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Live in Hangzhou and use PVG for my int'l travels

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Asia > China > Shanghai > Pudong International Airport > Useful Info
Submitted on Jan 05, 2019 Useful Info

How to get a SIM card at Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG)

  • Your trip to China will be a lot easier if you have have data on your phone for things like getting taxi (Didi) and bike rental (Mobike/Ofo). So you should try to get a local SIM card when you get here
  • The 3 biggest cellphone service providers we have in China are: China Mobile (the biggest), China Unicom (the best), and China Telecom (terrible). Of these, I think China Unicom have the best plans for international visitors as they're cheaper, have great coverage and speed, and they work with most non-Chinese handsets (whereas some non-Chinese iPhones may not work on China Mobile's 4G network)
  • The the airport is NOT the cheapest place to buy SIM cards and I recommend you getting them at one of the Unicom branches in the city. You can get them for 1/3 the price in the city as you can at the airport. As a comparison, the price of a 20GB data/voice card at the airport will cost you 300RMB ($45 USD), whereas in the city it will only cost you 99RMB ($15 USD). The downside of getting them in the city is more hassle since there won't be many employees that can speak good English
  • The upside of getting it at the airport is convenience. There's a white counter located inside the luggage claim area (before you exit into the non-secure area) that has "SIM Card" written on it. You can get a Unicom SIM card there. Here's the current prices they're charging as of 2018:
  • Data only (4G speed + national coverage), valid for 3 months:
  • 3GB: 200RMB (~$30 USD)
  • 6GB: 260RMB (~$38 USD)
  • 40GB: 300RMB (~$45 USD)
  • 100GB: 600RMB (~$88 USD)
  • Data (4G speed + national coverage) + domestic calling, valid for 3 months:
  • 3GB + 100 minutes: 200RMB (~$30 USD)
  • 20GB + 200 minutes: 300RMB (~$45 USD)
  • 50GB + 500 minutes: 600RMB (~$88 USD)
  • Data (4G speed + national coverage) + international calling, valid for 3 months:
  • 5GB + 0.29RMB/minute: 300RMB (~$45 USD)
  • 10GB + 0.29RMB/minute: 360RMB (~$53 USD)
  • 30GB + 0.29RMB/minute: 600RMB (~$88 USD)
  • The only things you need to get a SIM card in China are 1) an unlocked smartphone and 2) your passport. The airport counter accepts Visa and Mastercard for payment but you should have enough RMB cash just in case. I'm pretty sure none of the branches in the city accept international credit cards for payment