How to Get Mobile Internet in Hong Kong for Tourists: What Option to Choose?

Using mobile internet in Hong Kong is a good choice for travelers to stay connected with relatives and enjoy the best trip. However, do you know how to use the mobile internet effectively and how many options will we have? This article will give you detailed information about mobile internet in Hong Kong. Let’s take a look!

How to Get Mobile Internet in Hong Kong for Travelers: What Option to Choose?

I. Mobile Internet Coverage and Speed in Hong Kong

1. Hong Kong Mobile Internet Coverage

CSL coverage - Mobile Internet Coverage and Speed in Hong Kong
CSL coverage – Mobile Internet Coverage and Speed in Hong Kong

There are 4 big mobile operators in Hong Kong. There are Hong Kong Telecom, CSL Mobile, SmarTone, and China Mobile Hong Kong.

  • Hong Kong Telecom (HKT): HKT offers the 3G and 4G networks under the Hutchison brand. They have excellent coverage across Hong Kong Island, Kowloon, and the New Territories including rural areas. Their 4G network covers over 98% of the population.
  • CSL Mobile: CSL Mobile is known as the second-largest Hong Kong Mobile operator. They lease network capacity from HKT and have a similar coverage footprint across Hong Kong as the Hutchison network. Their advertised 4G coverage is more than 95% of the population.
  • SmarTone: SmarTone has a 3G and 4G network. Their 4G network covers over 90% of the population, primarily focused on urban areas of Hong Kong Island, Kowloon, and some New Territories cities. Coverage may be more limited in rural areas compared to HKT/CSL.
  • China Mobile Hong Kong: As a subsidiary of China Mobile, they lease network capacity from PCCW/CSL. Their coverage footprint should be very similar to CSL Mobile, covering over 95% of the population.

2. Hong Kong Mobile Internet Speed

In January 2024, Hong Kong ranked 43rd in the world for median mobile download speeds, which were 122.43 Mbps. The median mobile upload speed was 23.16 Mbps with a latency of 22ms.

When looking at just the last data from December 2023, Hong Kong’s median mobile download speed rank improved to 42nd globally, at 63.30 Mbps. The median upload speed was 12.93 Mbps and latency was 17ms.

Among the major mobile operators in Hong Kong, China Mobile Hong Kong delivered the fastest median mobile download speeds in Q4 2023 at 98.94 Mbps, according to Speedtest Intelligence data.

CSL(Hong Kong Telecom) had the highest median mobile upload speed of 16.89 Mbps among operators in Q4 2023.

For tests over 5G connections specifically, China Mobile Hong Kong showed the fastest median 5G download speed at 177.96 Mbps in Q4 2023.

II. What are Connectivity Options for Tourists to Hong Kong?

What are Connectivity Options for Tourists to Hong Kong?
What are the Connectivity Options for Tourists to Hong Kong?

There are different options of mobile internet in Hong Kong for tourists such as SIM card, eSIM, roaming data, public wifi, and pocket wifi. Here is the table for you to compare the pros and cons of each option. 

Connectivity optionsProsCons
SIM card– Wide coverage within Hong Kong
– Familiar technology
– Prepaid/contract plans available
– Easy to buy and cheap price
– Requires physical SIM card
– Hard to switch providers
– Waiting for a long time if buying online
eSIM– No physical SIM needed
– Switch providers digitally
– Multiple providers
– Easy to buy and activate SIM
– Require devices with a high-model
Roaming data– Use the same provider when traveling internationally– More expensive than local plans
– Speeds may be slower
– Limited data
Public wifi– Free connectivity– Security risks
– Limited speeds
– Usage data caps are often low
Pocket wifi– Portable access to the Internet
– Connect multiple devices
– A good idea for traveling
– Additional rental/device costs
– Security risks
– Speeds may vary depending on the location

III. Internet Rates in Hong Kong

Here are some estimated prices for different mobile Internet options in Hong Kong:

SIM card:

  • Monthly plans from major carriers like 3HK, PCCW Mobile, and SmarTone range from $100-300 HKD for 20-100GB of data.
  • Prepaid SIM cards with 1GB of data cost around $50-100 HKD.

eSIM:

  • Support for eSIM is available on iPhones and the latest Android phones. Plans are similar in price to physical SIM cards.

Pocket wifi:

  • Rental pocket wifi routers start at around HKD 200/month for 5GB data or $300-500 HKD for 20-30GB.

Public wifi:

  • Free wifi is available at cafes, malls, and some streets. No data charges apply.

Data roaming:

  • Roaming rates within Asia are usually $5-10 HKD/MB. Rates to Europe/America can be $15-30 HKD/MB.
  • Plans with included global roaming bundles start at HKD 300/month and up depending on data allowance.

In summary, regular SIM plans are the most cost-effective for moderate to heavy data use. Pocket wifi rental makes sense for travelers. Public wifi and pre-paid SIMs are good budget options. Moreover, roaming should be avoided due to the high price and difficulty of control.

III. Data SIM Card for Mobile Internet in Hong Kong

Data SIM Card for Mobile Internet in Hong Kong
Data SIM Card for Mobile Internet in Hong Kong

There are some key points about data SIM cards in Hong Kong:

  • Major providers are 3HK, PCCW, SmarTone, and China Mobile.
  • Prepaid SIMs with 1-2GB cost $70-150 HKD and 5-10GB plans around $200-300 HKD.
  • Heavy users can get 20-100GB for $300-500 HKD monthly.
  • eSIM is supported on the latest iPhones and Android. Speeds average 100-250Mbps on 4G.
  • Prepaid SIMs offer flexibility without a contract. Plans typically last 30 days.
  • Unused data rolls over up to a monthly maximum limit.

So in short, Hong Kong offers reasonably priced prepaid data SIM cards with flexible plans for casual to heavy mobile data use on fast reliable networks.

IV. Data eSIM for Hong Kong – Best Option to Get Mobile Internet for Tourists

There are several advantages of an eSIM when compared to the use of a SIM card:

  • Easy to switch and set up via QR without swapping the physical SIM card.
  • An eSIM can support multiple cellular profiles.
  • Unlike a SIM card – easy to get lost, an eSIM is set up inside the phones.
  • An eSIM supports international plans directly on devices.
  • No need to wait via online shops and receive via email, so it is quick.
  • An eSIM provides users with greater connectivity flexibility and convenience.

To buy an eSIM for people traveling to Hong Kong, you can buy it from mobile operators in Hong Kong or buy it via online eSIM providers like GIGAGO.

1. Buy eSIM from Hong Kong Operators

You can buy eSIM from mobile operators in Hong Kong like 3HK, SmarTone, and China Mobile Hong Kong 

There are some eSIM plans offered by the above major mobile operators in Hong Kong that you can refer to:

3 Hong Kong:

  • $218 monthly plan with unlimited 5G data, 200 mins/SMS.
  • $128 plan with 100GB 5G data, 200 mins/SMS.
  • $78 prepaid plan with 2GB 5G data valid for 30 days.

SmarTone:

  • $198 monthly plan with 100GB 5G data.
  • $118 plan with 30GB 5G data.
  • $78 prepaid plan with 2GB 5G data valid for 30 days.

China Mobile:

  • $198 monthly plan with 120GB 5G data.
  • $108 plan with 30GB 5G data.
  • $68 prepaid plan with 2GB 5G data valid for 30 days.

2. Buy eSIM from Gigago

Buy eSIM from Gigago - Mobile Internet in Hong Kong
Buy eSIM from Gigago – Mobile Internet in Hong Kong

Chicago is known as the top eSIM provider for tourists coming from all over the world. The process is fast and easy to set up. Here are some plans for you to choose:

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Do not miss the chance to use GIGAGO eSIM at a reasonable price for tourists to select!

V. FAQs

  1. What mobile network technologies are available in Hong Kong?

Hong Kong has extensive coverage of 4G LTE networks from the main carriers. 5G networks have also been deployed widely in urban areas by China Mobile, 3HK, and SmarTone.

  1. Can I use my current phone and SIM in Hong Kong?

You’ll need an unlocked multi-band phone to work in Hong Kong. Let’s ensure it supports the main bands B1/B3/B7/B40. As for SIMs, you’ll need a Hong Kong number or international roaming plan for connectivity.

  1. How do I get a SIM card when visiting Hong Kong?

You can purchase prepaid data SIM cards from the airport or major carriers’ stores. Providers like 3HK, SmarTone, and PCCW Mobile offer SIMs starting from HK$60 with 1-2GB of data.

VI. Conclusion

In conclusion, using mobile internet in Hong Kong is a good way to stay connected and surf the web. The best option is to use SIM cards and eSIM to save money and time. However, if your devices support eSIM, we still highly recommend you buy an eSIM due to its convenience and benefits.