To many, Hong Kong is just a transit or stopover destination.
That is, just staying in the transit hall of Hong Kong International Airport for a few hours or overnight or seeing the country for a few days.
But I believe you cannot fully enjoy and experience Hong Kong in just a few days.
I stayed with my boyfriend, a Hong Kong local, during my latest visit to Hong Kong for two weeks.
It allowed me to see the country from a different perspective than a regular traveler… and I loved it 😍.
But even then… two weeks may be a bit too short.
But the issue is that Hong Kong is not as cheap as many other Southeast Asian countries – or even China up north.
And the same can be said about SIM card prices and mobile data rates – they could be cheaper, but they are not too bad.
Anyway, as I had two full weeks to explore Hong Kong, I had plenty of time to test various SIM cards and travel eSIMs.
In fact, I tested four local SIM cards and eSIMs, including CSL Mobile, eight travel eSIMs & one travel SIM card by Holisdaysimcard (which I also used in Australia and Singapore).
And I did more than 55 speed tests with each SIM card and (travel) (e)SIM (card) – going to tourist attractions and visiting residential districts (in the New Territories) so that you can have a solid idea of how each SIM card or eSIM performs depending on your style of travel.
So I spent about 2560 HKD (≈ 326.15 USD) for my Hong Kong SIM card and travel eSIM review series – yeah… I went all out for you 😎.
So let's see how good or bad CSL Mobile is, shall we?
Original publication: 27th of January 2023. Last updated: 10th of April 2023.
Table of Contents
Who is CSL Mobile?
CSL Mobile by Hong Kong Telecom (HKT (香港電訊有限公司)) is the second-largest mobile operator in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong Telecom has numerous sub-brands, including 1O1O, 7-Connect, Club SIM, CSL Mobile of course & SUN Mobile.
CSL Mobile is Hong Kong Telecom's leading brand, so it will get the most focus in this section.
But I will also write about 7-Connect and Club SIM.
Why not about 1O1O and SUN Mobile?
1O1O is Hong Kong Telecom's premium brand, focusing solely on postpaid customers.
SUN Mobile does have a prepaid line, Flex-Mobile, but it is expensive (compared to the other offers) and throttles speeds to 1.5 Mbps (slow!).
Worry not; you have plenty of options with CSL Mobile itself anyway.
In Hong Kong, you have four mobile network operators (and various sub-brands) offering prepaid services easily accessible to travelers:
- China Mobile Hong Kong (CMHK – 中國移動香港有限公司)
- CSL Mobile by Hong Kong Telekom (HKT (香港電訊有限公司) – 香港移動通訊有限公司) – includes 7-Connect & Club SIM
- 3 (Three) Hong Kong (3香港) – includes SoSIM
- SmarTone Hong Kong (數碼通)
As you know, I tested the other three mobile operators during my stay in Hong Kong. You can read them here: China Mobile Hong Kong Mobile, 3 Hong Kong & SmarTone Hong Kong.
Let's talk about CSL Mobile's coverage first, after these quick frequency details:
- 2G: 900 MHz & 1800 MHz
- 3G: 900 MHz & 2100 MHz
- 4G/LTE: 900 MHz (Band 8), 1800 MHz (Band 3) & 2600 MHz (Band 7)
- 5G NR: 3500 MHz (n78) & 4700 MHz (n79) – not for prepaid customers (yet)
- VoLTE: Yes
- VoWiFi: Yes
Here you have CSL Mobile's APN settings:
- Name: HK Prepaid
- APN: mobile
Note: leave anything not mentioned above untouched.
CSL Mobile Coverage + My Experience
You can have a mobile operator providing you 1 Gbps download speeds.
But it will be useless if it covers only one street in Hong Kong.
So, how is CSL Mobile's coverage?
Honestly, the four mobile operators cover practically all of Hong Kong (mostly because it is a small city-state), with an availability of more than 98.6%.
4G/LTE reception is so good in Hong Kong that I thought 3G did not exist anymore (until 3 Hong Kong was stuck at 3G a handful of times 😩).
When looking at 5G NR availability, CSL Mobile has the best availability together with China Mobile Hong Kong (22.9%). Ahead of 3 Hong Kong (21.4%) and SmarTone Hong Kong (17.7%).
So far, I have been talking about coverage from other reports, but what was my coverage experience with CSL Mobile?
It was excellent, honestly – I had nothing to complain about.
CSL Mobile did not allow prepaid customers to use 5G NR (yet), so I could not try it out (unlike China Mobile Hong Kong and SmarTone Hong Kong).
Surprisingly, I never fell back down to 3G during my stay in Hong Kong, which I thought was remarkable – not even once.
And yes, that includes while being on the MTR too.
In fact, I believe that Hong Kong is the only country (in my experience) where your connection does not cut off while undergroud – even when the train is on the move.
So that is cool 😎.
Below is CSL Mobile's coverage map produced by Speedtest:
How to Get a CSL Mobile SIM Card (or eSIM) & Prices
Now that you have a basic understanding of CSL Mobile and the telecom market in New Zealand, it is now time to talk about how to actually get a CSL Mobile SIM card.
Unlike most countries in Asia, I do not recommend visiting a CSL Mobile store to get a CSL Mobile Hong Kong SIM card.
Well, it is not that I discourage it; it is just not required.
CSL Mobile SIM cards are widely available from resellers like 7-Eleven and Circle K.
In fact, if the convenience store has SIM cards in stock, which many do, it will most likely be a CSL Mobile one, followed by China Mobile Hong Kong.
But you are free to visit 1O1O, CSL, or HKT stores too, but most will tell you to go to the nearest 7-Eleven or Circle K anyway because they tend to cater to postpaid customers only.
In terms of grocery stores, Wellcome (with two ls indeed) often sells CSL Mobile SIM cards as well, but it will be Club SIM or SIM cards targeting the domestic helper community (Filipinos, Indonesian & Thai workers).
Previously, many supermarkets did too, but as of March 2022, SIM card registration rules came into effect in Hong Kong after avoiding it for many years, making the country the final East Asian country to do so.
- Find out which countries have SIM card registration regulations and what is required from you (lookup tool)
And what about at Hong Kong International Airport? The 1O1O store sells tourist SIM cards (Discover Hong Kong Tourist) and travel SIM cards for overseas use at its store.
And the 7-Eleven sells all kinds of CSL Mobile starter packs, including its tourist SIM cards.
TIP: if you want the CSL Mobile Discover Hong Kong Tourist SIM card, go to the 1O1O store instead because you can save 20 HKD when you get the 118 HKD starter pack (which can also be used in Macau).
Disclaimer: the SIM card prices mentioned in the review were current when I was in Hong Kong – the offering and prices may have changed since then. To see CSL Mobile Hong Kong's current starter packs, check out my Hong Kong SIM card buying guide
For a more in-depth guide about (CSL Mobile) SIM cards at the airport, check out my Hong Kong International Airport SIM card buying guide.
Now is actually a good time to introduce you to many of Hong Kong Telecom's mobile brands because there are plenty, and some of them can be useful to you:
- 1O1O – premium brand targeting postpaid customers only. Only the airport store deals with prepaid customers
- CSL Mobile – most popular HKT brand. Many SIM cards are accessible to tourists too (but you should avoid the one for domestic helpers because they are not that useful to travelers)
- 7-Connect – a mobile brand in partnership with 7-Eleven Hong Kong. Slowly being replaced by Club SIM
- Club SIM – targeting younger customers. A prepaid option is available (including eSIMs)
- SUN Mobile – not sure how I should position it. It does have a prepaid line (Flex-Mobile), but it is expensive and throttles speeds @ 3.6 Mbps (slow!)
There are certainly way more brands out there, but you will probably see the stores or SIM card starter packs of the ones mentioned above.
So, which CSL Mobile SIM cards are available? Quite some.
The following four CSL Mobile regular SIM cards are available:
|48 HKD||6 GB||“Unlimited”, 10 000 minutes||30 days|
|100 HKD||10 GB||“Unlimited”, 10 000 minutes||365 days|
|180 HKD||28 GB||“Unlimited”, 10 000 minutes||365 days|
|298 HKD||40 GB||“Unlimited”, 10 000 minutes||365 days|
The following three CSL Mobile New Series SIM cards are available:
|Price||SIM Card||Credit||Data||Local Minutes||Validity|
|58 HKD||Student 4G Prepaid SIM 1||20 HKD||“Unlimited”, 2 GB 2||500 minutes||30 days|
|78 HKD||PaMa 4G Prepaid SIM||78 HKD||2 GB||500 minutes||30 days|
|298 HKD||Gamer 4G Prepaid SIM||60 HKD||20 GB||500 minutes||30 days|
1 you do not need to be a student to get this SIM card
2 +unlimited data @ 512 Kbps after exhausting your data allowance (super slow!)
You can also get the 7-Connect SIM card, not to be confused with the 7-Eleven Club SIM, for 98 HKD with 1 GB every 30 days (6 GB), valid for 180 days.
Although this SIM card is slowly being replaced with Club SIM, so you will have a hard time finding one.
As mentioned above, you also have the 7-Eleven Club SIM, costing 58 HKD instead, but you get 20 GB (@ 42 Mbps) and unlimited local minutes for 30 days instead.
Finally, you have the CSL Mobile Data Monthly SIM with 20 HKD credit, 18 GB of data and 1000 local minutes for 30 days, costing 98 HKD (it is indeed not a data-only SIM card, even though the name indirectly suggests that).
Short-term visitors and tourists can also get the CSL Mobile Discover Hong Kong Tourist SIM cards – CSL Mobile's tourist offering.
The following two CSL Mobile Discover Hong Kong Tourist SIM cards are available:
|Price||Credit||Data 1||Local Minutes||Validity|
|88 HKD||30 HKD||3 GB||Unlimited||5 days|
|118 HKD||48 HKD||8 GB||Unlimited||8 days|
1 also in Macau
So, where did I buy my CSL Mobile SIM Card?
I initially used the 100 HKD 5 GB for 365 days starter pack my boyfriend got for me as a gift a few months earlier (yes, I collect SIM cards, lol).
Eventually, I bought the 180 HKD 14 GB for 365 days starter pack from a local 7-Eleven because I knew I needed much more data.
Why did I not top up the initial SIM card with a data-featured plan? Was that not possible?
It was possible (and still is).
But my boyfriend actually wanted to use a 3 Hong Kong's SoSIM SIM card again, but registration was a pain for some reason (because he had an older SoSIM SIM card from his previous trip, and 3 Hong Kong did not allow him to register a new SIM card somehow).
So I gave him the 100 HKD starter pack back (although I do not think he realized it was the SIM card he bought for me 🤣).
You may have to try various 7-Elevens or Circle K to get the starter pack you want.
The same applies to Club SIM SIM cards.
They are only sold at 7-Eleven, but not all have these SIM cards in stock.
TIP: if you want to save up to 50% on your CSL Mobile starter pack, go to Sham Shui Po (the nearest MTR station has the same name) and get your SIM card there from one of the many resellers.
Yes, these are legitimate SIM cards. The resellers can sell the local SIM cards at low(er) prices because (1) they bought them in bulk or (2) they got a special deal. Travel SIM cards for worldwide use are sold here for competitive prices but note that many have speed restrictions.
Some resellers even allow you to pick your phone number for an additional fee (phone numbers containing multiple 8s are more expensive because they are considered a lucky number in Chinese culture).
Note that none of the SIM cards listed so far allow you to use CSL Mobile's 5G NR network.
At least not when I was in Hong Kong, but that may have changed by now.
If you want to use 5G NR, go with China Mobile Hong Kong's MySIM 5G SIM card (48 HKD) or SmarTone Hong Kong's 118 HKD SIM card.
After you purchase your CSL Mobile SIM card, every store will remind you that self-registration is mandatory before using your SIM card.
If you ask them if they can assist you with registration, most will say no 🗿 (but you can go back if you experience issues with registration… but they want you to try it yourself because they cannot be bothered, it seems).
Like many East- and Southeast Asian countries, self-registration has been made easy in Hong Kong and can be done online.
Do not bother downloading the China Mobile Hong Kong app for registration because it is just the registration page embedded in the app, and it is more clumsy to do so.
And you can also register ten prepaid SIM cards PER mobile operator (unlike Singapore's strict limit of three).
Do you even need that many active SIM cards in your name? Probably not – not even me, but at least Hong Kong is generous with its allowance 😎.
I will not go over the steps on how self-registration works with CSL Mobile because they are easy to follow.
But you should know that you have to take a photo of your passport, specifically the part with the machine-readable section, and upload it to the CSL Mobile website.
But preferably not as in the photo above because the holder covers the upper right corner (the site will not accept a picture like this).
Follow the steps, and your SIM card should be registered within five minutes (you will be notified by email and text message).
In the meantime, dial *109# to ensure you can receive text messages, as you often have to perform an action before the SIM cards get properly connected to the network.
Note that because of the SIM card registration law, your phone number is no longer listed on the starter pack.
Instead, your CSL Mobile phone number will be assigned to you once registration has been successful.
That is it! You have now successfully activated and registered your CSL Mobile SIM card.
Okay, that is enough talk about SIM cards – what about the new and incredible eSIM technology?
While CSL Mobile has eSIMs, they are currently not offered to prepaid customers.
If you do not care about calling or texting, getting a travel eSIM from Airalo, Holafly, Nomad, Simify, or Ubigi can be an option if you really want to use an eSIM.
The links above will get you to my in-depth reviews of those eSIMs when used in Hong Kong.
But if you want a quick comparison of the travel eSIMs I recommend for Hong Kong, you should read my Hong Kong eSIM comparison guide – I also drop a few discount codes for you 😏.
CSL Mobile Plans, Bundles & Offers
CSL Mobile, 7-Connect & Club SIM have five data-featured prepaid plans:
- 4.G Monthly Plans (combo for Club SIM)
- Local Data Passes
- Local Data Passes for CSL Data Monthly SIM & New Series Prepaid
- Local Data Passes for 7-Connect
- Data Packs (for Club SIM)
Disclaimer: these were the available plans at the time I was in Hong Kong – the offering may have changed since then (including whether 5G NR is available to prepaid customers or not). To see CSL Mobile's current plans, check out my Hong Kong SIM card buying guide (which gets updated regularly – at least two times a year).
I will list all the prices in HKD (Hong Kong Dollar).
To convert HKD to your currency (let's say NTD – New Taiwan Dollar) with up-to-date exchange rates, use the Wise Currency Converter tool.
4.5G Monthly Plans for Club SIM
The 4.5G Monthly Plans are combo bundles with data (without 5G NR access) and minutes exclusively for the Club SIM SIM card.
4.5G Monthly Plans can be activated on the Club SIM app:
|Price||Data 1||Local Minutes||Validity|
|58 HKD||20 GB||Unlimited||1 month|
|88 HKD||40 GB||Unlimited||1 month|
|128 HKD||80 GB||Unlimited||1 month|
1 @ 42 Mbps
Local Data Passes for CSL Mobile
The Local Data Passes are data bundles (without 5G NR access).
Local Data Passes can be activated by dialing the Activation Code:
|3 HKD||3 GB||2 hours||*101*532*4#|
|18 HKD||6 GB||1 day||*101*532*1#|
|28 HKD||1 GB||365 days||*101*835*37#|
|38 HKD||2 GB||30 days 1||*101*835*1#|
|38 HKD||9 GB||3 days||*101*532*2#|
|48 HKD||6 GB 2||30 days 1||*101*835*3#|
|68 HKD||10 GB||365 days||*101*835*38#|
|68 HKD||12 GB||7 days||*101*532*3#|
|78 HKD||18 GB 3||30 days 1||*101*835*21#|
|168 HKD||28 GB||365 days||*101*835*39#|
|238 HKD||40 GB||365 days||*101*835*40#|
2 +300 local minutes
3 +1000 local minutes
Local Data Passes for CSL Data Monthly SIM & New Series Prepaid for CSL Mobile
The Local Data Passes for CSL Data Monthly SIM & New Series Prepaid are data bundles (without 5G NR access) exclusively for the CSL Data Monthly SIM & New Series Prepaid SIM cards.
Local Data Passes for CSL Data Monthly SIM & New Series Prepaid can be activated by dialing the Activation Code:
|3 HKD||3 GB||2 hours||*101*937*1#|
|18 HKD||6 GB||1 day||*101*937*11#|
|28 HKD||1 GB||365 days||*101*937*2#|
|38 HKD||9 GB||3 days||*101*937*12#|
|38 HKD||“Unlimited”, 2 GB 1||30 days 4||*101*937*98#|
|48 HKD||“Unlimited”, 6 GB 1, 2||30 days 4||*101*937*16#|
|68 HKD||10 GB||365 days||*101*937*14#|
|68 HKD||12 GB||7 days||*101*937*13#|
|78 HKD||“Unlimited”, 18 GB 1, 3||30 days 4||*101*937*17#|
|168 HKD||28 GB||365 days||*101*937*8#|
|238 HKD||40 GB||365 days||*101*937*4#|
1 +unlimited data @ 512 Kbps after exhausting your data allowance (super slow!)
2 +300 local minutes
3 +1000 local minutes
Local Data Passes for 7-Connect
The Local Data Passes for 7-Connect are data bundles (without 5G NR access) exclusively for the 7-Connect SM card.
Local Data Passes for 7-Connect can be activated by dialing the Activation Code:
|18 HKD||1.2 GB||1 day||*122*532*1#|
|38 HKD||2 GB||3 days||*122*532*2#|
|58 HKD||1 GB/30 days (6 GB)||180 days||*122*532*0#|
|68 HKD||3 GB||7 days||*122*532*3#|
|90 HKD||1 GB||30 days||*122*532*5#|
|218 HKD||2 GB||Until SIM card expires||*122*532*4#|
Data Packs for Club SIM
The Data Packs are data bundles (without 5G NR access) exclusively for the Club SIM SIM card.
4.5G Monthly Plans can be activated on the Club SIM app:
|28 HKD||5 GB||90 days|
|48 HKD||10 GB||90 days|
|98 HKD||30 GB||90 days|
CSL Mobile Top-Up, Recharge & Balance Check
CSL Mobile top-up vouchers are sold in CSL stores and (some) 1O1O stores (but not all of them), grocery stores, corner shops & electronics shops throughout Hong Kong.
To top up your CSL Mobile SIM card, call 171 111 and follow the instructions.
You can also recharge online with (international) debit and credit cards.
Dial *109# (and *122*1# for 7-Connect) to check your CSL Mobile balance.
You can also top up and check your balance on the csl. app (Android/iOS/Huawei AppGallery).
For Club SIM, use the Club SIM app (Android/iOS).
CSL Mobile Speed Test Results in Hong Kong
Alright, now it is time to talk about the speeds you can expect with CSL Mobile after covering all the other essential topics like coverage.
But before I share my 56 speed test results throughout Hong Kong (mostly on Hong Kong Island and Kowloon), I want to set the stage first and make a small comparison with CSL Mobile's competition.
CSL Mobile is regarded by Speedtest as the second-slowest mobile operator in Hong Kong in Q1 2022.
With a median download speed of 45.96 Mbps, CSL Mobile is ahead of 3 Hong Kong (32.52 Mbps) but behind SmarTone Hong Kong (48.14 Mbps) and China Mobile Hong Kong (66.11 Mbps).
The results are a bit different, in a bad way, when looking at 5G NR speeds: CSL Mobile is the slowest with a median download speed of 116.80 Mbps, behind SmarTone Hong Kong (145.20 Mbps), 3 Hong Kong (155.81 Mbps) & China Mobile Hong Kong (172.19 Mbps).
As mentioned earlier, CSL Mobile did not allow prepaid customers to use 5G NR when I was in Hong Kong (but that may have been changed by now).
Anyway, I did speed tests with the Speedtest app throughout Hong Kong.
For reference, I consider an average download speed of 25 Mbps and an average of 10 Mbps upload speed fast enough.
Preferably, download speeds should be 100 Mbps+ on 4G/LTE… but we are not there yet 🗿.
But why these averages?
A download speed of more than 25 Mbps is enough to video stream content @ 4k resolution.
Social media sites that allow for live streaming, like Facebook Live, recommend an upload speed of at least 10 Mbps.
So, that is why – but that does not mean that a download speed of less than 100 Mbps excited me 😏.
But Australia spoiled… everything slower than 300 Mbps is slow now 🤣.
Anyway, you will also see that some of the results are in red, green, or in italics.
Results in italics are on 3G.
The results in green represent that that result was the fastest download or upload speed of all the Hong Kong mobile operators (China Mobile Hong Kong, CSL Mobile, 3 Hong Kong & SmarTone Hong Kong).
The results in red are the opposite; they are the slowest of them all.
Unlike most of my reviews, I will not split Hong Kong reviews into cities because Hong Kong is a city-state.
Yes, it officially has cities (like the City of Victoria, Kowloon & New Kowloon; the Government of Hong Kong does not use them for administrative purposes – only as geographical limits.
I could have split it up in Hong Kong's 18 districts between Hong Kong Island, Kowloon & New Territories, but that would have wasted our time (you reading this review and me writing it).
Some of these districts, especially those in the New Territories, are mainly/entirely residential, so there is little incentive for tourists like you and me to visit them.
With all of that out of the way, let's see how CSL Mobile performed in Hong Kong.
CSL Mobile Speed Test Results in Hong Kong Island, Kowloon & New Territories
Hong Kong is one of the most densely populated countries, or Special Administrative Region (SAR) if we want to be correct, worldwide behind Macau (also a SAR), Monaco & Singapore.
There are not many countries where you struggle to walk on the pavement because there are so many people around as Hong Kong without getting constantly pushed.
And I was there during the winter and when the China-Hong Kong border just opened – imagine how crazy it is during summer 😳.
But the country has a lot to offer: fantastic food, Ocean Park (attraction park) & even Disneyland for those who want it.
And of course smaller attractions, such as the Central–Mid-Levels escalator – the longest outdoor covered escalator in the world, The Peak (with the peak tram) & the Big Buddha (Ngong Ping) cable car.
The latter is 5.7 kilometers long and takes 25 minutes – and you even have a clear (called crystal) car option if you dare.
I am not fond of heights… but I actually enjoyed being in the crystal car… so I bet you will too!
Anyway, let's finally talk about my CSL Mobile speed test results, right?
Okay… those are lot of results and locations! Let me break it down a little.
According to my (Hong Kong-Indonesian) boyfriend, most travelers will stay and visit Hong Kong Island and Kowloon because there is where all the fun stuff is (districts 10-18 on the map) – and that is what we did too.
All districts in the New Territories, 2-9, are residential, and there is not much to do unless you actually reside there, excluding the occasional shopping mall or something.
The major exception is District 1: Islands, where Hong Kong's outlying islands are, including Chek Lap Kok (Hong Kong International Airport), Cheung Wan (accessible by ferry for a reasonable fee) & Lantau Island (Big Buddha and Disneyland).
Almost all tests were done in Kowloon City (10), Kwun Tong (11), Sham Shui Po (12), Wong Tai Sin (13) & Yau Tsim Mong (14) in Kowloon + Central and Western District (15), Eastern District (16), Southern District (17) & Wan Chai (18) on Hong Kong Island.
Okay, so what about the results in Jordan for example? Are they the results of the country of Jordan?
No – that is just the Hong Kong neighborhood called Jordan (in Yau Tsim Mong District to be exact).
Where the neighborhood was available, I wrote it down as that (like Jordan) – else the district (like Sham Sui Po).
Okay, that was your introduction to Hong Kong districts and neighborhoods 🤓 – let's talk about the results.
Fast speeds with CSL Mobile in Hong Kong Island, Kowloon & New Territories.
Because I could not use CSL Mobile's 5G NR network, its results are less impressive than those of China Mobile Hong Kong and SmarTone Hong Kong.
But compared to 3 Hong Kong, which also did not allow prepaid customers to use its 5G NR network yet, CSL Mobile performed significantly better (more than twice as fast) – more about that later.
I had an average download speed of 53.01 Mbps and a median download speed of 33.94 Mbps with CSL Mobile; it passed the 4K video streaming test in Hong Kong (minimum of 25 Mbps).
The same counts for the HD live streaming test in Hong Kong – CSL Mobile had an average upload speed of 20.18 Mbps and a median upload speed of 18.07 Mbps, making it pass the HD live streaming test (minimum of 10 Mbps).
CSL Mobile's slowest download speed was at the Pier in Central and Western District (0.68 Mbps on 4G/LTE).
This was way too slow to pass the 4K video streaming test (minimum of 25 Mbps). This also made CSL Mobile the worst performer at this location (with 3 Hong Kong being the second-slowest (6.37 Mbps on 4G/LTE)).
When we look at the travel eSIMs and the 3 (UK) SIM card by Holidaysimcard I tested, CSL Mobile was still the worst performer.
This was kind of surprising because the Holafly eSIM and Nomad (Hong Kong & APAC) eSIMs were on the CSL Mobile (4G/LTE) network too and performed slightly better (2.88 Mbps, 2.20 Mbps & 3.93 Mbps, respectively).
The Airalo eSIMs (Hkmobile, Asialink & Discover Global) all use the CSL Mobile network too.
But Singtel from Singapore, Airalo's network partner for the Hkmobile and Asialink eSIMs, had a network outage that day, so I could not do tests at the Pier (or at Cheung Chau Island, for that matter).
CSL Mobile's worst upload speed performance was at a McDonald's in Jordan (0.14 Mbps on 4G/LTE), making it fail the HD live streaming test (minimum of 10 Mbps).
But I cannot blame CSL Mobile too much because the best performer was China Mobile Hong Kong, with an upload speed of 1.10 Mbps (on 5G NR), so it was a difficult location to do well, it seems.
As 3 Hong Kong was the other mobile operator not allowing 5G NR access to prepaid customers, here are the results between CSL Mobile and it.
Because of Hong Kong's recent SIM card registration laws, it took two days before 3 Hong Kong verified my identity (unlike all its competitors that verify your account basically instantly, shaking my head), so some results are missing.
Even then, you will see that 3 Hong Kong was the slowest (download speed) at 35 test locations of the 56 and had no reception at all at one.
CSL Mobile was the slowest at nine locations (probably because my 3 Hong Kong eSIM was inactive then), while being truly the slowest at eight locations.
But remember, I was always on 5G NR with China Mobile Hong Kong and SmarTone Hong Kong, which often had blazing-fast speeds because of it.
Even then, if we solely focus on CSL Mobile and 3 Hong Kong, CSL Mobile is significantly better.
But remember, many of CSL Mobile's SIM cards have speed restrictions, so choose wisely if you want proper 4G/LTE speeds.
Anyway, it was not all doom and gloom with CSL Mobile (unlike 3 Hong Kong, lol).
CSL Mobile was the best performer at five of the 56 test locations (even when China Mobile Hong Kong and SmarTone Hong Kong were on 5G NR).
So let me highlight CSL Mobile's achievements:
- Kennedy Town Station (314.47 Mbps)
- University Library of the Chinese University of Hong Kong in Ma Lui Shui (219.03 Mbps)
- Hong Kong Macau Ferry Terminal in Sheung Wan (116.44 Mbps)
- The local post office in Tsim Sha Tui (43.59 Mbps)
- Citygate Outlets in Tung Chung (27.68 Mbps)
In comparison, 3 Hong Kong never had the fastest download speed, but it did have the fastest upload speed at two locations… which is cute, I guess?
If you wonder how all those travel eSIMs using the CSL Mobile network did compare to CSL Mobile itself, they were slower than CSL Mobile (understandably), but not by much.
With average download speeds between 33 Mbps and 42 Mbps, the Airalo and Holafly eSIMs did as I expected from eSIMs roaming on the local network.
However, the Nomad eSIMs had average upload speeds of less that half of CSL Mobile's, which was interesting.
SoSIM SIM cards, by 3 Hong Kong, throttle speeds @ 42 Mbps.
Nomad eSIMs barely exceeded that speed (only four times of the 112 tests of the Nomad Hong Kong and APAC eSIMs combined), and the fastest result was 47.36 Mbps.
Nomad recently announced that it started working with a new roaming provider, JoyTelecom.
JoyTelecom is from Hong Kong too, so I suspect JoyTelecom and CSL Mobile are (1) the same, (2) partners, or (3) are reselling So SIM eSIMs.
So yeah… that is interesting for now.
My Overall Experience with CSL Mobile – Is It Any Good?
I would recommend CSL Mobile, but it would not be one of my top recommendations for anyone wanting to buy a Hong Kong SIM card.
Getting a CSL Mobile SIM card was straightforward, and activation was quick.
Unlike China Mobile Hong Kong and 3 Hong Kong, you can visit CSL Mobile and (some) 1O1O stores to get yourself a CSL Mobile SIM card (but not all starter packs may be available).
But you can also visit 7-Eleven and Circle K stores, which almost all sell a large variety of CSL Mobile SIM cards (and 7-Eleven also sells 7-Connect and Club SIM SIM cards).
With excellent 4G/LTE availability and reach, which also applies to 5G NR based on reports, you will have reception practically everywhere in Hong Kong – even on the MTR (but I do suspect you will have reception issues on some of the outlying islands).
CSL Mobile's data-featured prepaid plans are reasonably priced, even for regional standards.
And that is also compared to its competitors.
I had fast speeds with CSL Mobile, but they were not exceptional (especially compared to countries like Singapore where getting download speeds of more than 100 Mbps consistently on 4G/LTE is the norm).
Anyway, taking all the 56 speed tests into account, I had an average overall download speed of 53.01 Mbps and a median download speed of 33.94 Mbps with CSL Mobile.
When looking at upload speeds, I had an average upload speed of 20.18 Mbps and a median upload speed of 18.07 Mbps with CSL Mobile.
As I mentioned in the speed section, my 3 Hong Kong SIM card did not allow me to use 5G NR yet and was stuck on 4G/LTE.
Even then, CSL Mobile was significantly faster than 3 Hong Kong – by a lot.
One thing I somewhat like about CSL Mobile is that it has a lot of plans, giving you the flexibility to choose a data-featured plan of your liking without overpaying.
And if you get the CSL Mobile Discover Hong Kong tourist SIM cards, you can get up to 40 GB of data, at unrestricted 4G/LTE speeds, for 236 HKD.
I paid 200 HKD for my 3 Hong Kong eSIM for 40 GB of data too, and I was met with slow activation and even slower speeds 😩.
With excellent coverage, reasonably priced data-featured prepaid plans, and fast speeds, there is nothing crazy to complain about CSL Mobile.
Hong Kong SIM Card Reviews
As mentioned earlier, I also tried out China Mobile Hong Kong, 3 Hong Kong & SmarTone Hong Kong when I was in Hong Kong.
You should read those reviews too.
>>> China Mobile Hong Kong Review | 3 Hong Kong Review | SmarTone Hong Kong Review <<<
Later, I will make a comparison post of the four Hong Kong SIM cards I tried… but that will take a while (I have many reviews of other countries that I still need to write, so they are prioritized).
But you can still make an educated purchased after reading the Hong Kong SIM card reviews.
I also tried out various travel eSIMs + a travel SIM card that work in Hong Kong: Airalo (Hkmobile, Asialink & Discover Global), Holafly, Nomad (Hong Kong & APAC), Simify & Ubigi + 3 (UK) travel SIM card by Holidaysimcard.
You should also read those reviews.
>>> Airalo Hkmobile Hong Kong eSIM Review | Airalo Asialink eSIM in Hong Kong Review | Airalo Discover Global in Hong Kong eSIM Review | Holafly Hong Kong eSIM Review | Nomad Hong Kong eSIM Review | Nomad APAC eSIM in Hong Kong Review | Simify Hong Kong eSIM Review | Ubigi Hong Kong eSIM Review | 3 (UK) Travel SIM Card by Holidaysimcard in Hong Kong Review (also used in Australia and Singapore) <<<
- Check out my eSIM reviews page if you want to read all the other eSIM reviews I have written, including other eSIM providers in Asia.
Hong Kong SIM Card Buying Guide
There are various other SIM cards to choose from in Hong Kong besides CSL Mobile.
I analyze and discuss them in-depth in my Hong Kong SIM card buying guide.
Next Steps to Enhance Your Travel Experiences
Looking for the next steps to enhance your phone travel experiences? Here is what to do:
Support Phone Travel Wiz
It takes a lot of time to analyze, translate & review the SIM card options worldwide (especially to test them out).
Your support helps me keep producing impartial content by eliminating the need to recommend international SIM cards as the best local SIM card (but some of them CAN be useful).
Every Ko-Fi donation, one-time or monthly, helps me to spend more time creating local SIM card buying guides.
Check Out My Resource Page
Looking for the best companies and gadgets to enhance your travel experience?
Check out my travel resources page for the best companies to use when you travel!
Save money with international SIM cards, on plane tickets, bus rides, cruises & accommodation.
Besides that, I also list services and items I use to make my life easier – and I believe they will help you too!
Start Your Own Online Business – Make Money While Traveling
Do you want to learn how I started an online business that allows me to generate income while traveling?
In my starting an online business guide, I tell you which tools, services & products I have for this site and my YouTube channel.
If I can start a business about something I am passionate about (phone travel), then you can do it too!
Learn About Your Phone Travel Options
You can buy local prepaid SIM cards, international SIM cards, mobile hotspots, or roam internationally.
Each of these options has its pros and cons. Learn more about them, and find the best option for you.
Phone Travel Tips, Tricks & Hacks
I have written many articles with tips and hacks to save money on mobile costs while abroad. You surely want to check them out!
Sign Up for the Phone Travel Wiz Newsletter
Get updates related to the newest guides, videos & recommended products and services.
Moreover, I send you many tips and tricks on saving money while traveling every now and then.
Let's Be Social
Did you know that I have a YouTube channel covering everything you need to know about traveling with your phone?
A lot of useful videos are uploaded multiple times a week, and you do not want to miss out on them!
Learn More About Who Adu Actually Is
Who is the guy behind Phone Travel Wiz? Well, find out on the Ernest Adu about page!