China Unicom – The United Network Communications

china unicom sim card

When traveling to China, many things may turn confusing at the beginning of your trip because of their language barriers, diverse traditions, and their totally different lifestyle. But keep calm and do not worry too much about it, if you take your mobile phone, tablet or any other device with you during your trip, we are sure that everything will be easier for you and the ones that travel with you.

As part of planning your trip, you need to include buying a prepaid SIM card for China to stay connected with your beloved ones. Although there are only three mobile network operators in China (China Mobile, China Unicom, and China Telecom) they all offer very different options and, of course, different prices. So, it is important to do a little research before deciding which provider and which SIM card is the best for you and your trip.

That is why we wanted to make this part of your trip a little bit easier for you and we chose China Unicom as the best option for you. In this article, you will also find interesting information about this telecommunication company and some of the best alternatives they have for their customers. So, learn more about this amazing provider here:


What is China Unicom?

As we mentioned before, there are only three companies in the Chinese telecommunication industry. China Unicom is part of this reduced group of corporations and it is currently the second main telecommunication company in China after China Mobile. With more than 90 million subscribers worldwide, it is considered one of the largest network operators in the world. Although China Mobile is recognized as the first network provider in the country, people consider China Unicom the best option talking about data (having Internet access). A few years ago, while the other Chinese network providers worked on their 3G coverage, China Unicom focused on their 4G network expansion. Due to this, China Unicom is the only carrier in China with a great 4G network coverage.

It is important to mention that its 3G network is the only network in China that is compatible with any unlocked phone that supports 2100 MHz 3G. This covers most modern smartphones in up to HSPA+ speed. This is the main reason why Chinese people and foreign visitors like this company so much, and they prefer it over the other carriers. China Unicom clients can use their mobile phone from other parts of Asia, Europe, and even Australia without any problem. This is not possible with the other carriers since they do not operate the same frequencies, compatibility, and coverage.

Take into account that China Unicom operates with the following frequencies, compatibility, and coverage.

  • 2G/GPRS: 900, 1800 MHz
  • 3G/UMTS: 900, 2100 MHz. Band: 1, 8
  • 4G/LTE: FD-LTE: (900), 1800, 2100 MHz TD-LTE: (2600 MHz) Bands: 1, 3, (8, 41)


SIM Card Offers

This telecommunication company does not sell SIM cards in China airports at this moment. However, China Unicom has more than 100 stores in Shangai, Beijing, and Chengdu where you can buy your China SIM card (free shipping SIM cards inside China)

Although China Unicom is not the first mobile network operator in China, this company provides the best prices and options for local and foreign clients. One of the most famous China Unicom SIM cards is the one presented below:


China Unicom SIM | 5GB (US$19.90)

  • Data: 5GB
  • Calls: Not included
  • SMS: Not included
  • Credit Validity: 15 days
  • SIM Validity: 06/2020
  • Activation required: No
  • SIM Phone Number: Hong Kong (+852)
  • Coverage: Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan

You can find more information about the China Unicom 4GB SIM Card here.


China Unicom SIM | 4GB (US$21.90)

  • Data: 4GB
  • Calls: Not included
  • SMS: Not included
  • Credit Validity: 12 days
  • SIM Validity: 06/2020
  • Activation required: No
  • SIM Phone Number: Hong Kong (+852)
  • Coverage: Cambodia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, South, Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam

You can find more information about the China Unicom 4GB SIM Card here.


Apart from both China Unicom SIMs, this company also offers the opportunity to arrange your own mobile plan according to your needs. Here you have different options to choose:


Step 1: Choose a Data Package (this is required; you need to choose one data package)

  • $25: 1 GB
  • $25: 2GB
  • $45: 3 GB
  • $80: 6 GB


Step 2: Select Calls and SMS (this is optional, you do not have to choose an option)

  • $2.5: 50 minutes or 100 SMS
  • $6.5: 150 minutes or 300 SMS
  • $11.5: 250 minutes or 500 SMS


Step 3: Choose your Direct International Calling service (this is optional, too).

  • 20 minutes for: Australia, France, Spain, Greece, Egypt, Russia, Kazakhstan, Cambodia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Ukraine, and Mongolia.
  • 40 minutes for Japan, Vietnam, Colombia, and Brunei.
  • 60 minutes for Taiwan, Macao, Korea, Malaysia, India, and Thailand.
  • 100 minutes for Hong Kong, USA, Canada, and Singapore.


In case you want to activate this option, you need to select your long distance calling zone. This service costs $10.

* This mobile plan needs to be activated on China Unicom official website.

If you want to check your China Unicom balance, you just have to send “101” to   10010 for airtime balance. But, if you want to know your data balance, please text “2082” to 10010. Do not worry about these texts, checking your balance is totally free!


SIM Card Activation

Do not waste time wondering how to activate your China Unicom SIM card. This SIM card that we previously mentioned comes pre-activated. It means you just need to insert it into your mobile phone or any other device and start using it. Once you do this, please make sure to enable your data roaming.


Recharge / Top Up Options

You have different options to top up your China Unicom SIM card. Please visit their online recharge webpage to see the different refill rates. You can also make your China Unicom data recharge in the previously mentioned webpage.



Tethering is allowed on China Unicom SIM cards and also on the rest of the Chinese SIM cards from other network operators such as China Mobile or China Telecom. This is a great option for those that are traveling to China with some friends, family or co-workers. They will be able to use the same SIM card and use the tethering option to share the same mobile data so everybody can have Internet access.


Mobile Hotspot

China Unicom also has a 4G/LTE mobile hotspot or pocket WiFi rental service that can be very useful for those travel groups that need to have Internet access when traveling to China. People can connect up to 10 devices to this mobile hotspot at the same time and stay connected anywhere in the country (except for Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan). It can be delivered to your hotel in China or you can also pick it up at the Shangai Pudong airport.

This portable WiFi hotspot has different 4G data plans that were created thinking about both light and heavy users. Take a look to the different rates* you have for the China Unicom mobile hotspot:

  • 1 GB: $12
  • 3 GB: $20
  • 5 GB: $31
  • 10 GB: $46
  • 20 GB: $72
  • 40 GB: $100

*Please take into account you will need to make a refundable deposit of $70 in case of loss, damage or theft. This deposit will be refunded once you return the mobile hotspot. An additional fee of $7 will be added for the delivery and return of the device. So you will need to add $77 to the rates previously mentioned. You can pay this rental service through Paypal or debit/credit card.

Find more information about this pocket WiFi rental service here.


APN Settings

Sometimes it is necessary to modify the APN settings when you change your SIM card, especially when you travel abroad and you buy a new chip. In case you do not have Internet access and you cannot use your mobile data while you are in China, please check your APN settings on your mobile phone.

If you have an iPhone, go to the Settings – General – Profile. In case you see something unusual like unknown language texts, try to remove that profile. If you have an Android phone or any other Android device, go to Settings – More – Mobile Networks – APN. The correct APN name is 3gnet. In case there is a different name, write the correct one and try to connect to the Internet.


China Unicom Information

APN: 3gnet

Customer Service: Dial 10010 (it is available in English, too)

Official China Unicom website: (it is only in Mandarin)


Now that you know all this information about China Unicom SIM cards, plans and all the options they have for you, we are sure you will choose this great mobile network operator when traveling to China.

Let us know if you like this article and if it was helpful for you! You can find more information about this and some other SIM cards visiting SimOptions official website.



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