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.

Click to return to China FAQs

Our tours in China

12 Days From 78309

Take a small group Premium adventure that weaves together some of China’s most famous...

8 Days From 19661

Take a trip through epic China and see the Terracotta Warriors, the Great Wall,...

19 Days From 63150

Travel to China and tour Beijing, visit the Great Wall of China, see the Terracotta...

15 Days From 72775

Travel from Beijing to Kathmandu on an epic overland journey, seeing the temples and...

15 Days From 72775

Travel from Beijing to Kathmandu on an epic overland journey, seeing the temples and...

Tailor-Made trips

Take four or more on an exclusive trip and tailor your itinerary

12 Days From 20925

Discover China’s northern hotspots with Intrepid on a 12-day trip to Beijing, the Great...

11 Days From 41410

Visit energetic China, where culture, history and cuisine come together to create a...

12 Days From 55125

Travel to the Land of the Dragon and explore Beijing, Xi'an, Yangshuo, Chengdu and Hong...

12 Days From 16835

You’ll see the Terracotta Warriors, Chengdu pandas, Yangshuo’s beauty, the Great Wall...

12 Days From 53330

Spend 12 days exploring northern China from Shanghai to Beijing, including Luoyang, the...

12 Days From 41915

Embark on a 12-day adventure from Beijing to Hong Kong, exploring key highlights...