I recently travelled to Hongkong and had a chance to try out the various local mobile phone providers. I managed to find a fairly decent prepaid data plan option for iPhone users, that I thought I'd share with you.
The largest local provider is PCCW. You see them everywhere, from phonebooths on street corners to wifi hotspots in bars. Unfortunately, whilst they offer prepaid talk plans, they don't offer prepaid data plans.
So after additional research, I decided to give CSL a try. CSL has spent the last few years building out their network and they now offer really great 3G service. The 3G speeds are some of the fastest in the world and you can get on the network on almost any street corner in Hongkong, as well as on the MTR .
I was really impressed by the speed of the network, but it is HSDPA only, so make sure you have an iPhone 3G or 3GS for your trip to Hongkong, as the EDGE-only 2G iPhone won't work.
Here's what you need to do:
First, go to Seven Eleven. They offer several prepaid cards - you'll want to get this one:
CSL Power Prepaid Sim Card for about 180HKD (~18 Euro).
Once you've popped the SIM card into your iPhone, do this:
- Dial 179 179 and hit call
- Press 1 for english
- Press 4 for Value Added Services
- Press 3 for Broadband Service
- 1 for a one-day pass (50HKD)
- 2 for a five-day pass (178HKD)
- 3 for a thirty-day pass (788HKD)
You can buy top-up cards at Seven Eleven, or you can top-up online. The card is valid for 6 months, but if you plan on going back soon, you can extend that for an additional 6 months from home by buying top-ups online.
Once you've loaded up your prepaid card, you'll receive an SMS within the next 15-30 minutes telling you that your "Mobile Broadband Service is activated" and you're all set!
You can now start surfing the net. You don't need to enter an APN, unless you want to use tethering and don't see the option showing up.
In that case, entering the APN "HKCSL" should do the trick (the iPhone doesn't seem to want to tether without an APN).
Tethering works perfectly - even when sharing the connection back to my iPad. I actually managed to get all my devices online with the single data plan, with the following setup:
iPhone -> USB tethering to my Macbook -> Airport Sharing to my iPad.
So that's about it! The easiest, fastest and cheapest way to use your iPhone in Hongkong.