One of France’s overseas territories, Wallis and Futuna, is far away in Oceania in the middle of Tuvalu, Tokelau, (American) Samoa, Niue, Tonga, and Fiji. Some may even wonder why it is a French territory, but that is not relevant right now.
When going to Wallis and Futuna, the main thing you should be worried about are mosquitoes and getting sunburned (if you do not apply enough sunscreen) because the locals are SO friendly and not known for committing crime.
Alofi is known for its beautiful coral reef, while Mata’utu has lovely cathedrals. When you are visiting Wallis and Futuna, you are most likely going to spend most of your time at the beach, which they have plenty of in the country.
What you perhaps should not do, however, is roaming with your provider. Roaming can be expensive in many cases, which is why many travelers prefer to buy a local SIM card when visiting destinations in Oceania, including Wallis and Futuna.
In this article, I will go over everything you need to know about buying a SIM card in Wallis and Futuna. Let’s get started.
Telecom Provider in Wallis and Futuna
Wallis and Futuna has only 1 telecom provider, which is Manuia by SPT. Manuia has 3G and 4G/LTE networks. 3G is used for voice and text, while 4G/LTE is used for data. Coverage throughout the country is alright.
What SIM card should you buy when visiting Wallis and Futuna? If you want to buy a SIM card in Wallis and Futuna, your only choice would be Manuia.
Mobile data rates are expensive in Wallis and Futuna. This is quite common on island nations, especially those with one operator. Your speeds may not be great either. In fact, your phone may not work at all if it does not support the bands and frequencies used in the country.
Like most countries in Oceania, you do not have to show your passport when buying a SIM card in Wallis and Futuna.
Lastly, this is important for those with a European Union SIM card: Wallis and Futuna is not part of the EU or EEA, which means that the Roam like Home rule does not apply in Wallis and Futuna. Therefore, it is recommended that European citizens with EU SIM cards buy a local SIM card instead of roaming with their providers. Even French providers consider Wallis and Futuna as a foreign destination, so do not expect to be roaming for free or low rates with a French SIM card in Wallis and Futuna.
There is not much more to say about Wallis and Futuna, so let’s see what Manuia has 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!
SPT is the sole operator in Wallis and Futuna, and its mobile network brand is called Manuia. You can get your Manuia SIM card in one SPT store in Wallis Island, which is open Monday to Friday from somewhere in the morning (I do not remember the exact time) to 2:30 PM. The store is located close to a police station.
A Manuia SIM card can be bought for 5000 XPF ($46), which makes it an expensive SIM card. You will, however, get 3000 XPF in credit and 10 SMS to be used within 90 days. Recharge vouchers can be bought in SPT stores. You text the voucher code to 444, and you are ready to go after receiving a message saying compte recharge. For example, if my voucher code is 123456, I would test 123456 to 444. You can also text solde to 444 to check your balance (for free).
The following Manuia data packs are sold in the form of vouchers:
- 1000 XPF: 300 MB for 3 weeks
- 3000 XPF: 800 MB for 4 weeks
- 5000 XPF: 2 GB for 6 weeks
If you need to change your Manuia APN settings manually, then you need to add the following under APN: “manuia”.
Other Ways to Stay Connected When Traveling in Wallis and Futuna
Now you know everything about buying a SIM card in Wallis and Futuna, but what are your other options? Although buying a local SIM card is almost always the cheapest option, the cheapest option would be using free WIFI connections in Wallis and Futuna, but you can also roam with your provider in Wallis and Futuna, use an international SIM card in Wallis and Futuna, or use a mobile hotspot in Wallis and Futuna. Let’s see what our options are.
Using Free WIFI hotspots in Wallis and Futuna
Using something free is always better than paying for something. However, sometimes, free stuff may be of bad quality. Sure, you do not have to pay anything for using a free hotspot (unless you are required to purchase a beverage or meal at an establishment), but it may be a challenge to find a free hotspot. Moreover, the connection may be so slow that it is practically useless.
In the case of Wallis and Futuna, you can find a few hotspots here and there, but not many.
Do note that public hotspots are unsecure. Hackers love to steal sensitive information on unprotected connections because it is apparently easy to do so. That is why I use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) when using a public hotspot, and I would encourage you to do so too.
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 NordVPN subscription now!
Roaming with Your Provider in Wallis and Futuna
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 Vodafone Cook Islands, then you would be roaming with Vodafone Cook Islands in Wallis and Futuna.
Roaming may be the most convenient way of using your phone abroad. You do not have to buy a new SIM card, which, in turn, means you do not have to swap SIM cards. As a result, your friends and family from home can easily reach you on your cell. With many providers, the only thing you need to do is to turn on the data roaming setting on your phone, and you are good to go.
No idea how roaming works? I made this comprehensive guide about what roaming is and how it works. It is worth the read – promised!
Although roaming with your provider may be the most convenient way of staying connected in Wallis and Futuna, it can also be the most expensive option. There have been many horror stories where people have racked up roaming bills up in the thousands and even more than ten thousand.
Luckily, many providers have affordable roaming plans, allow you to roam for free in some destinations like Wallis and Futuna, or allow you to use your plan’s allowance in Wallis and Futuna. For example, with Virgin Mobile Canada, you can use your plan’s allowance for 12 Canadian dollars per day. This may be affordable in some destinations for a small number of days, but it will be expensive for prolonged periods.
If you are unsure about the roaming options of your provider, I have written many articles about roaming with various operators around the world. I analyze them in-depth and give you my advice on whether you should roam with your provider or not. If yes, I also state for how long you should roam to take the most advantage of the offer.
One thing that should be avoided at all costs is to Pay As You Go roaming where you pay per minute, SMS, or MB. This is how many people get expensive roaming bills because the roaming prices for data are usually extremely high.
If you want to roam, make sure to get a roaming plan. Unless your provider offers extremely low Pay As You Go roaming rates, which is only a handful of providers, then you can consider doing so. Furthermore, if your provider lets you roam for free in Wallis and Futuna, then you should go for it. Just note that your speeds will be lower as a roamer than if you were to buy a Futunan SIM card.
Using an International SIM Card in Wallis and Futuna
International SIM cards are SIM cards that work internationally. Most SIM cards do work abroad, but then you have to roam with your provider. International SIM cards, however, let’s you use one SIM card in many destinations around the world for, often, the same price. This way, your friends and families can still reach out to you while traveling.
International SIM cards are, however, much more expensive than buying a local SIM card in many cases, but they are often cheaper than to roam with your provider. There are many international SIM card providers out there, but a few providers I can recommend are OneSimCard, SimOptions, Surfroam, BNESIM, and SimCorner.
International SIM cards are useful for those who frequently travel for leisure or for business. That way, everyone can reach you on one number instead of a handful of local numbers scattered around the world.
Moreover, many destinations in the world require you to register yourself before you can buy a local SIM card. In some countries, the process is quick, while others require much more of your time. Furthermore, the registration process may be cumbersome in countries.
Finally, the language barrier may be off-putting to some. It can be a challenge dealing with a salesperson who does not understand you. They may try and sell you the most expensive option out there. Luckily, you know the prices of SIM cards and packs in Wallis and Futuna, so you cannot be taken advantage of.
My recommendation, however, is to get a local SIM card if you are only visiting one destination. If you are visiting multiple destinations in one trip, 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 a Mobile Hotspot in Wallis and Futuna
A mobile hotspot is a portable, battery-powered wireless router that allows 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.
Many companies have created mobile hotspots (just have a quick search on Amazon, for example, you will find many). Skyroam and Vision Global Wireless are reputable pocket WIFI providers I know. 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.
I often recommend mobile hotspots to those who are traveling in groups or with families. They can save groups a lot of money if they are visiting destinations where buying multiple SIM cards would become an expensive endeavor.
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.
The Best Way to Stay Connected When Traveling in Wallis and Futuna
Getting a SIM card from Manuia would be your only option when buying a Futunan 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, the Solomon Islands, Tonga, and Vanuatu. 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 Wallis and Futuna
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 Wallis and Futuna. If you are not ready to take off yet, set up flight alerts with Airfarewatchdog, and they will notify you once ticket prices to Wallis and Futuna drop.
Book Your Accommodation for Wallis and Futuna
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, especially in Wallis and Futuna. At least, that is how I see it. Moreover, Airbnb can often be much cheaper than staying in a Futunan hotel.
Get Your Travel Insurance for Wallis and Futuna
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 Wallis and Futuna, 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 currency 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!