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Buying a mobile/cell phone?

BURLINGTON
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Buying a mobile/cell phone?

We are seniors who are not into the whole mobile phone scene but feel we should have one on our upcoming trip. We have read that we can buy an inexpensive one in Asia and use sim cards for calling. Where would be the best place to buy one in Hong Kong(we will be staying on the island in the Kennedy town area)? Can you buy one at the airport after you have arrived? If so, where? Any input you can provide will be most appreciated!

Kuala Lumpur...
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1. Re: Buying a mobile/cell phone?

Hi, yep, at HKIA, proceed to departure hall,and there are two celco shops there-1010 and 3HK. Or at HKIA Arrival Hall, find the shop-Noble Time AV and Telecoms.

Having said so, in the Kennedy Town, find a phone shop or Fortress or Broadway, and the basic Nokia sells for under HKD260.00

Hong Kong, China
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2. Re: Buying a mobile/cell phone?

There is also a fortress store at the HKIA..if I m not mistaken in Terminal 2 which is just a 5 minutes from the arrival gates...also 7-11 and circle k are selling pre-paid sim cards...but u need to know what kind u want...and need...basically have a look at HKThree and see what they offer...they def will help you...for the handset...if you already own one in ur homecountry u can consider taking this one ...if it is not locked and has tri/quad band ability...otherwise u can purchase a cheap one like mKiara already mentioned...

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3. Re: Buying a mobile/cell phone?

Make sure you clarify if you intend to use it in HK only or at other places as well. Some phones are only working with the simcard of one operator.

If you have no other requirements than doing phone calls, you will find cheap ones - like anywhere else in the world.

Hong Kong, China
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4. Re: Buying a mobile/cell phone?

Firstly -- what to look for. Given your needs (basic phone service), avoid all the folderol about 3-G stuff. All you need is a basic GSM phone. That will be cheaper to start and easy to use with SIM cards bought all around Asia (except Japan and Korea -- If Japan and Korea are part of the equation, the situation becomes much more complicated.)

For a basic GSM phone, you can look at the stores of 1010 and 3 (and other mobile companies), but the mobile system operators tend to have higher prices for simple phone purchase (and lower prices if you also buy a long-ish contract for service with them -- and you don't want to do that.) You also need to confirm before buying the phone that it is not locked to any one provider's SIM card. (The vast majority of phones sold in HK are unlocked.)

If you buy from an electronics store (e.g. Noble Time or Fortress or Broadway), the phone will certainly be unlocked. These large chains offer fair prices and decent customer service, so any of their branches is fine.

I suspect you might find lower prices in Kennedy Town than at the airport, so if you are not in a super hurry, you could wait until you get to your hotel. In particular, you may find that a smaller shop (not a large chain) would have some second-hand phones. In your case, a second-hand GSM phone would be a very cost-effective option BUT the risk of buying a phone in this kind of shop is that you cannot be 100% sure what you are getting (quality, guarantee, etc.) It is real "caveat emptor." But if you want to pursue that option, here's a list from the Yellow Pages of mobile phone shops in Kennedy Town: yp.com.hk/s-mobile%20phone/…

If you prefer more peace of mind buy from one of the chains. You could get an idea of prices by looking at the Fortress website: www.fortress.com.hk

Hong Kong, China
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5. Re: Buying a mobile/cell phone?

Wow.....I took my own advice and looked at the Fortress website. The cheapest mobile phone they sell is a Samsung Keystone 2 (E1205). The price is only HK$238. There's no guarantee they will have that one at the airport shop, but that gives you an idea of the rock-bottom price you should aim for. fortress.com.hk/fortress/…

Oh, and one more bit of advice, whatever phone you buy, make sure it is set in the shop for the English language option. You don't want to get back to your hotel and find out it is speaking Chinese to you.....

Edited: 04 May 2012, 16:01
Australia
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6. Re: Buying a mobile/cell phone?

Have you also taken a look around at prices offered for mobile phones at home where you are? The reason why I ask is because we have plenty of stores selling cheap and unlocked (unlocked is the key point here, as a locked phone is going to be useless to you in HK) phones. Of course, the cheaper ones are usually very basic and without any fancy smartphone features, which is generally perfect for someone who only wants to make phone calls, rather than using the phone for other functions.

If you plan to bring one into HK with you, you can pick up sim cards from convenience stores, mobile phone companies like 3, etc.

As a completely off-topic side-note, HK Extras has a section on discounts for seniors: hongkongextras.com/_senior_visitor_discounts… which might be handy for you to read through, if interested.

Good luck with your planning and have a GREAT time in HK! :)

Edited: 04 May 2012, 20:27
Toronto
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7. Re: Buying a mobile/cell phone?

>> because we have plenty of stores selling cheap and unlocked (...) phones

Where OP is from (Southern Ontario) is not Australia. There are very few shops in Canada that sell unlocked phones, and they are rarely "cheap", compared to mainstream stores. Virtually all those unlocked phones sold have no meaningful warranty (except if you pay full price and buy iPhones from Apple), or won't work outside North America due to different frequencies.

>>you may find that a smaller shop (not a large chain) <in HK> would have some second-hand phones.

Well in those shops, you will find "brand new" phones with 2nd-hand or fake accessories, as a start. That's the kind of shops you are dealing with.

BURLINGTON
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8. Re: Buying a mobile/cell phone?

Wow!! Thanks for all the information. We have very basic phones(basically used on the road when traveling in the US - I am also quite technically challenged)) that are set up on our son's US account so taking them with us is not practical. We will also be heading to Indonesia and Singapore on this trip so I will insure that any phone we buy has English as the language and can accept sim cards from Indonesia and Singapore. I will have a look at all the options you have all suggested. We depart on Monday and I would like to thank all of you who have given me great information over the past few months. We have only transited Hong Kong before and are really looking forward to seeing all that it has to offer.

Kuala Lumpur...
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9. Re: Buying a mobile/cell phone?

Hi Newfie43, am sure you will be fine.

Phones will have English in their language menu option- not a major worry.

When you pop in the SIM card, which also comes with the celco handy "how to use" booklet, there is instructions to change SIM language to English also.

HK, Indonesia and SIngapore celco networks all operate on what is known as GSM-so getting one in HK, will ensure it can operate. No problems here.

In fact, when you buy the phone, you can ask the sales personnel to check the specifications, if compatible or offers GSM 850 also-then this phone can also operate when you get back to Canada. In HK, Indonesia and Singapore- celcos are on GSM900. Another spectrum frequency is GSM1800/1900- Canada is on GSM1900,whilst in those three countries that you will be visiting, it is on GSM1800.

let take the example of TA member @HK_Observer- Samsung Keystone 2- from Samsung website, the specs for this phone shows it only supports band GSM (900/1800MHz) .

All in all, trust you will find the communication device you are looking for and wishing you a pleasant journey and fabulous holidays in Hong Kong,Singapore and Indonesia.

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10. Re: Buying a mobile/cell phone?

Hi

How does one go about setting blackberry internet service with a prepaid sim in Hong Kong?