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If you’re taking a family vacation to Samoa anytime soon, remind your kids that the fictional island in the movie hit, Moana, was inspired by this Polynesian paradise. The country is a chain of islands known for its gorgeous scenery and sunny beaches.
To reduce the costs of your trip to Samoa, consider investing in a local prepaid SIM card. This can lower your roaming charges on data, texts and voice calls. You can purchase a prepaid card for WST30 (US$11.89) that comes with WST5 credit and 1GB of data for a 7-day period.
Prices last updated: October 2017
There are two mobile network operators in Samoa, although BlueSky has two services, making three options that need your consideration:
finder.com offers the following guide to Samoa’s telco operators.
Formerly known as SamoaTel, it’s the biggest provider on the islands. Currently, it has better coverage but slightly higher prices. Its main offices are in Apia and there are other stores around the islands.
BlueSky started a 4G/LTE network in 2017 that uses 700 Mhz and 1800 MHz. Both operate 3G/UMTS/HSPA+ on 900/2100MHz, so make sure your phone can support 3G on those frequencies or your coverage will be spotty. There’s also 2G on 900MHz.
BlueSky’s basic SIM card costs WST10 and comes with a WST5 credit. Its top-ups are known as “e-charge” and can be bought at various stores in Samoa or online at the company’s website. E-charges come in denominations between WST1 and WST100 and are valid for 30 days after activation.
BlueSky Samoa offers two prepaid SIM cards: one that includes voice and data and one that is data-only. Both are detailed below.
|2 Plan||WST2||50MB||24 hours||2*1|
|5 Plan||WST5||200MB||3 days||5*1|
|10 Plan||WST10||520MB||7 days||10*1|
|20 Plan||WST20||1GB||7 days||20*1|
|50 Plan||WST50||3.2GB||14 days||50*1|
|90 Plan||WST90||6.5GB||14 days||90*1|
|$5 Plan||WST5||350MB||3 days||5*1|
|$10 Plan||WST10||750MB||7 days||10*1|
|$20 Plan||WST20||1.6GB||7 days||20*1|
|$50 Plan||WST50||4GB||14 days||50*1|
|$90 Plan||WST90||7GB||14 days||90*1|
To select one of these plans, send the appropriate activation code to 133.
This is an additional service in American Samoa which uses US frequencies. LTE started up in March 2017 on bands 2 and 12. 3G is on 850 MHz and 2G/GSM is on 850 and 1900 MHz.
4G/LTE coverage began for this provider in March 2017. Because it’s an American territory, all prices are given in US$. Prepaid SIM cards are available at the BlueSky store at Laufou Center in Nu’uuli. The activation cost is US$20 which includes a local number and US$10 credit. There are top-up outlets located throughout the islands or you can do it online using PayPal.
Digicel Samoa is BlueSky’s only competitor in Western Samoa. It has less coverage and its prices are a bit lower. Be careful with your purchases as Digicel Samoa continues to market its 3G/HSPA+ network as being 4G. There is a convenient retail kiosk at the Faleolo International Airport and a store locator on the company website.
Occasionally, Digicel runs promotions where the SIM card is free at the airport. The rest of the time it costs a nominal fee of WST5. You can top-up at its retail outlets, by using vouchers known as flex cards or at its website.
|WST4||50MB + 100MB Facebook||2 days|
To make a purchase, dial *123#, press 4 for data, and then choose your package. You can also dial *123# to check your available balance and remaining data. Once you’ve used up your allotment, you will be charged at the rate of WST0.33 per MB, which is much higher than the package rates.
In addition to being an online review platform for hotels and attractions, TripAdvisor has an impressive online community of members. Here’s some advice from recent visitors to Samoa:
“Both BlueSky and Digicel have kiosks at Faleolo Airport. I know they have micro SIMS in their Apia offices, so assume the same for the airport.”
“My younger sisters got micro SIMs for their devices at the airport from BlueSky. The sim cards were free, they just paid for credit. Youʻll see the Digicel kiosk before you see the BlueSky store, but Iʻd recommend BlueSky as their data service and call rates are slightly better. Also make sure your iPhone is unlocked before you take it, otherwise the foreign SIM wonʻt work.”
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