Fring
   
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wwbusch (Offline)
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Default 28-02-2007, 11:06

hi Yazcedric
Thanks for good information.

But still need GPRS info maybe some other users here know this...

Wolf.
   
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Yazcedric (Offline)
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Default 01-03-2007, 05:35

Hi, wwbusch,

OK, I looked up several HKG cellular providers' websites.
1) CSL seems to have prepaid SIM with GPRS capability.
http://prepaid.hkcsl.com/ehome.html
Unfortunately, I never use this card and I cannot comment further, but they provide GPRS setting in their website.
I will consider this card for my next trip in July.
They charge $2.5 HK dollar/month to maintain the account.

2) per smartone's website, their PayGo (different from "Store-valued" SIM, which is prepaid account) has GPRS option
http://www.smartone-vodafone.com/jsp...lish/index.jsp
Caveat is that this is not a prepaid SIM because they charge $60 HKdollar (~5.8 euro)/month to "maintain" the account; ie, they will charge this amount regardless of your usage.
Once the balance reaches below 0, they suspend the account until you top-up.
Interesting part is that they keep track of this negative balance and they will subtract any negative balance (that has been accumulated) from your next top-up.
I am not sure how long they will keep doing this before they terminate your account.
I got this info from a user who purchased this card and the smartone's term/condition pdf also mentions this issue).
Therefore, depending on your frequency of visit/stay, you can consider one of these options.

I would consider CSL if it is easy to set up GPRS.
As I mention in my first reply to this thread, the roaming (ie inbound/outbound calls made outside Hong Kong) rate is relatively expensive compared to the rate for calls made inside Hong Kong.


Yazcedric

Cellphones: Nokia E70 (unlocked), Nokia 6010 (unlocked), Nokia 6030 (T-mobile USA)
Prepaid SIM: T-mobile USA, Smartone-Vodafone HK, Yackiemobile, O2 UK
Expired SIM: Orange France (prepaid)
Unknown status: MeSim (most likely expired)
Prepaid phone: Softbank Sharp 201SH
VoIP: Voxalot, voipcheap, Tpad.com, Freedigits.com, Globe7, Gizmo project, voicestick
Mobile VoIP: Truphone, Fring
   
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Stu (Offline)
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Default 12-03-2007, 13:13

If you need an HK SIM as quickly as possible and want to suffer only minor larceny (e.g. pay slightly more than TST prices, but less than mail order prices), the Travel Ex exchange at HK airport sells CSL prepaids. Last time I looked, the it was like 100 HK Dollars. You can also buy a tourist Octopus there which includes the express train to HK & Kowloon (one stop on each side), three days of unlimited rides, and is rechargable. The card is good as long as you use use it every three years.
   
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brucebeh (Offline)
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Default 03-04-2007, 06:18

im in the same boat as you actually.

Except i was looking for a bit more than GPRS, my phone supports EDGE and I found one cheap provider that allows for unlimited GPRS/EDGE on a pre-paid sim.

It's $138 HKD/mth for unlimited usage otherwise its about $0.04 HKD/KB.

That is by FAR the cheapest provider i've seen, no commitment or anything required, you just have to have a minimum balance of $150 HKD i believe in the prepaid account before you can sign up for that data package. It also states you ARE allowed to connect a notebook/pda/pocket PC to your cell phone to access the data network (which i have no idea about for all the other networks in hong kong)

They have a few different types of prepaid sim cards, all of them allow you to get that data package, then depending on what type of calls you make they range from less than 1 cent USD per minute locally in HK or 3 cents USD per minute back to Canada / United States.


Anyway, only downside i've read about them is they don't have the best network coverage, they do allow roaming so if you don't mind paying a little bit extra when you require it it will be fine.

Haven't found anything better so far...

http://www.peoples.com.hk/p_homepage_iso.jsp
   
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jeffharris (Offline)
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Default 01-06-2007, 05:26

I'm using Peoples prepaid now, this week, and am pleased. I have had no coverage issues (although I have not gone to fringe areas yet), and, the rates are perfect. I also forward my US cell number into Skype, and, forward Skype to the Peoples number, so, it only costs me a total of 4-5 US cents a minute to receive calls when anyone calls my US cell. And calling to US costs 3.2 US cents a minute.

Yes, you can use the GPRS plan on Peoples, and it seems to be the best data deal in town. I do not see a prepaid, flat rate EDGE or #g data plan. However, I have Blackberry data on my Blackberry, and am using it on CSL with EDGE, and, as a result of my T-Mo US Blackberry plan, I pay nothing extra for data anywhere in the world anyway.
   
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racorby (Offline)
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Default 19-06-2007, 03:44

Jeff...can you tell us exactly which People's product you bought and where (did you buy it there?). I will be going from Tokyo to Shanghai to HK to Singapore to Sydney and back. Do you know if it makes sense to use Peoples in these other countries...or get SIMS there?
   
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