How to Get and Activate CSL SIM Cards & eSIMs Hong Kong for Tourists

Getting and activating CSL SIM Cards and eSIM for tourists is very easy. Learn best eSIM plans, price, buying methods to make an informed decision if you should choose CSL for your Hong Kong trip.

CSL Hong Kong SIM card and eSIM

CSL Mobile is owned by HKT, the largest telecom company in Hong Kong. It was the first network operator launching 4G, VoLTE, and 5G networks in the city. This is a popular mobile internet provider for tourists to Hong Kong. To help you decide whether or not you should choose CSL for your trip in Hong Kong, we make a quick guide about CSL SIM cards and eSIMs, including best SIM card and eSIM (if any) plan options, prices accordingly, how to get and activate CSL SIM for tourists, and bonus tips for tourists. Let’s take a look!

I. Quick Facts about CSL Mobile Internet Operator Hong Kong

Let’s find out some facts about CSL together:

  • Founded year: CSL Mobile was established in 1980. It was the first mobile communications operator in Hong Kong.
  • Full company name: CSL Mobile Limited
  • Types of services provided: CSL Mobile operates provides 2G, 3G, 4G, and 5G mobile services like calls, text messages, and mobile internet.
  • Coverage: CSL Mobile provides mobile network coverage across most of Hong Kong. As of 2011, it had the widest 4G network coverage in the city.
  • Estimated number of network stores and agents: No exact number is given but it has many CSL, 1O1O, and Club SIM stores and agents across Hong Kong to support customers.
  • Customer support: Customers can call a telephone number for support. Staff can provide help in Cantonese and English. Support is available 24/7 all year round.

II. CSL Coverage and Speed

Providing 2G, 3G, 4G, and 5G mobile services, CSL can be considered one of the best mobile operators in Hong Kong with stable speed and coverage.

1. CSL Coverage in Hong Kong

CSL Hong Kong coverage map - CSL SIM cards and eSIM
CSL Hong Kong coverage map. Source: nperf

CSL has good coverage for people to discover around Hong Kong:

  • CSL had consistently strong coverage across Hong Kong. Their availability score of 98.9% means customers had a connection almost all the time.
  • They were statistically tied with the other top operators for both Availability and 5G Reach. Moreover, CSL provides reliable coverage whether on 4G or 5G.
  • Their 5G Availability of 26.0% was also tied for the top spot. So about a quarter of the time, CSL customers could enjoy 5G speeds when and where they used their phones.
  • The consistency scores show that CSL is working to maintain coverage users can count on. While their Excellent Consistent Quality score of 55.6% only placed them third, consistent coverage is important for daily use of apps and entertainment.
  • As 5G continues rolling out in Hong Kong using a new spectrum, CSL should be well-positioned to expand its reliable coverage on the latest network technology. Their current performance demonstrates a commitment to keeping customers connected.

2. CSL Speed

CSL Hong Kong speed experience. Source: Opensignal
CSL Hong Kong speed experience. Source: Opensignal

In addition, when choosing CSL, you do not need to worry about its speed because:

  • CSL won the overall Download Speed Experience award. Their users can experience average download speeds of 36.3 Mbps, over 6 Mbps faster than the second-place operators. Pretty impressive!
  • When it comes to uploading photos and videos, CSL took the prize for the best Upload Speed Experience. Users on CSL averaged upload speeds of 9.3 Mbps. Faster uploads mean sharing content with friends is a breeze.
  • CSL’s 5G speeds are seriously speedy. They jointly won the 5G Download Speed award with speeds reaching 174.3 Mbps. That’s way faster than fiber home internet in many places! Videos will stream without buffering.
  • CSL also jointly won the 5G Upload Speed award, with users seeing 18.3 Mbps upload speeds on 5G. More than fast enough to quickly share high-resolution photos and videos.
  • Whether downloading or uploading, CSL delivered the fastest speeds of all the Hong Kong operators. Their network must be perfectly optimized to deliver such great performance.

► Our Recommendation: CSL customers can feel assured that the operator’s mobile network coverage and speed are widely available and frequently deliver a strong signal for surfing the web, streaming video, and more throughout Hong Kong.

III. What are the Best Connectivity Options of CSL for Travelers to Hong Kong?

In Hong Kong, CSL offers a lot of choices for tourists to stay connected when traveling:

  • Global roaming keeps regular numbers but at a higher cost.
  • Prepaid SIM or eSIM are more affordable but require a separate number/SIM.
  • TravelPass offers good value data bundles but validity is time-limited.
  • Pocket WiFi rental provides a portable solution but incurs device rental fees.
CSL Connectivity OptionProsCons
Global Roaming– Allows use of regular numbers in HK– Usually more expensive than local options
Prepaid SIM card– Inexpensive data-only option– Need to purchase separate SIM
– Will have different number in HK
PayGo eSIM– No physical SIM swap is needed– Need to purchase separate SIM
– Will have different number in HK
Hong Kong TravelPass– Affordable data bundles– Valid for a limited time (7-30 days)
HK Pocket WiFi rental– Portable WiFi hotspot to share– Extra rental cost
– Limited to one device

In summary, buying local SIM cards will be the best option to save money and avoid global data roaming. Furthermore, if your devices are suitable for using eSIM, let’s buy an eSIM for the most optimal option.

IV. Best CSL SIM Cards for Tourists & Costs

Best CSL sim cards and eSIM options for tourists

Here is a table summarizing the prepaid plans available for Hong Kong Tourist Prepaid SIM Card:

PlanPriceDataCalls
Default Day Pass$11832GB Hong Kong & Macau data + Unlimited Hong Kong calls30 days
Top-up Day Pass$483GB Hong Kong & Macau data + Unlimited Hong Kong calls5 days
China Data Pass 500MB$48500MB Chinese data3 days
China Data Pass 1GB$981GB China data7 days
IDD 0060$0.45/minCalls to 35 destinationsPer-minute rates apply
SMS$0.3–$1.8Rates vary by destinationPer SMS
Roaming CallsvaryRates vary by countryPer minute

In summary, the Default Day Pass unlocks the most benefits – 32GB of data and unlimited local calls for 30 days. Top-up options provide affordable shorter-term bundles. Additional features include affordable IDD calling, SMS, and data roaming in key destinations. This plan offers great value and flexibility for travelers.

V. Does CSL Support eSIM in Hong Kong?

Yes, CSL (also known as HKT) supports eSIM in Hong Kong. Here are some key details:

  • CSL launched eSIM support for iPhones in 2018 and Android devices in 2021.
  • Both prepaid and postpaid plans from CSL are compatible with eSIM. This includes their Discover Hong Kong Tourist Prepaid SIM discussed earlier.
  • To activate an eSIM on CSL’s network, users can scan a QR code from the CSL website or app. No physical SIM card is required.
  • Supported devices include recent iPhone, Pixel, and Samsung Galaxy models. Users should check their specific device is eSIM compatible.
  • With eSIM, users benefit from digital SIM activation/management without the need to insert a physical nano-SIM. This is more convenient for international travelers.
  • eSIM allows easier switching between plans from CSL as well as roaming more seamlessly overseas where eSIM is supported.

However, you still have to show your passport and take a lot of time for administrative regulations when buying at CSL stores. Another option for you is to get one from online eSIM providers such as GIGAGO to save time. This eSIM provider offers a lot of plans for different types of tourists. The customer support is 24/7 with multiple language support. We will mention in details in the following part.

VI. Where to Buy a CSL SIM card and eSIM?

To buy a CSL SIM card, you can get one from the international airport, visit CSL stores in the city, or other authorized retailers in Hong Kong.

1. Where to Buy a CSL SIM Card for Hong Kong?

1.1. At the airport

If you’re just landing in Hong Kong, one of the most convenient places to purchase a CSL SIM card is at the airport. Both HK International Airport terminals have official CSL kiosks where you can buy prepaid SIM cards with data packages upon arrival. The kiosks accept cash payments in major currencies.

1.2. CSL stores

For an even wider selection of SIM options, head to an official CSL retail store. CSL has numerous stores located across Hong Kong, from major malls to MTR stations. The stores offer prepaid as well as postpaid SIM purchases, and staff can advise on the best plan for your needs. Stores accept both cash and credit card payments. You can also go to a store to buy an eSIM for compatible devices.

1.3. Other authorized retailers

Aside from CSL’s channels, prepaid CSL SIM cards are widely available at authorized retailers island-wide for maximum convenience. Popular convenience stores like 7-Eleven and Watson’s stock SIM packages near the front. City supermarkets and Wellcome stores often have CSL displays. Post offices are also reliable spots, as many function as CSL agents.

2. Where to Buy CSL eSIM for Hong Kong?

There are three popular ways to buy a CSL eSIM for Hong Kong:

  • Buy online before your trip from CSL’s website or app and scan the QR code to activate.
  • Purchase eSIM vouchers with QR codes at CSL retail stores across Hong Kong like major MTR station branches
  • Find eSIM plans and activation assistance at CSL kiosks located in both Hong Kong International Airport terminals

As mentioned earlier, tourists are highly recommended to buy eSIM from online eSIM retailers/resellers/providers, such as Gigago. If so, you will save a lot of time and effort with the easiest setup process.

For Hong Kong, Gigago offers multiple data plan options, starting from 3 GB for 5 days with $5.00 . What is great about Gigago’s Hong Kong eSIM is that its plans’ costs are diversifying, varying between $5.00$89.50 . Thus, it does not matter how Internet users you are and how long your trip is in Hong Kong, there is always an option for you with Gigago.

VII. How to Use and Activate CSL SIM in Hong Kong?

1. How to Use CSL SIM Card in Hong Kong?

To activate a CSL SIM card in Hong Kong, you can try to refer to the following steps:

  • Insert the SIM into your unlocked phone. It is required to have an unlocked phone to use a Hong Kong SIM card.
  • Power on the phone to activate the SIM automatically.
  • Select the language and fill in the registration details like name, passport, and HK address.
  • Get SMS verification codes to finish the registration.
  • Activation will take about 15-30 mins. Moreover, do not forget to check data and calls are working once complete.

2. How to Activate CSL eSIM?

Here are the quick steps to activate a CSL eSIM:

  • Purchase a CSL eSIM plan online from GIGAGO or the store.
  • Ensure your device supports eSIM (new iPhones or selected Androids. See detailed list of eSIM compatible devices)
  • Go to Cellular settings on iPhone or SIM cards on Android
  • Select “Install eSIM profile” and scan the QR code
  • Scan the QR code from your eSIM package using your device camera
  • Enter mobile number or credentials if prompted
  • Your device will automatically download and install the eSIM
  • Check cellular data is enabled under network settings
  • Your eSIM is now active like a regular SIM

VIII. How to Top-up Hong Kong SIM/eSIM

Here are some easy ways to top up a Hong Kong SIM/eSIM card, including CSL:

1. Top up Online/Mobile App

  • Log into your account on the operator’s website or app
  • Select top-up amount and pay by credit/debit card
  • Top-up is instantly reflected on your balance

2. Top up in Convenience Stores

  • Top up at 7-Eleven, Circle K, etc. by providing your number
  • Choose the amount and pay by cash/credit card at the counter
  • An SMS confirms successful top-up within minutes

3. Top up with ATM

  • Look for the operator’s ATM logo (e.g. CSL Easy Charge)
  • Insert card, select English, and top-up amount
  • Receive confirmation SMS after deduction from the account

4. Top up in Retail Outlets

  • Visit operator shops in malls, and MRT stations for top-up
  • Provide a number and pay by cash/card
  • Top-up credited instantly to check the balance

5. Top up with SMS

  • Text the prescribed code with the top-up amount to the designated number
    (e.g. 1011#$50 for CSL)
  • Confirmation SMS received shortly after deduction

IX. FAQs about CSL SIM Cards and eSIM Hong Kong

What is CSL’s coverage in Hong Kong?

CSL has extensive 4G/5G coverage across Hong Kong, including underground MTR stations. Coverage is island-wide with negligible dead zones.

Is CSL’s customer service available in English?

Yes, you can contact their 24/7 English customer service hotline at 2512 3123 for any SIM issues or inquiries.

Can I get a CSL SIM/eSIM at the airport upon arrival?

 Yes, CSL operates kiosks at both HK International Airport terminals for prepaid SIM/eSIM card purchases.

X. Conclusion

In conclusion, CSL is a great mobile operator when it provides customers with several options from eSIM to SIM cards or Wifi hotspots.

The best options are using eSIM and SIM cards to prevent money-consuming and time-consuming. Nevertheless, we still highly recommend you use eSIM if your smartphones are compatible with it for the best choice. You can use GIGAGO Hong Kong eSIM for the most competitive price.