The Cook Islands is a nation in Oceania with links to New Zealand. Albeit not a cheap destination, it is known for its sandy beaches in Rarotonga, lagoons in Atiu, and romantic places – 😉 – in Avarua District. There are plenty of things to do in the Cook Islands.
What you may not want to do is to roam with your provider in the Cook Islands. Roaming can be expensive in many cases, which is why many travelers prefer to buy local SIM cards in Oceania, including the Cook Islands.
In this article, I will go over everything you need to know about buying a SIM card in the Cook Islands. Let's have a look.
Table of Contents
Mobile Operators, Networks & Frequencies the Cook Islands
The Cook Islands has 1 telecom provider, which is Vodafone Cook Islands. Until early 2020, the operator was known as BlueSky Cook Islands. The operator has 2G, 3G, and 4G/LTE networks.
2G can be found on all populated islands, 3G can be used on Rarotonga, Atiu, and Aitutaki, and 4G/LTE can only be found on Rarotonga and Aitutaki.
Best SIM Card in the Cook Islands
What SIM card should you buy when visiting the Cook Islands? If you want to buy a SIM card in the Cook Islands, your only choice would be Vodafone Cook Islands.
SIM Card Registration in the Cook Islands
Like most countries in Oceania, you do not have to show your passport when buying a SIM card in the Cook Islands.
Cook Islands Speeds, Internet Prices & Insights
As a remote island nation, the nation uses satellite connections to provide mobile data. Not only is using a satellite often slower compared to data transferred through submarine cables, but it is also extremely expensive, so keep that in mind when I mention the package prices. However, 4G/LTE speeds on the Cook Islands are decent, with getting download speeds of 30 Mbps.
However, a submarine cable between the Cook Islands and Samoa has been completed and will go live later in 2020. From then, speeds should be much faster and should, theoretically, make mobile data cheaper on the Cook Islands if Vodafone feels like decreasing its prices.
With that said, let’s see what Vodafone Cook Islands has to offer.
Cook Islands Prepaid SIM Cards
Vodafone Cook Islands (formerly BlueSky)
Vodafone Cook Islands, just Vodafone, is the sole operator in the Cook Islands. You can buy a Vodafone SIM card in Vodafone shops or at the international airport. As you do not pay a premium for buying a SIM card at the airport, I would recommend getting one there.
A Vodafone SIM card is sold for 25 NZD ($16.30) and comes with 20 NZD in credit. You can top up from 1 NZD with e-charges, which are sold in Vodafone shops. You can check your balance by dialing *888# and select View Balance. You can also use PayPal to recharge. The following data packs are sold:
- 3 NZD: 100 MB for 24 hours. Package name: 24HR$3
- 5 NZD: 200 MB for 3 days. Package name: 3DAY$5
- 10 NZD: 450 MB for 7 days. Package name: 7DAY$10
- 30 NZD: 1.5 GB for 10 days. Package name: 10DAY$30
- 50 NZD: 3 GB for 14 days. Package name: 14DAY$50
To activate a package, dial *888#, choose Buy bundles, and select the package of your choice. For example, if I want to buy the 3DAY$5 pack that gives me 200 MB for 3 days, I would dial *888#, press Buy bundles, and select 3DAY$5.
You can also get a Vodafone Travel SIM for 49 NZD. It comes with 3 GB, 300 (international) SMS, and 30 (international) minutes to many destinations in the world, all valid for 30 days. You cannot renew this SIM card or activate a regular data package on the Vodafone Travel SIM. You can check your Travel SIM balance by texting bal (as in balance)to 888.
If you need to change your Vodafone Cook Islands APN settings manually, then you need to add the following under APN: “kotaa”.
Other Ways to Stay Connected When Traveling in the Cook Islands
The Preferred Way to Stay Connected When Traveling in the Cook Islands
Getting a SIM card from Vodafone would be your only when considering a SIM card in the Cook Islands.
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.
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