It’s said that the biggest fear one has it that of public peaking. For me, my biggest fear is not having cellular service, and not being able to connect while on the go.
So, how does one connect while in Hong Kong
Some quick tips to staying connected while on the go:
Mobile data Many operators offer temporary 3G plans for as little as HK$78 per week. Obtaining a sim card is quick and hassle free – just go to a mobile phone shop, and buy a card. No registration is needed. Essential Mobi rents data-enabled devices to travelers needing constant internet access.
WiFi Free wifi is available at most hotels, shopping malls, coffee shops, the airport, certain MTR stations, government buildings, and public libraries. You can also pay for access at commercial hotspots managed by PCCW and Y5ZONE. The cost is approximately HK$70 per week. Telephone Hong Kong’s country-code is 852 (different from mainland China (86) and Macau (853)).
Local phone numbers (mobile and landlines) are typically 8 digits; no area codes are used. All numbers that begin with 5, 6, 8, or 9 are mobile numbers, while numbers beginning with 2 or 3 are fixed line numbers. For calls from Hong Kong, the standard IDD prefix is 001, so you would dial 001-(country code)-(area code)-(telephone number). Note that calls to Macau or mainland China require international dialling. For the operator, dial 1000. For police, fire or ambulance services dial 999. Mobile phones Hong Kong has a world class communications infrastructure. Mobile phone usage is cheap. Hong Kong has many mobile operators.
The best choices for tourists are Three, SmarTone and CSL/one2free. All three operators offer prepaid SIM cards in micro, nano, and standard sizes. Unlimited data plans cost around HK$28 per day. Recharging your cr can be done online with a Hong Kong cr card or by purchasing vouchers from retail stores, resellers, convenience stores such as 7-Eleven and supermarkets. Mobile phone numbers have eight digits and begin with 5, 6, or 9.
Note that the telephone system is separate from Mainland China, and using Chinese SIM card would incur roaming charges. Subscriptions are available that cover both Hong Kong and mainland China, although these are longer term contracts. Samsung Galaxy Note or Nexus phones can be rented from counters A03 or B12 in the Arrivals Hall of Hong Kong International Airport for HK$68 per day, which includes all local and international calls, 3G internet access, and a built-in city guide.
Note that all mobile phone companies charge for BOTH incoming and outgoing calls (similar to USA, but different from most European countries, Japan, Taiwan, or South Korea). Coverage is excellent, except in remote mountainous areas. Almost all operators provide a good signal, even when underground in such places as the MTR system, on board trains and in cross-harbour and other road tunnels.
Coverage is decent across all Hong Kong operators, comparison of the coverage and speeds of the networks can be found on Hong Kong Coverage maps created by OpenSignal. In general Hong Kong has advanced mobile infrastructure and was found to have the second fastest LTE in the world, after that of Sweden. Landline phones Landline phones for local calls are charged on a monthly basis with unlimited access, but be careful that hotels may charge you per call. Payphones are available at the airport, shopping malls, government buildings, and MTR stations and cost HK$1 for a local call for 5 minutes. If you don’t have a mobile phone and need to make a short local call, most restaurants, supermarkets, and shops will allow you to use their phone if you ask nicely.
Other tips on staying connected while in Hong Kong? Please add your comments and tips.