Buying a Prepaid SIM Card in Micronesia Guide

Telecom Provider in Micronesia Logo: FSMTC and FSM Telecom

Micronesia, officially known as the Federated States of Micronesia, is an independent republic associated with the United States. It is great for snorkeling, especially in the Chuuk Lagoon, and snorkeling in Pohnpei, for example. You will be fine in Micronesia.

What you may not want to do, however, is to roam with your provider in Micronesia. In fact, you may not be able to do so because barely any operators have roaming agreements with FSM Telecom, the sole operator in Micronesia. As a result, the only option to be connected in this nation is by buying a local SIM card or use premium WIFI hotspots.

In this article, I will go over everything you need to know about buying a SIM card in Micronesia. Let's get started.

Telecom Provider in Micronesia

Micronesia has 1 telecom provider, which is FSM Telecom. As a remote island nation, the country uses satellite links for its cellular data, which makes it slow and expensive. Micronesia is now linked to the internet by a submarine cable, but that is only to the main island. Remote Micronesian islands rely on satellites.

Like most nations in Oceania, you do not have to show your passport when buying a SIM card in Micronesia.

With that said, let’s see what FSM Telecom has to offer to us.

Tip: Looking for cheap flights? Book with AirWander and add stopovers! Not in a hurry yet? Set up flight alerts with Airfarewatchdog and get notified when ticket prices for your preferred route(s) drop!

FSM Telecom (FSMTC)

FSM Telecom (FSMTC) Logo

FSM Telecom is a state-owned enterprise that is an internet provider ad a mobile operator. FSM Telecom has 2G and 4G networks throughout Micronesia.

Coverage can be found on the four main islands, which are Chuuk, Yap, Kosrae, and Pohnpei. The other islands use satellite technology for calls (2G is too slow for modern web browsing).

An FSM SIM card costs 10 USD (just “$”) and can be bought at FSM Telecom stores. The one close to Chuuk International Airport may be the most convenient store to buy your SIM card when arriving in Micronesia. Recharge cards are sold from $5 to $20. The following combo packs can be bought:

  • $2: Unlimited data for 1 day until 3:50 AM
  • $5: 100 MB, 30 minutes, and unlimited SMS for 1 day (until 3:50 AM)
  • $9: Unlimited data for 5 days
  • $30: 2 GB, 60 minutes, and unlimited SMS for 30 days
  • $50: 5 GB, 120 minutes, and unlimited SMS for 30 days

It is unclear what the fair-use policy is for the unlimited data packs.

Other Ways to Stay Connected When Traveling in Micronesia

So far, you have been informed about the SIM card options in Micronesia. However, that is not the only way to be online in Micronesia I have already briefly mentioned that you can roam with your provider, although it can be expensive in most cases. Besides that, you can use free WIFI connections, mobile hotspots, or international SIM cards.

Roaming in Micronesia with Your Provider

Roaming is a term used in wireless telecommunication that indicates a mobile device is outside the range of its home network and has connected to a different, available cell network. Let’s say your provider is Digicel Papua New Guinea, then you would be roaming with Digicel Papua New Guinea in Micronesia.

You may have read horror stories of people coming back from a lovely holiday, only to be confronted with a roaming bill in the thousands. This can still be the case if you do not review your roaming options before going on a holiday. Luckily for you, I have written about the roaming options you have with various providers around the world, which you can read here.

Some operators offer roaming plans. Others allow you to roam for free in certain destinations, while several operators let you use your plan’s allowance for a daily fee. As you can see, roaming does not have to be a horrific experience.

Do note that FSM Telecom does not have many roaming agreements with foreign operators, which means that you may not even have the choice to roam in Micronesia.

No idea how roaming works? I made this comprehensive guide about what roaming is and how it works. It is worth the read – promised!

In general, Pay As You Go roaming should be avoided, as that is how travelers get high roaming bills. One provider charges you about 1000 USD per GB in certain destinations, which is insane. If you really want to roam, check whether your provider has attractive roaming plans. Else, you will be better off with buying a local SIM card.

Using Free WIFI connections in Micronesia

This does not require a lot of explanation, but using free WIFI connections is the cheapest way to connect to the internet because you do not have to pay anything. Nothing beats free stuff, right? Well, not so fast.

First, you need to find hotspots in Micronesia. In some countries of cities, you will find so many hotspots that you can try them out one by one and find the one with the fastest speeds. In other places, however, WIFI connections do not seem to exist.

In the case of Micronesia, you will mainly find paid hotspots by FSM Telecom in more than 30 locations. You will pay $0.08 per MB, and they do not sell discounted packages. You will pay $81.92 per GB, which is steep.

Additionally, public WIFI hotspots are unsecure. They are a prime target for hackers to steal your data and use it for illicit purposes. That is I use, and would recommend you to start using, a Virtual Private Network (VPN) if you connect to a public hotspot. What a VPN does is creating an encrypted tunnel between your device and the hotspot so that your data will stay private. I use NordVPN, and you can get up to 70% off when you get a NordVPN subscription. Get your subscription now or learn more about NordVPN.

Using a Pocket WIFI (Mobile Hotspot) in Micronesia

Pocket WIFI is a portable, battery-powered wireless router that allows you to connect your phone, laptop, or tablet without needing multiple SIM cards for those devices to be connected to the internet. They are compact and lightweight so that you take them along with you whenever you need internet access on the go.

Many companies have created mobile hotspots (just have a quick search on Amazon, for example, you will find many). Skyroam and Vision Global Wireless are reputable pocket WIFI providers I know. You can get a discount if you rent a router through Skyroam by using coupon code PHONETRAVELWIZ. Cellular access with Skyroam starts at $8 a day while using a Vision Global device starts at $2 a day. Both services cover more than 130 destinations around the world.

I often recommend mobile hotspots to those who are traveling in groups or with families. They can save groups a lot of money if they are visiting destinations where buying multiple SIM cards would become an expensive endeavor.

I recently wrote an article analyzing the 7 Best Mobile Hotspots for Travelers like yourself, which should be an interesting read if pocket WIFI is something you are considering. I do reviews of individual devices every now and then, so check out my mobile hotspot category to stay up to date.

Getting an International SIM card for Traveling in Micronesia

International SIM cards are, as the name implies, SIM cards for international use. Well, that does not explain anything. Although most providers allow you to use your card abroad, some actually restrict this possibility. An international SIM card lets you go abroad without having to change SIM cards when visiting multiple destinations. They have been made with the traveler in mind.

All of this sounds lovely, but international SIM cards are much more expensive than local SIM cards in Micronesia. Not only that, some offer poor service as well for high rates. Some reputable companies I know are OneSimCard, SimOptions, and Surfroam.

International SIM cards are appealing to those who travel frequently or are visiting multiple destinations in one trip. Many countries in Africa require you to register before you can use a SIM card, which can be a hassle for some. Additionally, the language barrier may be off-putting to some travelers, which is why an international SIM card can be handy. You order it before you depart and can use it in various destinations.

My recommendation, however, is to get a local SIM card if you are only visiting one destination. If you are visiting multiple ones, an international SIM card could be handy. If you want to learn more about international SIM cards, check out my international SIM card comparison article, where I analyze 10 international SIM card providers so that you do not have to.

The Best Way to Stay Connected When Traveling in Micronesia

Getting a SIM card from FSM Telecom would be your only when considering a Micronesian SIM card. Be sure to explore the roaming options your provider offers you, as they may offer free or cheap roaming bundles.

You could also consider getting an international SIM card or using a portable hotspot. International SIM cards are attractive for those visiting multiple destinations at once or within a year. Portable hotspots will be useful when traveling with multiple people so that not each individual has to get a SIM card but can use the hotspot.

Visiting other countries in Oceania? Check out my Oceanian SIM card buying guide covering the other Oceanian destinations, such as American Samoa, Australia, Cook Islands, Fiji, French Polynesia, Guam, Kiribati, Nauru, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Tonga, Vanuatu, and Wallis and Futuna. Going to other places around the world? Then you should also check out my sim card buying guides for other destinations around the world.

What is next?

Looking for the best companies and gadgets to enhance your travel experience? Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you travel! Save money 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!

Book Your Flight for Micronesia

It is time to book your flight. Find cheap flights with AirWander so that you can add free or cheap stopovers in destinations you have not considered yet before going to Micronesia. If you are not ready to take off yet, set up flight alerts with Airfarewatchdog, and they will notify you once ticket prices to Micronesia drop.

Book Your Accommodation for Micronesia

I am a huge fan of Airbnb because it allows me to live with a local or get a local place for myself. Staying in someone’s house or apartment feels much different than being in a ho(s)tel, especially in Micronesia. At least, that is how I see it. Moreover, Airbnb can often be much cheaper than staying in a Micronesian hotel. However, do consider staying in one of the resorts or hotels because they are beautiful.

Get Your Travel Insurance for Micronesia

You will regret not having travel insurance once you actually need it and “forgot” to get it. Nowadays, travel insurance is cheap and comprehensive unlike back in the days. World Nomads is by far the best travel insurance for adventurous travelers like yourself. You can even get insured WHILE already traveling in Micronesia, which is not something many insurance companies allow you to do.

Get a Travel Debit Card

Travel Cheques are outdated. Paying with your credit card or debit card can be expensive because of all the exchange commissions banks charge you. TransferWise allows you to convert your main currency to US dollars for a small fee (up to 8 times less than with your bank!) Getting a Transferwise Borderless account is FREE, so you will get an instant return on your investment.

Enjoy your trip!

Ernest Adu

Ernest Adu, going by just Adu, is the founder and editor at Phone Travel Wiz. He has been a traveler for 6 years. Although from Europe, the Netherlands, Adu's favorite region in Asia, in particular, East and Southeast Asia. He currently lives in Tainan, Taiwan, and plans on exploring Oceania and more of East and Southeast Asia.

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