Did you know that your national carrier is obliged out of policy to tell you how to unlock your phone? You iPhone bastards probably did not know this.
Read more to find out what you can do to prepare for cheap mobile calls during business travel.
A business traveler knows, sometimes you have got to make mobile phone calls as soon as you land in a foreign city.
You have friends to meet, clients to find, scheduling changes that happen mid-flight. How do you do all of this cheaply, quickly and efficiently?
I am flying to Hong Kong in the middle of January, and in preparation, I am going to write a few posts about what you need to do to prepare for such a trip. We’re starting with mobile phone preparation today.
Get Connected Before You Leave
Your most expensive option is always keeping your current world smart phone. I made this mistake once. Never again. Two weeks in Europe cost me nearly US$500.
You can use Mobal, which requires that you order a cell phone for only US$49, have it delivered for as low as $10 to your office or home, and then make calls or send texts from as high as US$2.95 (national calls) to US$.80 (text).
But What’s the Best On-the-Ground Option?
Seems too high a price to pay to be armed with someone else’s equipment before you go, so I checked out with the folks at Hong Kong Expat, a expat-focused bulletin board.
What are my options in terms of cheap ways to get mobile done on the go? Renting phones is not the best option. You can bring your own, or you can buy one at a shop in the city. Hotels even rent them to you.
These expats let you in on some very useful tips, including:
IF you bring your current mobile, make sure its a tri or quad band mobile. If it belongs to T-mobile, I know for a fact that you can call their customer service and they’ll give you the unlock code if you’ve been with them for over 3 or 6 months and you tell them you’re going overseas.
That’s well and good, meaning that I could take my Verizon phone, perhaps, and just slip in a local pre-paid Sim card.
By far the cheapest way to do it is through IDD calling. I bought a phone card once, and for 50 HKD, I got about 30 minutes. But with an IDD SIM card (my service is SmarTone, though I know there are others), I bought a 100 HKD prepaid SIM card, and if I dial 1653 before calling the US, I pay .50 HKD/minute. So far, after about 100 minutes of calling home, I still have around 40 HKD left on the card.
But that requires that you buy a second phone. So, let’s say you want to keep your own phone, but you don’t think that the phone company is going to help you unlock that phone.
Well, Hong Kong has an app for that.
Another option ………..bring your current mobile to a phone shop, one thats capable of unlocking from your current network . This will enable you to use the network you are on now plus any other network WW . Once you get to HK buy a pay-as-you-go SIM card , any of the small phone shops sell them , of which there are many . They coast about HK$100 and include credit , they can also be IDD or just local HK.
Anyway thats what I did with mine and it worked. Saves buying a second phone and u will alsways have ur HK # once it is in credit.
But wait, there’s more!
Let’s be honest, you really want a new cell phone. If you are going to Hong Kong, then you are going to one of the best cities in the world for picking up a 3G or a 4G phone. They are cheaper there, and after all, you like to buy things.
Shop for a new phone in Hong Kong. You have a memento of your trip. Or, you can always sell it to a phone reseller and you will likely get nearly 50% for it, depending on the model. So, kind of like renting, but you get money back in the end. Money you can use to buy an I Love Hong Kong t-shirt.