Get Internet connectivity while you travel around the world.

Disclaimer

When traveling to another country, you can buy a "local SIM card" to avoid paying extremely high roaming charges.
Your phones must be "unlocked" if you want to use a "foreign" SIM card.

Two issues are 3G/LTE frequency bands compatibility and APN settings.

There are several references to check if your phone will work with the carrier in the country of interest.
http://willmyphonework.net 
https://www.frequencycheck.com/carriers/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_UMTS_networks
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_LTE_networks



Phone mode

own

Europe and Asia:
LTE bands: 1, 3, 7, 8, 20

Canada:
LTE bands: 2, 4, 7, 17

USA:
LTE AT&T bands: 2,4,5,17
LTE T-Mobile bands: 2,4,12



Mobile Hotspot mode:

Suitable for phones that do not have the correct frequency bands or multiple phones and tablets such as a family road trip or mini coaches (small bus) or ride share vehicles or taxi.

Check or add APN on the mobile hotspot.

hotspot

e.g. Huawei E5776s-32 Mobile Hotspot:
E5776s-32 has the four 3G bands for global roaming on 3G (1900 MHz, 850 MHz, 900 MHz, 2100 MHz).
E5776s-32 has five LTE Bands 2100/1800/2600/900/800 MHz [Band 1,3,7,8,20] This is adequate (i.e. good enough) for LTE global roaming except USA.

For details on how to configure a Huawei E5776-s-32 hotspot, see this page.



SIM cards for Canada

Petro-Canada Mobility SIM card can be purchased for $10 online

Canadian operators use LTE Bands 2,4,5,7,12
Fido's APN is ltemobile.apn

SIM cards for Hong Kong

https://www.hkcsl.com/en/discover-hk-tourist-prepaid-sim/

Discover Hong Kong Tourist SIM Card:
-5 days, 3GB data HK$88
-8 days, 8GB data HK$118
Included is unlimited local voice calls (and unlimited access to 20,000 csl WiFi hotspots).

tourist sim

You can get the SIM at 1010 Center in town, 7-eleven, Circle K or VanGO convenience stores, csl shops or HKT shops.

You can also buy the SIM from Hong Kong Tourism Board Visitor Center Tsim Sha Tsui Star Ferry terminal
( Lat/Lon 22.294, 114.16845 ) (MGRS 50QKK08246810 )

To check balance, dial ##122#


SIM cards for Europe

China Unicom online store sells a data SIM card for Europe (online order, when registering, enter the address field first).

http://www.gosim.com/   European wide-area roaming data SIM cards. I used this data SIM with a (3G 2100 MHz) Mobile Hotspot in 2014, it worked in Italy (TIM), Switzerland (Swisscom), France (Orange, SFR), Luxembourg (Orange), Germany (Telekom, EPLUS), Netherlands (TMO), Belgium (BASE) and UK (TMO). APN setting for this SIM is mobiledata

http://www.telestial.com/   European data SIM cards.  APN setting is mobiledata

http://www.prepaidzero.com  European data SIM cards. APN setting is mobiledata

http://shop.ee.co.uk  European SIM cards.

https://www.holidayphone.com/ European SIM cards.

http://www.simcardspain.es  SIM cards for Spain, the seller is responsive and user friendly. Best time to buy a Vodafone SIM is 30 days before your trip begins.



SIM cards for China


China Unicom's Hong Kong branch sells a data SIM for China and Hong Kong.
Online purchase of data SIM from Hong Kong Unicom Global Store (based in Hong Kong, global shipping by very slow snail mail) (To online order, when registering, enter the address field first). You can also buy this SIM at Hong Kong airport departure level.

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China Unicom 7 days 2GB data SIM for use in China/Hong Kong (online order, when registering, enter the address field first). You can top up online. You can also buy this card from Amazon.

In Hong Kong, you can find a brick and mortar China Unicom store in Sham Shui Po 深水埗 MTR D2 Exit ( location 22.33165, 114.16252 ), intersection of Fuk Wa Street and Kweilin Street (福華街 交叉 桂林街). Another China Unicom store is in Mongkok 旺角西洋菜 南街 1A-1K 號 (location  22.316566, 114.1706 ) Use Google Map to search for other China Unicom stores in Hong Kong.

APN setting for China Unicom China SIM is 3gnet  

When you use this card in mainland China, you have to turn on Roaming Data because the SIM card is a Hong Kong Unicom SIM, it is considered roaming when you are in mainland China.

China Unicom mainland uses 3G 2100 MHz Band 1; LTE is Band 3 (1800 MHz) and Band 41 (TD 2500 MHz).
China Unicom Hong Kong uses 3G 2100 MHz Band 1  and 3G 900 MHz Band 8; LTE is Band 8 (900 MHz), Band 3 (1800 MHz) and Band 7 (2600 MHz).



SIM.everywhere also has China Unicom Hong Kong-China 5 Day data plus 40 minutes talk time.
SIM.everywhere

SIM cards for Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand, Macau, Australia, Europe, USA

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China Unicom
online store sells a variety of data SIM card for this Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand, Macau, Australia, Europe and USA
(online order, when registering, enter the address field first)

SIM card for Japan

In Japan's Narita Airport, you can find SIM card vending machines that sell U-Mobile data SIM (cash only) and NTT data SIM (credit cards accepted).
APN and authentication instructions are in the package.

SIM cards at major airports in China

SIM card vending machines now appear at major airports in China (typically at Departure Level), these are perfect for people leaving China to other countries.
Unfortunately they do not sell SIM cards for use in China itself. Currently these vending machines are installed at Beijing Capital, Shanghai Pudong, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Xian, Fuzhou, Wuxi, Lanzhou, Dalian, Qingdao, Yantai, Kunming, Shenyang, Zhengzhou, Xiamen, Changsha, Shenzhen Ferry Terminals, the list is expanding.

snail-vending-machine



Bring a pocket WiFi router when traveling

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A TP-Link "TL-WR802N" or similar WiFi router can be used to convert a wired-Internet connection to WiFi.
Why? Some old hotels (very few now) provide only legacy wired-Internet connectors. Also, in situations where there is weak WiFi, a pocket WiFi router offers a tool to deal with the problem.

© 2020 Nicholas Fong

nicholas.fong@gmail.com

Last updated: 2020-11-05

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