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Phones

Boston...
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Phones

We're going to be away from our kids and want to be able to reach them and have them reach us for an emergency.

What's the best way to do this, the hotel's phone, an international cell phone rental or a satellite phone? Is the cell service good enough in Bora Bora to use a normal cell phone?

Sorry if it's a silly question.

David

Mesa, Arizona
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for French Polynesia
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1. Re: Phones

David,

Not a silly question at all! The most economical way for you to call home is to purchase a phone card (telecarte). Payphones are plentiful and conveniently located, and you can buy the cards almost anywhere (including the Papeete airport snack bar). Note: payphones take ONLY the local phone card, no coins or credit cards.

If you bring a GSM 900 (or higher) unlocked cell phone with you (available on eBay for about $25), you can purchase a Vini SIM card, which will give you a local Tahitian phone number. Incoming calls to this number are FREE, so you can email the number back home as your contact number, so loved ones can contact you in case os emergency. Recharge cards are available, with additional minutes, because the setup kit with SIM card gives you only 5 to 20 minutes of time. These can be purchased at any Vini store or any post office (OPT).

Here's a link to more info about the Vini card: www.cellularabroad.com/fpolynesiaSIMop.php

Here's some more info from another travel website: hope this helps!

...........

TELEPHONE-

To call any country from Tahiti, dial 00+country code+ area code+ number

To call the US from Tahiti, dial 00+1+ area code+ number

To call Tahiti from the US, dial 011+689+ number (local numbers have 6 digits)

All hotels have direct dial but their charge per minute is expensive (up to approx. US$10/minute). Please inquire with your hotel.

There are public phone booths in all islands and the majority of them is operated with Phone Cards ("Telecarte").

The telecartes can be purchased at the airport shops, in some bars, at some magazine stands and at the Post Office.

The telecartes are priced according to time units ("unités") pre-loaded in the card's embedded microchip. While you talk, the card is debited and you can read on the phone box how many units you have left. Price varies between 1000 and 5000 CFP (approx. between US$10 and US$50) depending on the number of units purchased.

Cell phone coverage is available in the main islands (or in some areas) -Tahiti, Moorea, Bora Bora, Taha'a, Raiatea, Huahine, Maupiti, Rangiroa, Fakarava, Manihi, Nuku Hiva, Hiva Oa, Rurutu-

Tikiphone is the local provider in French Polynesia with their VINI network. As in Europe, a standard GSM 900 MHz network is used.

To use your cell phone in Tahiti, you first have to know if your mobile operator is one of their Roaming Partners :

AUSTRALIA - TELSTRA, OPTUS

CANADA - MICROCELL, A&T Wireless

CARRIBEANS - Orange

CHILI - ENTEL PCS

CHINA - CHINA MOBILE

FRANCE - ORANGE FRANCE, SFR, BOUYGUES TELECOM.

GERMANY - E-PLUS

HONG KONG - CSL, SMARTONE

HUNGARY - Vodafone

INDIA - Hutch , Orange

ITALIA - TELECOM ITALIA MOBILE, VODAFONE

IVORY COAST - Orange

JAPAN - J-PHONE

LIECHTENSTEIN - Tele 2 Aketiengesellschaft (Tele 2 AG)

LUXEMBOURG - TANGO

NEW CALEDONIA - MOBILIS

NEW ZEALAND - VODAFONE

NORWAY - NETCOM

PORTUGAL - TMN

SINGAPORE - SINGTEL

SPAIN - VODAFONE AIRTEL, Telefonica Moviles Espana

SWITZERLAND - ORANGE, SWISSCOM

TAIWAN - CHUNGHWA TELECOM

TURKEY - TURKCELL

UKRAIN - Kyivstar

UNITED-KINGDOM - O2

UNITED-STATES OF AMERICA - T-Mobile

If your operator is on the list : You have to check now if your mobile phone is suitable for their network. Tikiphone uses a GSM 900 network standard but some operators do not use the same frequencies or bands. Therefore, to make sure your mobile will work on the Vini network, you should get a dual band (GSM 900 / 1800) or a tri band (GSM 900 / 1800 / 1900). Roaming charges will apply!

If your operator is not on the list and if you have an unlocked multi band phone, you can take your mobile phone in French Polynesia and buy a refillable Prepaid Vini card (a SIM card to be inserted in your mobile phone).

But not all GSM phones are compatible or they may be locked by your provider, so make sure to test a local SIM card in your phone at the shop before buying it. A VINI card of 35 minutes costs approx. US$65.

With the Vini card, you have a Vini phone number to receive calls and a credit to make local or international calls (without invoice).

Here are some of the VINI shop resellers:

AIRPORT TAHITI - FAA'A……………………………………………Phone : 82 07 03

TAHITI - Papeete

LES ALIZES………………………………………………………………Phone : 42 69 70

Centre Vaima, next to the Surfrider shop

LE KIOSQUE……………………………………………………………Phone : 41 02 89

Centre Vaima, In front of the seaside

LA MAISON DE LA PRESSE…………………………………………Phone : 50 93 93

In front of the Vaiete Square, near to the Aremiti

QSS Mamao………………………………………………………………Phone : 42 71 95

Fare Hopital Mamao - Papeete

TAHITI - Faa'a

TAHITI BEACHCOMBER HOTEL……………………………………Phone : 86 51 10

PK 7.5 - Faa'a

MOOREA

MOOREA VISION………………………………………………………Phone : 55 01 75

Cook's Bay Paopao

SUPERMARCHE PAOPAO………………………………………Phone : 56 17 34

PK 8.2, Paopao Hill side

MAGASIN VARARI……………………………………………………Phone : 56 15 64

PK 32.5, Haapiti Hill side

BOUTIQUE KINA MAHAREPA……………………………………Phone : 56 22 44

Maharepa Commercial Center, Near to Socredo's Bank

HUAHINE

MAGASIN SONICA……………………………………………………Phone : 60 61 55

Fare Huahine

SUPER FARE NUI………………………………………………………Phone : 68 84 68

Fare Huahine

RAIATEA

RESTAURANT "SEA HORSE"………………………………………Phone : 66 16 34

Uturoa Coastal station

LIBRAIRIE UTUROA…………………………………………………Phone : 66 30 80

Uturoa Downtown

BORA BORA

MAISON DE LA PRESSE DE VAITAPE……………………………Phone : 60 57 75

MAGASIN CHIN LEE……………………………………………………Phone : 67 73 86

MARQUISES

OAVE DEPANNAGES…………………………………………………Phone : 92 50 84

Hakahau Ua-Pou

GENERAL TECHNOLOGIE…………………………………………Phone : 92 08 63

Taiohae

TUAMOTU

BOUTIQUE POETAI……………………………………………………Phone : 96 42 36

Manihi

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Calls from your hotel are the most expensive option.

Richmond, Virginia
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for French Polynesia
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2. Re: Phones

Barbie great info on the phone system in FP. Just one little thing.......

In September we could not buy a SIMS card for new mobile phones since they were out of phone numbers to assign.

Not sure that has changed since then.

Regards

BO

santa barbara,CA
Destination Expert
for French Polynesia, Cook Islands, Tahiti
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3. Re: Phones

What about Blackberrys? Anyone know about these little gadgets?

I'm curious if they work there...NOT that I ever plan to use one mind you!

Thanks so much Barbi for such a fantastic answer!!! So much great information :)

sunny regards,

shully

Los Angeles...
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5,098 posts
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4. Re: Phones

Ia orana

My Att / Verizon Razor picked up the Vini networks and worked in rangiroa as if i was calling next door in the state ( actually better than in LA.

Note that I have not received the bill yet. those calls come at a premium.

Bragging rights with co-workers and family calling looking at Mount Otemanu are priceless !

Meherio

Lone Tree, Colorado
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584 posts
10 reviews
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5. Re: Phones

Came back from Tahiti and Bora Bora and I found the easiest cell phone service. Its called Ace Telecom and it is based in Miami. They give you a U.S phone number so there is no confusing long distance phone number to remember or give out to family. As soon as you get to Tahiti you just turn it on and away you go. They fedex all the supplies right to your home a couple days before you leave. I think it was about 3.50 a minute and there were no rental fees on top of that. The phone worked fantastic. My wife was able to stay in touch with the kids and they sounded like they were in the next room.You can look them up on the web and get their phone number. Frank is the owner and he was great to work with.

Boston...
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6. Re: Phones

Thanks for your help.

Corpus Christi...
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286 posts
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7. Re: Phones

This post really got my attention since I had nightmares a year's ago in the Bahamas. My Sprint would not work, so switched to Cingular to get a Quad. It was a nightmare because some clerk forgot to set a switch somewhere in the computer system allowing me to "use overseas". I had good WIFI at the marina so about the time things finally got working at Cingular (really good once working) I had discovered Skype.

And I could sit for hours on my yacht and talk for pennies as long as I had WIFI.

So today my son calls today (I'M BACK IN Texas now,and with Sprint) with his new toy, an IPHONE. Well it has WIFI and is quad based (atat/cingular for international use!

So I figure, WIFI maybe could be used for internet calls, well a few hours of research and that one went down the drain. But still, it's quad GSM based and should work down there. But the best list I can find is the one here that lists T-Mobil as having the only roaming contract.

My interest is looks like the ol phone is wearing out and when I have to buy again I want to get one with WIFI and can be used the places I visit. I am going to drag my laptop down to Bora Bora and try using SKYPE on the Club Med's WIFI in March. They charge for the WIFI but it's not much.

I'll report back!!!!!!!

Vancouver, BC
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11 reviews
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8. Re: Phones

Our phones will work down in FP I think but the calls will cost a fortune. I'm just going to send 1 or 2 text messages to people with our hotel information and how they can reach us. That way they can just call us and it shouldn't cost us a fortune.

Mesa, Arizona
Destination Expert
for French Polynesia
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9. Re: Phones

You might also want to consider Skype, which is an internet-based phone service that is very cheap, something like two cents a minute! More and more of the cybercafes and hotels in FP are providing access to Skype now, so set up an account before you leave home. I have several local friends in FP who use it a lot to call the USA.

For more info, go to www.skype.com.

Orlando, Florida
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10. Re: Phones

Barbi, that's great news about Skype. I already have an account and it would be great to be able to call my family occasionally on Skype. But I still plan to take my quad band world phone and buy a local SIM card for local calls....