Réunion, or in French: La Réunion, is an island and region of France in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar and southwest of Mauritius. The island became a French overseas department in 1946 and as such later an outermost region of the European Union and part of the Eurozone. The 2,511 km2 land area is inhabited by around 850,000 people.
Three providers operate in Reunion:
- SFR Réunion (aka SRR)
- Orange Réunion
- OI (Outremer Télécom): Only, Free mobile
The French overseas departments are regulated by Arcep, the national French regulator. 2G is on 900 MHz and 1800 MHz, 3G on 2100 MHz. Arcep released licences for 4G/LTE in 2016 to be started in 2017 on 800 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz and 2600 MHz. A 4th licence was awarded to ZEOP Mobile.
In 2016 Only was taken over by Iliad, owner of Free mobile in France and acquired a 4G/LTE licence. A market entry of Free with rebranding is expected for 2017. So far 4G/LTE has started with SFR and Orange in 2016 and covers most of the island.
Like in the rest of France, SIM cards are not sold at the airport, but only in the shops and outlets ("boutiques") of the providers. You need to bring an ID card or passport for registration. Top-up vouchers are sold in many stores.
Given the high prices for data on the island, you may think of using an EU-issued SIM card for roaming instead of a local SIM. Always check if Réunion is really included within the offered roaming countries and it must be mentioned specifially as roaming destination. From 2017 this option may prove to be the cheaper alternative.
SFR Réunion (aka SRR)
SRR for Société réunionnaise du radiotéléphone has now been rebranded to SFR Réunion as its operated by French SFR. They are the market leader in Reunion having more than 50% of all customers with the best coverage and speed at the highest rates. 4G/LTE started in 2016 and already covers most parts: 2G/3G coverage map, 4G coverage map.
Their prepaid SIM card dubbed La Carte is available in their stores throughout the island (locator) for 15 EUR. It comes with 5 EUR pre-loaded credit and another 5 EUR bonus for your first top-up within one month after activation.
Top-ups are available in many stores or online.by credit card starting at 5 EUR giving 2 weeks to 6 months of validity.
To activate data there is only one option called 24h/24. For 5 EUR you get 500 MB for 5 days. To activate you need to dial #963#. Data speed s up to 4G/LTE, but will be throttled to 2G and 128 kbps having reached the quota.
For a better data rate SRR has introduced La Carte Web aimed at tablets and modems. It works in phones too. You can send and receive SMS, but only receive calls. Starter pack is for 25 EUR including 1.5 GB valid for 30 days and another 500 MB if you top-up within the first month.
These recharges are available for more data:
- 5 EUR: 200 MB for 15 days
- 10 EUR: 500 MB for 30 days
- 20 EUR: 1 GB for 60 days
- 40 EUR: 2.2 GB for 60 days
- 80 EUR: 2.5 GB for 180 days
- APN: sl2sfr (that's a small L)
- Website in French: https://www.sfr.re
Unlike in Metropolitan France, Orange is only no. 2 in Reunion with 1/3 of all clients. Nevertheless they are on par with SRR in coverage and speed at slightly lower rates. 4G/LTE has started in 2016 and covers most areas: 2G/3G/4G/ coverage maps.
Their prepaid SIM card is called Mobicarte and available in their "boutiques" (locator) for 10 EUR. It includes 5 EUR after activation and another bonus of 5 EUR for the first top-up. They sell different lines, but they don't make differences for data.
To recharge you can log into your personal account online or buy one of the many vouchers sold all over the island. They are offered from 5 EUR to 100 EUR giving 5 days to 5 months of validity.
Check balance by #123#.
Data stays always at default 0.10 EUR per MB. But they sell two different recharges online and in stores for lower data rates called Orange Recharge Internet Mobile:
- 5 EUR: 500 MB for 7 days
- 15 EUR: 2 GB for 15 days
- APN: orangerun Username and Password: orange
- Website in French: http://reunion.orange.fr
Only, Free mobile (by Telco Oi)
OI with its brand Only was the smallest provider in Reunion catering only for 10% of the market, often sold and resold and in 2015 acquired by Iliad, mother of Free mobile in France. Together with a new 4G/LTE Free mobile has relaunched and attacks with lower prices in 2017 (2G/3G coverage maps.)
Free mobile in Reunion launched in July 2017 over the OI network and is expected to start a price war like in Metropolitan France a few years ago. Their LTE/4G network already covers 98% of population in 2017.
For the time being Only is still marketing their prepaid SIM cards. Their standard Only prepaid SIM card is available in their stores (locator) in two plans for 15 EUR with 10 EUR credit and another 5 EUR bonus for the first top-up
- Carte Only
- Carte ON
Top-up vouchers are sold in shops of 3, 5, 10 and 20 EUR giving 7 to 60 days of validity. Check balance by #111#.
As data stays always at the default rate and no data packages are offered:
- Carte Only: 0.10 EUR per MB
- Carte ON: 0.05 EUR per MB
- APN: onlywap
- Website in French: http://www.only.fr
Free Mobile started in Reunion in July 2017 over the OI network with its offer to revolutionize the market. Most Only stores have been transformed to "Free Centers" (locator) where their SIM cards are sold through automated vending machines (called bornes). 4G already covers 98% of population (coverage map). 3G is on 900 and 2100 MHz, 4G/LTE on 800 and 1800 MHz in up to 150 Mbit/s.
Their offer is quite similar to Metropolitan France, but at different prices. So for procedures check Free in the France article. Remember with Free mobile you sign a contract (forfait) and link it to your credit card.
Their only offer in Reunion so far is a rolling contract for 9.99 EUR per month. It contains unlimited calls and SMS to the island, Metropolitan France, all other French overseas departments, EU/EEA, Andorra and Switzerland. At all locations you can use up to 25 GB per month, before speed will be throttled (on Reunion) or a surcharge of 0.8c/MB is applied (for roaming in the EU). A 10 EUR activation fee is charged once at their point of sale.
This offer is exclusively available at their vending machines and foreign credit cards (Visa, Mastercard) are accepted so far. If you don't limit the running time at purchase, it will auto-renew until you terminate the contract by writing in French to: FREE mobile - BP 10061 - 97491 Sainte Clotilde Cedex, RÉUNION. This can be done for the end of each month.
- APN: free.re
- Website in French: http://free.re