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French Polynesia: Best eSIM for Papeete (2023)

French Polynesia is one of the more popular travel destination in Oceania.

Mostly because it has a lot to offer.

But before you share your colorful French Polynesia experiences online, be aware that international roaming can be expensive.

Travel eSIMs can be a much more affordable way to stay connected, even in French Polynesia.

How much will a travel eSIM for French Polynesia cost?

You can get a travel eSIM for French Polynesia for as little as 9.50 USD, with 1 GB for 7 days, from Airalo.

While this may sound a bit pricey but international roaming will be even more expensive.

So yeah, these travel eSIMs can be worth it.

In this guide, I will go over the travel eSIM options offered by Airalo. Let's go.

Buying an eSIM for French Polynesia Guide (Airalo and Polynet)

Original publication: 22nd of September 2022. Last updated: 24th of November 2022.


Table of Contents

eSIMs offered by the French Polynesian Mobile Operators

Suppose you want to get the best service and reception available in French Polynesia.

In that case, it is better to get a SIM card or travel eSIM from the local mobile operators, which in this case would be the French Polynesian ones.

Not only will you not have to deal with latency, but you also get a higher priority on the network because you are a direct customer of the mobile operator instead of a roamer.

And with most travel eSIMs, you are roaming on the network(s) of the local mobile operator(s).

But that is not always the case – the slow speeds part, that is.

Some mobile operators throttle the speeds of prepaid customers because they want more people to get a postpaid plan.

Unfortunately, travelers cannot get postpaid plans – so one way to avoid throttling is by using a travel eSIM.

Yes – travel eSIMs sometimes have faster speeds than native prepaid customers because of throttling.

You have one option for getting an eSIM for your trip to French Polynesia: Airalo (with Polynet).

One of the main advantages of getting a travel eSIM for French Polynesia is that you can set up the eSIM before arriving in French Polynesia and activate it upon landing and you do not have to deal with French Polynesia's SIM card registration laws.

I have to mention that travel eSIMs will be more expensive than local eSIMs and SIM cards, but they are more convenient.

Moreover, I have plenty of experience with the eSIMs from Airalo, so I can vouch for them – so can many Phone Travel Wiz readers!

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So let's go over what the travel eSIMs offer for French Polynesia!


Airalo eSIMs for French Polynesia (Polynet)

French Polynesia Polynet eSIM Airalo
© Airalo

If you have read any of my eSIM or SIM card buying guides before, then you know I am a big fan of Airalo.

Not only does Airalo have eSIMs for most countries (around 190 countries) of any eSIM platform, but they are also often one of the cheapest while offering fantastic service in terms of speeds and reception.

That is because Airalo usually partners up with the mobile operator with the best coverage, the fastest speeds, both, or even multiple operators.

That way, you get the best bang for your buck, I have to say.

In the case of French Polynesia, the Polynet uses the Vodafone French Polynesia network.

Vodafone Logo
© Vodafone

So, which French Polynesia eSIMs are available? You have this one option:

  1. French Polynesia/Polynet 1 GB eSIM for 7 days, costing 9.50 USD
French Polynesia Polynet eSIM Airalo (with Prices)

Now, you may think this is a sad selection or that 1 GB of data is insufficient.

Both points are true… I agree – but you can make unlimited top-ups with the Polynet eSIM through the Airalo website or apps.

So if you need 5 GB of data, you can purchase the Polynet 1 GB eSIM and get four 1 GB top-ups.

Yes, it is a bit inconvenient for now; Airalo may offer 3 GB, 5 GB & 10 GB plans with a 30-day validity for French Polynesia soon, as it did for many other countries it supports.

The Airalo links will automatically get you the available Phone Travel Wiz exclusive offers – a code is unnecessary.


Airalo Polynet eSIM Pros

Are there any (more) reasons why you should get the Polynet eSIM? Yes, there are:

  • You can activate your Polynet eSIM as soon as you land in French Polynesia
  • You get full (up to 4G/LTE) access to Vodafone French Polynesia's network
  • Polynet eSIMs are affordable (especially compared to roaming)
  • SIM card registration is not a thing you have to worry about with the Polynet eSIM, saving you time
  • Multiple top-ups can be purchased when you are out of data or when your initial plan expires easily on the Airalo site or apps

I could list many more pros, but these are the major ones.

Unfortunately, there are some cons to be aware of.

Airalo Polynet eSIM Cons

Why should you not get the Polynet eSIM?

  • The French Polynesian mobile operators, including Vodafone French Polynesia itself, have much more generous data allowances
  • There is only one plan available, the 1 GB one, meaning you have to keep topping up when you are out of data instead of buying a larger data plan from the start
  • While you get access to Vodafone French Polynesia's network, your speeds may not be as fast as going with Vodafone French Polynesia itself because you will be roaming on their networks (and not be a native customer)
  • There is no 5G NR access with the Polynet eSIM (yet)
  • You cannot call or text with the Polynet eSIM (nor can you receive them – you get no (local) phone number)

Airalo Polynet eSIM Overall Thoughts

The Polynet eSIM is a convenient eSIM that can be purchased before going to French Polynesia and can be activated upon arriving.

You get access to one of French Polynesia's best networks with the Polynet eSIM.

The main flaw, for now, is that you have to purchase multiple top-ups if you need more data than just 1 GB.

While getting a top-up is straightforward, some tourists, like myself, prefer to just buy one big data plan so that you do not have to worry about data allowances.

But besides that flaw, the Polynet eSIM is fine.

Remember, you cannot call or text with the Polynet eSIM, as it is a data-only eSIM.

Consider a French Polynesian SIM card if calling and texting is important, but you have to deal with the (e)SIM (card) registration laws.


Overview of the Best eSIMs for French Polynesia (Airalo)

In this guide, I went over Airalo's Polynet as the only (reasonably priced) eSIM for French Polynesia.

I recognize that there are other eSIM providers that do offer services for French Polynesia.

But they are either crazy expensive or the quality of service is whack (based on my experience or the experiences of other Phone Travel Wiz readers).

But you are free to try them out and let me know if they were any good 😀.


Buying a SIM Card in French Polynesia

Do these eSIMs not sound appealing to you, or does your phone not support eSIMs (but still thought this guide was insightful enough that you read it until the end)?

Consider getting a French Polynesian SIM card instead – that linked guide is the most extensive SIM card buying guide for French Polynesia on the web, packed with insightful information and tips.

Buying a SIM Card in French Polynesia Guide (logos of Vini & Vodafone)

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