How to Get SIM Card / Use Cell Phones

I’m trying to get a new cell phone and number from Far EasTone. Does anybody know of a way to avoid the “foreigner penalty”? If I don’t have a Taiwan ID the cost for the phone and service more than doubles.

Immigrate and save on your cell phone fees! Catchy, huh?

I’m interested in this too, as I will be needing one shortly and have heard it’s possible- and not so difficult- to get one, but have also heard the opposite from Taiwanese friends. Can anyone fill in the blanks here on what is necessary to get a call phone and service?

As for immigrating, not that I’m really considering this, but is that even possible? I’ve never heard of an outsider gaining more than Resident status.

just buy a cheap phone, or an expensive one if you want to look cool on the bus… and get the OK card package. then you just buy “refill” cards at 7-11 or some other convenient convenience store.

i’ve been told, i don’t know how many time, that it’s cheaper in the long run to just get an actual service contract blah blah blah, but i just don’t need the hassle.

cheap and easy is the way to go!

Or just put the phone in someones name - boss, girlfriend, boyfriend, landlord etc.

If you move far enough up the food chain, rumor has it that you can get a “real” contract without Taiwan ID. I know it’s very un-cool of me, but since I was first bilked (truly bilked, I would NEVER have bought a Chunghwa product of my own free will) into buying a Chunghwa Telecom pre-paid card, and then used the number, then gave the number out — when I wanted to save money by converting to a “regular” account, they first told me (at length) that they wouldn’t let me. Since I had a lot of free time that particular day, I stood in the cellphone section of Chunghwa in front of an appreciative audience explaining at length and at a fair volume why this constituted racial discrimination, how Chunghwa had no statistical proof that foreigners were any likelier to fail to pay or to skip the country before paying bills, how there was so much red tape it was actually harder for us to leave than for a Taiwanese, etc. etc.

In the end they tired and gave me a “regular” account. I also refused to get any signature or guarantor or to submit to a “credit check” although they argued that this was done for “all” accounts…makes you wonder. Anyway, if you set it up to automatically be deducted from a bank account, it makes them feel MUCH better (although what good that is I do not know; I could still drain the account, run up the bill and hop on a plane, but don’t tell them. :unamused: )

There have been previous posts detailing exactly whom one has to speak to at various companies. I called one company at one point (posted it here but don’t remember which) and the girl told me (she was like Level III on the food chain) that if you went to the main headquarters, NOT to some franchise just selling cellphones and contracts on the street, they would be happy to help you, even if you were a foreigner. Try searching for “cell phone” and maybe even “food chain”, a term I tend to use when talking about any kind of telephone “customer service” contact, I’m sure it will come up.

I went to the Taipei City Mall under the main station today and checked around on cell phones, the cheapest ones about 3000NT. Is this about right? And they offered the pre-paid card for 350NT, saying something about refilling it when it runs out?

Any updates to this thread on rates? I’ve been using the IF card refills and am wondering if I should just change to a plan. Anybody on an IF plan? Any plan? Is it worth it?

I think I’ll have to look into changing my plan since my phone charges are floating around 16,000$ a month. Damn convenience of a mobile phone.

KG Telecom will now let you have regular account with an ARC, but you have to put down a NT$3000 deposit, and you cannot get any of the free or reduced price phone promotions.

An improvement over their previous policies, but still less than ideal.

Hey gang,

quick question, should I bring my current phone with me to Taiwan? I am going to be handing over my sim card/phone number to my mom, is it worth me bringing my phone? Like, would the sim cards there be down with my phone? (AT&T, if the brand of phone matters).

Lookin’ to save cash…

chances are your fone might not work in taiwan unless it can be unlocked. A lot of the cell fones used in the USA are only specifically for that fone company and wont work in taiwan.

you could just get a fone in taiwan (basic one) for bout 2000nt which you own.

The other thing to consider is whether your current phone can display traditional Chinese characters. You may not type them in yourself, but it can be useful if someone texts you directions in Chinese so you can show where you want to go to taxi drivers.

Call AT&T technical support (not the number for billing questions, but the one for technical problems with your phone) and say you are going out of the country and need to unlock your phone for use with a foreign SIM card.

I’ve generally been able to do this with AT&T and T-mobile with no hassle. Some carriers (I think T-mobile) have a policy that you have to have been a customer for a year or something. But just give it a try regardless.

claimui is right. I’m a long time customer of T-Mobile but when I called about 9 months ago they said there would be a small charge on my bill every month for a certain amount of time. When the first iPhones came out I helped my dad out with unlocking them for travel and AT&T was free.

pretty sure all (if not all) phones here are unlocked :smiley:

AT&T unlocks for free… but they assert they will only do it 5 times for a given phone. Actually, I don’t think they keep track.

Someone told me that U.S. phones work on different frequencies from non-US phones, at least for one of the three bands.

Quite right. In the States, 850 and 1900 MHz bands are used. In Taiwan, the frequencies used are 900 and 1800. Generally speaking most GSM phones (especially those marketed as world phones) are tri-band. A phone with a quad-band transceiver is obviously the safest choice. Alternately, any 3G UMTS phone with 2100 MHz would also work nicely. From T-Mobile, that’s G1 or myTouch and I believe the new iPhone 3GS from AT&T also has a 2100 MHz radio.

List of Taiwan’s 3G carriers:

I plan to get a mobile line as soon as I landed on Taiwan soil, as I will need to contact my associate whom I have never met before to come fetch me.

I wonder if the practice here requires the foreigner to hold an ARC or WP before allowing a simple pay as you call type of SIM card.

Yes, you need 2 pieces of ID. One is an ARC, and one is either a health card or drivers licence or your passport.

I had one store that said I could use foreign ID and my passport, but I dont believe that will work…