Eye on Roaming Charges – China

Eye on Roaming Charges – China

Business travel to China has become increasingly common for UK companies spanning a wide range of sectors; forging international partnerships, exploring emerging markets, expanding global footprints – just a few of the many motivations for corporate visits to the Far East.

But while business travel to China holds a great deal of importance, there’s an ongoing issue that calls for a proactive approach: The potential expense of communication, both within China and back to the UK.

The Burden of Roaming Charges in China

For UK travellers, roaming charges in China can come as an unwelcome surprise – particularly for businesses that need to stay well-connected with their teams and clients while abroad.

Though specific charges vary from one provider and contract to the next, a basic overview of typical roaming costs in China is as follows:


  • Incoming calls: £2.30 per minute
  • Outgoing calls to the UK: £2.30 per minute


  • Outgoing text messages to the UK: £0.75 per message
  • Outgoing picture messages to the UK: £0.80 per message

Mobile Data:

  • Around £7.50 per day for a 500MB bolt-on

With high average costs like these, even basic activities – like making or receiving calls, sending messages, or using mobile data to download attachments – can quickly escalate into unacceptably high roaming costs.

Buying Local SIM Cards Upon Arrival

While the preferred option for many businesses is to purchase local SIM cards upon arrival to reduce roaming costs, doing so can throw several potential issues into play.

These include:

  • 1. Language Barriers: Many SIM card providers in China may not have English-speaking staff, making it challenging for non-native speakers to purchase and activate a SIM card, especially in smaller cities.
  • 2. Identification Requirements: To buy a local SIM card in China, you often need to provide identification documents like a passport, which can be inconvenient and raise privacy concerns for some travellers.
  • 3. Limited International Calling: Local SIM cards typically offer limited or expensive options for making international calls, which can be a significant drawback if you need to stay in touch with contacts outside of China.
  • 4. Incompatible Devices: Some international phones may not be compatible with Chinese networks, requiring you to have a compatible phone or purchase a local device.
  • 5. Data Package Limitations: While local data packages may be affordable, they often come with restrictions on usage and may not include features like tethering or international data roaming.
  • 6. Changing Regulations: China’s regulations regarding SIM card purchases and usage can change frequently, leading to potential difficulties or confusion for travellers.
  • 7. Inconvenience: Buying a local SIM card upon arrival can be time-consuming, involving trips to local stores, waiting in lines and dealing with paperwork.

So while it does have the potential to offer savings on standard rates, the process of buying a local SIM card might not be worth the hassle – especially if the trip is only for a few days.

A Flexible and Cost-Efficient Solution

What UK businesses need is a more flexible and cost-effective option, built around their travel plans and communication needs. At RoamingExpert, we offer bespoke mobile agreements, custom-tailored from scratch to match the precise requirements of our clients, including overseas travel to specific countries like China.

Just a few of the benefits of our personalised agreements include the following:

  • 1. 30-Day Rolling Contracts: We offer 30-day rolling contracts with no binding commitments, ensuring that our clients have the flexibility to adapt to changing needs without being locked into long-term arrangements.
  • 2. User-Friendly Centralised Portal: Our portal provides clients with easy access to manage their mobile services. This streamlined interface allows for convenient monitoring and control of usage, ensuring that costs are kept in check.
  • 3. Professional Account Management: We assign dedicated account managers to each client, offering personalised support and guidance. Our experts work closely with clients to understand their unique communication needs and craft solutions that fit seamlessly into their business strategies.
  • 4. Coverage Where Required: We recognise that business can take you to remote areas where connectivity can be challenging. Our tariffs provide coverage, ensuring that you stay connected even in less accessible regions.
  • 5. Cost-Effective Solutions: By analysing our clients’ past roaming activities and projecting their future requirements, we can create bespoke solutions that align with their needs and budgets with pinpoint precision. This means no unnecessary expenses and no surprises on your bill.

Don’t let elevated roaming charges in China hold back your business – choose Roaming Expert and stay connected without compromise.

If you’d like to find out more about our process, please check out how it works here and of course, feel free to give our team a call any time on +44 (0) 3300 555 777.

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