The prepaid SIM card for China with a world cell phone is the most convenient and economical solution for staying in touch while in China. However, there are so many different types of SIM cards around China.
1. Know what you need before buy China SIM Card
What features on the SIM card are important while you travel in China. You may conside features as international text message, free incoming calls in any cities you visit, data capacity for emails and internet suffing, international call rates, etc.. Don't assume that any type China SIM card got those features, read products description and ask vendors to confirm.
2. Using IP code to save on international and domestic calls
An IP code is a dialing prefix before international outgoing prefix 00. To add an IP code when dialing, the call rate can be saved up to 70 per cent. You need to know what IP code to use when you purchasing the SIM card. Different cities or carriers provide different IP code.
3. Buy China SIM card in advance
Some features need to be activated in one month advance. For example, free incoming call feature on Beijing SIM card is requested to be activated one month in advanvce before taking effictive. Data plans need to be activated in advance as well. If you don't activate the data plan, you pay 0.01 RMB per Kilobytes. With data plans, 200 RMB is for 1GB. Then, by activate data plans in advance by someone else in China, you can save more.
4. Have an English user guide
Know how to check balance and refilling methods in English. Then, you can contral your spending on your mobile communication while in overeas. You know how to top up your China cell number. You can always top up your phone before credit runs out and keep touch with the world all the time.
5. Know expiry date if need visit China regularly
If you do not recharge your account within the initial activity period of 3 months, your China prepaid SIM card will expire and all remaining airtime credit will be forfeit. The service life of your China prepaid SIM card can be extended by purchasing and recharging airtime which, depending on their denomination, will provide a service life extension and all subsequent airtime credit will be carried over into the next validity period. However, sellers may not tell you this: if your prepaid account balance reaches zero, your preaid account needs to be recharged within two monthes. Otherwise, your China number will be gone.
6. Buy China SIM Card for Roaming in other regions and countries
Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau are special regions in China. The most China SIM cards (prepaid) can not roam in those regions.
A few prepaid SIM card offer roaming feature which even can roam in other countries. The roaming on prepaid SIM card can receive all calls in the most countries. You can not make outgoing call including calling back China. International text message is available when you are roaming. Receiving SMS in any countries is free of charge.
7. Understand any special requests from the carrier on the SIM card features you really need
Each country has industry regulations. China mobile (the largest mobile carrier among three) does the same. Please don't assume that the features on your country's prepaid SIM card will be exactly the same in here. For instance, To activate international call function, Beijing China Mobile requests that the balance exceeds 200RMB on the SIM card. For the same feature, Shanghai China Mobile requests that you register your real name at one of the branch offices. If you lack of time, you may buy the SIM card from other carriers (e.g. China Unicom). or use IP unit to make international calls.
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