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Mobile internet in China: What is the best option?

If you are traveling to China, you must know how to get mobile internet during your trip. There are a wide variety of options with VPN.

Ekim 27, 2023

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China is an Asian country full of history. Many people are usually attracted to this country thanks to its rich culture and beautiful places to visit. So if you are one of these people, and will be traveling to this emblematic country soon, something you should take into account before starting your trip, is to know how you will remain connected to Mobile internet during your trip to China. 

Currently, there is a wide variety of options, some of them free, some of them a little bit cheap and some of them very expensive. So through this article, we will be telling you everything you need to know about the different alternatives to stay connected to the internet during your trip. By the end of this article, you will be able to choose the best option for you. 

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Mobile internet in China

As we mentioned before, there are different alternatives with which you can connect to the Internet in China. Among the options, we find: 

  • Prepaid SIM card 
  • eSIM cards 
  • International roaming 
  • Pocket WiFi
  • Free WiFi

You should know that having an Internet connection in China is easy. However, we know that this country has certain restrictions. Therefore, it is most likely that you will not be able to use all the applications that you can use at home. Even so, some of these alternatives allow you to have VPNs to use all the applications you want. Read on to find out all about each alternative mentioned above. 

Mobile Internet providers for China

To choose which is the best option to get Mobile internet on your trip to China, you should take into account things like the price of each alternative, its advantages and disadvantages, as well as the coverage within the Asian country. So we will start talking a little bit about each of the options you will have to stay connected to the internet in this beautiful country. 

Prepaid SIM Card for China

We all know what a SIM card is since we usually have one of these at home. However, did you know that there are specific SIM cards for traveling to different places in the world? This is one of the best options to remain connected to the internet while traveling to China. 

There are two main ways to buy a SIM card to use in China. First, you can acquire a SIM card for this country in an online shop. Different online shops offer this service. The second option is to get your SIM card once you arrive in China through physical points of sale of Chinese operators.

Shanghai at Night. Source: Pexels.

Chinese Mobile internet companies

China Mobile shop

You will find a China Mobile shop at the airport when you arrive. Their prepaid data SIM cards are characterized by unlimited text messages and calls within China. You will have a high-speed connection, in some cases 5G. And you will be allowed to share cellular data with other devices. Also, take into account that you won’t need a long-term contract on prepaid sim cards.

Unicom in China

This company offers the possibility of acquiring the SIM card in physical shops or on the Unicom China website. Some data packs include unlimited music applications. And you won’t need a long-term contract to purchase this SIM card. But, you must know that their data packages are non-stoppable.

International eSIM for traveling to China

If you want a faster option for you to get, there is a new technology that is entirely digital, and very easy to use and acquire. We are talking about eSIMs. It is a device that is implemented in the hardware of the cellphone, without the need for a physical installation. 

Moreover, it is 90% smaller than current nano SIMs and is installed via QR code. In the case of the Holafly online shop, an unlimited data eSIM for China is offered. If you want one of these, you only need to be sure that your phone is compatible with the eSIM. 

eSIM China by Holafly

If you are now interested in purchasing the Holafly eSIM for China, we will inform you about the current data variant of this virtual SIM card:

Days of useAmount of Mobile dataPrice (USD)
5 daysUnlimited$19 USD
10 daysUnlimited$34 USD
15 daysUnlimited$47 USD
20 daysUnlimited$54 USD
30 daysUnlimited$64 USD
60 daysUnlimited$84 USD
90 daysUnlimited$99 USD
Table 2: Values of Holafly’s eSIM data variants for China

As you already know the variants and prices of the Holafly eSIM for China, it is also important to check the advantages and disadvantages of these eSIMs. 

The advantages of Holafly’s eSIM for use in China

  • High-speed connection with a VPN included.
  • Easy to set up and activate, thanks to its simple instructions.
  • You will be connected to the Unicom China network.
  • 24-hour customer service and support (chat, email, and WhatsApp) from the Holafly team.
  • You can use the eSIM and the physical SIM card at the same time!
  • Buy and receive your eSIM immediately via email.

Some disadvantages of Holafly’s eSIM for Mobile internet in China

  • It does not allow you to make local or long-distance calls.
  • No incoming or outgoing text messages.
  • It is an eSIM with expiration, with no extension period or data top-up.
  • Not all current cell phones are compatible with eSIM technology. Because of this, you must check if your cell phone is on this list of compatible devices to have Internet in China.

Roaming in China with your local operator

Another way to have Mobile Internet in China is international roaming. It involves paying certain fees for SMS, voice, and cellular data to your domestic operator. Generally, this international roaming service must be requested before traveling to the destination country.

Take into account that generally, the rates and prices for MB, SMS, and calls from your Mobile operator abroad are usually very expensive. 


If you are an Australian Telstra user, then you can have the possibility to activate international roaming to this country in different ways. First of all, if you have one of the Telstra Upfront Mobile plans, you can activate International Roaming Day Pass to China by paying 10$, which will give you unlimited calls and SMS, plus 500MB of data. On the other hand, if you have any other Telstra plan, you can use the pay-as-you-go option, paying 3 USD per MB. 

(You may also be interested in the best SIM card for Australia)


If, on the other hand, you are an American company AT&T customer, you will be able to activate the international roaming through the pay-per-use option, with which you will have data on your cell phone for 2.05 USD per MB consumed. On the other hand, this company will also allow you to make use of the International Day Pass, which allows you to have unlimited high-speed data, make calls, and send and receive text messages for 10 USD per day.

Woman taking a photo in front of a temple in China. Source: Pexels.

Pocket Wifi for Internet in China

A good alternative that you can use in case you are traveling in a group, or simply have a lot of devices with you, is the Pocket WiFi. This is a portable device to which you can connect your cell phone, tablet, and laptop, among others, and stay connected to the internet. Below we will talk about two options with which you can rent a Pocket WiFi. 

Direct from Malaysia, Roamingman is an excellent alternative for travelers wishing to visit Asia. For a week’s use, individuals will have to pay just over $25 dollars, although the service is limited. For shipping, people can pick up the devices at the airport in China, or request a delivery once they are in the country.  Finally, we should mention that the company penalizes people in case of losing one of their equipment, and you’ll have to pay 86$.

Travel WiFi is one of the telecommunications giants in Europe. For those who want Pocket WiFi in China, their prices in this country have a rate of $55.65 per week. The shipping issue is fairly easy to solve, with prices ranging from $8 to $30 dollars. Finally, in case of losing a Travel WiFi Pocket WiFi, you will have to pay between 149 and 199 dollars to the company. 

Free WiFi

Free Wifi can be found in any establishment, restaurant, café, at airports, your accommodation, and even on trains. And it is an excellent way out if you have to send a message or do a simple action on your cellphone and, moreover, if you have no other alternative to stay connected to the internet.

Remember also that if you use Wifi or a connection from your operator in China, you will not be able to connect to applications that are censored there, such as WhatsApp, Facebook, or Google Maps. To avoid this, you should hire a VPN or buy a data SIM that already has a built-in VPN.