Each year in Chengdu I borrow a cell phone from a friend. The cell phone usually has more than I need as all I want to do to send and receive phone messages.
What should I expect to pay for a basic phone. Where should I purchase it? I was thinking of picking one up in the Pearl Market when I am in Beijing. Is this a smart option?
I really do not want to lose a friends cell phone.
you can buy a cheap phone almost anywhere. Carrefour and Wal-Mart are good options. Expect to pay about RMB 250 for a cheap phone with SIM card and minutes for a few weeks. Just know that cell phones are still regional in China. So if you buy a phone in Beijing you will be charged more to use it here in Sichuan. Also, some plans do not allow you to buy minutes from carriers in other provinces. So if your going to travel, make sure you buy enough credit from the start!
Very helpful...thank you but do I need a plan? can i not just buy a China Mobil sim card and it will be good anywhere?
pay-as-you-go is a plan. i'm sure they will give you that by default
Don't be scared off by the word "plan" (套餐). They are quite cheap and there is no contract period. You can change or cancel anytime. I pay ¥45 per month, which includes 50 minutes of voice and 150 MB of data, and the overage charges are cheap too. If you don't need data, it should be even cheaper.
EXCEPT taobao.com, you can buy almost anythings from http://www.360buy.com/ you can choose convenient and fast way: cash against delivery. you oder it at the first day, and can receive it at the next day .
hope it helpful :)