A guide to finding the best local SIM card option in Palau
Only one company currently offers mobile network services in Palau.
Unless you’re a fan of the reality TV series Survivor, Palau is one of the lesser-known island paradises in the South Pacific. A submarine cable is being installed, but for now the island relies solely on satellite technology for Internet access. If you are visiting Palau, you can cut down on roaming charges by investing in a prepaid SIM card. You can purchase a SIM card for US$45 (CAD$62.18) that includes US$10 (CAD$12.46) airtime.Prices last updated 2017/10/06
Palau is comprised of about 250 islands, but the mobile network only works on the main islands. These include:
- Rock Islands
PalauCel by PNCC
The Palau National Communications Corporation (PNCC) is the only game in town for Palau. Its mobile brand is known as PalauCel. Its 3G coverage is good on Koror, Airai, Peleliu and Melekeok. The rest of the inhabited islands have 2G, but only for voice and text. Download and upload speeds are notably slow throughout the islands regardless of network. Because PNCC has a monopoly on this island chain of just 21,000 people, it can set the prices as it sees fit.
There are two PNCC offices where you can buy your prepaid SIM cards: one in Koror and the other in Airai. The stores are open Monday through Friday from 8am to 4:30pm. The basic SIM is US$45 with a credit of US$10.
PalauCel offers several different plans for minutes, depending on how active you’ll be. All plans are per month, so weigh the cost of paying your own phone’s roaming charges against how long you’ll be in Palau.
|US$3||50MB||1 day (until 4am)||*400*3#|
In addition to its service as a publisher of leading travel guides, Lonely Planet has multiple forums for users to compare notes and exchange information about foreign locales. Here’s a bit of information from a Palau visitor about the state of its SIM card market.
“I would find it highly unlikely that Palaunet will have anything other than the basic SIM card that non-smartphones use. Few people in Palau have any sort of smartphone.
That said, I do know of at least one American that brought her iPhone and was able to get it to work on the cell network. I remember it being quite a hassle to get it unlocked and able to be used.”
Pros and cons of Palau’s top SIM card operator
- The submarine cable is supposed to come online in December 2017 and will provide faster speeds to all of Palau.
- Speeds are very slow regardless of your network.
An additional question about SIM cards in Palau
Q: What is the status of the submarine cable for Palau?
A: The Belau Cable Corporation is a state-owned company that is building and managing a submarine fiber-optic cable for Palau. It will be a branch of the SEA-US submarine cable system, which will connect the US (California and Hawaii) to Guam. The Palau cable is scheduled for completion in December 2017.
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