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2 Best Prepaid SIM Cards in French Polynesia: Buying Guide

French Polynesia – a country that consists of 118 islands scattered across the South Pacific Ocean.

The nation is mostly known for its beautiful beaches, water sport activities, and nightlife.

It would be a shame if you only stay on one Island, as you would be missing out. Even visiting the big islands, Tahiti, Mo'orea, and Bora Bora, would be better than staying on solely one of them. However, there are more than 100 islands to explore, so get started!

You most likely want to share your adventures online – and that is your right. French Polynesia has a lot of beauty to show off.

However, you should know that international roaming can be costly. French Polynesia is already an expensive travel destination, so there is no need to make things even more costly.

Moreover, as French Polynesia is not part of the European Union (EU), those with SIM cards issued in the EU cannot roam for free in French Polynesia.

Luckily, you can get a SIM card from Vini or Vodafone Polynesia, the local operators, as a traveler and tourist. But how expensive are SIM cards in French Polynesia?

You can get a French Polynesian SIM card for as little as 650 XPF (6.60 USD) in Vini and Vodafone stores. Tourist SIM cards are available from 4000 XPF (40.65 USD).

Cannot see the video above? Watch it here or on YouTube.

That may not sound cheap; it is not. However, roaming in French Polynesia can be compared to daylight robbery – it is crazy.

There are some essential things to be aware of when getting a SIM card in French Polynesia.

In this guide, I will go over everything you need to know about buying a SIM card in French Polynesia. Let's get started, shall we?

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

Original publication: 30th of January 2020. Last updated: 19th of July 2021.

Table of Contents

Can You Buy a SIM Card in French Polynesia

Everyone is allowed to buy a French Polynesian SIM card, including tourists and visitors.

You do need to be aware that you have to go through a SIM card registration procedure. Additionally, you need a phone that supports the frequencies used in the country (preferably all of them to have the most optimal experience while in French Polynesia). Finally, you need to have a SIM-lock-free (unlocked) phone to use local SIM cards.

Where Can You Buy a SIM Card in French Polynesia?

You can get a French Polynesian SIM card in Vini's and Vodafone's official stores. They are also available at Tahiti/Faa'a International Airport (Aéroport international de Tahiti Faa'a).

Cannot see the video above? Watch it here or on YouTube.

You can expect to pay the following for French Polynesian SIM cards:

  • Vini: 850 XPF & 1750 XPF (both regular)
  • Vodafone Polynesia: 650 XPF (regular), 1500 XPF (regular) or 1800 XPF (data-only)

The following operators also have SIM cards targeting tourists:

  • Vini: 4000 XPF & 8000 XPF
  • Vodafone Polynesia: 5000 XPF

Can You Use Your Phone in French Polynesia?

French Polynesia uses GSM technology for mobile communications. CDMA phones will not work in French Polynesia. However, there is a 99% chance your phone supports GSM (if your phone has a SIM card slot, then it supports GSM).

Besides that, you need to be aware of the ITU regions to determine whether your phone will work in other parts of the world.

Although there are three ITU regions, you only need to know these two terms: American Frequencies and European Frequencies.

Traditional European frequencies are used in French Polynesia, which are mostly used in ITU Regions 1 & 3 (Africa, Asia (including the Middle East), Europe & Oceania).

The Americas North-, Central– & South America + the Caribbean – ITU Region 2) use American Frequencies, which differ from the European ones.

ITU Regions Map
By Maximilian Dörrbecker (Chumwa) – Own work, using this file by Denelson83, CC BY-SA 2.5

If you bought your phone in Africa, Asia, Europe, or Oceania (ITU regions 1 & 3), you should not experience any issues with using your phone in French Polynesia.

If you purchased your phone in the Americas (ITU Region 2) and have a low/medium-end device (without Tri-Band or Quad-Band) support, then there is a possibility you cannot use your phone when in French Polynesia or can only use slower networks (3G or 2G).

If you have a medium/high-end device with Tri-Band or Quad-Band support, you can use your phone in French Polynesia (to some extent) – also on 4G/LTE.

Mobile Operators, Networks & Frequencies in French Polynesia

French Polynesia has two mobile network operators:

  • Vini by OPT (Office des Postes et Telecommunications)
  • Vodafone Polynesia

The following frequencies are used in French Polynesia:

  • 2G: 900 MHz
  • 3G: 900 MHz & 2100 MHz
  • 4G/LTE: 800 Mhz (Band 20), 2100 MHz (Band 1) & 2600 MHz (Band 7)

You can learn more about frequencies in the video below.

Cannot see the video above? Watch it here or on YouTube.

To check whether your phone will work in French Polynesia, check out this page by Will My Phone Work (may be outdated or inaccurate at times).

Again, make sure your phone is unlocked. Otherwise, you will not be able to use any SIM card except the one from your home operator (meaning you have to roam internationally or buy another unlocked phone that does support the frequencies listed above).

If you want to learn how international roaming works, this guide explains it in-depth. If you wonder why it is often so expensive to roam, this article explains the hidden reason they do not want you to know.

5G in French Polynesia

5G is not available in French Polynesia as of 2021, and the regulator has not made any indications of when they will auction 5G licenses.

Best SIM Card in French Polynesia

If you want to buy the best SIM card in French Polynesia, I recommend going with either Vini or Vodafone with their tourist SIM cards. Their regular SIM cards are poor options for those wanting to use data. Vini has the best coverage and the fastest speeds. Vodafone is the cheaper option.

EU Roaming in French Polynesia

European Union (EU) & European Economic Area (EEA)

French Polynesia is a French overseas collectivity. Although explaining the exact definition of that term is beyond the scope of this guide, it is something to be aware of.

Unlike French overseas regions (ROMs) or French overseas departments (DOMs), some French overseas collectivities do not enjoy the same privileges and status as metropolitan departments – French Polynesia is one of those exceptions.

As a result, French Polynesia is not part of the European Union (EU) nor the European Economic Area (EEA).

Therefore, the EU/EEA Roam Like At Home roaming regulation does not apply in French Polynesia. Therefore, you should not expect to roam for free if you have an EU/EEA SIM card while traveling in French Polynesia.

This also means that you can not roam for free in the EU/EEA with a French Polynesian SIM card.

SIM Card Registration in French Polynesia

SIM card registration, with the use of your passport information, is mandatory in French Polynesia. This will be done at the point of sale.

French Polynesia Mobile Internet Prices & Insights

French Polynesia Flag

Mobile data used to be costly in Oceania. Most Pacific nations had to use satellites, which are much more expensive and slower than connections through submarine cables. Moreover, the bandwidth through satellites was often narrow.

Over the years, however, many Pacific nations have finally been linked to submarine cables, and much more modern satellites have been sent to spaces, like Kacific (-1). As a result, the cost of data has gone down significantly. At least, in most cases.

So how much will mobile data cost you in French Polynesia?

The average price for 1 GB of data in French Polynesia is 4.20 USD, less than the Oceanian average of 5.51 USD. The world average is 4.07 USD.

I am not sure what caused the dramatic spike in costs back in 2020, but that does not matter. French Polynesia is now on spot 10 of the countries with the cheapest mobile data rates in Oceania. And the prices are around the global average.

Initially, 4G/LTE was restricted to postpaid customers only with Vini. Vodafone Polynesia offered 4G/LTE early on to prepaid customers, but speeds were still slow. Now, 4G/LTE is available to anyone, and the maximum achievable speeds are 32 Mbps download and 15 Mbps upload.

Of course, your speeds will often be slower than mentioned, but it is still something to be aware of.

Mobile coverage is close to great on the big islands (Tahiti, Mo'orea & Bora Bora), especially around the coasts. The reception will be unsatisfactory to non-existent more inland. However, the likelihood of you being there will be low.

As a result, you should have a reasonably smooth network experience when in French Polynesia.

Currency in French Polynesia

10 000 CFP Franc Bank Note
© Institut d'émission d'Outre-Mer/Overseas Note-Issuing Bank

French Polynesia uses the CFP Franc standing for French Pacific Franc with the symbol XPF (which will be used throughout this guide) – but the CFP Franc also has the symbol CFP. However, prices are often listed as just F. For example, 25 XFP = 25 F. For reference, below are some exchange rates between XFP and USD (US Dollars):

  • 1 XFP = 0.01 USD
  • 10 XFP = 0.10 USD
  • 100 XFP = 1.00 USD
  • 1000 XFP = 10.15 USD
  • 10 000 XFP = 101.65 USD

For up-to-date XFP:USD exchange rates, search XFP to USD on Google, or replace USD with the currency you use.

Note that the US Dollar (USD) and Euro (EUR) are generally accepted in French Polynesia. If accepted by the store clerk, you will always get change back in XFP. Do note that the exchange rate when paying with USD or EUR will rarely be in your favor.

If your credit/debit card charges you foreign exchange fees, get yourself a Wise Borderless Account and Debit Card. Their fees are MUCH lower than banks, and credit card companies charge you (and Wise is transparent about their fees, unlike banks). I have saved literal THOUSANDS of Euros, my main currency, when using Wise abroad when traveling compared to my debit and credit cards. Open a Wise account FREE!

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French Polynesia Prepaid SIM Cards

Below, I will guide you through Vini & Vodafone Polynesia, and go through:

  • Background information
  • Mobile coverage
  • SIM card types, prices, and availability
  • Recharge / top-up information
  • Combo plans, data plans, and special packs (such as social media packs) 

With that being said, let’s see what French Polynesia has to offer to us.

Vini

Vini Logo
© Vini

Vini by Office des Postes et Telecommunications is the largest operator in French Polynesia. It held a monopoly position until Vodafone Polynesia, then Pacific Mobile Telecom, entered the market.

Vini uses the following frequencies:

  • 2G: 900 MHz
  • 3G: 900 MHz & 2100 MHz
  • 4G/LTE: 800 Mhz (Band 20) & 2600 MHz (Band 7)

This is what you will learn about Vini:

* Coverage
* How to Get a Vini SIM Card & SIM Card Price
* Topping Up Options & Methods + Balance Check
* Plans & Packages
* APN/Internet Settings

Click on the links above to jump to the section you are interested in.

Jump to Vodafone

Coverage – Vini

Vini has the best coverage in French Polynesia.

Vini provides 4G/LTE coverage on the 65 largest or most inhabited islands throughout French Polynesia, including Tahiti, Mo'orea & Bora.

Below is Vini's coverage map in Tahiti:

Here is Vini's coverage in Mo'orea:

Then we also have a coverage map of Bora Bora:

Vivi has coverage maps of 13 islands, which I will not show you all because… well… it will become too much. But here are all the coverage maps in just one image:

But they also have a map showing where 4G/LTE is available and where you will be stuck at only 2G:

Finally, here is a coverage map covering all of French Polynesia by Speedtest:

SIM Card Price – Vini

You can get a Vini SIM card for 850 XPF or 1750 XPF in Vini stores. Two SIM cards are available: Vinicard (850 XPF) and Vini Xtra (1750 XPF), which both feature different starter perks.

Vinicard SIM Card
© Vini

Below is an overview of the Vini SIM cards:

  • Vinicard: costs 850 XPF with credit worth 160 MB, 27 local minutes, or 80 local SMS (you decide how to use it) and bonus data (40 MB) or 20 local SMS
  • Vini Xtra: costs 1750 XPF with credit worth 40 local minutes or 120 local SMS (you decide how to use it) and bonus SMS (20) and unlimited SMS at evenings (20:00 – 6:00) and during the weekend (Friday from 20:00 to Monday 6:00)

It is also possible to buy Vini SIM cards at Tahiti/Faa'a International Airport (Aéroport international de Tahiti Faa'a).

Short-term visitors and tourists can also get a Vini Travel SIM – Vini's tourist SIM card.

Vini Travel Card
© Vini

They are sold in these two variants:

SIM CardPriceDataLocal Minutes/Local SMSValidity
Vini Travel Card 3 Go4000 XPF/36 USD/33 EUR3 GB30 minutes/87 local SMS30 days 
Vini Travel Card 10 Go8000 XPF/73 USD/67 EUR10 GB60 minutes/174 local SMS30 days 

Vini SIM cards/Vini Travel Cards get deactivated if there has been no activity for 3 months (no top-up for 3 months or no activity for 3 months). Vini Travel Cards cannot be extended.

Topping Up & Recharging – Vini

Vini top-up vouchers are sold in Vini stores and many other stores throughout French Polynesia, including post offices, kiosks, and grocery stores.

Vini Top-Up Cards
© Vini

The following top-up options are available:

Top-UpBonus Data/Local SMSValiditySIM Card Validity Extension 1
500 XPFN/A15 days 3 months 
1000 XPF40 MB/20 local SMS1 month6 months 
2000 XPF100 MB/50 local SMS 1 month6 months 

1 does not apply to Vini Travel Cards

To top up your Vini SIM card, dial *87391222*VoucherCode#.

For example, if your voucher code is 123456, you would dial *87391222*123456#.

The same can be done by calling 87391222 and then entering the Voucher Code. However, the voice instructions are in French only.

You can also recharge online with (international) debit and credit cards.

Text conso to 7100 to check your Vini balance.

Plans, Packages, Bundles & Offers – Vini

Vini does not have reasonable data-featured plans for prepaid customers.

Most of the plans Vini offers are targeted towards postpaid customers, those on a plan, or subscribers. Unfortunately, travelers are not eligible for any of those plans.

In most cases, you are better off with Vini Travel Cards, which do include proper data allowances. Those SIM cards may seem expensive, but the value given for the money spent is much more favorable than standard data rates.

The bonus data allowances given with most recharges are minuscule. So are the data-featured plans called Internet Mobile à la Demande (Mobile Internet on Demand). The speeds on those plans are restricted to 3G (speeds).

Below is an overview of them:

PriceDataValidityActivation Code
100 XPF10 MB1 hourIM10
350 XPF50 MB24 hoursIM50

If you, for some reason, want to activate Internet Mobile à la Demande (IMD), text the Activation Code to 7071.

APN/Internet Settings – Vini

  • Name: internet
  • APN: internet
  • MMC: 574
  • MNC: 20
  • APN type: default OR internet

Note: leave anything not mentioned above untouched.

Jump back to the Table of Contents.

Vodafone Polynesia

Vodafone Logo
© Vodafone

Vodafone Polynesia, just Vodafone, is the other player in French Polynesia. It is on average the cheapest option.

  • 2G: 900 MHz
  • 3G: 900 MHz
  • 4G/LTE: 800 Mhz (Band 20) & 2100 MHz (Band 1)

This is what you will learn about Vodafone:

* Coverage
* How to Get a Vodafone SIM Card & SIM Card Price
* Topping Up Options & Methods + Balance Check
* Plans & Packages
* APN/Internet Settings

Click on the links above to jump to the section you are interested in.

Jump to Vini

Coverage – Vodafone Polynesia

Vodafone has good coverage throughout French Polynesia.

Vodafone covers the majority of islands in French Polynesia. However, prepaid customers are often restricted to Tahiti, Mo'orea, and Bora Bora. Postpaid customers have full access to Vodafone's network. Unfortunately, travelers cannot become Vodafone subscribers.

Below is Vodafone's coverage on Tahiti and Mo'orea.

Here is Vodafone's coverage on Bora Bora.

Below is a coverage map produced by Speedtest showing Vodafone's coverage throughout the entirety of French Polynesia. Remember, prepaid customers do not have full access to Vodafone's network.

SIM Card Price – Vodafone Polynesia

You can get a Vodafone SIM card, called Vodacard, for 650 XPF or 1500 XPF in Vodafone stores.

It is also possible to buy Vini SIM cards at Tahiti/Faa'a International Airport (Aéroport international de Tahiti Faa'a).

Vodacard 650 features 650 XPF in credit that is valid for 30 days. Vodacard 1500 includes 1500 XPF in credit, unlimited calls to #89 numbers in the evening and during the weekend, and unlimited SMS to #87 and #89 numbers – all valid for 30 days.

You can also get the Vodafone Internet SIM card, which is a data-only SIM card. It costs 1800 XPF and featured 5 GB of data valid for 30 days. They can be recharged with Vodafone Internet Plans.

Vodafone Polynesia Vodacard Internet Banner
© Vodafone Polynesia

Short-term visitors and tourists can also get a Vodafone Travel SIM – Vodafone's tourist SIM card.

For 5000 XPF (or 42 EUR), you will get 5 GB of data, 30 local minutes, and 30 international minutes – all for 30 days.

You can pre-book the Vodafone Travel SIM before departure, but that is not mandatory.

Although the initial Vodafone Travel SIM plan is valid for 30 days, the SIM card itself is valid for 3 months. The validity cannot be extended.

The Vodafone Travel SIM has exclusive top-up benefits, which are shown below:

Top-UpDataLocal MinutesLocal SMSValidity
200 XPF100 MB7 minutes22 SMS7 days 
500 XPF250 MB17 minutes55 SMS7 days 
1000 XPF512 MB35 minutes111 SMS7 days 
2000 XPF2 GB71 minutes222 SMS15 days 
5000 XPF6 GB178 minutes555 SMS30 days 

Vodafone SIM cards get deactivated if there has been no activity for 1 year (no top-up for 1 year or no activity for 1 year).

Topping Up & Recharging – Vodafone Polynesia

Vodafone top-up cards are sold in Vodafone stores and many other stores, such as convenience stores, electronic shops, and supermarkets.

Vodafone Polynesia Vodacard Top-Ups
© Vodafone Polynesia

The following top-up options are available:

Top-UpBonus CreditDataLocal MinutesLocal SMSValidity
200 XPFN/A40 MB7 minutes22 SMS7 days 
500 XPFN/A100 MB17 minutes55 SMS15 days 
1000 XPF200 XAF240 MB42 minutes133 SMS30 days 
2000 XPF500 XAF500 MB89 minutes277 SMS30 days 
5000 XPF1000 XAF1200 MB214 minutes666 SMS30 days 

To top up your Vodafone SIM card, dial *1111*VoucherCode#.

For example, if your voucher code is 123456, you would dial *1111*123456#.

Dial *1122# to check your Vodafone balance.

You can also use the Mon Vodafone (My Vodafone) app to refill and check your balance (Android/iOS).

Vodafone Polynesia Mon Vodafone App
© Vodafone Polynesia

Plans, Packages, Bundles & Offers – Vodafone Polynesia

Vodafone has one data-featured plan, which is exclusive to the Vodafone Internet SIM card (data-only). Vodacard SIM cards can get data through top-ups. However, the allowances are not generous.

As a tourist, you are better off getting a Vodafone Travel SIM. It comes with a generous data allowance – so do the recharges exclusively for the Vodafone Travel SIM.

Below are the data plans for the Vodafone Internet SIM:

Top-UpDataValidity
200 XPF500 MB3 days 
500 XPF2 GB7 days 
1000 XPF4 GB14 days 
2000 XPF10 GB21 days 
5000 XPF30 GB30 days

APN/Internet Settings – Vodafone Polynesia

  • Name: Vodafone Internet
  • APN: internet
  • MMC: 574
  • MNC: 14
  • APN Type: internet
  • APN Protocol: IPv4
  • APN Roaming Protocol: IPv4

Note: leave anything not mentioned above untouched.

Jump back to the Table of Contents.

Other Ways to Stay Connected When Traveling in French Polynesia

Getting a French Polynesian SIM card is the best way to stay connected in the country. You have learned that SIM cards are cheap, plans are generous, and speeds are blazing fast.

But sometimes, getting a local SIM card is not possible. Perhaps you have a SIM-lock phone. The operator you prefer to go with does not support the frequencies your phone uses, or you cannot be bothered to deal with SIM card registration in every country you are visiting.

Luckily, there are other ways to get online when in French Polynesia.

However, these methods may be more expensive than getting a SIM card from the local operators.

International Roaming

International roaming is the most convenient way to stay connected when traveling in other countries because you do not have to buy a new SIM card, have to deal with SIM card registration regulations, nor have multiple phone numbers to deal with.

However, international roaming has proven to be expensive in many cases, especially compared to buying local SIM cards. That is why many travelers are not fond of international roaming.

International roaming has its pros and cons. However, it is important to know how it works. This in-depth guide explains it all.

Find out whether your mobile operator has attractive roaming rates for French Polynesia here.

Using an International SIM Card or Travel SIM Card

International SIM cards are SIM cards made for the traveler in mind. Using them is often cheaper than international roaming. However, they are almost always more expensive than using a local SIM card.

There are many other advantages and disadvantages of getting international SIM cards, which you can learn about here.

Using a Mobile Hotspot (Pocket WIFI)

Mobile hotspots, or pocket WIFI, are small devices that connect to the local operators of the country you are visiting. Mobile hotspots are ideal for families or those traveling in a large group, as they allow you to connect multiple devices to one hotspot without the need of each traveler having to buy a SIM card.

You can either buy a mobile hotspot or rent one.

The Preferred Way to Stay Connected When Traveling in French Polynesia

Getting a SIM card from Vini or Vodafone would do you well when considering a French Polynesian SIM card.

Local Prepaid SIM Cards in Other Oceanian Countries

Visiting other countries in Oceania? Check out my Oceania SIM card buying guide, covering other Oceanian nations, such as:

Going to other places around the world? Then you should also check out my sim card buying guides for other destinations around the world.

Next Steps to Enhance Your Travel Experiences

Looking for the next steps to enhance your phone travel experiences? Here is what to do:

Check Out My Resource Page

Looking for the best companies and gadgets to enhance your travel experience? Check out my travel resources page for the best companies to use when you travel! Save money with international SIM cards, on plane tickets, bus rides, cruises, and accommodation. Besides that, I also list services and items I use to make my life easier – and I believe they will help you too!

Start Your Own Online Business – Make Money While Traveling

Do you want to learn how I started an online business that allows me to generate income while traveling? In my starting an online business guide, I tell you which tools, services, and products I have for this site and my YouTube channel. If I can start a business about something I am passionate about (phone travel), then you can do it too!

Learn About Your Phone Travel Options

You can buy local prepaid SIM cards, international SIM cards, mobile hotspots, or roam internationally. Each of these options has its pros and cons. Learn more about them, and find the best option for you.

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