How To Get a Prepaid SIM Card in Taiwan

To get a prepaid SIM card in Taiwan, you can find them online, at convenience stores, or in Southeast Asian markets. You can also subscribe to eSIM card services and avoid prepaid cards entirely.

I researched various mobile providers in Taiwan so you don’t have to. I compiled my results and recommendations in this guide.

Summary

  • Chunghwa Telecom is the best overall mobile provider to go for.
  • You need a passport & your country’s ID card to apply for a SIM card.
  • SIM cards cost NT$300–1,000 per 30 days.

How To Get a Taiwan SIM Card

The following sections will cover getting a SIM card in Taiwan.

Taiwan Prepaid SIM Card Requirements

You’ll need the following when applying for a SIM card in Taiwan:

  • Passport
  • Secondary ID: can include a student ID, your country’s ID card, International Student Card, or Tourist Visa
  • An unlocked phone that supports LTE Bands 8, 7, 3, and/or 28
  • A physical SIM card slot
  • You can’t apply unless you’re aged 20 and over

The last point is the most important. Because if you don’t have an unlocked phone, you can’t access Taiwanese telecom services.

Unlocked phones aren’t tied to a contract. You can unlock your phone with your carrier for free. So long as you’re in good standing with your cellular provider.

You can also buy unlocked phones for a reasonable price.

Check Whether Your Phone Will Work With Taiwanese Telecoms

I can’t tell you whether your work will work with Taiwan cellphone providers. But Will My Phone Work can.

Visit willmyphonework.net and select your phone’s Brand. Then select ‘Taiwan’ under the ‘country’ tab.

From there, you’ll choose your phone’s model and the Taiwanese telecom provider you want to go with.

Here’s a visual example:

Will My Phone Work Screenshot
Screenshot of willmyphonework.

Taiwan doesn’t have 2G and 3G towers anymore. And this website doesn’t show 5G compatability.

But it’s a great start for 4G LTE networks. I’ll update this guide upon finding a more recent tool.

Step 1. Reserve Your SIM Card

If you buy a Taiwanese SIM card online, you can reserve a card through the telecom service’s website or a travel eCommerce site.

When going through a travel eCommerce site, you visit the site, select your pick-up date, and the number of days you want a SIM card.

You’ll add the SIM card to your online shopping cart and pay for the order.

Let’s move on to buying from the telecom provider’s website.

Here’s an example of the process of reserving a card through Chunghwa’s website:

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Reservation process of getting a Taiwan SIM card.

I’m going to continue with Chunghwa as an example. They’ll first require you to fill in your passport number.

Upon entering this information, Chunghwa will then require the following:

  • Product type: type of data package
  • Pickup information: airport of choice, pickup date, and time
  • Your English name and passport
  • Secondary ID information
  • Contact information

Then read through their privacy statement.

When shopping on ANY website, ensure it has “https://” before the URL instead of “http://.”

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HTTPS.

This communication type helps prevents hackers from eavesdropping on your online transactions.

Double-check all the information you entered. Confirm your information is correct and then you’ll receive information to show to the staff when you pick up your SIM card.

Step 2. Pick Up Your SIM Card

If you order online, follow the website’s instructions and make your way toward the stall they said. The staff at these stands speak English and are friendly.

Here are the SIM card pickup locations for each Taiwan telecom:

Chunghwa telecom SIM card kiosk pickup locations:

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Where to pick up a Chunghwa SIM card in Taoyuan International Airport.

For some reason, there’s no consistent English spelling throughout Taiwan. Sunshan Airport equals Songshan Airport.

Anyway, you can pick up Chunghwa telecom prepaid SIM cards from Songshan, Kaohsiung, Taichung, and Taoyuan International airports.

Taiwan Mobile SIM card arrival hall pickup locations:

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Where to pick up a Taiwan Mobile SIM card in Taoyuan International Airport.

You can only pick up Taiwan Mobile prepaid SIM cards from Kaohsiung and Taoyuan International airports.

You can also pick up SIM cards at any myfone Taiwan Mobile store. Enter that phrase into a maps app, and you’ll find the nearest store.

Usually, telecom stores will have at least 1 team member who speaks English.

FarEasTone data SIM card pickup locations:

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Where to pick up a FarEasTone SIM card in Taoyuan International Airport.

FarEasTone’s website was all in Chinese. And they didn’t have an easily accessible map. So I went to Taoyuan International Airport’s website and found this map [1].

The airport’s website is in English, but not the map (for some reason).

TSTAR SIM card pickup locations:

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Where to pick up a TSTAR SIM card in Taoyuan International Airport.

You can only get TSTAR SIM cards from Taoyuan International Airport.

How to Get a Prepaid eSIM Card in Taiwan

Taiwan only has data eSIM cards. That means if you get a prepaid eSIM card from Taiwanese carriers, you won’t get a phone number. You’ll only have access to data.

But here’s how to get a prepaid eSIM card from Chunghwa Telecom:

  1. Order your eSIM online
  2. Open your phone’s settings: Cellular > Mobile
  3. Tap ‘Add Cellular Plan’
  4. Scan the QR code you received from your eSIM provider
  5. When arriving in Taiwan, enable ‘Data Roaming’

Test your phone once you arrive in Taiwan. If it’s not connecting to the internet, visit Chunghwa Telecom’s counter at the airport and ask them to adjust your phone’s Access Point Name (APN) settings.

Only get this eSIM card if you’re using an iPhone 14 from the U.S. and want cheap data.

Psst. Here’s a list of other global and regional eSIM providers I listed.

Considering you have an iPhone 14, you’re better off using Google Fi and paying the international charges. If you have COVID, you may need to provide a phone number to the health authorities.

What Is the Cost of a Prepaid Sim Card in Taiwan

The following rates for prepaid and tourist SIM cards from Taiwanese companies include:

Telecom ProviderPriceNumber of DaysCalling Credit
Chunghwa TelecomNT$300–1,0003–30NT$50–430
Taiwan MobileNT$100–1,0003NT$100–300
FarEasToneNT$100–9991–30NA
TSTARNT$250–2,7003–90NT$50–1,000
Taiwan prepaid SIM card prices compared.

Chunghwa Telecom Prepaid SIM Card Prices

Here are the prices for Chunghwa’s prepaid SIM cards:

# of DaysNT$ PriceUSD PriceVoice Credit
3NT$300$9.47NT$50
5NT$300$9.47NT$50
5NT$500$15.78NT$300
7NT$500$15.78NT$150
10NT$500$15.78NT$100
15NT$700$22.10NT$100
15NT$800$25.25NT$250
30NT$1,000$31.57NT$430
Chunghwa telecom prepaid SIM card prices.

These are all 4G LTE prepaid cards. Chunghwa doesn’t offer 5G prepaid SIMs. All SIM card plans include unlimited data usage.

It doesn’t appear there’s a threshold where they’ll throttle your speeds once you use “X” GB of data.

Chunghwa requires that you reserve your SIM card at least 3 days before your trip. You can only reserve your SIM card 14 days in advance.

Regarding calling credits:

Here’s what they’ll deduct from your Voice Credit balance and when:

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Prepaid calling rates for Chunghwa.

Taiwan Mobile Prepaid SIM Card Prices

Here are the prices for Taiwan Mobile prepaid SIM cards:

# of DaysPriceUSD PriceData LimitVoice Credit
Within 30 DaysNT$100$3.161 GBNT$100
3NT$300$9.472.4 GBNT$300
Within 60 DaysNT$500$15.784.4 GBNT$190
Within 185 DaysNT$1,000$31.5724 GBNA
Taiwan Mobile prepaid SIM card prices.

Here are the rates Taiwan Mobile will deduct from your Voice Credit:

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Taiwan Mobile doesn’t offer prepaid 5G cards.

FarEasTone Prepaid SIM Card Prices

Here are the prices for FarEasTone’s prepaid data plans:

# of DaysPriceSoft Data Cap
30 (5G)NT$99960 GB
30 (4G)NT$899120 GB or unlimited
1NT$100NA
3NT$300NA
5NT$500NA
FarEasTone prepaid SIM card prices.

FarEasTone is your only option for 30-day 5G prepaid services. Apparently, if you buy the 30-day 4G prepaid card from a supermarket, you’ll have a 120 GB soft data cap.

Soft data cap means they’ll throttle your speeds after exceeding “X” GB.

If you’re streaming 4K content on Netflix, you’ll exceed the data cap after streaming content for 10 hours [4].

Or 23 hours of 1080p HD content.

For those wanting to stream online videos during downtime, do so over a secure Wi-Fi network if possible.

TSTAR Prepaid SIM Card Prices

Here are the prices for TSTAR’s prepaid SIM cards:

Data Type# of DaysPriceVoice Credit
5G3NT$400NT$50
5G5NT$500NT$100
5G7NT$700NT$150
4G3NT$250NT$100
4G5NT$250NT$50
4G7NT$450NT$120
4G10NT$450NT$100
4G30NT$950NT$300
4G90NT$2,700NT$1,000
Taiwan TSTAR prepaid card prices.

TSTAR won’t throttle their data speed after exceeding a cap. So you’ll get truly unlimited data.

Here’s how TSTAR deducts funds from your Voice Credit:

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TSTAR prepaid rates.

Which Telecom Is Best in Taiwan?

From my experience, Chunghwa Telecom has offered the best customer service, affordable rates, the fastest speeds, and reliable service [2]. If you go with the prepaid route, you have more options with prepaid refill cards.

The source above suggests that Chunghwa has the best average download speeds (38.5 Mbps). It also has the best 4G coverage experience and video streaming experience.

But it appears Taiwan Mobile won regarding online multiplayer mobile gaming.

And FarEasTone won in upload speed experience. By 1.0 Mbps. So it’s not a significant difference. If you’re uploading files, you should use Wi-Fi. As you’ll have significantly faster speeds.

What Telecom Providers Are In Taiwan?

Taiwan has several major cell phone companies:

  • Taiwan Mobile (台灣大哥大)
  • FarEasTone (遠傳電信股份有限公司)
  • TSTAR (台灣之星)
  • Chunghwa Telecom (中華電信)

Every company has plenty of stores, service centers, and 4G LTE data service.

The island country doesn’t have 2G, anymore. It’s also in the process of removing 3G [3]. As of now, FarEasTone, Taiwan Mobile, and Chunghwa Telecom only offer 5G. However, most of them don’t appear to offer 5G prepaid cards.

Most of the time, if you’re picking SIM cards up from the airport, Chunghwa will provide them.

Local Taiwan SIM Card Options

If you prefer not to stay at the airport longer than you must, you can visit a local telecom or convenience store and ask to buy a card. From there, you’ll need to provide a couple forms of identification and an unlocked phone.

You don’t need Taiwanese identification. You can use your driver’s license from home. If you’re a student coming to Taiwan, it may be ideal for giving them your student ID and passport.

When going this route, you’ll need to deal with signing various documents that are written up in Chinese. You’ll also have to wait for the staff to photocopy your identification.

How To Top Up Your Prepaid SIM Card

If you run out of data, SMS, or call credits, you can either visit any convenience store or telecom store in Taiwan.

Or, you can take a trip to a Southeast Asian market. From my experience, they offer the best rates for SIM cards and data.

If you intend on staying in Taiwan long-term, I recommend visiting these shops to save you the most money. Unless you can get a permanent subscription with a telecom.

Alternatives To Using a Taiwan SIM Card

Here are some alternatives to Taiwan SIM cards to consider:

Provider/MethodPriceBest For
Google Fi$40–$65 per lineOverall
Roaming Rates from Local ProviderVariesNot making many calls
Airalo$7.00–$31.50Best for eSIM
Alternatives to using SIM cards in Taiwan

If you don’t want to deal with the stress of buying a SIM card, you could try Google Fi. It’s around $20 per month plus $10 per gigabytes (GB) you use.

It’s Google’s telecommunications service that offers calling, SMS, and data by using other cellular providers.

Google Fi does work in Taiwan, so you won’t have any issues using it here.

You must activate Google Fi in the U.S. You also have to have your phone on and in the United States for a couple of days. Otherwise, Google will cancel your plan.

If you go this route, subscribe to this plan at least a week or two before you leave for Taiwan.

Airalo is fantastic for those who don’t want to pay a huge monthly fee, but doesn’t give you unlimited data like Google Fi. And Airalo is only good for phones with eSIM support.

Or you could just take the hit from your provider’s roaming rates. And not deal with getting a SIM card outside your home country. I don’t recommend this route since getting a SIM or eSIM usually takes several minutes.

FAQs

What To Do if I Have Issues With My Service?

When encountering any issues with your cell phone, contact the telecom provider who supplemented your card. For instance, if you have a Chunghwa card, visit their nearest branch, grab a ticket, wait for them to call your number, then explain your situation.

What’s Cell Coverage Like in Taiwan?

Taiwan has mobile coverage almost anywhere you visit. You may have weaker signals when underground or surrounded by thick concrete walls.