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A guide to finding the best prepaid SIM card when travelling to French Polynesia
Buy a local SIM card to reduce your roaming rates.
French Polynesia is comprised of more than 100 islands in the South Pacific, and is extremely popular with tourists. Using your phone there can work out to be quite costly, so to keep expenses down why not switch to a local SIM card so you can take advantage of better plans, deals and tariffs? French Polynesia has a prepaid SIM card deal for travelers, with offers that could reduce your bills. So, whether you’re planning a quick break, an extended trip or an exploration, check out the best SIM card options available on finder.com/ca.Prices last updated 16 Jul 2017
The French-speaking nation has two main operators: Vini and Vodafone.
Both operators have been tried and tested by local residents and international travelers, and can be trusted. However, unless you can find SIM plans better than your existing provider, we strongly advise you to keep the one you have. The wrong plan can prove expensive!
About French Polynesia’s telecommunications
Vini and Vodafone both offer prepaid SIM cards. They can be purchased from the official store and approved resellers. The islands are not considered part of the EU, so EU roaming caps don’t apply and charges can be very high for roaming. Vini already offers 4G/LTE wireless while Vodafone plans on offering the service toward the end of the year. Below, we have listed both providers and what they can offer you during your stay in French Polynesia.
State-owned Vini S.A.S. is the main provider on the islands. It offers 4G/LTE services and quite good network coverage. Two types of prepaid SIM cards can be purchased from official stores or approved resellers:
- The Vinicard Classic voice and data SIM can be purchased for CFP850, and comes with 17 minutes of local voice and 70 local SMS.
- The Vinicard Extra SIM can be purchased for CFP1,750, which doesn’t include data on the basic package. Data packs must be added. Vouchers are available for CFP500, CFP1,000 and CFP2,000.
Text “conso” to 7100 to check your balance.
The following data packs can be added:
|10MB||CFP100||Valid for 1 hour||Text “IM10” to 7071|
|50MB||CFP350||Valid for 24 hours||Text “IM50” to 7071|
- 100MB for 15 days – CFP500
- 200MB for 30 days – CFP1,000
- 400MB for 30 days – CFP2,000
Credit can be added by texting the 14-digit code to 7010. Text “conso” to 7100 to check your balance.
Vini’s APN: Internet
If you plan to travel around the islands then Vodafone is the better option, because it has far-reaching network coverage. Vodafone’s 3G services are actually very good and compete with Vini’s 4G offering. Vodafone plans on providing a 4G/LTE service of its own toward the end of 2017.
The following Vodafone SIM cards are available:
- Vodafone 321 – CFP750 with 36MB data
- Vodafone Brad – CFP1,450 with 68MB data
- Vodafone Brad API – CFP2,250 purchases two SIM cards with 136MB data
Credit can be purchased for:
- CFP500, CFP1,000 or CFP1,100 valid for 30 days
- CFP2,100, valid for 75 days
- CFP5,100, valid for 90 days.
The standard default data rate is CFP11 per MB on all prepaid SIMs. The following data packs can be added:
- 500MB – CFP1,950
- 1GB – CFP2,450
Some top tips from finder.com staff:
- French is the local language, so if you don’t speak French, you may want to download Google Translate onto your phone before you leave.
- Locals call a SIM card a “Card” or “SIM”.
- Ask the retailers to help set up the SIM card. They are official sellers and will be happy to help.
TripAdvisor tips for the best SIM cards and where to buy them
While it’s well known for its reviews, booking hotels, flights and holidays, TripAdvisor also has many user comments that can help guide you through what SIM cards have been tried and tested in French Polynesia.
“It doesn’t cost you if somebody calls you but unless the person calling you has an international calling plan it is very expensive for them. I usually connect to Wi-Fi and use Skype or Facetime”
“All incoming calls, even international, are free on the Vini phone/text SIM card, and yes, you will be assigned a local Tahitian phone number”
“The phone can be reloaded with credits with a Vini recharge card, available at all post offices and many stores and shops”
Pros and cons of French Polynesia’s telco providers
Both providers require you to have a SIM-unlocked GSM compatible international phone. To double check you have this option, or to find out whether it’s possible to unlock your device, contact your provider before you set off on your travels.
- Prepaid credit when required
- No in-store contract needed
- Could be compatible with your current phone
- No devices offered with the SIM card packages
- Can only be used on SIM-unlocked GSM phones
- Network coverage on some French Polynesian islands can suffer
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