Before leaving on an 8 day adventure to China I wanted to have constant internet access. I knew id need a VPN and I had one, I also knew each night at my hotel I would have access to the free wifi. I read up on getting a sim card in China, which provider and what you have to give to get it activated (get your passport scanned), it seemed daunting and an uncertainty.
I found SimCorner China pre paid sim through a Google search and it seemed an excellent option, as they would handle the activation and registration. For $25 I would get 4GB to use over 8 days, convenient because my trip was 8 days and the sim lasts 8 days.
The sim was sent quickly and it came with instructions on how to get it activated, I had to email a scanned copy of my passport and fill out and scan back the a small form they sent with my name, sim number and order id.
Upon landing in China (Shanghai) I turned on mobile data in my iPhone settings and I got a bunch of messages in Thai, as that is where the sim is from. You actually need to turn on mobile roaming as this sim is used as roaming. I had a few bars of reception but only E (Edge, sits between 2G and 3G) Which wasn’t enough to view anything but I still got notifications.
My phone had the right bands yet wasn’t getting 4G. It wasn’t until I turned off and back on my phone that I picked up 4G. I could then activate my VPN and browse and post on social media plus use Google Translate and Maps freely.
The one thing that surprised me about China was that the internet sucks, I understand going through a VPN will slow internet down but it was slow before going through the VPN. Their internet is pretty much only good for anything that doesn’t evolve downloading, streaming or uploading. Forget netflix stream, forget uploading photos to the cloud and forget updating apps.
Perhaps it was my phone (iPhone 7 plus) or case but the reception wasn’t great. Understandably in China they have massive amounts of high-rise buildings, they are everywhere! which would block signal. This seemed to put me on the E signal for almost half the time, Maybe China Telecom lacks in its Chinese coverage?
If you’re looking for an easy, relatively cheap sim to use in China get it before you go and buy from SimCorner.
I am not affiliated.