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CSL offers the best prepaid mobile data plan in Hong Kong

by Captain G on Jul.22, 2013, under Business Tools, Business Travel, Vacation

If you’re visiting Hong Kong without a global roaming plan, buy a CSL (used to be called One2Free) prepaid SIM upon your arrival at Hong Kong International Airport (HKG). One2Free, a subsidiary of CSL has the best prepaid voice and fastest mobile plan available. This is an update from my previous post where I said Peoples offering the cheapest prepaid mobile data plan in Hong Kong).

You can pick up a CSL (One2Free) pre-paid SIM at the 7-Eleven or 1O1O (mobile phone shop) at HKG Terminal 1 Arrival Hall. The two shops are located in between Arrivals area A and B as indicated in this map:

CSL has the following prepaid mobile data plans with speed of up to 7.2Mbps (around 4G speed):

Prepaid Plan

HKD

Approx. USD

Hourly Pass

$8

$1.25

Day Pass

$28

$3.75

7 Day Pass

$78

$10.00

30 Day Pass for 5GB

$258

$33.00

To signup for one of the plans listed above, you’ll need to know CSL/One2Free’s SMS codes. Below is a quick list of codes for your reference:

Note that you may get throttled to 3G speed once you have exceeded 1GB of data usage. However, CSL’s service will probably faster than your roaming plan. For your information, CSL’s voice rate is around HK$0.30 per minute and around HK$0.80 per SMS.

If you’re an American, you should make sure your phone is unlocked before you leave the country. Check out Big A’s tip here.

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How to avoid expensive roaming charges while traveling abroad

by Captain G on Nov.09, 2012, under Business Tools, Business Travel, Vacation

Are you are a global traveler from the US who wants to be reached via your US mobile number while you are in a foreign country and do not want to pay roaming charges of US$2.50 per minute? Here are three simple steps to avoid paying excessive roaming fees to the likes of AT&T, Verizon and Sprint:

1. Sign up to a call forwarding service provider like: One Suite for a monthly fee ($2.95). The call forwarding service provider (One Suite) will assign you a US number that can be routed to any number in the world for a very low fee (i.e., no more than US$0.05 per minute).

2. Forward your US mobile number to the routing service provider.

There are two types of call forwarding services in the US:  unconditional (*72) and conditional (*68 or *28). Unconditional call forwarding means all calls will go to the forwarded number and may carry extra charges by your mobile carrier (I know Sprint charges $0.20 per minute). I recommend conditioning call forwarding (when there’s no answer or a busy signal) which is free and works just as well to avoid extra charges.

To forward your call using conditional forwarding, enter *68[415-867-5309] where 415-867-5309 is the number you received from your call forwarding service provider. This will tell your current mobile carrier to forward all your calls to 415-867-5309 when there’s a busy signal or no answer. Your phone will be considered “off” by your mobile carrier which means all your calls will be forwarded to the call forwarding number. If you are on the Sprint or Nextel network, you will need to use:  *28 instead of 68. If you’re on Verizon, you may have to use *71.

Click on this link for more information on call forwarding codes.

NOTE:   Execute this step before you leave the US so you are not incurring voice roaming charges while abroad.

3. When you’re abroad, purchase a pre-paid SIM card from a local carrier. Login to your call forwarding service provider’s website and forward the assigned number [415-867-5309] to the pre-paid SIM card [+52-55-9876-5432] you have just purchased.

Below is a diagram to illustrate the three simple steps.

This process may seem a bit complicated compared to a service like Skype. However it is reliable and you don’t need to give out another US number to your current contacts. The rates are also very affordable and it’s the easiest way to keep your US number while you’re traveling abroad.

When you’ve returned from your trip, simply go on your phone and hit *81 or *38 (for Sprint) to deactivate unconditional forwarding mode.

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Unlock your old AT&T iphone before buying new one

by Big A on Oct.22, 2012, under Business Tools

If you are upgrading to a new iPhone, don’t forget to unlock your old one for an easier and higher resell of your old iPhone.

I’m on AT&T and totally forgot about this.  I ordered the new iPhone 5 to replace my AT&T iPhone 4.  AT&T actually has a page spelling out the eligibility of unlocking your iphone here.  I put my request in a few days before I got my iPhone 5.  However, I received and activated my iphone 5 before AT&T replied back to my unlock inquiry.

The sad news from AT&T, they only unlock your eligible iPhone ONLY if it’s still active.  After calling and trying at local AT&T stores, AT&T refused to unlock my old iPhone 4 because it is no longer “active” on the AT&T network.

Reminder, unlock your old iPhone 4 or 4S first before activating your new iPhone 5!

Luckily, you can go to eBay and buy an iPhone unlock service as low as $15!  All you need is to give them your IMEI number, and they set you up.  You restore your phone on itunes and there it is unlocked.  Feel free to use your phone internationally, sell it for $50-$100 more, or give it to friend or family to use on any carrier.

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