Since someone in Howard Forums had reported that Pageplus worked in
China I tried it with my wife's CDMA Droid that she brought along. While
the phone could see the CDMA network, it could not get service. I
suspect that the PRL update that occurred when I activated Pageplus
service removed entries from the PRL for all but North America.
We brought four quad-band unlocked GSM phones along and I bought SIM
cards for them. 100 RMB (about $16) for the SIM card and 40 RMB of
credit. Calls to the U.S. were about 1RMB (16¢/minute) though I used the
Localphone app over Wi-Fi most of the time. In-country calls were about
0.2-0.3 RMB/minute (about US 3-5¢/minute). Data did not work. I should
have bought China Mobile SIM cards rather than China Unicom SIM cards.
Coverage was outstanding. Even on a remote part of the Great Wall I had
good coverage. On the high speed train from Shanghai to Beijing we
passed a cell tower every six seconds. Towers are everywhere. Even some
of the famous picturesque karsts in the Guilin area had cell towers on
them, something that wasn't there last time I visited in 1987.
It was useful for all of us to have phones since we were not on an
organized tour and occasionally wanted to do different things. Also very
useful for contacting hotels, especially when an in-country flight got
cancelled and we were a day late getting to the hotel.
The iPhone is extremely popular. A lot of fake Apple stores selling the