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Wahed

tablet phone China?

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Wahed

我下個星期去中國(南京)學習一年但是我沒有手機。你知道我能否能用iPad(或者其他平板電腦)成為我的手機?我已經知道美國與中國的手機系統完全不一樣。有人能幫助我嗎?

 

Next week, I go to China (Nanjing) to study for year. Does anyone know if I can use my iPad as a phone there? I already know the Chinese phone system is completely different than ours. Anyone can advise please?

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大肚男

I'm not sure what you mean that the Chinese phone system is completely different than ours.

 

However, Chinese cellphones also use sim cards exactly like in the us.

 

Recently it's gotten harder to get soon cards in china, as most places require a national (Chinese) number. So I would suggest getting at the airport if that is an option.

 

Last time I was in China, September 2018, the only place to buy a sim card as a foreigner was either at a university or by getting it from a shady little shop. This was my experience in Beijing, Suzhou, and Changsha.

 

This is a stark contrast to how it was was years ago, when you could get sim cards anywhere, including at  newsstands that are at every street corner.

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mackie1402

If you have a residence permit (because you're studying), I would think you could take your passport to any of the major companies to get a SIM card. 

 

How would you use an iPad as a phone? What exactly do you mean?


If you have WeChat installed then you can make voice/video calls like that using the internet in China. 

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Wahed
1 hour ago, 大肚男 said:

I'm not sure what you mean that the Chinese phone system is completely different than ours.

I was referring to USA phones not being able to directly work in China. I'm not sure how to technically state this.

 

16 minutes ago, mackie1402 said:

How would you use an iPad as a phone? What exactly do you mean?

I mean being able to send/receive texts and make calls on-the-go (including emergency calls). I think my program requires everyone to have a cell phone that is always available/on.

 

I suppose Wechat could work and I could get a LTE iPad to ensure I have cellular wifi  at all times. I think everyone sends texts via Wechat only, yes? (or the vast majority of people)

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mackie1402
3 minutes ago, Wahed said:

I suppose Wechat could work and I could get a LTE iPad to ensure I have cellular wifi  at all times. I think everyone sends texts via Wechat only, yes? (or the vast majority of people)

 

Yeah WeChat is definitely the way to go. It's basically your phone and wallet in one. 

 

My advice would be to get a cheap smart phone in China. Don't be scared off by the sound of that, as you can get some good entry-level Xiao Mi and Huawei phones (about 750-1000 rmb / $100-140). If you were just travelling then of course it's not worth it, but considering you'll be in China for a year, it might be worth considering. 

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DavyJonesLocker

if you are here for a year then you will definitely need a local SIM. A number in china is like a limb here. 

 

you will have a residence permit so best just go to any China Mobile or China Unicom and get a contract and SIM. It will make life a lot easier, wechat alipay, shopping apps like Taobao, JingDong. Many people hold off for a while but end up getting one sooner or later

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ChTTay

Just get a sim upon arrival. If it works in your current phone then great, if not just get a Chinese brand android (xiaomi huawei etc).

 

Forget the iPad as a phone. You can use wechat on any tablet or phone so if you’ve got WiFi you can message and call friends on that. 

 

You 100% need a phone local number otherwise you can’t use wechat pay, can’t waimai, can’t verify logins etc.  

 

Do you need a residence permit for a SIM card now? In the past just needed your passport. 

 

5 hours ago, 大肚男 said:

Last time I was in China, September 2018, the only place to buy a sim card as a foreigner was either at a university or by getting it from a shady little shop. This was my experience in Beijing, Suzhou, and Changsha.

What do you mean here? We’re you trying to get a SIM card without using your I.D?You can get sim cards easily by just going into a phone store with your passport. A general phone store can help you but you can also go to the official providers stores (like s Unicom store). We have new staff arriving regularly and they always get local sims. There is no restriction against foreigners generally. 

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DavyJonesLocker
35 minutes ago, ChTTay said:

You can get sim cards easily by just going into a phone store with your passport.

 

I didn't pay attention to whether they actually needed to photocopy  the visa, as it was in the passport. I just handed over. 

 

I wonder if it's different  for a contract sim. I pay monthly and often forget to pay but don't get cut off.

 

 

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大肚男
3 hours ago, ChTTay said:

What do you mean here? We’re you trying to get a SIM card without using your I.D?You can get sim cards easily by just going into a phone store with your passport. A general phone store can help you but you can also go to the official providers stores (like s Unicom store). We have new staff arriving regularly and they always get local sims. There is no restriction against foreigners generally.

 

I did go to over 5 different official stores and they l had the same response, that they would not sell a sim card to a foreigner. I had my US passport with me, which had a 10 year Chinese visa.

 

So YMMV

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Wahed
7 hours ago, mackie1402 said:

My advice would be to get a cheap smart phone in China. 

I'd rather buy one here before I leave if at all possible. 

 

3 hours ago, ChTTay said:

You 100% need a phone local number otherwise you can’t use wechat pay, can’t waimai, can’t verify logins etc.  

Can't the iPad scan just like an iPhone to make purchases, verify logins, etc.?

 

2 hours ago, DavyJonesLocker said:

I pay monthly and often forget to pay but don't get cut off.

This is what my plan would be. I'd like to pay monthly and not sign any contracts.

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ChTTay
6 minutes ago, 大肚男 said:

I did go to over 5 different official stores and they l had the same response,

Weird!

 

5 minutes ago, Wahed said:

I'd like to pay monthly and not sign any contracts.

Contracts aren’t that common here. Mostly you buy a phone then get a SIM card. When you get the sim you pick the deal you want (I mean things like 100rmb a month for x minutes, messages and data).

 

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DavyJonesLocker
1 minute ago, Wahed said:

Can't the iPad scan just like an iPhone to make purchases, verify logins, etc.?

 

 

Often it's a text message with a code that you type into the wechat. Same with alipay, and other apps. I seem to do it few times a week for one thing or another. If you don't use apps for a period e.g. go back home, you end up having to relog back in and the verification process is a text message . 

 

CcTTay is right, it's hard to embrace  the digital technology on China without a cell phone number . I fully agree , get on as soon as you arrive as life will be much easier

 

Didi is another app that requires a phone number, so much easier and cheaper especially if your Chinese is not that good. No need to speak a word. 

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889

This is the first I've heard that passports with tourist visas can't get a SIM card. The usual problem is that only full-fledged customer service centres can do foreigner registration, so you'll be turned away from ordinary shops.

 

The compatibility issue largely concerns data. As said, safest to invest in a cheap Chinese phone. Why wave an Ipad on the street anyway.

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Wahed

If I'm understanding this correctly, things are bit easier to get done with a cell phone but it seems like a tablet will also suffice quite aptly. Keep in mind, I'm referring to LTE iPads as these have a phone number since they can take a SIM card.

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889

But they have to support the right frequencies.

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ChTTay

Seems the absolute easiest is to use a phone. Don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone whip out an iPad to pay for something using wechat pay / Alipay. Those people could be out there I guess... 

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Shelley
3 hours ago, Wahed said:
10 hours ago, mackie1402 said:

My advice would be to get a cheap smart phone in China. 

I'd rather buy one here before I leave if at all possible. 

 

I would highly recommend buying one in China, it will work right out of the box as it were and there are geo restrictions on some things. For example I can't use the wallet even though I have a Huawei and wechat because it knows its a UK one. It would just be easier and its not that expensive if you get a Huawei or Xiao Mi.

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Flickserve

Another user on the forum had a lot of problems with overseas iPhone and eventually had to make some compromises.

 

I would go for a completely new and cheap Android phone and new sim card both bought in China.

 

What is the reason for preferring to use iPad? Seems rather bulky to me.

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889

No doubt all of his stuff is on it and he's familiar with using it.

 

For something new and cheap in China it'll be Android. That's not just a bit different in terms of OS and apps, but something bought in China won't have access to Google Play even with a VPN, though there may be a workaround.

 

So I understand his reasoning, though I still think getting a cheap Android for data/phone is a better decision.

 

I don't know: do Ipads support Bluetooth tethering?

 

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ChTTay

Could just get an iPhone non-contract (not tied to a carrier) and use it in China. I got my iPhone a few Christmases ago from the U.S and it works great. No issues. A lot of Chinese people also do this as the phones are cheaper in the US. 

 

Did the previous user bring a phone that was tied to a network? Not sure but that might have been the issue. 

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