New Caledonia is a special collectivity of France located in the Southern Pacific. It's not considered part of the EU and hence EU roaming regulations don't apply. International providers will most likely charge high rates when roaming in New Caledonia. This includes French providers from the mainland who will also consider New Caledonia as an overseas destination like some other French overseas territories.
In New Caledonia there is only a monopoly provider Mobilis by OPT that charges quite high data rates like in many small island nations with only one mobile network. VoIP (like Skype, WhatsApp or Viber calls) is blocked too, what makes international calls very expensive too.
Mobile service is on different frequencies depending on the part of the country you are in: 2G is on 900 MHz, 3G is on 900 MHz in the countryside and 2100 MHz in cities. 4G/LTE has started in 2015 on 800, 1800 and 2600 MHz (bands 3, 7, 20). Coverage is good in most towns along the coast and reaches a fair distance off-shore as well, but be warned that it can be poor in the mountains.
Mobilis (by OPT)
OPT for L’Office des Postes et Télécommunications de Nouvelle-Calédonie is the only provider. It's a public enterprise founded in 2003. They care for banking and postal services as well as telecommunication like landline, ADSL and the mobile phone service. The brand for their mobile network is called Mobilis and has a good coverage (map).
A SIM card can only be purchased from any OPT store in New Caledonia. There are currently around 50 stores across the country and you will need to show photo ID (a passport is fine for tourists) when buying a SIM card. One OPT store is available in center of La Tontouta International Airport.
Their traveller prepaid SIM is called Tourism Card. They also offer another prepaid SIM called Kit Liberté (freedom kit in French). All other SIMs or plans (called forfaits) have a minimum commitment of 6 months, which makes them unsuitable for visitors.
- the Tourism Card is for XPF 3180 with XPF 1500 credit. This SIM is valid for a max. of 3 months and can't be extended in time
- the Kit Liberté is for XPF 6195 and comes with XPF 3000 credit pre-loaded.
Recharges can be purchased from OPT Stores or most news agencies and can be recharged by calling a number and entering in the voucher number. This is done in French, but a local in the shop can help if you ask. These denominations are sold:
- XPF 1050 : XPF 1000 credit valid for 120 days
- XPF 3150 : XPF 3000 credit plus 10 local SMS valid for 150 days
- XPF 5250 : XPF 5000 credit plus 20 local SMS valid for 180 days
Credit validity can added to the previous expiry date of credit on the SIM to a limit of 365 days. Some examples of this: activated SIM (has a 90 days expiry) + XPF 5250 recharge (180 days expiry) + XPF 1050 Recharge (120 days expiry) => new expiry date is 365 days due to the 365 day limit. Activated SIM (with 90 days expiry) + XPF 5250 recharge (180 days expiry) => new expiry date is 270 days.
For balance check, dial 1088 (for free) and press 1 and 1. For topping up, dial 1088 and press 2 and enter the PIN code of the voucher.
Data feature packages
Data on the SIM card must be added by SMS code IM using SIM credit. Unless a data package is loaded onto the SIM, you will be unable to access any data services.
|250 MB||3 days||XPF 500||IM to 1101|
|500 MB||5 days||XPF 900||IM to 1102|
|1 GB||7 days||1 XPF 500||IM to 1103|
|2 GB||10 days||2 XPF 000||IM to 1104|
Data on the bundles is "unlimited", max. speed is 6 Mbps. After included high speed volume is used up, speed will be throttled to 254 Kbps. For activation, text code 'IM' to the respective number. To check data consumption, text 'IM' to 1088 (for free).