To get a prepaid SIM card in Taiwan, you can find them online, at convenience stores, or in Southeast Asian markets. Alternatively, you can subscribe to eSIM card services and avoid prepaid cards entirely.
Since I don’t use data much in Taiwan, I want to save the most money possible in this area. So I’ve explored various SIM card options in Taiwan and compiled my results into this guide.
Getting a SIM card in Taiwan isn’t hard. To prove that claim, I’ll cover information like:
- Taiwan telecom providers
- SIM card costs
- How to get one
- Local SIM cards
- How to top-up SIM cards
- Alternatives to SIM cards
Let’s get you a SIM card.
Which Telecom Is Best in Taiwan? #
Taiwan has several major cell phone companies: Taiwan Mobile, FarEastone, T Star, and Chung Hwa Telecom.
Every company has plenty of stores, service centers, and 4G/LTE service.
The island country doesn’t have 2G, anymore. It’s also in the process of removing 3G. As of now, FarEastone, Taiwan Mobile, and Chunghwa Telecom only offer 5G. However, none of them appear to offer 5G prepaid cards.
From my experience, Chung Hwa Telecom has offered the best customer service, most affordable rates, fastest speeds, and reliable service. Moreover, if you go with the prepaid route, you have more options with prepaid refill cards.
Most of the time, if you’re picking SIM cards up from the airport, Chung Hwa will provide them.
The following rates for prepaid and tourist SIM cards from Taiwanese companies include:
- Taiwan Mobile: around NT$270–NT$450 and five, seven, or 10 days, these cards also come with NT$50, 100, or 150 worth of domestic calling credit
- Chung Hwa Telecom: between NT$280 and NT$980 for 3–30 days—they also include NT$50 through NT$430 worth of calling credit
- Far Eastone: rates start at NT$500 for unlimited data
Each of these providers can update their prices anytime, so be sure to look into their pricing ahead of time before you budget your trip.
Keep in mind that if you’re talking to people throughout Taiwan, you’ll most likely use WhatsApp, their most popular messaging app, LINE, or other social media platforms.
So if you want to aim for the most minimum costs possible, ensure you use WiFi whenever possible.
How To Get a Taiwan SIM Card #
Required: Primary form of identification (passport) and secondary, which can include a student ID, driver’s license, or residency card. An unlocked phone that supports LTE Bands 8, 7, 3, and/or 28.
Step 1. Choose Your Preferred Telecom or Tourist SIM Card
Choose your favorite provider and order your SIM card online. If you don’t mind dealing with airport staff, you can simply go to the mobile kiosks at whatever airport you choose.
Step 2. Pick Up Your SIM Card
If you order online, follow the instructions the website gave you and make your way toward the stall they said. The staff at these stands speak English and are friendly, so you won’t encounter any trouble in this area.
Otherwise, you can make your way toward mobile kiosks and tell them you want to register for a SIM card. However, in this scenario, you may have to endure upselling, when people try to sell you additional plans.
Local SIM Card Options
If you prefer not to stay at the airport longer than you must, you can visit a local telecom or convenience store and ask to buy a card. From there, you’ll need to provide a couple forms of identification and an unlocked phone.
You don’t need Taiwanese identification—you can use your driver’s license from home. If you’re a student coming to Taiwan, it may be ideal to give them your student ID and passport.
However, when going this route, you’ll need to deal with signing various documents that are written up in Chinese. Moreover, you’ll have to wait around for the staff to photocopy your identification.
How To Top Up Your Prepaid SIM Card #
If you run out of data, SMS, or call credits, you can either visit any convenience store in Taiwan. Or, you can take a trip to a Southeast Asian market. From my experience, they offer the best rates for SIM cards and data.
If you intend on staying in Taiwan long-term, I recommend visiting these shops to save you the most money.
Alternatives To Using a Taiwan SIM Card #
If you don’t want to deal with the stress of buying a SIM card, you have an alternative. If you have a phone that supports it, you can subscribe to Google Fi.
It’s Google’s telecommunications service that offers calling, SMS, and data by using other cellular providers. Google Fi does work in Taiwan, so you won’t have any issues using it here.
However, you can activate Google Fi in the US. You also have to have your phone on and in the United States for a couple of days. Otherwise, Google will cancel your plan. So, if you go this route, subscribe to this plan at least a week or two before you leave for Taiwan.
It’s around $20 per month plus $10 per GB you use.
FAQ: How To Get a Taiwan SIM Card
Throughout this section, you’ll find some commonly asked questions regarding SIM cards and their usage in Taiwan.
What To Do if I Have Issues With My Service?
When encountering any issues with your cell phone, contact the telecom provider who supplemented your card. For instance, if you have a Chung Hwa Card, visit their nearest branch, grab a ticket, wait for them to call your number, then explain your situation.
I’ve found that most English-speaking telecom staff are in Taipei, so that’s your best bet.
What’s Cell Coverage Like in Taiwan?
Taiwan has mobile coverage almost anywhere you visit—even in the mountains. However, you may have weaker signals when underground or surrounded by thick concrete walls, which are most of their buildings.
Do I Need a SIM Card in Taiwan?
If you don’t have enough money to afford a Taiwan SIM card, then you can get away with relying on WiFi. However, doing so will restrict you from staying in the cities.
I highly recommend getting a SIM card in Taiwan to take advantage of all the applications they offer and to have the means to contact someone if something goes wrong.
It’s not difficult to get your hands on one of these smart cards. Either sign up for one from a cell phone store or pick up a prepaid card from the airport.
Otherwise, instead of learning how to get a Taiwan SIM card, you could opt for using a service like Google Fi.
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