Saturday, June 15, 2024

Applying For Mobile Phone, Internet Broadband Connection in Hong Kong

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As you may notice that mobile phone has been an integral part of daily life. It’s where you communicate with friends and family, share travel photos or “stories” on social media, receive and compose work emails, purchase movie tickets or items at Amazon and many more. No wonder you’ll probably see more people getting glued to their mobile devices than they ever did before.

Once you arrive in Hong Kong, such experience won’t be any different as mobile phones also get used to pay goods at the supermarket cashier, pay at the MTR — with Octopus card attached to it, at least — or extensively used to watch streaming movies or play games.

Plenty of options to activate mobile phone account in Hong Kong 
You can buy mobile phone units at Apple Stores, electronic shops such as Fortress, Broadway or Suning, or at telecom shops that offer mobile phone packages bundled with mobile phone units. Mobile phone line contracts often run for a year or two, with monthly rates starting around HK$100 depending on the scope (how many GB of data) and coverage (roaming fee discounts and other privileges)  and often can be renegotiated at your favor once renewal is up. One thing about phone contracts in Hong Kong is that if you decide to terminate your contract, the telecom provider might ask you to pay for the remaining months; the same arrangement also applies for cable TV connections.

Requirements to activate your mobile phone connection
Typically, prior to activating your mobile phone connection, shops require you to sign up a form after agreeing to terms and package coverage, get a copy of your Hong Kong ID  and proof of address and arrange the payment options.

How to call phone numbers in Hong Kong
Local calls to Hong Kong’s 8-digit mobile phone numbers (starting with numbers 9, 6 or 5) and landlines (starting with numbers 2 or 3) are charged the same whether you are using a fixed-line telephone unit or a mobile device. There is no need to add an 852 (Hong Kong country code) prefix when making calls locally. With cheap rates for mobile packages, installing fixed-line phones at home has become less necessary.

These are the handy Hong Kong numbers for your reference:

Emergency services (police, fire, ambulance) 999
Police Hotline +852 2527 7177
Travel Industry Council of Hong Kong +852 2807 0707
Hong Kong Tourism Board Visitor Hotline +852 2508 1234
Hong Kong International Airport +852 2181 8888
Hong Kong Immigration Department +852 2824 6111
Consumer Council +852 2929 2222
Department of Health +852 2961 8989
Customs and Excise Department 24-Hour Hotline +852 2815 7711
Hongkong Post +852 2921 2222
Hong Kong Observatory (for weather information) +852 1878 200
Telephone directory enquiries 1081

Why home fixed-line has become less popular in Hong Kong
The apparent losing of popularity of fixed-line telephone at home is aided by the emergence of ultra-fast broadband connections that allow crystal clear voice and video calls through the Internet which allows fast wi-fi connections on mobile devices like laptops, tablets and mobile phones. For such reason, it becomes more important to have a stable Internet connection at home. This makes the fixed-line phone unit a bit redundant.

Signing up for home broadband connection
Generally, broadband providers such as PCCW, Hong Kong Broadband Network or Hutchison Global Crossing are available in most places in the city, most especially in urban areas. Just check if they serve in your location, particularly if you are based in relatively remote areas. In addition to checking individual offers by these companies (there might be giveaways, rebates and cash vouchers on offer as sweeteners), newcomers usually rely on local friends, colleagues or online forums to gauge reliability of service, prompt customer support and flexible payment of bills.

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