Beijing - Post Report Question and Answers

Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

We have a Google Fi phone with a US number and a local phone with a Chinese SIM. The local phone costs about $30/month. - Nov 2021

Google Fi is amazing as it works even when the VPN doesn't. - Nov 2020

Most smartphones will work fine, although you will need a local SIM card and plan to use WeChat and other Chinese apps. Currently, the Beijing Health kit tracking app is also required to enter most businesses, hospitals or public transportation. - Aug 2020

Local plans are very cheap. About USD $10/month for unlimited data. - Jul 2020

You could try to keep a mobile to avoid the firewall, but you need a Chinese number for WeChat... - May 2020

Get a mobile plan here, bring your phone. - Nov 2019

China Unicom. - Oct 2017

Super easy. Three major providers, just pop in a SIM. - Dec 2015

Get a phone in the States, make sure it is unlocked and bring it here and put in a Chinese SIM. - Apr 2015

Smartphone or cell phones work fine. - Aug 2014

Cell phone plans and SIM cards are readily available and inexpensive. - Jul 2014

Easy to find a provider -- China mobile and Unicom are what most people use. - Jun 2013

Not really. The embassy issues phones to employees. We bought a very basic one for visitors to use; it uses “refill” cards to add minutes to the account. Reception (for all cell phones) is sketchy in many areas and buildings. - Aug 2011

Bring your favorite one from home and buy a sim card when you get here. The you don't have to worry with the language issue - Apr 2011

China Mobile has the best coverage but they don't have international standard 3G service (it's a local Chinese standard that only works in China with Chinese phones). China Unicom has far worse coverage but uses the same international standard 3G that AT&T does. China Telecom runs a network using the same 3G technology Verizon and Sprint do in the US, but you can't bring your phone from home and use it here (except through roaming, which is very expensive). You will have to buy a local one if you go with China Telecom. I use China Unicom and the service is anywhere from bad to awful, but it's a job requirement that I have a world phone so I don't have any choice. - Jan 2011

You can buy one here, install a SIM card, and buy pay-as-you-go cards. You must have a phone. You do not want to get lost or injured and be without one, because no one will help you. They'll step right over your carcass and keep on going. - Apr 2010

Easily obtainable and cheap. - Jan 2010

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