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Phone compatibility in China

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by suem75, Jul 5, 2019.

  1. suem75

    suem75 Occasional commenter

    I was just about to buy a new smartphone when I mentioned going to China, and the guy at Carphone Warehouse said 'Android phones purchased here (UK) tend not to work on the Chinese network'

    I guess this is something like the past having to get a 'dual band' phone if using it in the USA. That was easier ecause the packaging on the phone would say 'dual band'.

    Is there an equivalent wording I should look for? Or some kind of special phone? I know I-phones have global compatibility but they're twice the price!
  2. february31st

    february31st Established commenter

    As long as the phone is not locked by the carrier it will work in China. This will prevent the problem of the Little Chinese Fire Wall issue we come across now and again.
    suem75 likes this.
  3. Helen-Back

    Helen-Back Occasional commenter

    Shouldnt be a problem if its unlocked. Download a VPN before you arrive.
  4. rouxx

    rouxx Lead commenter

    Don't know if this is applicable to China, but I am in the process of buying a new smartphone in Europe to take back with me to Africa, and the phone says on the box "European sim only" apparently what you need to do to unlock this feature is make a five minute call. It appears to be a common method used by Samsung to limit grey market. I would go back to carphone warehouse and ask them if this is what they are talking about.


    The other thing is there are issues with android. com and Google in China ... Install a VPN.
    suem75 likes this.
  5. dumbbells66

    dumbbells66 Lead commenter

    You just have to call someone for 5 minutes using a European operator and its unlocked. I did exactly this 2 months ago, and it works perfectly
  6. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    not necessarily, I have had to buy a new phone at the airport because the phone I arrived with was useless, and my taxi was waiting for my phone call to come and get me!
  7. dumbbells66

    dumbbells66 Lead commenter

    Surely thats because your phone was locked by your carrier. You need an unlocked one if you are doing any serious amount of travelling. I've taken mine to 16 countries over the last 4 years without an issue because its unlocked.
  8. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    I don't think so. Most people coudn't get their European phones to work. The expat community I was visiting told me later that they had all bought new phones on arrival
  9. dumbbells66

    dumbbells66 Lead commenter

    Perhaps its just a china thing then
  10. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    I really don't know. My phone has worked in some countries, but not others. I don't know why
  11. february31st

    february31st Established commenter

    Never had a problem with a phone I buy OTC for cash, the issue comes when you use a phone provided as part of your contract.

    I would visit a phone shop in a side street and not on the high street, inform them you want a world free phone.

    But I will check to see if there are any restrictions on using a Chinese sim in a western phone, this might be new.
  12. suem75

    suem75 Occasional commenter

    So far as I'm able to find out - possibly a China thing, though the USA can present compatibility issues, too. It's something to do with the frequency used by the network and whether the phone can 'tune in' to that frequency. Or that's how I understood any technical explanations I've found ;)

    I've had a couple of websites recommended for checking compatibility; not sure if I'm allowed to share links.

    So, it'll be 'that one's pretty, the price is acceptable, check compatibility'. Now he shock's wearing off - I thought smartphones were not region specific, given their portable nature - I realise it's just like getting a 'dual band' phone (pre Smartphone era) back in the old days (1990s), when I lived in the States.

    Seems weird though that I'd never heard of the whole potential network incompatibility thing before yesterday.
  13. rouxx

    rouxx Lead commenter

  14. dumbbells66

    dumbbells66 Lead commenter

    I just used my unlocked European phone in the US last week. No issues what so ever.
  15. RoadToRags

    RoadToRags New commenter

    My oneplus one would not work on China Telecom, which for some reason uses different 4g frequencies to the other two main carriers.

    Shows that problems do crop up unexpectedly.
    Bill8899 and suem75 like this.

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