When I was in the US I got a 3G data plan for the iPad which was only 25$ for 2 Gb which lasts a month.

I was wondering if there are any similar offerings in China or if its better to wait to get back to the wifi connection at our hotels.

We'll be travelling through half of China though mostly in large cities (Beijing and Shanghai), so I wonder if the operators 3G coverage will be any good or if there's no problem with that.

And finally, what's the safest place to buy mobile data plans without buying completely the wrong thing? Given I can't read a word Chinese, reading the description obviously wouldn't save me.

1 Answer 1


In many of the big cities you will find department stores that are dedicated to selling electronics equipment. This is the place to buy your plan.

The reason is that most of the booths are manned by young people and you are more likely to find someone who can speak English. You need to understand that although Chinese people are trying hard to learn English from a young age their English level is quite low, this could be a struggle.

The second reason is that if someone can afford to have a booth inside a department store they should be somewhat reputable as compared to a shop on the street.

The rule with handing out money in China is to try everything before you buy it and get a receipt. Then once you have tried it, try it again about 1km away from the store ASAP in case it doesn't work and you need to return it quickly.

I have had experiences where the shopkeeper has assured me a phone card would work only for it to not work when I tried it the next day and I had to go back and argue with them. You definitely need to try it with your equipment before you leave the store.

You should also make sure your 3G operator is China Mobile they have the monopoly on the mobile business, I wouldn't trust anyone else.

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