Taiwan offers excellent mobile connectivity but with three major operators, choosing the best can be tough. This post compares Chunghwa Telecom, Taiwan Mobile, and Far EasTone on network coverage, speeds, pricing, and extras to identity the top operator. We examine plans, coverage maps, and perform speed tests to determine which network provides the best value and service in Taiwan’s competitive market.

best taiwan mobile operators

I. List of Taiwan Mobile Operators

1. Main Taiwan Mobile Operators

There are 4 major mobile network operators in Taiwan with their own network infrastructure:

Mobile Carrier Ownership Year Established Subscribers in Taiwan Mobile Services
Chunghwa Telecom State-owned 1896 Around 11 million Mobile voice, SMS, data, fixed line services
Taiwan Mobile Public company 1996 Around 10 million Mobile voice, SMS, data, IoT, 5G
FarEasTone Public company 1997 Around 8 million Mobile voice, SMS, data, WiFi, IoT
APTG (GT Taiwan Mobile) Public company 1996 Around 4 million Mobile voice, SMS, data, international roaming

These top 4 operators have their own network infrastructure covering over 99% of Taiwan’s population with 2G, 3G, 4G/LTE and 5G. They also have retail stores across Taiwan for purchasing SIM cards and support.

2. Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) in Taiwan

Taiwan has a robust telecommunications market with multiple mobile network operators and MVNOs providing cellular services.

MVNO Network/Base Operator Status
Ibon Mobile FarEasTone Inactive
Line Mobile FarEasTone Active
Carrefour Chunghwa Inactive
Circles.Life Chunghwa Active

MVNOs offer cheaper deals but have more limited coverage and retail presence compared to the main operators. But they provide more choices for certain segments like tourists and expatriates.

II. How to Choose the Best Taiwan Mobile Operator

  • Coverage & speeds – Check network coverage maps, especially for rural areas or smaller islands. Chunghwa and Taiwan Mobile tend to have the best nationwide 4G and 5G coverage.
  • Data usage needs – If you stream videos or use large amounts of mobile data, prioritize unlimited data plans or those with higher data caps.
  • Contract vs prepaid – Prepaid SIMs offer flexibility but generally have higher rates. Contract plans have better value for heavy users.
  • Voice & SMS needs – Some operators offer free on-net calls and texts which could save costs.
  • Roaming – If traveling abroad frequently, choose an operator with competitive roaming rates or roaming packages.
  • Customer service – Ensure the operator has service in languages you understand and responsive support channels.
  • Value for money – Compare total monthly costs across operators for your usage needs to find the most affordable option.
  • Perks – Some operators offer perks like free streaming subscriptions which could sway your choice.

III. Best Taiwan Mobile Operators – Detailed Comparison

1. Chunghwa Telecom

As the market leader, Chunghwa Telecom offers the best overall coverage and speeds across Taiwan. Their 4G LTE network covers over 99% of the population with typical download speeds around 50Mbps. The 5G network is expanding quickly covering all major cities and airports.

Chunghwa has competitive rates for both prepaid and postpaid plans. The prepaid plans are convenient for short visits with no contracts. The postpaid plans like Home+Mobile offer great value with unlimited mobile data and calls from NT$1299/month. Family plans give further discounts.

Customer service is generally good with English support available. Chunghwa also has the largest retail network for easy SIM card purchase and top-up. Overall, it’s a reliable choice for most visitors and residents.

2. Taiwan Mobile

Taiwan Mobile has the second largest 4G and 5G network after Chunghwa Telecom. It covers over 99% of the population with typical 4G speeds around 42Mbps based on OpenSignal data. 5G service is present in all key cities.

Both prepaid and postpaid plan options are available. Postpaid plans like 4G Fun+ offer unlimited data and 600 mins talk time from NT$699/month. Though speeds get throttled after 30GB. Their 5G plans are more expensive but offer higher data limits. MVNOs like Mobi Taiwan using their network provide low cost prepaid options.

Customer service is decent but English support is limited. Retail outlets are present but fewer than Chunghwa. Overall, Taiwan Mobile is a reliable performer with competitive rates across usage segments.

3. Far EasTone

Though third largest operator, Far EasTone has made big investments in its 4G and 5G networks. Their 4G speeds match Taiwan Mobile per OpenSignal. 5G roll-out is accelerating with all major cities covered.

For visitors, their FarEasTone prepay SIM offers 1GB free data valid for 10 days. Postpaid plans like Just Go come with unlimited 4G data and 600 local mins for NT$499. More expensive 5G plans are also available.

English customer support is available through online channels like Facebook Messenger. But retail presence lags behind leaders. On the whole, Far EasTone delivers fast speeds and competitive rates across prepaid and postpaid options.

4. Taiwan Star

As the newest 4G-only operator, Taiwan Star has the lowest population coverage so far. But it offers the lowest rates to compensate starting from just NT$499 per month. Their prepaid SIM packs come with free data too.

But network speeds and reliability are weaker compared to the top 3 operators. Customer service is limited too with no English support. Retail network is small with stores mainly in Taipei.

For budget travelers and those mainly within Taipei, Taiwan Star provides low cost fast data access. But others should opt for the top established operators.

IV. Where to Buy SIM Card from Taiwan Mobile Operators?

Here are some options to purchase SIM cards from Taiwan operators:

  • Retail stores – The best option is to visit operator retail outlets and stores located across major cities and airports in Taiwan to get SIM cards. Have your passport ready.
  • 24/7 vending machines – Popular option is to use Chunghwa Telecom’s 24/7 self-service vending machines at airports and MRT stations to instantly get connected.
  • Convenience stores – Many FamilyMart, 7-Eleven and Hi-Life outlets sell prepaid SIMs from major operators.
  • Online stores – Operators like Taiwan Mobile have online stores to deliver SIM cards to your hotel or Airbnb.
  • Resellers – Local resellers like KKday also sell tourist SIM cards often with bundled discounts.

When purchasing, let staff know your data and call needs so they recommend the right plan SIM card.

V. Do Taiwan Mobile Operators Offer eSIM?

eSIM (embedded SIM) is a digital SIM integrated into the device to avoid physical SIM cards. eSIM services are beginning to roll-out in Taiwan:

  • Chunghwa Telecom – Offers prepaid eSIM for tourists which can be purchased online and activated before arrival. Postpaid eSIM possible but requires in-store registration.
  • Taiwan Mobile – Provides eSIM called My SIM+ but only for postpaid customers after in-store verification. Not available for prepaid tourists.
  • Far EasTone – Has eSIM support on postpaid plans. Prepaid eSIM for visitors not available yet.
  • GT Mobile – This Chunghwa MVNO offers prepaid tourist eSIM that can be activated online.

So eSIM option for prepaid is currently limited to Chunghwa network. Regular physical SIM cards are still the easiest option for most tourists visiting Taiwan. But eSIM penetration is improving over time across operators.

Travelers also have the option to buy a prepaid eSIM plan directly from a specialist provider like Taiwanesim.com by GIGAGO before their trip. We offer short-term data packages ranging from 3 to 30 days that can be instantly activated once you land in Taiwan without needing to insert a new SIM. Plans are affordable, starting at just 1GB for a few dollars up to 20GB per day depending on your needs.

Convenient eSIM Plans Provide Savings

Taiwan eSIM 5 Days
Taiwan eSIM 5 Days
From $4.00
Taiwan eSIM 7 Days
Taiwan eSIM 7 Days
From $4.50
Taiwan eSIM 15 Days
Taiwan eSIM 15 Days
From $5.00

The data will run on the reliable Taiwan mobile operator CHT network throughout Taiwan. Taiwanesim.com allows easy management of your eSIM right from our website. After checkout, you’ll get access to an online portal. Here, you can activate your eSIM by scanning the QR code sent to your email, change plans if your requirements change during your vacation, add or remove data packages to customize the plan, monitor usage and balance in real-time, and update payment or contact details when needed.

how taiwanesim.com benefits you

To set it up, first check your device is eSIM compatible using our list. Then pick a plan length that suits your trip duration and complete purchase – the activation code will instantly reach your inbox. Next, go to your phone’s cellular settings, scan the QR code and follow the prompts. Your eSIM will then be live.

Taiwanesim.com provides support via email or chat around the clock in English should any issues arise. Having control over your eSIM through our portal simplifies management whether in Taiwan or before departure. It’s a hassle-free way to stay connected while traveling abroad.

Taiwan’s calling, answer roaming free with Taiwanesim.com!

VI. FAQs about Taiwan Mobile Operators

Which Taiwan mobile operator has the cheapest data plans?

MVNOs like GT Mobile and Mobi Taiwan tend to have the cheapest prepaid data packs starting under NT$100. For postpaid, Taiwan Star has the lowest entry-level monthly plans but has limited coverage.

Can you use unlocked phones in Taiwan?

Yes, unlocked phones can use local SIM cards in Taiwan. Most modern phones support 4G LTE on 1800 MHz and 2600 MHz bands used in Taiwan. Some 5G phones may lack 5G C-band support.

How long are prepaid SIM cards valid in Taiwan?

Prepaid SIM validity varies by operator – Chunghwa is 180 days, Taiwan Mobile is 180-360 days, Far EasTone is 180 days. To extend validity, a top-up/recharge is required.

Do Taiwan mobile operators offer unlimited data plans?

Yes, many postpaid plans from Chunghwa, Taiwan Mobile and Far EasTone come with unlimited 4G/5G data. But speeds may be throttled after a certain usage level. Prepaid unlimited data is rare.

Are there any free SIM card offers in Taiwan?

Some MVNOs offer free SIM cards but require initial top-up. Tourist SIMs also provide free data quota as promotional offers which helps minimize costs.

VII. Final Words

Taiwan has modern 4G and 5G networks and a vibrant telecom market. For most visitors, Chunghwa Telecom is the easiest and most reliable choice with its unbeatable coverage, speeds and retail presence across Taiwan. But Taiwan Mobile, Far EasTone offer competitive alternatives. Do some research to pick the operator that best fits your trip duration, locations, data usage needs and budget. With widespread Free WiFi also available, getting online will be easy during your Taiwan visit. Enjoy the incredible travel experience!