Get your own Travel Accessories
Now, more than ever before it is imperative to be in contact with home and office when away from ones home base. With the internet, emails, mobile telephones and pagers, your choices are endless, but how do they work when you travel across the seas to conquer a new market ? Here we look at mobile telephones in Hong Kong and explain how you as a traveller, whether it be for business or leisure, can make the most out of your mobile when away.
Today with GSM, and global roaming it is very easy for you to be able to stay in touch and be contactable at all times on your trip. Global Roaming enables you to travel to a destination and still be able to use your telephone to receive calls, and make calls at reasonable prices. The roaming service may need to be activated with your supplier in your home country, so do check before you leave, and it is always wise to ask them for the pricing structure to understand better how it works and more importantly how much it costs.
Roaming however has one major drawback, because while you are able to make calls locally (without using a country code) in the destination that you are, you will only be able to receive calls if people call your number and hence country of origin. This means that when you are in Hong Kong, you would be able to call Pizza Hut by simply dialing the number, however if a friend or client in Hong Kong wanted to call your mobile then they would be forced to call the UK (if you are from the UK) or wherever the country of origin is. That means that the Hong Kong party calling you is paying for a long distance call from Hong Kong to let's say the UK and you are paying for a long distance call from the UK to Hong Kong !!
This is obviously a very awkward situation and one that business people would want to avoid like the plague, not only will your clients probably not want to call long distance to speak to you in Hong Kong, your accounts department aren't going to be too happy with the enormous bills !
Thankfully however there is a very simple and cost effective solution. You can in Hong Kong buy "stored value" Sim cards, these cards are normally in the region of HK$ 200 for a certain number of minutes of talk time. They normally, depending on the provider allow you to receive and make calls locally at very good rates and even call long distance IDD numbers. This is great for people, as now your clients only need to call a local number to reach you in Hong Kong. On top of that the sim card is rechargeable so if you finish the HK$ 200 of talk time you simply add more value to it and the great news is you get to keep the same number !
With such an easy and cost effective solution it is without a doubt the best way to do business with your mobile while in Hong Kong.
The difficulty will lie more in choosing the provider, as you will need to watch out on the small print especially the number of minutes you get for the HK $200. For example the largest company in Hong Kong is Cable & Wireless, they offer stored value sim cards that are valid 180 days, with free caller display, IDD call, and local calls are charged per minute. Sounds great right ? that is until you discover that a one minute call will cost you an enormous HK$ 2.2. The Orange network however, which is run by the large Hutchinson telecom company, will cost you again HK$ 200 but the major difference being that you get 220 minutes of talk time, so they are only charging you HK$ 0.3 per minute, an enormous saving when compared to Cable & Wireless. New World offers you a package but charges you per minute, with the charges being HK$ 1.20 peak hours and HK$ 0.8 off peak
Unfortunately nothing in life is so simple and they are a few things you need to watch out for. Most companies will charge you per minute so make a call of 1 minute and 1 second, you will be charged for two. Also the cards are normally only valid for 180 days, and after this period they expire with no refund available, and you loose the number. To avoid this you can recharge your card the day before you leave Hong Kong, and the 180 days renews itself from the day of recharge.