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Above: Photo after my class teaching at the company called: SiS. The students are the first students I ever taught in Taiwan!

Phone and Internet Service

Phone Service

Taiwan phone companies run on either GSM or PHS. GSM is the technology used by US carriers T-Mobile and Cingular/ATT. PHS is a phone service based on technology from Japan. PHS phones don’t need a SIM card, but it’s not CDMA (Sprint/Verizon), so I’m not really sure what PHS is.

If you have a tri-band phone (or world phone) in the US (usually you have one if you have T-Mobile or Cingular/ATT), then you can use that phone in Taiwan also. Taiwan cellphones run on SIM cards and you can just swap your sim card with a card in Taiwan.

Taiwan has the equivalent of the Cingular “gophone” or T-Mobile “TMobile 2 Go” services where you pay only for minutes used. You can get these cards at the numerous 7-11 and convenience stores around Taiwan.

How much does a phone cost?

Like in the US, phones are cheaper if you get a contract. You can also buy phones without a service contract for much more.

My personal experience

I used “Taiwan GSM”, they were fairly expensive. When I was there in 2004, text messages were $0.10 USD each message sent or received! Also, for some reason Taiwan cell providers don’t have free mobile to mobile, my phone bills were high, but I didn’t have a landline, so maybe the cost balances out.

Internet Service

There are many internet cafes in Taiwan. They are smoky and filled with what my grandparents referred to as the place where “bad kids” go to hang out and do anything but study. Anyways, yeah, you pay by the hour, some places have free instant noodles and all you can drink drinks. These places aren’t too bad, most are clean. If you go at night, you may see the more rebellious kids in Taiwan. I have been to them at night when my DSL didn’t work. I've never had a problem, the "bad kids" mostly leave you alone. Most of them play Counter Strike. I tried playing CS in Taiwan, I lost often.

Home Internet Service

If you want, you can also apply for internet service, they have a company called aDSL that is similar to the ATT/Yahoo service here in the US. It’s not too expensive, and convenient if you have your laptop. It was a good lifeline for me to have DSL service since I could talk online to my friends back in the US.