Making a call in China

If you wish to make a phone call during your trip to China, there are several options available to you:

– Use an orange phone that is available to everyone in small shops in China. Very cheap (0.5 Yuan per minute) and very easy to use (the price is displayed at the end of the call), but they do not allow calling outside China.

– Use a prepaid SIM card with a mobile phone. If you want to be able to call your relatives in China with your mobile phone without any restrictions in terms of location and time, the prepaid SIM card is for you. Check simoptions.com/ for more about prepaid SIM cards in China. Thanks to it, you will be able to call home at a very reasonable price during your stay in China; in addition, it provides you with a Chinese number. If your mobile phone is not unlocked or if it is not compatible with the Chinese network, you have the possibility to rent a mobile phone in China.

– Of course, you can also use IC and IP cards in telephone booths and other public telephones (in hotel lobbies for example) and call directly anywhere in the world.

IC cards

They allow you to make international calls but the rates they offer are relatively high (usually more than 10 RMB per minute). With an IC card, you can call from public phones (in hotels, restaurants and airports, among others) by inserting your card and following the instructions provided.

IP cards

China Unicom, China Netcom and China Jitong, and provide international calls at different rates. Thus, with a China Unicom card, a call to Hong Kong, Macao or Taiwan will cost you 1.5 RMB per minute, to the United States or Canada you will spend 2.6 RMB per minute, and 3.6 RMB per minute for other countries.

Other IC card providers offer equivalent prices. Currently, the international IP phone system covers China entirely. Instructions on the card will tell you how to use it. Please note that when you use the hotel phone with your IP card, the hotel will charge you for these calls at the price of a local call.

Please also note that some of the IC and IP cards can only be used in certain provinces or regions; in addition, there are expiry dates on each card.

Useful telephone numbers

Police: 110

First aid: 120

Information: 114

Weather: 121

Tips for using your mobile phone when travelling
Practical advice before your trip