I'm going to be in China for 1 month and since I own a iPhone (of course with Pocket Sherpa installed) I'm interested in getting a...

...prepaid phone card with a 3G/EDGE data option (e.g. 500MB included). Can anyone tell me what to buy and how much I'll be paying?


Country: China


Yes a prepaid card is possible in China, however I've heard 3G service is spotty outside of major cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, and prob Chengdu. I imagine a 3G plan like your asking will cost a pretty penny, I have a 50MB limit per month at 20RMB/Month and additional charges if I go over. Thats on an EDGE plan, so I imagine a 3G plan would easily bring over 100RMB/month maybe closer to the 200RMB mark (close to 30USD, but expensive for China). Hope I was able to offer you some useful advice.
first of all, make sure your iphone is unlocked, cuz there are only two wireless service companies in mainland China, from which you can choose. like my blackberry, which is locked in one of the local Canadian wireless service company, was not able to work with the Chinese phone cards when i went back to China. and for the 3G service, i think you can ask a company which is named the China Union. it's one of the two leading companies in the market. i think it's a bit more expensive than the regular wireless service.
good luck!
As Cindy says, make sure you have an unlocked iPhone. Assuming you do, you'll also have to use China Unicom, the second mobile provider in China. China Mobile's 3G support is using the homegrown TD-SCDMA standard which is not supported by the iPhone. China Telecom (the third mobile provider) uses the CDMA 3G standard.

The China Unicom 3G plans are not more expensive than China Mobile. However as a non-resident, you might not want a contract plan. To get one, take your passport to a China Unicom shop to activate - 128RMB/month gets you 400MB data + bundled talktime. Then cancel when you depart. Or you can get a pay-as-you-go card then subscribe a data plan - 5RMB for 30mb, 50RMB for 20RMB for 150mb. Note that these are effective month after you apply - i.e. 1st of next month.

Reception is patchy outside major cities yes, but if 3G service not available you can downgrade to EDGE support so it's not a problem ; no disadvantage over China Mobile which is EDGE-only throughout China on an iPhone.
I suggest you to get China Telecom one, not expensive at all, but your iPhone must be unlocked!
can i suggest that you stay will your current provider and just pay up front and globaly roam i guess, as you will then not be blocked out when you surf the web, a facebook and you tube just to name a few are not here and google has just left. so its your call really, as a brand new apple mobile well he chinese have just started using the first apple phone so yu will probally have to down grade your anyway. but forget all that as china is worth the backwards ness really as we do develope far o fast in the west anyway keep smiling andcall into jiamusi, heilongjiang if you like, next stop is siberia or russia, so bye for now then.


As the unlocked your phone and then visit e others say. Make sure you have unlocked it. Then I would suggest China Mobile.

Enjoy China.

More Information

Get travel answers from locals in China

Find places to visit in China