WILL YOUR PHONE WORK IN CHINA?

1) Will your phone work in China?

▼Most students are using China Unicom’s network.▲

Much like radio and TV stations, mobile networks operate on different bandwidth frequencies. Your phone needs to have support for the specific frequencies on which China Unicom operates.

▼3G is more important than 4G, as some areas do not have the 4G signal.▲

When there is no 4G signal, your phone will automatically turn to the 3G network. If your phone does not support China Unicom’s 3G network, your phone may lose service.

Check the table below to confirm your device matches China Unicom’s frequencies or not.

China Unicom, Bands/Frequency:

4G 3G* 2G
LTE-FDD (B3) 1800
LTE-TDD (B40) 2300
WCDMA (B1) 2100
(B8) 900
GSM 900

▼You can find your device’s frequencies from your specs sheet

Generally, your device’s frequencies will appear something like this in a specs sheet:

“GSM 850/900/1800/2100, LTE 700/2100”.

In this example, the phone would work on the GSM standard at 850MHz, 900MHz, 1800MHz and 2100MHz.

It would work on 4G LTE at 700MHz and 2100MHz.

Always check your handset manufacturer’s website to be sure you know the frequencies that your device is compatible with.

2) Check if your phone is carrier-locked

Note: Unlocking a carrier-locked device usually incurs a fee. This fee is carrier-dependant, so make sure you ask your provider how much it will cost. Sometimes you can save a small amount by unlocking online rather than through the support hotline.

Phones sold by carriers in Countries like Korea, Japan, and Australia are sometimes locked to that carrier’s network and won’t even work on other networks.

The fastest way to check is to borrow the SIM card of a friend on a different carrier to you and see if your phone can still connect to 3G. If it cannot connect or can only connect to 2G then it is probably carrier-locked. Make sure that whoever’s SIM you borrow is from one of the major ones; the smaller carriers ‘rent’ space on the larger networks, so they may work even if your phone is locked.

So check with a SIM from a different network.

The most reliable method is to check with your carrier, either online or by calling tech support. You will require your phone’s IMEI number. This is easy to obtain and there is no fee for just checking if your phone is locked.

▼ Dial *#06# (star, hash, zero, six, hash) and the IMEI number should pop up without you having to press anything else; not even the call button. The IMEI number is long, so be sure to write it down carefully. If you have a device with a removable battery you can also sometimes find it printed underneath. ▲

Next either search online for how to unlock a device through your specific carrier or call your carrier’s tech support line.

If you did not buy your phone from your carrier or get it as a subsidy when signing up for a plan, then you should have an unlocked handset.

3) What to do next?

Insert the Chinese SIM card in your handset. If your handset is using micro/nano Sim card, you may need to have a needle with you.

Normally, you do not need to do any setting for Chinese networks. Just turn your handset on and wait for 1~5 minutes.

If you got a Chinese SIM in your country /region, do not test it in your Country/ region. You have to test it in China.

Does not work?

If it does not work in China, that is truly bad luck. Some handset does not work properly overseas even it matches the overseas network standard. It is very hard to find the reason.

If you will stay in China for short time, We can rent you a handset.

If you will stay in China for 1 year or longer, It is better to buy a new handset in China.

If you decide to buy a new handset, make sure it matches your home country’s standard.

We recommend you buy a handset support China Unicom’s network.

▼ Do not buy a handset only support China Mobile or China Telecom. These 2 companies are using the unique bands combinations so the device may only be used in China.▲

There are 3 major carriers in China.
China Mobile (中国移动)
China Telecom (中国电信)
China Unicom (中国联通)

However, You may find that you have to choose China Unicom unless you decide to buy a new phone set in China.

You will find that the phone set you bring from your country normally does not support China Mobile and China Telecom. That is because these two carriers use the unique networks only working in China or India.

China Unicom is the only carrier using the FDD-LTE network which is the most common network around the world.
How to rent a handset?

If your handset is locked by your carrier, and you do not want to buy a new one, you can rent a handset in China. Click here to find details.