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Best Prepaid SIM Card in Palau: Buying Guide

Palau – known for its stunning scenery, beaches, and jellyfish that are friendly.

There is even a lake called Jellyfish Lake with millions of jellyfish swimming around. Honestly, it is a beautiful view – also for snorkeling.

If jellyfish are not your thing, worry not – you can still snorkel or scuba dive at Rock Islands.

Cannot stand water? Have a look at the Belau National Museum.

Overall, there should not be any reasons for you to be bored when in Palau.

Before you share your Palau experiences online, you should know that international roaming can cost you an arm and a leg. Especially in remote island nations like Palau.

Luckily, you can get a Palauan SIM card and take advantage of local rates – much cheaper than international roaming.

You can get a PalauCel SIM card, the only option in Palau, for 10 USD in PNCC stores. Visitors can buy the PalauCel Visitor SIM for 20 USD with 10 GB of data valid for 15 days. 4 GB valid for 8 days will cost you 8 USD.

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

That is not too expensive, is it? You may have heard that mobile data was expensive in Palau – that used to be the case, but things have changed over the years.

Still, there are some things to be aware of when considering Palauan SIM cards.

In this guide, I will go over everything you need to know about buying a SIM card in Palau. Let's go.

Buying a SIM Card in Palau Guide (logo of PalauCel by PNCC)

Original publication: 24th of January 2020. Last updated: 6th of July 2021.

Table of Contents

Can You Buy a SIM Card in Palau?

Anyone is allowed to buy a Palauan SIM card, including tourists and visitors.

Be aware that you need a phone that supports the frequencies used in the country (preferably all of them to have the most optimal experience while in Palau).

Where Can You Buy a SIM Card in Palau?

You can get a Palauan SIM card in the PNCC store in Koror (on Main Street across the post office). It is also possible to get SIM cards at Roman Tmetuchl International Airport (Palau International Airport).

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

You can expect to pay the following for Palauan SIM cards:

  • PalauCell by PNCC: 10 USD

The following operators also have SIM cards targeting tourists:

  • PalauCell by PNCC: 20 USD

Can You Use Your Phone in Palau?

Palau uses mostly GSM technology for mobile communications. CDMA is also used in Palau, but you would either need to roam in Palau or buy a phone locally to use PalauCel's CDMA network.

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.

Africa, Asia (including the Middle East), Europe, and Oceania (ITU Regions 1 & 3) typically use European Frequencies, meaning phones bought in those regions can be used in countries using European Frequencies without issues.

The Americas (North-, Central, and South America + the Caribbean), ITU Region 2, use American Frequencies, which are different from the European Frequencies.

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

Palau uses European Frequencies for 2G, 3G, and 4G/LTE.

For 4G/LTE, Palau uses a low-band frequency that is both an American Frequency and European Frequency (700 MHz on Band 28). 700 MHz on Band 28 is used in some countries in Central- and South America, Europe, and Oceania. 700 MHz on Band 12 or 13 are typical Bands for American Frequencies.

If you purchased your phone in Africa, Asia, Europe, or Oceania (ITU regions 1 & 3) and have a low/medium-end device (without Tri-Band or Quad-Band) support, then you can get a SIM card from PalauCel and use 2G, 3G, and 4G/LTE.

If you bought your phone in the Americas (ITU region 2) and have a low/medium-end device (without Tri-Band or Quad-Band) support, then you can get a SIM card from PalauCel and only use 4G/LTE on 700 MHz (Band 28). You will not have any fallback to 2G or 3G because those are on a traditional European Frequency.

If you have a medium/high-end device with Tri-Band or Quad-Band support, you can use your phone in Palau without (major) issues – also on 4G/LTE.

Mobile Operators, Networks & Frequencies in Palau

Palau has one mobile operator:

  • PalauCel by PNCC (Palau National Communications Corp)

The following frequencies are used in Palau:

  • 2G: 900 MHz (being phased out)
  • 3G: 900 MHz & WCDMA-900
  • 4G/LTE: 700 MHz (Band 28)

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 Palau, 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 Palau

5G is not available in Palau as of 2021, and the Palauan government has not made any indications of when they will auction 5G licenses.

Best SIM Card in Palau

If you want to buy the best SIM card in Palau, then PalauCel is your only option. It is the only mobile operator in Palau.

SIM Card Registration in Palau

SIM card registration, with the use of your personal information (such as your passport), is not required when buying a SIM card in Palau.

Palau Mobile Internet Prices & Insights

Flag of Palau

Mobile data used to be crazy expensive in Oceania. It was rather uncommon to pay 50 USD for 1 GB of data.

Well, Palau used to be that country. Nowadays, the cost of mobile data has become much more affordable.

The average price for 1 GB of data in Palau is 1.67 USD, much less the Oceanian average of 5.51 USD. The world average is 4.07 USD.

Compared to 2019's figures, the average cost of 1 GB of data has gone down by 80%.

Even though prices have gone down, mobile internet speeds are still slow for global standards. Moreover, 4G/LTE reception is still sparse.

Overall, you should have a decent network experience when in Palau.

Currency in Palau

10 US Dollar Note
© U.S. Currency Education Program

Palau uses the US Dollar with the symbol USD (which will be used throughout this article). Prices in Palau are listed in just $.

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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Palauan Prepaid SIM Cards

Below, I will guide you through PalauCel 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 Palau has to offer to us.

PalauCel

PalauCel by PNCC Logo
© PNCC

PalauCel by PNCC (Palau National Communications Corp) is the sole operator for fixed, broadband & wireless communications in Palau.

PNCC Logo
© PNCC

PalauCel uses the following frequencies:

  • 2G: 900 MHz (being phased out)
  • 3G: 900 MHz & WCDMA-900
  • 4G/LTE: 700 MHz (Band 28)

Coverage – PalauCel

PalauCel is good coverage throughout Palau.

However, speeds can still be slow compared to other nations in the region. Moreover, 4G/LTE is still not widely available.

Below is PalauCel's coverage map:

Here is a coverage map that is a bit easier to read.

SIM Card Price – PalauCel

You can buy a PalauCel SIM card for 10 USD in the PNCC store in Koror (on Main Street across the post office) or Roman Tmetuchl International Airport (Palau International Airport).

Short-term visitors and tourists can also get a PalauCel Visitor SIM card for 20 USD with 10 GB of data for 15 days. The PalauCel Visitor SIM cannot be extended and is data-only.

PalauCel Visitor SIM Card
© PNCC

Dial *780# to access the PalauCel menu.

PalauCel SIM cards get deactivated if there has been no activity for 90 days (no top-up for 90 days or no activity for 90 days).

Top-Up, Recharge & Balance Check – PalauCel

PalauCel top-up vouchers are sold in PNCC stores and other stores, including grocery stores, corner shops, and kiosks.

The following top-up options are available:

Top-UpValidity
5 USD30 days
10 USD30 days
25 USD60 days
50 USD60 days
PalauCel 10 USD Recharge Card
© PNCC
PalauCel 25 USD Recharge Card
© PNCC
PalauCel 50 USD Recharge Card
© PNCC

To top up your PalauCel SIM card, dial *780# and select option 2. The same can be done by dialing *66.

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

Dial *780# and select option 1 to check your PalauCel balance. The same can be done by dialing *78#.

Packages, Plans, Bundles & Offers – PalauCel

PalauCel has two data-featured plans: the Prepaid Bundle (combo) and the Prepaid Data Plans (data-only).

All PalauCel plans can be activated by dialing *780#.

Prepaid Bundle – PalauCel

The Prepaid Bundle is a combo plan with data, minutes, and SMS.

The following Prepaid Bundles are available:

PriceDataLocal MinutesLocal SMSValidity
2 USD2 GB15 minutes110 SMS2 days
8 USD4 GB40 minutes500 SMS8 days
15 USD6 GB110 minutes1000 SMS15 days
25 USD10 GB190 minutes2000 SMS30 days

Unused allowances will roll over when your Prepaid Bundle (auto-)renews.

Prepaid Data Plans – PalauCel

The Prepaid Data Plans are data-only bundles.

The following Prepaid Data Plans are available:

PriceDataValidity
2 USD2 GB2 days
8 USD4 GB8 days
15 USD6 GB15 days
25 USD10 GB30 days

Unused data allowances will roll over when your Prepaid Data Plan (auto-)renews. Multiple Prepaid Data Plans can be activated at the same time.

APN/Internet Settings – PalauCel

  • Name: palaucel
  • APN: palaucel

Note: leave anything not mentioned above untouched.

Jump back to the Table of Contents.

Other Ways to Stay Connected When Traveling in Palau

Getting a Palauan SIM card is the best way to stay connected in the country.

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 Palau.

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.

But… PalauCel barely has any roaming agreements, so you may not be able to burn your money on roaming bills when in Palau.

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.

Using Free WIFI Networks

Using free WIFI connections is the cheapest way to stay connected because they are free. The major downside of trying to use WIFI hotspots is that you will have to locate them, and they are not available on every corner in Palau.

Make sure to protect your internet traffic with a VPN so that hackers cannot steal your personal data.

The Preferred Way to Stay Connected When Traveling in Palau

Getting a SIM card from PalauCel would be your only when considering a SIM card in Palau.

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.

Phone Travel Tips, Tricks & Hacks

I have written many articles with tips and hacks to save money on mobile costs while abroad. You surely want to check them out!

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