Cost of internet and cell phone in China
Although a small category of cell phones bought elsewhere may function in China, it is advisable that you buy one locally rather than bring your own. You can buy from a wide assortment of brands, including some of the most popular ones, from one of the numerous cell phone shops in the country. This is the place to buy your local, Chinese SIM card, which would also need you to supply a copy of your ID to the seller.
You can choose one of the three local companies (China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicorn) and then you get to pick your cell phone number, which will start with 1 and will have 11 figures in total. Because China is such a large country, although most SIM cards offer nationwide service, it is still more expensive to talk with the same SIM card in a different city. Be prepared to pay a small amount that will be uploaded on the phone (it is usually around 100 yuan).
In terms of Internet, if you are in a location for only a couple of nights, you can usually use the Internet in the hotel. Most hotels provide this service, especially if they are three stars or up. This is particularly helpful if you are on a trip away from the city you reside in. For your own home, consider getting a broadband connection from one of the main carriers such as China Telecom, China Mobile or China Unicorn. If you know the period of time you will spend in China, choose the yearly plan, because it is cheaper than paying on a monthly basis.
If you don’t have a computer yet or have not brought your own, there are plenty of Internet cafés that can be used for quick Internet access. The cost for this service ranges from to 1 to 5 yuan per hour and you will need to purchase an access card at the front desk for a certain amount that you will use to access the computer. It is advisable that you don’t use the computer in an Internet café for any financial transaction that would potentially involve you giving away your credit card number or an important password.
Obviously, there is some level of censorship on Internet surfing, mostly directed towards ensuring a positive account of governmental policies and actions. Something to think about when considering the reliability of an information you may find on a local website!