Réunion, often spelled as Reunion, is famous for Piton de la Fornaise, which means Peak of the Furnance if translated. As to be expected, I am referring to a volcano. Lots of travelers hike the volcano to take a look at the majestic views, take photos of it, and share them online (with the local SIM card they bought).
What if you are not into hiking? Saint-Denis, the capital of Réunion, has many mansions, like Maison Carrère, and the famous museum called Musée Léon Dierx. Saint-Gilles has a beautiful beach and a cool botanical garden called Jardin d'Eden. Head to Salazie for some terrific waterfall. Be sure to capture your experiences!
While you could decide to roam with your provider in Réunion, because it is the most convenient way to stay connected when traveling, roaming with your provider can be expensive in many cases, which is why many travelers prefer to buy a local SIM card, like a Réunionese one.
Mobile data rates in Réunion is expensive for (East) African standards. However, most from the EU/EEA should be able to roam for free in Réunion because the island is considered an overseas department of France, and France is in the EU/EEA. In that case, you can roam for free in Réunion. For anyone else, getting a local SIM card will most likely be more affordable.
In this article, I will go over everything you need to know about buying a SIM card in Réunion. Let's go.
Telecom Providers in Réunion
There are 3 telecom providers in Réunion:
- SFR Réunion
- Orange Réunion
- Only Réunion
There is also 1 Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) in Réunion:
- Free Mobile
All operators have 2G, 3G, and 4G/LTE networks.
Which of these Réunionese operators have the best prepaid SIM card and prepaid offering?
Best SIM Card in Réunion
If you want to buy a SIM card in Réunion, then Orange is the best because their coverage is almost the same as the one of SFR, the market leader, while offering cheaper rates.
However, if you do not mind sending a termination letter before leaving Réunion, consider Free Mobile, which offers a combo plan for €9.99 that comes with 50 GB of data and unlimited calls and SMS. Do note that this plan is not a prepaid plan but an actual subscription without commitment.
Like most countries in East Africa, and Africa in general, you have to register yourself when buying a SIM card in Réunion.
Mainland France is part of the European Union (EU). As of June 2017, a new regulation has been enforced, which is known as roam like at home, meaning that those with a European Union (or EEA) SIM card should be allowed to use (some) of their data allowance in other EU/EEA countries without a surcharge.
As French Overseas Departments are considered to be part of France, the roam at like home rules apply in Réunion, meaning that those from the EU/EEA can use their SIM cards in Réunion without a surcharge, and you can use your Réunionese SIM card in the EU/EEA as well (in most cases).
However, make sure your operator has included Réunion in their roam like home destination page, as they sometimes “forget” to do so, which could result in high roaming charges. If you can roam in Reúnion, do so – it will be more affordable than buying a Réunionese SIM card and data package.
SFR Réunion, just SFR, is the largest operator in Réunion, with a market share of more than 50%. SFR has the best coverage and speeds throughout Réunion.
You can get an SFR SIM card, called La Carte, for €15 in SFR stores. It comes with €5 in credit, and you get another €5 bonus when topping up (within a month). Top-up vouchers are sold from €5 all the way up to €80. You can also top-up online.
SFR has 4 plans that can be without commitment or with a commitment for 24 hours. The following 4 monthly plans, called forfaits mobile, are available:
- €9.99: 100 MB, 2 hours of airtime from Réunion to other local networks and to and from France, French Overseas Departments (DOM), and Europe, and unlimited SMS from Réunion to other local networks and to and from France, French Overseas Departments, and Europe
- €24.99: 1 GB and unlimited calls and SMS from Réunion to other local networks and to and from France, French Overseas Departments, and Europe
- €29.99: 20 GB and unlimited calls and SMS from Réunion to other local networks and to and from France, French Overseas Departments, and Europe
- €39.99 60 GB, and unlimited calls and SMS from Réunion to other local networks and to and from France, French Overseas Departments, and Europe
* French Overseas Departments (DOM): French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Saint Barthélémy (Saint Barts, Saint Martin, and Saint Pierre & Miquelon
** Europe: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Iceland, Italy, Jersey, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Norway, The Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, and the United Kingdom
If you are (almost) out of data, then the following 2 data add-ons are available:
- €5: 5 GB
- €9: 10 GB
Orange Réunion, just Orange, is the second-largest operator in Réunion. Their coverage is almost as good as the one of SFR, but they are slightly cheaper than SFR.
You can get an Orange SIM card, called Mobicarte, in Orange stores. It comes in two variants: Fomule Classique and Forlume a la Seconde. It does not matter which variant you choose if you plan on buying a plan, as the difference between the two variants is the standard rates you pay for data, minutes, and SMS.
The Orange Mobicarte SIM card comes with €10 in credit for data, minutes, and SMS at standard rates.
Top-up vouchers are sold from €5 to €100, and you can recharge online as well. You also get a bonus depending on how much you top up. From €2 when topping up €20 to €20 when topping up €100.
There are 2 data-only plans that can be redeemed with a Les recharges Internet mobile voucher:
- €5: 500 MB for 7 days
- €15: 2 GB for 15 days
You also have mobile KomZot plans, which are combo plans with data, minutes, and SMS. There are 6 of them, but only 5 of them come with data. These plans should also be sold as standalone plans (as in, no subscription for 12 months), although this has to be confirmed.
There 5 mobile KomZot plans are available:
- €14.99: 2 GB in Réunion and Europe, 2 hours of airtime to and from Réunion, Mayotte, France, French Overseas Departments, and Europe, and unlimited SMS to and from Réunion, Mayotte, France, French Overseas Departments, and Europe
- €19.99: 30 GB in Réunion and Europe, 2 hours of airtime to and from Réunion, Mayotte, France, French Overseas Departments, and Europe, and unlimited SMS to and from Réunion, Mayotte, France, French Overseas Departments, and Europe
- €29.99: 30 GB in Réunion and Europe, and unlimited calls and SMS to and from Réunion, Mayotte, France, French Overseas Departments, and Europe
- €44.99: 70 GB in Réunion and Europe, and unlimited calls and SMS to and from Réunion, Mayotte, France, French Overseas Departments, and Europe
- €59.99: 120 GB in Réunion and Europe, and unlimited calls and SMS to and from Réunion, Mayotte, France, French Overseas Departments, and Europe
1: French Overseas Departments (DOM): French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Saint Barthelemy, Saint Martin, and Saint Pierre & Miquelon
2: Europe: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Iceland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Norway, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom
Only Réunion, just Only, is the smallest operator in Réunion. They have the worst network in Réunion.
You can get an Only SIM card, called CARTE Only, for €15 in Only stores. It comes with €10 in credit and an additional €5 if you top-up within 7 days upon activation.
The same applies to the Only Carte ON card as well. It is also sold for €15. The difference between Carte Only and Carte is the default rates you pay for data, minutes, and SMS.
With Carte On, you will be charged €0.05/MB (or €51.20/GB). With Carte Only, the default data rate is €0.10/MB (or €102.40/GB). There are no prepaid data packages or combo plans available with Only.
Free Mobile is an MVNO using the Only network. They do not offer prepaid services. Instead, they have one plan, which costs €9.99 a month. It comes with 50 GB (25 GB in Europe and French Overseas Departments), and unlimited local calls/SMS and calls/SMS to France, French Overseas Departments.
This is the cheapest option for data in Réunion. However, it is not a prepaid plan. Luckily, the contract has no commitment and can be canceled at any time. You have to send a termination letter, in French, to TELCO OI – FREE, BP 10061, 97491 STE CLOTILDE CEDEX. Make sure to mention your full name and phone number in the letter for your termination request to be processed.
Other Ways to Stay Connected When Traveling in Réunion
The Preferred Way to Stay Connected When Traveling in Réunion
Getting a SIM card from Orange would do you well when considering a Réunionese SIM card.
Local Prepaid SIM Card in Other African Countries
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