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Housing in Hong Kong
Getting a Hong Kong Cell Phone Contract
While they certainly are not first priority right after you arrive in Hong Kong, cell phones are indispensible for a comfortable and successful life. If you have already shopped around for a Hong Kong cell phone provider that fits your needs, keep the following in mind when you sign a contract.
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Hong Kong Cell Phones: Services and Possible Fees
Before you sign a contract you should know your phone habits and find out which services you use frequently and which you don’t need at all. You should also gather info on the services your provider might charge extra for and those which are included in the monthly basic fee – pay attention to how much your provider charges you for the following services:
- Calls forwarded to your mailbox
- “Unanswered” calls
- Two-party-conference calls
- Non-peak-hour and peak-hour calls
- Inter-network and intra-network calls
- Mobile data services
Remember that some Hong Kong cell phone providers may also charge you for receiving calls. In order to avoid astronomical bills and to provide Hong Kong cell phone users with a trustworthy mobile services market, the Office of the Communications Authority (OFCA) has issued a code of Practice for Service Contracts for the Provision of Public Mobile Radiotelephone Services. Here, OFCA lays down basic guidelines and principles which determine the standards of mobile phone contracts.
Among other things, this code ensures a fair treatment of customers, which also requires the contract to be available in Chinese and English, depending on the customer’s preference. This code is, however, voluntary and merely a suggestion to mobile service providers that want to be more customer-friendly.
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Hong Kong Cell Phones: Signing Up
Even if you are not a citizen of Hong Kong, cell phone plans are available to your without much hassle. Even though Hong Kong cell phone providers will not ask for any official government-issued documents or a valid visa, you will have to provide a proof of address before you can sign a contract. A valid proof of address can be any kind of correspondence with:
- Government departments
- Banks or other financial institutions
- Public utilities
- Operators of public telecommunication services
- Public organizations
Correspondences with friends or relatives do not count as sufficient proof of address. You should bring the original documents when you sign the contract. In Hong Kong, cell phone companies do not accept any photocopies of these documents.
Hong Kong Cell Phones: Further Information
Although you will enjoy excellent mobile phone coverage in Hong Kong, you may experience a congestion of the network from time to time, especially during typhoon and rainstorm warnings. OFCA has some suggestions on how to deal with a busy mobile network.
If you lose your phone or your SIM card, you should report it immediately. You can contact your provider via a toll-free service number.
When you go for hikes in Country Parks or rural areas within Hong Kong, you should know the most important emergency numbers and how your mobile phone can save you in emergency situations. Always check the mobile network coverage in the area where you want to go hiking. In case of emergency, dial 112 or 999. You can find more information on the GovHK website.