Keeping in Touch in Taiwan
Keeping in touch in Taiwan is easy given the country's fast, reliable Internet. There is free Wi-Fi in many coffee shops, restaurants and public spaces such as metro stations. ADSL lines are also reliable.
The media industry is free and highly competitive, with an abundance of radio, cable television and newspaper choices, including English-medium sources.
Mobile telephones in Taiwan
Foreigners can sign contracts with mobile phone companies, although the actual documentation required will differ from company to company. Some companies will allow an expat to sign a contract if they pay for a year in advance, while others will only allow an expat to sign a contract with a Taiwanese person as a guarantor.
Generally, expats will only need their Alien Registration Certificate (ARC), but some companies may ask for additional identification. However, braving the process of getting a mobile phone contract is usually worth it, as prepaid options, while available, are generally much more expensive in the long run.
Some mobile companies and contracts offer discounted rates in the evenings or to other phones on the same network. It is a good idea for expats to compare packages from different companies to find one that suits their needs.
Popular mobile telephone contract providers in Taiwan include Chungwa Telecom, Taiwan Mobile and FarEasTone.
Internet in Taiwan
Taiwan has excellent Internet providers and connections are generally fast and very reliable. The Internet is not censored in Taiwan and social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, instant messaging services like Skype and Google Talk, and smartphone chat apps like WhatsApp are all available and unregulated, with Line being the most popular social networking app in Taiwan.
There is an abundance of Internet cafés and most coffee shops and restaurants have free Wi-Fi. In Taipei, the city provides a free Wi-Fi service in MRT stations and in some other public spaces. Public telephone booths in the streets also offer Wi-Fi.
Popular Internet service providers in Taiwan include Seednet, HiNet and Chunghwa Telecom.
English media in Taiwan
There is an abundance of cable television channels in Taiwan as well as five free-to-air television networks. Cable is popular due to the low subscription rates. The free-to-air channels and most subscription channels are in Taiwanese or Mandarin, with only a handful of channels in English. However, many Western programmes are screened in the original language with Chinese subtitles, so expats will probably find there's always something to watch.