I'm going to do a backpacking trip to China.

I have a smartphone.

What is the most economic way to buy a data package? I don't need a sim for calls at all, data only.

I have got a 'simless' but it doesn't help for data. (http://www.smallworldbv.com/home.yecms/index)

Will the same data package work for all of China?

  • 2
    I know it's not what you want, but really, enjoy the backpacking, and consider not having to have data and being connected the whole time. It's liberating, and you'll still find wifi in many places to connect for your internet fix ;)
    – Mark Mayo
    Jul 6, 2012 at 16:05
  • 1
    wanted it only to stay connected with other backpackers. To set meeting points more easily
    – Elad Benda
    Jul 8, 2012 at 8:27

1 Answer 1


China has three major networks (all of which the government has some stake in, I believe).

China Unicom is the one you'll want to go after as they operate a GSM/3G network that's compatible with most international cell phones, as opposed to the others which mainly use CDMA (much like AT&T and T-Mobile vs. Verizon and Sprint in the US).

As with most questions about prepaid data abroad, this wiki is an amazing resource. Do some more in-depth reading on the page, but basically you can get a data only SIM with 1GB for around $13USD. You can also buy a data pack for a regular SIM.

  • thanks. Where is this price available? I can by online? How can I know if it fits my 3GS iphone?
    – Elad Benda
    Jul 12, 2012 at 19:24
  • You can usually buy a SIM at many stores like drug stores, 7-11s, airport kiosks, etc. Your 3GS has a normal mini-SIM slot so it'll fit. (The wonders of standardization!)
    – redct
    Jul 20, 2012 at 1:56
  • @EladBenda do you speak and read Chinese very well? Yes you can buy anything online in China; however, you need to know Chinese.
    – MaoYiyi
    Sep 14, 2012 at 6:14

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