The Hong Kong Unofficial Guide

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Hong Kong Mobile Phones

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Great George St.
Above: Great George St., Causeway bay.

There're more mobile phone subscribers than the whole population of Hong Kong. Amazing, isn't it? And mobile phones work just about everywhere - on ferries, tunnels cross the harbor, some hiking trails, in skyscrapers, and even in subway trains (sometimes you'll wish that they don't - when a fellow passenger is using his/her outside voice to yak on and on).

You can buy a cell phone for as low as US$30, unlocked i.e. it can take any carrier's SIM card. There're pre-paid cards and also monthly plans with a contract.

Where to Buy

  • Consumer electronic chain stores - most reliable, but less leeway for discounts

  • Smaller cell phone stores - more models, some may even sell pre-owned ones. They can be found everywhere, but the best prices probably would be in stores in Sham Shui Po, especially on Ap Liu Street. Sin Tat Plaza on Argyle St. in Mong Kok is another popular place, but be warned: scams happen!

  • Mobile carrier stores - prices probably all non-negotiable, but usually have bundled packages with subscription plan (see list of carriers below). And if you just can't wait, you can find one or two such stores at the airport.


There're a handful of carriers, so there's enough competition to keep the prices competitive. Nowadays if you don't want 4G and just need to use the phone for basic voice calls and text messages, US$10 per month will probably get you 1000 minutes talk time. You can also just get a pre-paid card for about HK$100. Nothing to sign. No deposit. And the SIM card will work with the phone that you buy in other shops. Here're some of the major carriers:
  • SmarTone
  • 3
  • CSL
  • PCCW
  • New World Mobile
  • China Mobile / Peoples

Text Messaging

Usually a subscription plan doesn't include free text messages, but 'in-system' messages are free i.e. when you text someone who uses the same carrier. Otherwise, each outgoing local message usually costs HK 50 cents or $1. Usually there's no charge for incoming messages. International messages cost a few HK dollars each.

Data Plans

You can gauge the general costs by this: for a 24-month ~HK$400/month subscription plan, you can get unlimited local data (i.e. roaming outside of HK not included).


Once you subscribe to a carrier and get a mobile phone number, even when you switch carrier later, you can easily transfer and use the same number by filling in a form (which the new carrier will usually do it for you and you just need to sign it.)


Please note that the above is but general unofficial information from our very limited research. Be sure to read the fine print when you purchase any phone or service.


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