The Solomon Islands is a nation consisting of around 900 islands in the South Pacific Ocean. However, not all of them are habited. Uepi is great for snorkeling and scuba diving. The same can be said for Tulagi Island. Let's not forget about Rennell Island with the beautiful coral reek. The Solomon Islands is truly a remarkable nation.
Unless you are from Australia or Papua New Guinea, you probably will not be able to roam in the Solomon Islands because the Solomon operators barely have roaming agreements with foreign operators. Therefore, getting a local SIM card will be your best bet.
In this article, I will go over everything you need to know about buying a SIM card in the Solomon Islands. Let's do this.
Telecom Providers in the Solomon Islands
The Solomon Islands have 2 telecom providers: Our Telekom and Bmobile – Vodafone Solomon Islands. Both operators have 2G and 3G networks. 3G only covers the populated islands. Our Telecom has a 4G/LTE network in select areas.
What SIM card should you buy when visiting the Solomon Islands? If you want to buy a SIM card in the Solomon Islands, I would recommend going with Our Telekom because they have the most extensive network throughout all the islands.
Just like most countries in Oceania, you do not have to show your passport when buying a SIM card in the Solomon Islands.
Do note that the Solomon Islands are connected to the internet through satellite connections, which is slow and expensive. The first submarine cable was laid down in 2018, and more cables are expected to be established in the future. However, the outer islands will still be covered by satellite connections or not at all.
With that said, let’s see what the two operators have 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!
Our Telekom is the largest operator on the Solomon Islands. It used to be the only operator until Bmobile entered the market. Our Telekom reaches all provinces, but the speeds are not equal among them.
2G can be found in all provincial centers, but some remote areas will not have any data. High-speed 3G and 4G/LTE can be found in Honiara. Slower 3G speeds can be experienced in Honiara, Gizo, Auki, Noro, and Munda, but it will still be fast enough for standard web browsing.
You can get your Our Telekom SIM card at Our Telekom Shops for 20 SBD ($2.40). The card will come with 20 SBD in credit. The following data packages are available:
- 6 SBD: 90 MB for 1 day
- 15 SBD: 225 MB for 3 days
- 20 SBD: 400 MB for 4 days
- 50 SBD: 765 MB for 7 days
- 100 SBD: 1.5 GB for 14 days
- 220 SBD: 3.6 GB for 28 days
- 400 SBD: 6.3 GB for 28 days
- 850 SDB: 13.5 GB for 28 days
- 1250 SBD: 20 GB for 28 days
Bmobile – Vodafone Solomon Islands
Bmobile – Vodafone Solomon Islands, just Bmobile – Vodafone, launched on the Solomon Islands in 2010. Back then, it was solely called Bmobile. In 2014, Bmobile established a partnership with Vodafone, which is how they became Bmobile – Vodafone Solomon Islands. The company has done the same in Papua New Guinea (Bmobile – Vodafone Papua New Guinea).
Bmobile – Vodafone does not have a 4G/LTE network yet, which is why I recommend Our Telekom for those who are staying in Honiara and want fast internet speeds. Additionally, Bmobile – Vodafone only operates in four provinces, which are Guadalcanal, Western Province, Central Province, and Malaita.
You can get a Bmobile – Vodafone SIM card at their shops, and the following data packs can be purchased:
- 5 SBD: 50 MB for 24 hours
- 15 SBD: 200 MB for 2 days
- 20 SBD: 360 MB for 3 days
- 50 SDB: 750 MB for 7 days
- 90 SDB: 1.25 GB for 14 days
- 220 SDB: 3 GB for 30 days
- 500 SBD: 7 GB for 30 days
Other Ways to Stay Connected When Traveling in the Solomon Islands
I have discussed the relevant providers in the Solomon Islands in this article because using a Solomon SIM card would be much cheaper than roaming with your provider… in most cases. However, buying a local SIM card is not the only way to stay connected in the Solomon Islands. You can buy an international SIM card, use a mobile hotspot, or use free WIFI connections. Below, I will discuss the alternative options to use your phone in the Solomon Islands.
Roaming in the Solomon Islands 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 Telecom Niue, then you would be roaming with Telecom Niue in the Solomon Islands.
The issue with roaming is that it can be expensive. There have been many horror stories where people had to pay thousands in roaming fees when coming back from their holidays, which is just a shame, in my opinion. However, roaming does not always have to be expensive, especially when visiting a neighboring country.
Many providers offer roaming plans. Some allow you to roam for free in certain destinations, while others would offer you a roaming bundle with a set number of minutes, SMS, and data. Finally, several operators let you use your plan’s allowance for a daily fee.
As you can see, there are many options out there, so be sure to explore the roaming options your provider has. Conveniently for you, I have reviewed the roaming options of many providers (and many more to come) and discussed everything you need to know about roaming with your provider.
No idea how roaming works? I made this comprehensive guide about what roaming is and how it works. It is worth the read – promised!
Do note that the Solomon Islands has roaming agreements with Australia and Papua New Guinea only. Everyone else would need to buy a Solomon SIM card when planning to stay connected in the Solomon Islands.
One thing I would not recommend doing is to Roam As You Go. Just like prepaid cards where you can buy bundles or Pay As You Go (as in, charged per minute, SMS, or MB), Roaming As You Go can be insanely expensive (that is how people get expensive roaming bills). So far, there are a handful of providers I have reviewed that offer affordable Roam As You Go rates. But generally, avoid it. Get a roaming plan if you can or buy a local SIM card.
Using an International SIM Card in the Solomon Islands
International SIM cards are cards that have been made for travelers so that they do not have to deal with roaming costs.
The number of international SIM card providers is too many to count, but international SIM cards give you the same convenience as roaming with your provider. A few providers I know are OneSimCard, SimOptions, and Surfroam.
They allow people to call you at one number instead of five in case you are exploring multiple countries in one trip. Moreover, you do not have to deal with multiple SIM cards you will never use again. In short, international SIM cards have been made for the international traveler in mind.
Although this sounds fabulous, international SIM cards are much more expensive than local SIM cards in the Solomon Islands. Some international SIM card providers charge ridiculous fees (sometimes, even more than roaming with your provider), while others offer awful service. It is, therefore, important to go with a reputable company so that you do not have to deal with surprised when traveling around the world.
On the other hand, international SIM cards are appealing to those who travel frequently or are visiting multiple destinations in one trip. Some countries in Oceania 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.
Using Portable Hotspots (Pocket WIFI) in the Solomon Islands
Portable hotspots, also referred to mobile hotspots or pocket WIFI, are routers small enough to bring with you everywhere you go. They are portable, battery-powered wireless routers that allow 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.
Just like with the number of international SIM card providers, there are so many mobile hotspots out there that it is challenging to keep track of them all. Skyroam and Vision Global Wireless are reputable pocket WIFI providers. 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.
The first time I used a portable hotspot was when I was in Bangkok, Thailand, with my dad. He uses the Dutch telecom provider called KPN, which does not let you roam for free in Thailand. I was with 3 Denmark (3 Danmark), which also did not allow me to roam for free. The router was offered for free by our Airbnb host. Let me tell you how convenient that thing was!
I do not remember the exact brand router we used, but we could connect our phones to it, explore Bangkok, and upload highlights of our trip on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, and WhatsApp without the need of connecting to unsecure and slow connections in Thailand.
That is why I often recommend those who are traveling in groups or with families to consider getting a pocket WIFI device so that each individual does not need to buy a local SIM card and data packages. In some countries, the cost of getting a local SIM card or packages is so low that it is not even worth getting a mobile hotspot. In others, it could save you money.
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.
Connecting to Free WIFI Networks in the Solomon Islands
Finally, we have the most cost-effective way to stay connected in the Solomon Islands which is using free WIFI networks.
Using WIFI networks should not cost you any money (unless you are connecting to premium hotspots), which is why it is a popular option for travelers. Go to a local café, buy a coffee, connect to their WIFI, and post your pictures to Facebook or Instagram. Straightforward, right? Well, let’s see if that is indeed the case.
First, you need to find hotspots. In some regions, they are readily available. In others, you cannot find any, require you to give your personal details (for commercial purposes), are restricted for those who are a subscriber of an operator’s, or are so slow that you wished you never connected to them.
In the case of the Solomon Islands, you will not find many hotspots throughout the country.
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.
The Best Way to Stay Connected When Traveling in the Solomon Islands
Getting a SIM card from Our Telekom would do you well when considering a Solomon 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, Micronesia, Nauru, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, 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 the Solomon Islands
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 the Solomon Islands. If you are not ready to take off yet, set up flight alerts with Airfarewatchdog, and they will notify you once ticket prices to the Solomon Islands drop.
Book Your Accommodation for the Solomon Islands
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. However, the Solomon Islands have many beautiful hotels and resorts to check out, so make sure to consider them too!
Get Your Travel Insurance for the Solomon Islands
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 the Solomon Islands, 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 the local 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!