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.
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.
Original publication: 24th of January 2020. Last updated: 31st of October 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).
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.
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.
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 NR 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
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
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).
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 by PNCC (Palau National Communications Corp) is the sole operator for fixed, broadband & wireless communications in Palau.
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.
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:
|5 USD||30 days|
|10 USD||30 days|
|25 USD||60 days|
|50 USD||60 days|
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
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:
|Price||Data||Local Minutes||Local SMS||Validity|
|2 USD||2 GB||15 minutes||110 SMS||2 days|
|8 USD||4 GB||40 minutes||500 SMS||8 days|
|15 USD||6 GB||110 minutes||1000 SMS||15 days|
|25 USD||10 GB||190 minutes||2000 SMS||30 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:
|2 USD||2 GB||2 days|
|8 USD||4 GB||8 days|
|15 USD||6 GB||15 days|
|25 USD||10 GB||30 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.
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 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.
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:
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