MOBILE PHONES You can use GSM roaming on your own phone but as usual it’s prohibitively expensive. If you have a GSM phone that is not locked, go to any mobile phone shop and buy a Chinese SIM card. There are two providers, China Telecom and China Unicom. We don’t see any difference in service between them. We use China Mobile Shen Zhou Xing and it’s fine. Local calls are cheap. $100 will well and truly last you for any trip. If you run out, get a recharge card at any 7/11 Store. Make sure you get them to recharge it for you. If you recharge yourself, you can choose an English menu. Press 2 when prompted and follow the instructions.
Long distance calls are a bit more expensive. Whene you dial 12593 before making a long distance, or international call, the call is cheaper. You can buy an IP internet protocol card on the street look for the big IP signs which make international calls quite cheap. But Skype is best and completely available.
We hesitate to make recommendations on 3G communications. The Telecoms regulators were unusually tardy in introducing 3G and when they did, they made a Chinese standard the rule. This seems to have been strongly opposed and recently some international WCDMA licences have been issued. Unicom uses all WCDMA. 4G is slowly becoming available
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