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Taiwan

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Basics Edit

The country has these 4 GSM-based providers which are listed below, along with their Chinese and brand names:

  • Chunghwa Telecom (Emome) 中華電信
  • Taiwan Mobile (myfone) 台灣大哥大
  • FarEasTone 遠傳電信
  • T Star 台灣之星

All of the above 4 companies offer prepaid SIM options that are easily accessible to visitors of Taiwan. A fifth operator is based on CDMA technology, that is not compatible to GSM devices and therefore not mentioned any further:

  • APTC (Asia Pacific Telecom) 亞太電信

The most popular MVNO is called ibon mobile although Carrefour Supermarket also offers own SIM card as well, but for voice-only. Coverage and speeds are very good in the country. For GSM-based providers 2G is on 900 and 1800 MHz (except T Star which is 3G/4G only). 3G is on all 4 networks on 2100 MHz in up to DC-HSPA speeds and 4G/LTE started in 2014 on all networks and is now on 700, 900, 1800 and 2600 MHz.

Availability Edit

SIM cards are readily available for visitors in Taiwan, but having the proper identification is a must. To save time and avoid hassle purchasing your prepaid SIM prior to leaving the airport can be recommended. The country boasts many free or payable WiFi options too. However, these should not be relied on as speeds are quite slow and most public WiFi agreement policies cite only light usage such as checking email, viewing websites etc. as well as some operate only during business hours of government buildings. WiFi options are explained in further detail at the bottom the article. Upon arrival in Taiwan you can choose to purchase a prepaid SIM Card using these methods.

Purchasing at airports: There are kiosks located inside the terminals of both airports of all the major providers, that sell the tourist SIM cards. The cards are exclusively for tourists and at a slightly lower price then in the city, include more data and as well their WiFi access which provides many hotspots throughout the city for the duration of your purchased SIM cards validity. The only identification required for these are your passport.

  • at Taoyuan International Airport (TPE): kiosks are located in both arrival and departure levels. Hours of operation: 8am - 10pm, daily.
  • at Taipei Songshan Airport (TSA): kiosks are located in terminal 1 at international arrivals. Hours of operation: 6am - 10pm, daily.

Purchasing in the city: You can go to any of the provider stores in town to purchase a prepaid SIM card for regular prices. The difference with this option is that you will require a secondary piece of identification e.g. a drivers license and have to sign forms. Please note that in stores in the city employees are less likely to speak English as the staff at the airport. Unlike the SIM cards purchased at the airport however, those you buy in a store can be reloaded and the expiry date extended indefinitely as long as the period of time between recharges doesn't exceed six months.

Service Edit

Taiwan is still one of the few countries that offers real unlimited internet. Rates are amongst the lowest in the world and networks are fast and efficient. No restrictions on website access such as the firewall in mainland China are imposed. Tethering is also allowed on plans as well. Furthermore, free public WiFi networks included in the purchase of airport SIMs also provide additional online access, but users should be advised that the networks can be laggy and quite slow at times. These give unlimited rates for short-time users and may be a better deal for some. Also please take care as they are public WiFi hotspots and when using better add some protection like encryption or VPN to safeguard sensible data.

Emome (by Chunghwa Telecom) Edit

Emome

Chunghwa Telecom is the largest telecommunications provider in the country dominating the market with an estimated 10.8 million subscribers as of Aug 2016. Their mobile products are marketed under the brand name Emome.

Availability Edit

Their prepaid SIM called Ideal Card must be initially purchased either at Chunghwa Telecom shops located throughout the city or at the kiosks located in the airports with different plans for visitors only.

Recharges Edit

There are several ways to recharge your Ideal card either by choosing to purchase "Data volume" or topping up by set NT$. Recharges can be done using the following methods:

  • via convenience stores like Familymart, 7-Eleven, Ok Mart: if your Chinese ability is limited and you are not able to use the computer terminals in store, you can ask one of the clerks and just show them the providers name in Chinese written above. For those who can read Chinese you will be able to select the data volume or top-up funds via 7-Elevens's iBon machine or Familymarts "Familyport". Upon selecting the desired voucher the terminal will print a receipt which you then bring to the cashier and they will charge you the amount and either give you a receipt with a voucher number included, or if you selected the automatic option via the terminal the recharge will process in less than 5 minutes and send a text to your phone that the recharge has been successful.
  • at Chunghwa stores: the same applies for the previous option just show them the Chinese for Ideal card, if they don't already speak English and they should help you.
  • on the Emome website: you can purchase the vouchers on the ideal card website as well and pay using credit card or Line pay. Their tutorial is quite easy to navigate if you make use of a translator tool: https://www.idealcard.com.tw/
  • by voucher code: locate the 12-digit voucher number of the receipt, dial 928 from your handset, or 0800-080-928 from another phone and follow the voice instructions to recharge your SIM card. If you purchase a data amount instead of a monetary amount, you won't need to actually follow the process of dialing 539 and 928, rather once you pay for the data volume, you will receive a text confirming that your purchase has been registered with your account and that the data volume has been confirmed. If you choose to purchase a monetary value to add to the account, you will have to locate the code on the receipt and dial 928, and key in the voucher number. Then call 539 and select what plan you want to subscribe too.

If your card balance is less than NT$ 60, or the expiration date is less than 15 days, you will receive a warning prompt every time a non-toll free outgoing call is made (the call will not be disrupted.) If the remaining airtime of your card remains only 20 seconds during an outgoing call, you will hear a series warning beeps so that steps can be taken to end the call gracefully. To check your balance and expiry date, you can also dial 928 on your handset.

3G plans Edit

Their SIM card is sold at NT$ 300 with the same credit preloaded, but no data allowance. Default rate for 3G is NT$0.05 per KB.

You can add their 3G Broadband Day Plans with unlimited 3G data:

  • 1 day: NT$ 100
  • 3 days: NT$ 250
  • 5 days: NT$ 300
  • 7 days: NT$ 450
  • 10 days: NT$ 500
  • 30 days: NT$ 900

A day is full 24 hours. Activation by calling 539 free of charge.

4G/LTE plans Edit

They sell different 4G/LTE starter packs:

  • NT$ 300: including NT$ 120 credit, 1.2 GB and 100 SMS
  • NT$ 500: including NT$ 200 credit, 2.2 GB and 250 SMS
  • NT$ 1000: 8 GB

Default rate for 4G data is NT$ 0.001 per KB. These Data Volume Plans can be added:

  • 1 GB for 60 days: NT$ 180
  • 2.2 GB for 60 days: NT$ 300
  • 5 GB for 120 days: NT$ 699
  • 8 GB for 180 days: NT$ 1000

To activate, dial 539 free of charge. It usually takes around 15 minutes to activate the service. However, the actual time should be based on system setting. The subscriber will receive an SMS for service activation and termination information. If data connection is being used at that time, the device shall be turned off. Restart your device to enjoy the special rate under this service.

You will receive SMS before (around one hour before termination of plan) and after termination of the plan. The system will send out SMS notification when the service is about to expire, and automatically cut-off data connection once service expires. 

If subscribers purchase the data by volume bundle again before the service expires or the allowance is used up, the expiry period will be extended immediately for another 60 days.

Airport Plans Edit

The following unlimited data 4G/LTE SIM packages are available at airports including Taipei Taoyuan Airport. They may be available in other service centers. These packages can't be renewed or extended, though this is disputed by some users:

  • 3-day pass: NT$ 300 including NT$ 100 credit and unlimited data and WiFi
  • 5-day pass: NT$ 300 including NT$ 50 credit and unlimited data and WiFi
  • 5-day pass: NT$ 500 including NT$ 300 credit and unlimited data and WiFi
  • 7-day pass: NT$ 500 including NT$ 150 credit and unlimited data and WiFi
  • 10-day pass: NT$ 500 including NT$ 100 credit and unlimited data and WiFi
  • 15-day pass: NT$ 700 including NT$ 100 credit and unlimited data and WiFi
  • 15-day pass: NT$ 800 including NT$ 250 credit and unlimited data and WiFi
  • 30-day pass: NT$ 1000 including NT$ 430 credit and unlimited data and WiFi
  • WeChat go: NT$ 250 including NT$ 100 credit, 1 GB data and 205 MB for WeChat valid for 16 days

One day is full 24 hours. For IDD calls reduced rates are given through the 019 prefix. This prefix has to be dialed before the country code. To connect to 50,000 hotspots of Chungwha WiFi on an iPhone you need to download this profile and for Android your device needs to support EAP-SIM verification.

More info Edit

Taiwan Mobile (myfone) Edit

Taiwan Mobile

Taiwan Mobile is the 2nd provider in the country. It has a good coverage and speeds. LTE has started and is also available for prepaid as of 2015. They market their products under the brand of “myfone” too.

Availability Edit

You can get their prepaid starter packs at many stores like in their own “myfone Stores” List: Service Locations . 4G/LTE prepaid SIM (starting at NT$ 300) is the most common and heavily promoted option. 3G prepaid SIM cards (starting at NT$ 345) are another option, if available and you are not a high volume data user. Once you arrive at Taoyuan Airport, exit the arriving hall to your left side and you will see the Taiwan Mobile Service Center at this side of the hall. The airport store has limited hours from 8am-24pm(Taoyuan International Airport), 8am-21pm(Kaohsiung International Airport). Even if you arrive late, There are many myfone stores at tourist spots like Taipei Main Station, Shihlin Night Market, Ximending plaza and Taipei Vieshow plaza. Passport is the only required ID needed to purchase the SIM from official outlets; 2nd form of ID is no longer asked.

Recharges Edit

Recharge vouchers of NT$ 300, 600 or 1000 are available at all major convenience stores throughout Taiwan, Taoyuan Airport myfone Service Center and TWM myfone outlets. Dial *101*2*VOUCHER# to top-up.

You can also recharge online. Visit their English TopUp Website and enter the phone number and your passport ID. If you have problems logging in with your passport ID, try to change the letter '0' with 'O' and/or vice versa. The validity of your card is extended by another 180 days.

Check balance: dial *867#. Check data balance: dial *867*100#

3G Plans Edit

Their 3G prepaid cards and data plans are no longer sold at Taiwan Mobile retail stores even though they are still listed on their website. Retail stores only sell the 4G/LTE prepaid SIM cards. Customer service claims that the 3G card can still be ordered online or over the phone via a credit card, which may not be a good option for short-term visitors. 3G SIM cards are around NT$ 350.

Default data is NT$ 0.045 per KB on their 3G cards. They offer two types of data plans:

  • Volume Plans (for 3G and 4G users)
    • 250 MB for 30 days: NT$ 50 (only 3G users)
    • 1.2 GB for 60 days: NT$ 180
    • 2.2 GB for 60 days: NT$ 300
    • 5 GB for 90 days: NT$ 699
    • 8 GB for 185 days: NT$ 1000
  • Day Plans with unlimited data (for 3G users only):
    • 1 day: NT$ 100
    • 3 days: NT$ 250
    • 5 days: NT$ 350
    • 7 days: NT$ 450
    • 10 days: NT$ 600
    • 30 days: NT$ 800

Once you buy the SIM, simply choose your data plan. Usage over the allotment is charged by the default rate, so be sure to renew the data pack if you need more data. To activate the volume-based or day-based data plan, dial 535 from your phone and follow the IVR instructions.

4G Plans Edit

According to reports their 4G plans are the only prepaid SIM cards now sold at retail stores. They have four different starters available.

  • NT$ 300: 1.2 GB data for 60 days, NT$ 2000 free intranet calls for 30 days, NT$ 100 credit
  • NT$ 300: unlimited data for 3 days, NT$ 300 credit
  • NT$ 500: 2.2 GB data for 60 days, NT$ 2000 free intranet calls for 30 days, NT$ 195 credit
  • NT$ 1000: 8 GB data for 185 days.

All these plans can be topped up with the Volume Plans packages from above that will be on 4G too, but not with the Day Plans. Exception: 250 MB Volume Plan is only available on 3G.

These different by Day Plans are offered for 4G SIM cards with unlimited data:

  • 1 day (= 24 hours): NT$ 100
  • 30 days (= 720 hours): NT$ 899. Data will be throttled to 5 Mbps having reached 10 GB

For activation dial 535, go to a CVS or myfone store.

Airport plans Edit

Like Chunghwa Telecom they sell at airports and some stores special prepaid SIM cards for short-term users and long-term users, all with real unlimited data:

  • on 4G/LTE with unlimited data (short-term users)
    • for 3 days: NT$ 100 airtime: NT$ 300
    • for 5 days: NT$ 50 airtime: NT$ 300
    • for 5 days: NT$ 300 airtime: NT$ 500
    • for 7 days: NT$ 150 airtime: NT$ 500
    • for 7 days: NT$ 300 airtime: NT$ 700
    • for 10 days: NT$ 100 airtime: NT$ 500
    • for 10 days: NT$ 400 airtime: NT$ 800
    • for 15 days: NT$ 100 airtime: NT$ 700
    • for 15 days: NT$ 400 airtime: NT$ 1000
    • for 30 days: NT$ 430 airtime: NT$ 1000

More info Edit

FarEasTone Edit

FarEasTone

FarEasTone is the 3rd network in Taiwan. It started in 1998, offers 3G and launched 4G/LTE in 2014 on 700, 1800 and 2600 MHz, opened for prepaid. It has good coverage and speeds.

Availability Edit

Their prepaid card is called “IF” and available for NT$ 350 with the same credit on in their FET stores and outlets. List: FET Stores

To select English as your default language, dial 777. After the greeting announcement, press "4" to switch languages. Then press "1" for English. The initial credit of NT$350 included in this SIM will be valid for 6 months from the first call you make. Every time you add credit to your account, your account valid period will be extended for 6 months from the date the credit is added.

You can top up via FET and convenience stores. You can recharge your credit amounts via store service people or kiosk,then dial 777 directly from your mobile phone, and follow the voice instruction. As of now, there are 3 types of credit amounts NT$ 300, NT$ 500, NT$ 1,000.

Data feature packs Edit

Default rate outside of packages is NT$ 0.0025 / 128 bytes. So use packs. They have multiple packages:

  • 3G data by days with unlimited data:
    • 1 day: NT$ 100
    • 3 days: NT$ 250
    • 5 days: NT$ 350
    • 30 days: NT$ 800
  • 3G data by volume:
    • 1 GB for 30 days: NT$ 180
    • 2 GB for 30 days: NT$ 350
  • 4G/LTE data for 30 days:
    • 1.2 GB: NT$ 180
    • 2.2 GB: NT$ 300
    • 5 GB: NT$ 699
    • 8 GB: NT$ 1000
  • 4G/LTE unlimited data for 30 days: NT$ 899

To subscribe dial 777, press 5 and 1 or 2. Or go to FET or convenient stores including 7-Eleven, Family-Mart, OK, Hi-Life.

Airport plans Edit

Like Chungwha and Taiwan Mobile they also have tourist plans sold at the airport at similar prices like the other operators (see above). Arriving at the airport compare the 4 major providers and check for promotions. Unfortunately, FarEastTone's airport rates are not published.

More info Edit

T STAR (Taiwan Star, formerly Vibo) Edit

T Star

T Star a.k.a. Taiwan Star is Taiwan’s smallest network. It was called Vibo before and has good coverage and reasonable speeds. It's on 3G 2100 MHz only and 4G/LTE on 900 and 2600 MHz with a 98% coverage in 2015, no 2G/GSM coverage to fall back. Check coverage before choosing: Tstar coverage map.

Airport Plan: Taiwan Card Edit

Their Taiwan card for tourists is only available for free from their T-STAR branch at terminals 1 and 2 of Taoyuan International Airport (map). It's only sold to tourists showing two IDs. It's valid for 180 days and you can top-up these combo packages on 3G or 4G/LTE with data and airtime:

  • on 3G with unlimited data:
    • NT$ 450: for 5 days with NT$ 300 airtime
    • NT$ 750: for 30 days with NT$ 500 airtime
  • on 4G/LTE with unlimited data:
    • NT$ 250: for 3 days with NT$ 100 airtime
    • NT$ 250: for 5 days with NT$ 50 airtime
    • NT$ 450: for 7 days with NT$ 120 airtime
    • NT$ 450: for 10 days with NT$ 100 airtime

For more days, you can top-up one of these plans at convenience store chains like 7-Eleven, Family Mart, OK Mart, and Hi-Life or online by credit card.

More info Edit

ibon mobile by 7-Eleven Edit

Ibon

ibon mobile is the biggest MVNO in the country, sold exclusively in the around 5000 7-Eleven stores in Taiwan. It operates on the network of FarEasTone in 2G and 3G, but still no 4G/LTE yet (see above).

Availability Edit

Their SIM card is available exclusively in about 5,000 7-Eleven stores. Two different prepaid starter packs are offered:

  • For NT$ 299 with 24 hours unlimited data and NT$ 299 airtime
  • For NT$ 399 with 120 hours unlimited data and NT$ 50 airtime

Top-up vouchers are sold at all 7-Eleven stores. They have 9 different voucher cards for voice or data. The 3 for voice and text are for NT$ 50, 300 and 500.

Data feature packs Edit

You have to load data by voucher cards sold at 7-Eleven stores. They have 7 denominations:

  • 1.2 GB for 30 days: NT$ 180
  • 3 GB for 90 days: NT$ 450
  • 1 day, unlimited: NT$ 100
  • 3 days, unlimited: NT$ 250
  • 5 days, unlimited: NT$ 350
  • 7 days, unlimited: NT$ 420
  • 30 days, unlimited: NT$ 800

More info Edit

Free WiFi Edit

In Taiwan there are some public WiFi networks available that visitors can use for free while staying in the country close to an hotspot.

iTaiwan WiFi Edit

ITaiwan

The government of Taiwan runs a free WiFi network that now has about 4,400 hotspots in major tourist spots, transportation hubs, cultural establishments and government offices all over the island.

You'll need to apply for your iTaiwan account at the iTaiwan online registration system for foreign visitors. Effective use of time is 30 days, if necessary, be extended to 60 days to 90 days.

If you want to create an online account the system will send a SMS to your cell phone number outside of Taiwan. Check their website as only certain nationalities can complete the verification via SMS. You can bypass this restriction by either just sending the verification code to a friend back home and getting them to tell you the number, or by sending the code to a virtual number using an app like Hushed.

Taipeh Free Public WiFi Access Edit

Taipei

In the capital of Taipei the city runs a free WiFi network in buses, MRT stations and public places.

The indoor/outdoor hotspot SSIDs for the Taipei Free wireless network service are “TPE-Free” and “TPE-Free_CHT.” The SSID for affiliate public busses in Taipei is “TPE-Free Bus.”

It serves indoor Taipei City Hall, 12 district administration centers, city libraries & branches, Taipei City Hospital & branches, Taipei MRT stations, and Metro malls and outdoors on main streets, main commercial and residential areas and populated public areas.

Taipei Free service is applicable to all and is not limited to Taipei citizens; the service is free and applicable to all with notebooks, pads, smartphones, or mobile devices within the wireless network coverage. Foreign passengers can also apply for an account at the airport or visitor centers to take advantage of this service.

You can register at several hotels (list), or with many overseas mobile numbers shown here.

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