Use a UK Mobile phone in China: How much does it cost? (Guide for travelers)

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When talking about traveling, adventuring, it’s also important to keep several details in mind. Some of these things are related to staying in contact; who would have thought? Of all the need-to-know when traveling, staying connected is one of them! That’s why we want to talk about how to use a cellphone in China if you come from the UK, as some travelers need help on this issue!

If you have ever thought wondering how you will be able to use your cellphone when traveling, whether it is to China or any other place, then chances are this guide is the perfect one for you to check! 

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Can I use my phone in China?

For many of us, “no” would be an unbelievable answer to this question and a big surprise. Because yes, it is weird that someone would tell you that you can’t be able to use your cellphone in China if you are from the UK.

But, there are some things you need to know. Of course, you can use that device there, but once you are there, how is it going to work? What will you need to make it work to stay connected?

For example, you need to check information about the cellular networks, coverage areas, data speed, and much more. Especially if you need to stay connected as much as you need.

With this information, you now know how you will be able to use your cellphone in that country. Whether you are from the UK or anywhere else, this answer works for everyone!

What are the options for using a UK Mobile phone in China?

As we move forward, it’s time for us to mention our options for using a cellphone in China. Is it the only thing we can rely on when traveling the expensive roaming services? Well, there’s a lot more to find out.

Nowadays, we can find many different alternatives when it comes to traveling. As we can tell, we are in an era where things are evolving, and so does the ways to communicate with a cellphone.

Part of the options we have is already known to travelers and tourists; two of these alternatives are SIM and eSIM cards, which are among the best alternatives for people to use. But, there are also options like free WiFi and pocket WiFi devices.

Now, it’s time for us to tell you everything about these alternatives. So, if you want to know everything about them, you are in the right place. 

eSIM for traveling abroad

The first alternative on our list is the famous eSIM cards that have become extremely popular recently. These cards are known for providing people a way to communicate in an easy and quick fashion without needing to actually use a physical space on the phone.

Now, where can people get an eSIM? This is an alternative that has become quite famous among people, especially among companies who work with this kind of technology.

One of the best eSIMs for us comes from Holafly. The Holafly eSIM for China is a perfect option for many travelers. It offers good prices, coverage, and speed, which convinces us to choose it over other services.

 As for prices, which is something we can’t forget to mention here, we can say that there are different options for people’s needs. Prices start at $19, and we can find alternatives for up to $99, depending on how many days you will be traveling.


  • Easy to activate on a cell phone.
  • Activation is done with a QR code.
  • Works with 4G speeds most of the time.
  • Doesn’t require a physical space to work.
  • Excellent coverage in most countries. 


  • eSIMs only work in last-gen devices.
  • People can’t use more than one on the same device.
  • Only works on one device at a time.

International SIM Card

Time to talk about the SIM card. We all know that SIM cards have been around for quite some time, and now they are part of international traveling options. Staying in contact or connected with one of these cards is pretty easy, and many companies are looking forward to adding SIM cards for many other destinations around the world.

Such is the case of the Holafly SIM card for China. We can tell the Holafly service is excellent quality, and that’s why we mention it here. But what makes it so good? The price, network speed, easiness of buying, and much more!

Pocket WiFi

As our third alternative, we have the pocket WiFi devices. These were pretty famous back when the roaming service was their only competitor.

But, as time passed, many things changed among traveler’s preferred options. Pocket WiFi is still being used, but as prices are around 50 to 100 dollars for just a week of usage, it sounds like a lot of money for some people. More especially if the rented device gets damaged or something happens to it.

Free Wifi

The last thing on our list comes with the free WiFi service. We all know how easy it is to get WiFi when traveling, and China is not the exception to this rule.

We can find free hotspots to connect when traveling and being at places such as hotels, a restaurant, and malls. But, keep in mind that once you leave, the WiFi signal will be gone, which is why other alternatives have become more important.

Can I use my UK phone service in China?

Another alternative we have on our list that might need further explanation than the rest we just mentioned is the local cellular services we have available for use in the UK.

Most people use Vodafone, Three, and O2, but how are things with them related to roaming prices? That’s the big question, and not only roaming, what about the overall prices? Let’s see!

Using my Mobile phone in China with Vodafone 

When it comes to Vodafone, there are many plans available for people to use, but not all of them offer roaming services. For the ones that roaming is available, the price to pay for a day of usage is $8 for cellular data, and if you want phone calls, they are $0.05 per minute, and messages cost $0.02 per message sent. 

Using my Mobile phone in China with O2

Now, what can we tell about the O2 service? They have pretty similar prices compared to Vodafone. But, they are a bit cheaper.

For everyone using their service, it costs $7 per day to use the roaming service they offer, with everything unlimited.

Using my Mobile phone in China with Three Mobile

Lastly, we have to talk about Three Mobile. Of the three we mentioned, this one has fewer locations available with their roaming service, which means less coverage.

And, that’s something we can tell as the roaming service is not available in China, meaning users will need to try a different alternative.

Local mobile operators in China

Just like any other country, we can find China has different cellular operators available for use. These are China Mobile, China Telecom, and China Unicom.

The most used of the three is China Mobile, which has a wider coverage and, overall, more active users in the country.

Can travelers access these services? Yes. Is it something easy to do? Well, that’s why we recommend using other alternatives.

How much does it cost to use my UK phone in China?

This will widely depend on the service you decide to use when traveling. From everything we saw here, prices can vary from 19 to up to 400 dollars, and even more. The cheapest alternatives are the Holafly eSIM and Holafly SIM cards for China, due to the price and what they offer.

Compared to the rest of the alternatives we have on our list, they are the cheapest ones, and yet, they are also the ones with the best service of the rest!

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