Yes, you will able to use your mobile phone throughout China’s cities and countryside. Cell coverage is generally very good in the main cities like Shanghai, Beijing and Chengdu, and surprisingly good in rural and regional areas.

The best ways to have coverage on the go in China are one of the following:

Buying a SIM card in China

China has three main telecom providers – China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom – with China Unicom often said to have the best coverage. If you have an unlocked phone, consider buying a local SIM card when you arrive for all of your chatting, messaging and browsing needs on the go.

Buying a mobile wi-fi hotspot in China

Mobile wi-fi networks, also known as mi-fi, are becoming more and more common in places like China. These small devices are kind of like hard drives and create a wi-fi hotspot for any of your devices to connect. They're reasonably priced, so it's worth doing your research before you arrive, especially if you’re travelling a lot and need internet access on the go.

Global roaming in China

If you wish to use your current SIM plan, ensure global roaming is activated before leaving your home country. Also, be sure to contact your local service provider to discuss costs associated with roaming, as this option can often work out to be highly expensive. This may be the simplest way to connect, but it’s likely to be the most costly.

Keep in mind that messaging apps like WhatsApp and Viber are blocked in China. Some travellers have luck using Skype, but the best way to message while in China is using Weixin (WeChat) – China’s online social media and messaging platform.

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