SmarTone SIM Card & eSIM for Tourists: How to Get and Activate in 2024

SmarTone SIM cards and eSIM Hong Kong is popular for tourists to Hong Kong. Learn which plan to choose, prices and alternatives to get Internet access while traveling Hong Kong.

SmarTone SIM Card & eSIM for Tourists: How to Get and Activate - Gigago eSIM
SmarTone SIM Card & eSIM for Tourists: How to Get and Activate – Gigago eSIM

SmarTone is a major mobile operator in Hong Kong. Established in 1992, it was the pioneering GSM provider and the first carrier to offer widespread 5G services in 2020. It aims to continually advance networks and elevate customer experience with innovative technologies.

This article will give you details about SmarTone SIM card & eSIM. Let’s find out!

I. Quick Facts about SmarTone SIM card & eSIM

Let’s take a look at some SmarTone information below:

  • Founded year: 1992 (started operations in 1993)
  • Full company name: SmarTone Telecommunications Holdings Limited
  • Types of services provided: Mobile services, 5G Home Broadband, Fibre Broadband, Roaming, Value-added services
  • Number of subscribers: Not mentioned but one of the leading mobile operators in Hong Kong
  • Coverage: Territory-wide network coverage across Hong Kong and Macau
  • Estimated number of network of stores, agents: Not mentioned explicitly but has physical stores like the one mentioned in APM mall
  • Customer support: 24/7 call center support in English and Cantonese. Online support through website and social media platforms.

II. SmarTone Coverage and Speed

SmarTone SIM Card & eSIM for Tourists: How to Get and Activate - Gigago eSIM
SmarTone Coverage Map. Source: nPerf

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

1. SmarTone Coverage in Hong Kong

SmarTone, one of four major networks in the region, has reliable coverage across major cities and population centers in Hong Kong. Strong 4G is available in urban areas like Hong Kong Island, Kowloon, and parts of the New Territories where most people live and work.

Due to lower population density in these regions, remote outdoor areas and country parks may experience patchy or no connectivity.

2. SmarTone Speed

Users on SmarTone’s network can experience fast average 4G download speeds, especially in dense urban hubs. The average 4G download speeds exceed 30 Mbps in many city districts like Central, Mong Kok and Tsim Sha Tsui. Speeds remain quite respectable even during peak hours due to SmarTone’s extensive network capacity upgrades.

SmarTone offers speeds competitive with other leading operators with 5G speeds blazing fast where available, exceeding 100 Mbps.

► Our recommendation: SmarTone provides consistently fast connectivity to browse, stream, game, and work on the go around the territory. You can consider using the SmarTone’s service.

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

SmarTone SIM Card & eSIM for Tourists: How to Get and Activate - Gigago eSIM
What are the Best Connectivity Options of SmarTone for Travelers to Hong Kong?

In Hong Kong, SmarTone SIM card & eSIM offers several connectivity options for tourists:

  • Birdie Travel SIM;
  • Roaming packages;
  • Prepaid local SIM;
  • Hotspot rental;
  • 5G connectivity.
Connectivity OptionProsCons
Birdie Travel SIM– Easy online activation upon arrival
– Affordable short-term data plans
– No registration required
– Inclusions for data, calling, and SMS
– No need to purchase separate SIM
Roaming packages– Inclusions for data, calling, and SMS
– No need to purchase separate SIM
– More expensive than local options
– Charges apply even when not in use
Prepaid local SIM– Cheap rates for local usage
– Flexibility to top-up as needed
– Upfront payment for unused balance
– Need to visit the store to purchase
Hotspot rental– Unlimited devices can connect
– No need for each device SIM
– Higher cost than SIM options
– Device needs to be carried around
5G connectivity– Ultra-fast speeds for bandwidth-intensive tasks
– Seamless experience indoors and outdoors
– Requires 5G compatible device
– Performance depends on congestion

IV. Best SmarTone SIM Cards for Tourists & Cost

Here is a table of SmarTone’s prepaid plans available in Hong Kong for tourists to refer to:

Plan NameValidity PeriodData AllowancePrice (HKD)
$48 Local Prepaid SIM CardPay as you goN/A$48
$65 Local Prepaid SIM Card1 monthN/A$65
$118 Local Prepaid SIM CardN/AContinue receiving SMS/OTP overseas$118
$78 HK-Macau Prepaid SIM cardN/AShared data and calls in HK & Macau$78
$98 China-HK-Macau Prepaid SIM cardN/AShared data and calls in China, HK & Macau$98
Use Freely / 8 days8 daysMainland, HK, MacauHK$88
Use Freely / 8 days8 daysTop 9 APAC destinationsHK$158
Use Freely / 15 days15 daysUSA, Canada, Australia, NZHK$268
Use Freely / 30 days30 daysMultiple destinations in EuropeHK$298
10GB / 1 year1 yearMainland, HK, MacauHK$298

In summary, the $98 China-HK-Macau plan is the best for frequent short-term travel in the region. The $118 local plan is best to retain HK numbers overseas. For longer trips, the 10GB/1-year plan offers the most cost-effective option.

V. Does SmarTone Support eSIM in Hong Kong?

Yes, SmarTone does offer eSIM support in Hong Kong. They launched eSIM services in August 2019, allowing customers to activate mobile plans digitally on compatible iPhones and Android devices without a physical nano-SIM card.

Both postpaid and prepaid plans from SmarTone are available via eSIM, including 4.5G/5G monthly plans and roaming data packs. eSIM activation is done via the smartphone app by scanning a QR code. This provides flexibility when traveling to Hong Kong.

However, you must show your personal information and spend time fulfilling administrative documents when buying at SmarTone stores. Another way for tourists is to buy an eSIM from online eSIM providers such as GIGAGO. Then, they need to activate eSIM with a QR code sent to their email.

VI. Where to Buy a SmarTone SIM card & eSIM?

SmarTone SIM Card & eSIM for Tourists: How to Get and Activate - Gigago eSIM
SmarTone stores in Hong Kong – Where to Buy a SmarTone SIM Card for Hong Kong?

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

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

Here are some places that you can visit to buy a SIM card from Smartone Hong Kong:

  • SmarTone Stores: SmarTone has numerous retail stores located across Hong Kong where you can purchase prepaid and postpaid SIM cards. Major malls and airports have stores.
  • 7-Eleven: 7-Eleven convenience stores frequently stock SmarTone and other major HK carriers’ prepaid SIM cards that can be easily bought island-wide.
  • Other Carriers’ Stores: While branded differently, stores run by PCCW and HKT also sell SmarTone SIM cards alongside their products. Try outlets at major transportation hubs.
  • Mobile Phone Shops: Independent phone shops, especially in busy commercial areas like Causeway Bay and Mong Kok, tend to have a wide range of SIM cards on hand.
  • Airport Vending Machines: Upon arrival at HK International Airport, prepaid SIM vending machines near customs sell SmarTone and other operators’ cards.
  • Online: SmarTone’s website ships SIM cards to a Hong Kong address. Some third-party sites may also offer delivery within 2-3 days.

2. Where to Buy a SmarTone eSIM for Hong Kong?

There are different ways to buy SmarTone eSIM for Hong Kong travel, but two most common ways are: buying from SmarTone official stores/websites and from a reputable eSIM provider/reseller.

  • Buying from SmarTone directly: you have to present personal information as part of registration. Not many people like this.
  • Buying online from an eSIM provider’s website: This option does not require you to do anything else except for paying for the eSIM plan you choose. Thus, it is highly recommended for tourists to Hong Kong.

► Our recommendation: If your phone supports eSIM and you want to have Internet connection without hassle, choose buying eSIM and from a trusted reseller.

VII. How to Use and Activate SmarTone SIM Card & eSIM in Hong Kong?

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

To use a SmarTone SIM card in Hong Kong, you can follow these steps:

  • Purchase a SmarTone prepaid/postpaid SIM from stores, 7-Eleven, or the airport.
  • Activate – postpaid requires registration, and prepaid needs top-up.
  • Insert SIM in an unlocked phone. It’ll connect to the SmarTone network.
  • For prepaid, top-up via app or stores. Vouchers have PINs.
  • Make calls/SMS as normal. Data usage deducts credit.
  • Check the balance by dialing *137#.
  • Prepaid needs topping up, and postpaid bills monthly.
  • Optional roaming packs added via app for travel.
  • Contact customer service at 2281 8888 for assistance.

2. How to Activate SmarTone eSIM?

Here are the short steps to activate a SmarTone eSIM in Hong Kong:

  • Purchase an eSIM plan from SmarTone online/app/stores.
  • Ensure the device supports eSIM & has the latest OS.
  • Open the SmarTone HK app, sign in, and select “Add eSIM Plan”.
  • Scan the QR code displayed using your device camera.
  • eSIM profile will download and install.
  • Select the new eSIM plan in the device Settings.
  • The device will reboot and connect to SmarTone via eSIM.
  • Confirm activation by checking the balance in the app.

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

How to Top up - SmarTone SIM Card & eSIM for Tourists
How to Top-up Hong Kong SIM/eSIM?

There are some fundamental ways to top-up a prepaid SmarTone SIM Card & eSIM in Hong Kong:

  • Via SmarTone Mobile App: Open the app, select “Top Up”, choose an amount, and pay using a credit card. Instant top-up.
  • At 7-Eleven: Buy physical top-up vouchers of various amounts (HK$30-500) that come with PINs.
  • By Phone: Dial *137# from your SmarTone number. Select the top-up amount and pay via credit card on the line.
  • Online: Top-up online at the SmarTone website using a debit/credit card. Amount credits instantly.
  • Agent Stores: Top-up vouchers sold at SmarTone stores, mobile shops, and convenience stores.
  • Top-Up Machines: Use bills and coins at automated top-up machines in MTR stations.

To apply top-up:

  • For vouchers, dial 137PIN# from your phone.
  • For online/app top-ups, no PIN is needed as it credits directly.
  • The minimum top-up amount is usually HK$30. Balance can be checked by dialing *137#.

Top-ups allow your SmarTone SIM Card & eSIM to stay active for both domestic and international usage.

IX. FAQs about SmarTone in Hong Kong

1. Is SmarTone a good network provider?

SmarTone has reliable 4G/5G coverage in most areas of Hong Kong. It’s a major operator alongside HKT and CSL.

2. What plans do they offer? 

Plans include monthly postpaid options, prepaid data/call packs, and travel roaming bundles. Plans cater for light/heavy users on both a contract and no-contract basis.

3. How do I buy a SIM card? 

SIMs are available at SmarTone stores, 7-Eleven, some carrier stores, and online. Airports have vending machines.

4. Can I keep my number when traveling?

With a local Hong Kong number SIM or eSIM, you can keep your number active overseas and receive SMS verification codes.

X. Conclusion

In conclusion, SmarTone SIM Card & eSIM are also a good mobile provider for tourists to choose from when they make a trip to Hong Kong. They offer all eSIM to SIM card services for tourists.

The ideal option for you is to use a SmarTone SIM Card & eSIM to ensure that you will be not panicked by the money-consuming of international data roaming. Furthermore, we still highly recommend you use eSIM, which is the best choice. For example, you can buy one from GIGAGO Hong Kong eSIM at the most reasonable price.