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Hong Kong SIM Card or eSIM?: The best alternative to have internet | May 2024

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Last update: May 6, 2024
Roams UK
Author: Roams UK
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In a nutshell

Travelling to Hong Kong with internet is not a luxury: it is a necessity. As one of the most visited cities in East Asia, prices for tourists are high. That's why we compare the value of mobile data, so you know which is the best option for you. Spoiler: the eSIM Holafly for Hong Kong is the best value for money.

Buy here the Holafly eSIM Hong Kong

Internet in Hong Kong: all the alternatives

Travelling to Hong Kong is an amazing thing to do. It is one of the most important cities in China and, consequently, one of the most visited cities on the Asian continent. In 2019 alone, it welcomed 55.91 million tourists.

In this guide we've put together here at Roams, we'll talk about how to get internet in Hong Kong and some tips to keep in mind if you want to stay on mobile data while on this East Asian adventure.

Whether your plans include climbing Victoria Peak, partying on Lan Kwai Fong, enjoying Cantonese food at the famous night markets, riding The Central-Mid-levels escalators, the world's longest escalator, or simply enjoying days at the beach, having internet in Hong Kong will be a benefit at all times of your trip.

Although there are several ways to have mobile data in Hong Kong, and before we delve into each of them, we leave you with a comparison table in which you can quickly and easily see which are the best options to have unlimited internet in the Chinese city.

How much internet costs in Hong Kong
Service Price/Days Data
eSIM Hong Kong Holafly
  • From £19/5 days
  • Unlimited
SIM Card in Hong Kong
  • From £10
  • 7GB
Wifi in Hong Kong:
  • Portable
  • Public

  • From £3/1 day
  • Free

  • From 1GB
  • Unlimited
Roaming in Hong Kong
  • From £6/1 day

  • From 1GB

How to get a Hong Kong SIM Card

Buying a SIM card in Hong Kong is one of the ways to get mobile internet during your trip. You can buy it from a national carrier when you arrive at authorized points, which are usually located in airports, shopping centres and official shops.

The best-known mobile operators, and therefore the ones that offer the most efficient coverage, are PCCW Mobile, China Mobile Hong Kong and SmarTone. With them, you can buy a SIM card in Hong Kong, at their authorized points of sale.

One thing to note: if you buy a SIM card online or in person, you will find the web portals and customer service in Chinese (Cantonese) and only a few in English. If this is difficult for you, keep an eye on Holafly's Hong Kong eSIM, which offers 24-hour support in English every day of the week.

How much will a SIM card cost me in Hong Kong? Well, we've done a comparison of the prices and services offered by the phone operators listed above. Check them out and draw your conclusions:

  • PCCW Mobile: this is one of the most well-known companies in the city. The cost of a SIM with them starts at £11 for 8 days of unlimited data.
  • China Mobile Hong Kong: from £10 for 7 days. Includes 7GB of data and 200 minutes for local calls. To activate it, you need to register it with your personal details so that they can register you.
  • SmarTone: this phone company in China offers a SIM for tourists starting at £15 for 7 days and 2GB to surf on 4G.

For us, the best alternative is the eSIM, so we will tell you why below, so you can review and make the best decision to have unlimited data in Hong Kong during your trip.

Buy an Unlimited data eSIM for Hong Kong with a 5% OFF. Code ROAMS


eSIM Hong Kong: the best way to get mobile internet

If you are planning to travel to Hong Kong to visit places like the famous Lantau Island, to visit the Big Buddha, or to take a picture with the mythical Choi Hung Estate in the background, it is obvious that you need a good internet connection not only to enjoy your stay in this wonderful destination, but also to know how to get there, look at reviews and have everything at hand.

The best way to get internet is to sign up for an eSIM Hong Kong: you'll get a quality connection at an affordable price. The eSIM is a virtual SIM card that is built into many of the latest generation of phones. While this type of service is incompatible with some mobile phone models, it has become increasingly popular due to its ease of purchase and activation.

Our expert opinion

Although there are several companies that offer these virtual cards, from Roams we recommend the Holafly eSIM Hong Kong, not only for its coverage and the cost of its rates, but also for the 24/7 customer service in English and the unlimited data offer for your adventure.

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Roams UK

With this Holafly eSIM you will be able to set up your plan quickly, keep your WhatsApp number and have unlimited data during your stay in the Asian country. Whether your itinerary includes strolling through the Ladies Market, enjoying a cruise in Victoria Bay or getting carried away in the Soho district and its lights, with Holafly Hong Kong internet you'll be able to connect to the best network in the region for very little money.

In short, these are the main advantages and disadvantages of buying a virtual SIM card for Hong Kong with Holafly:

Pros and cons of Holafly's eSIM in Hong Kong
Pros
  • You have a high-speed connection.
  • You activate it instantly with a QR code.
  • You will have your WhatsApp number on your mobile.
  • It's easy to set up, with no registration or subscriptions.
  • Forget about roaming and searching for public wifi networks.
  • You can get support in English whenever you need it.
Cons
  • No phone number or SMS included, but you can use WhatsApp.
  • You cannot share data with another person.

As we have detailed above, the advantages of purchasing an eSIM for your trip to Hong Kong are superior, in addition to the low price. From Roams we encourage you to choose this option to have unlimited data on your trip to one of the most important financial centres in the world.

Holafly eSIM rates for Hong Kong
Days Prices Data
5 days £19 Unlimited
10 days £29 Unlimited
15 days £44 Unlimited
20 days £49 Unlimited
30 days £59 Unlimited
60 days £77 Unlimited
90 days £89 Unlimited

We have already said it before: there are other companies with which you can sign up for a mobile data card for Hong Kong. Therefore, some alternatives for you to analyse the pros and cons are Yesim, Conecty, Truphone or Flexiroam.

eSim Hong Kong
Mobile
Prepaid: 5 days expiry
Data Unlimited

Coverage
AT&T
Connection speed 4G
Pay as you go£195 days expiry
taxes included

Connecting to wifi in Hong Kong: free or portable

Using wifi is another way to get internet in Hong Kong. There are two other options in the city: free hotspots and laptops. Both have a number of advantages and disadvantages, which we explain below:

Portable wifi in Hong Kong: internet with a high price tag

In this Asian city, you can rent a portable wifi device to have internet anywhere in Hong Kong. However, although you'll have reliable speed and can take it with you anywhere you go, the prices are high and will affect your travel budget. Here are two examples of how much portable internet costs in Hong Kong.

  1. Wifi Travelers: with this pocket wifi you'll be connected on your trip. You can buy it from Spain or pick it up from an authorized point in Hong Kong. Although you will have unlimited data to use and connect up to 5 devices simultaneously, the battery life of this mini router is 13 hours and prices start from £7/day. If you travel for 8 days, for example, you will pay £56 for mobile data.
  2. MyWebspot: This option offers 4G internet and can be purchased before your trip. You can choose plans from £10/day with unlimited internet, no speed reduction and no hidden charges.

It is no secret that the prices for this service tend to be a bit steep for travelling. However, we have listed the advantages and disadvantages of portable wifi and have come to the conclusion that it is clearly not the best alternative for mobile data in Hong Kong.

Advantages:

  • It offers a faster and more reliable connection than free wifi.
  • It is secure, you can transmit sensitive information without any problems.
  • It allows you to connect to multiple devices simultaneously.

Disadvantages:

  • It is one of the most expensive options.
  • Battery life is between 6 and 13 hours.
  • You will need to carry the router with you at all times, and you run the risk of losing it.
  • In addition to the data plan, you have to pay for the rental, insurance and shipping of the device.
  • If you do not pay for shipping, you will have to go to an office to rent the device.

Free wifi in Hong Kong: free but insecure

If you're looking to save some money during your trip, there are several public places in Hong Kong that offer free wifi. Parks, libraries and shopping centres are just some of the places where you can get mobile data without spending too much. Just be aware that the speed will be quite slow, and you won't be able to do many of the things you're used to doing on your mobile.

In addition to the above, it is advisable that you do not access your bank account or accounts with information that is important to you when connecting to a free hotspot in Hong Kong. We know you don't want to be a victim of hacking and have your travel and finances seriously affected.

Although there are several websites and apps you can download to your mobile phone to find out where public places with free wifi in Hong Kong are located, availability is limited and speed limitation is latent.

One of the applications we recommend finding these networks in Hong Kong is Wifi Map, this application has one of the largest databases of free wifi hotspots.

Download Wifi Map App
Disponible en Google PlayConsíguelo en el App Store

Roaming in Hong Kong: high prices

Another way to get internet while you are travelling is to activate roaming to continue using your mobile data in Hong Kong. While you will still be able to surf the internet and call your contacts, be aware that roaming charges in this part of Asia are often quite expensive.

Similarly, mobile network providers should inform you exactly how much you have to pay for the country you want to travel to and use their data roaming. In other words, you will be able to see how much they pay and manage your data roaming in those countries to save money.

However, this process is cumbersome, so we advise you to buy an eSIM from Holafly so that you don't have to pay extra, and you are clear about how much money you will spend on the internet during your trip, with no surprises at the end of the month.


What is the internet speed and coverage like in Hong Kong?

Mobile internet speeds in Hong Kong are excellent, with phone operators offering very fast download and upload speeds. Additionally, the 5G network is available and is being rapidly deployed, meaning that this aspect, important for many business travellers, may improve further in the future. According to Speed Test (1) , this southeastern Chinese region ranks 30th in the world, with 60.65Mbps mobile speed.

Internet coverage in this Asian region is extensive, with fixed and mobile broadband options available to most households, businesses and tourists. In addition, Hong Kong is constantly investing in cutting-edge technology to further improve internet speed and coverage for locals and travellers.

PCCW Mobile, China Mobile Hong Kong and SmarTone are the companies offering the best service. Between them, they cover most of the territory, making Hong Kong an internet-friendly destination.


Benefits of having internet in Hong Kong

Keeping in touch with your family and friends, sharing your trip on social media, or having tickets to attractions on hand are some of the reasons why many people need to have an internet connection when travelling to Hong Kong. You may also need to check your email or use your bank app to make a transaction while on holiday.

For these reasons and more, some of the benefits of having mobile data in Hong Kong include:

  • Orientation and location: Real-time maps are here to help you save time and avoid getting lost on your travels. Having a mobile connection will help you see how to get to your hotel, restaurant or activity in this Chinese region as quickly as possible.
  • Communication and translation: as well as keeping in touch with your loved ones, having mobile data in Hong Kong will help you communicate with locals who don't understand a second language or when your Cantonese are not enough to make yourself understood.
  • Pay with your mobile phone: It's no secret that carrying cash is a thing of the past. That's why having the internet will help you make transactions without relying on physical cash. In addition, it is a safe and widely used option in this part of the world.

Buy an Unlimited data eSIM for Hong Kong with a 5% OFF. Code ROAMS


FAQs about internet in Hong Kong

What is the internet speed in Hong Kong?

Hong Kong is recognized as one of the most connected cities in the world, with internet speeds of 60.65Mbps, on average, available to most homes and businesses. Mobile internet speeds are also excellent, with mobile operators offering very fast download speeds and the rollout of 5G technology underway.

What number do mobile phones start with in Hong Kong?

Mobile phone numbers in Hong Kong generally start with the prefix 852. This prefix is used to identify mobile phone numbers that are registered in Hong Kong.

Is 5G internet available in Hong Kong?

Yes, 5G is available in Hong Kong. This is one of the most advanced cities in terms of 5G technology, with several mobile operators offering this service to their customers. Its implementation has significantly improved the speed and quality of mobile internet connection, allowing users to enjoy a faster and smoother online experience.

What are the internet restrictions in Hong Kong?

Since 2019, Hong Kong has implemented certain online restrictions in response to political protest and dissent. Online censorship, monitoring of online activity, arrests for posting content that is subversive or contrary to government interests, and the banning of certain apps, such as Telegram and WhatsApp, which are deemed to be contrary to government interests.

Fuentes del artículo
  1. Hong Kong (SAR)’s Mobile and Broadband Internet Speeds. Speedtest Global Index. Consulted in https://www.speedtest.net/global-index/hong-kong-(sar)
Our methodology
Roams offers a free information and comparison service, which tries to help anyone find the product that best suits their needs. To ensure that the data presented is correct, extensive market research and product analysis is carried out. Our database of mobile phone and internet rates is updated every day. The content is frequently reviewed by a team of writers with previous experience and/or specific training in telephony.

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Edited and revised por Laura Burón