Finder is committed to editorial independence. While we receive compensation when you click links to partners, they do not influence our content.

A traveler’s guide to the best prepaid SIM card providers in Vanuatu

Investing in a local mobile network operator is essential to avoid costly roaming charges in Vanuatu

Updated

Fact checked
Picture not described

A dazzling port of call for scuba divers, the island nation of Vanuatu is home to 270,000 people in the South Pacific. If your travel plans take you to Vanuatu, consider cutting your budget down by investing in a prepaid SIM card.

By replacing your home network with a local one, you can drastically reduce charges for roaming and data usage. You can buy a prepaid SIM card with VUV1,000 credit and 1GB of data for VUV2,000 (US$18.28). Finder.com offers the following guide to Vanuatu’s telco operators.

Travel Sim Card

Travel Sim Card from SimCorner

SimCorner's prepaid SIM cards let you enjoy local call, text and data rates in dozens of countries around the world.

View details
Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Number of countries Data range Shipment time
SimCorner
80+
1GB-Unlimited
1-12 business days
SimCorner's prepaid SIM cards offer local call, text and data rates in dozens of countries around the world. Choose from a range of data packages, including unlimited data in the USA.
Flexiroam X
150+
1GB-7GB
3-7 business days
Attach the Flexiroam X ultra-thin microchip sticker to your current SIM card to access data roaming in over 140 countries.
loading

Compare up to 4 providers

Prices last updated November 2017

Mobile network operators in Vanuatu

There are two mobile network operators in Vanuatu: Digicel and TVL. For data purposes, there is a third provider called Wan Tok that opened its 4G/LTE network in 2014. However, it’s only for wireless Internet in Port Vila and a few surrounding areas, and so we’re not going to talk about that in this article.

Digicel launched 4G in 2016 and TVL did likewise in 2017.

Digicel Vanuatu

Digicel runs the show in Vanuatu. It has close to 90% of the subscribers in Vanuatu on its network. When you buy a starter SIM card, make sure it’s a new one with 4G/LTE enabled. Otherwise, you’ll wind up with an older 3G model that won’t let you browse at the fastest speeds possible.

Digicel’s 4G/LTE network started in Port Vila and now includes Santo. You can buy its SIM cards at the Bauerfield International Airport or in any Digicel store. The starter card costs VUV1,000 and comes with a preloaded credit of VUV1,000. Top-ups can be done online at Digicel’s international top-up website which accepts most major credit cards. You also can top-up by purchasing vouchers from local vendors. To check your credit balance, dial *120#.

Digicel’s out-of-bundle rate is VUV50 per MB, but its data feature packages are much better deals.

Price Data Volume Validity
VUV200 1,024MB 2 hours
VUV50 300MB 3 hours
VUV100 200MB 24 hours
VUV200 450MB Night (11pm – 7am) valid for 1 Day
VUV300 700MB 3 days
VUV500 1.5GB + 200MB Night (11pm – 7am) 7 days
VUV700 1.4GB + 300MB Night (11pm – 7am) 14 days
VUV1.000 2.5GB + 500MB Night (11pm – 7am) 30 days
VUV3,000 8GB + 2000MB Night (11pm – 7am) 30 days
VUV200 2GB 11pm – 7am
VUV200 5GB 7 Days from 11pm – 7am

To activate a data bundle, dial *555#. To check your data balance, dial *130#.

APN: web.digicelpacific.com

Website: http://www.digicelgroup.com/vu/en/mobile.html

TVL Smile

Telecom Vanuatu (TVL) runs the landline network on Vanuatu, but is a distant second in coverage and quality to Digicel. Its 2G network covers around 75% of the population. Its 3G and 4G coverage are considerably less. There are SIM cards available at a kiosk at the airport and at TVL stores. The starter kit costs VUV1,000 and comes with a VUV1,000 credit preloaded.

In order to activate your account, dial 171 and follow the prompts. Top-ups can be done physically by purchasing a “RIFIL” card from stores, outlets or other vendors. Dial *184*<voucher code># to top-up. You can always check your balance by dialing *183#.

TVL Smile’s data bundles are as follows:

Price Data Volume Validity Activation Code
VUV50 200MB 3 hours Buy 50
VUV100 150MB 1 day Buy 100
VUV200 300MB 1 day Buy 200
VUV250 750MB Weekend Buy 250
VUV400 2,000MB 8pm to 6 am for 7 days Buy 400
VUV300 500MB 7 days Buy 300
VUV500 850MB 7 days Buy 500
VUV700 1,000MB 14 days Buy 700
VUV1,000 1.5GB + 750MB Night Bonus 30 days Buy 1000
VUV2,000 3.5GB + 1,750MB Night Bonus 30 days Buy 2000

The night data can be used from 12am-6am. To activate, text the code to 183 or dial *183#. All of the above packages include using Facebook for free, either via app or the mobile website: http://m.facebook.com.

APN: tvlweb.net.vu

Website: http://www.tvl.vu/en/mobile/mobile-internet/

Advice from TripAdvisor about SIM cards in Vanuatu

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 Vanuatu:

“Vanuatu has two providers of GSM-class mobile services. SIM cards are abundantly available in Vila at supermarkets and even roadside stalls. Is it cheap? Yes! Essential and convenient for anything from booking taxis/drivers/restaurants/ rentals and events. You can also buy mobile data from the same providers if you can’t do without the Internet.”

“We took an old unlocked phone and when we arrived at the airport in PV, we bought a Digicel SIM on the way out. They installed it for us and made sure it was working. The VUV10,000 SIM lasted right up until our last night and that was seven days of calling home and countless texts.”

Pros and cons of Vanuatu’s top SIM card operators

Vanuatu has two major SIM card providers. Here are some of the positives and negatives about these companies.

Pros

  • Both operators have kiosks at the airport.
  • Both providers have launched 4G/LTE networks.

Cons

  • You cannot top-up with TVL online.
  • Neither provider has much coverage outside the main islands.

Switch to a cell phone plan with international calling

Name Product Data Minutes Texts Can I bring my own phone? Cell phone plans starting at:
Sprint
Starting at 2 GB
Unlimited
Unlimited
Yes
$25
Get unlimited data, calls and text or a customized plan on a 5G network. Eligible plans come with Hulu, Amazon Prime or Tidal subscriptions.
SIMPLE Mobile
Starting at 2 GB
Unlimited
Unlimited
Yes
$30
30-day phone plans that allow you to cancel your service at anytime. Choose from five different talk, text and data options with the choice to add international calling for $10/month.
FreedomPop
Starting at 500 MB
Starting at 200 minutes
Starting at 500 texts
Yes
$0
Bring your own phone for a free plan with 500MB of data, 200 minutes and 500 texts per month using Sprint's CDMA Network. Prepaid plans with more data, talk and text start at $9.99/month.
NET10 Wireless
Starting at 1 GB
Unlimited
Unlimited
Yes
$20
30-day plans with unlimited talk and text and the option to choose how much data is right for you. Add-on rollover data is available starting at $5/500MB.
Straight Talk Wireless
Starting at 3 GB
Unlimited
Unlimited
Yes
$35
Choose from several different plan options with no contracts, no fees and coverage on the same networks as AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon.
loading

Compare up to 4 providers

More guides on Finder

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder.com provides guides and information on a range of products and services. Because our content is not financial advice, we suggest talking with a professional before you make any decision.

By submitting your comment or question, you agree to our Privacy and Cookies Policy and finder.com Terms of Use.

Questions and responses on finder.com are not provided, paid for or otherwise endorsed by any bank or brand. These banks and brands are not responsible for ensuring that comments are answered or accurate.

2 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    WarrenAugust 14, 2018

    when I buy a new sim in Vanautu do I keep my normal number?

    • Default Gravatar
      AshAugust 15, 2018

      Hi Warren,

      Thank you for reaching out to finder.

      Unfortunately, no, you will not be able to keep your existing mobile number once you bought a local prepaid SIM card in Vanuatu. You will be assigned a different mobile number which depends on the local provider that you will choose.

      I hope this helps.

      Let us know if there is anything else that we may assist you with.

      Cheers,
      Ash

Go to site