Palau, officially the Republic of Palau, is an island country located in the Western Pacific Ocean. The country contains approximately 250 islands. It shares maritime boundaries with Indonesia, the Philippines, and the Federated States of Micronesia.
Previously Palau relied upon a slow satellite connection for internet access, however, this has now changed since the introduction of the submarine cable link joining Palau to Asia and America.
The mobile network is only available on the main islands. Only Koror and Airai feature 4G and 3G services which means data is still quite slow on the smaller islands.
In Palau there is only one mobile operator:
- PNCC with its mobile brand PalauCel and internet provider PalauNet
Many foreign phones set up for global roaming won't work in Palau, because PNCC doesn't have roaming agreements with most foreign operators.
The mobile network on the islands is supplemented by public WiFi hotspots operated by the two internet providers PNCC/PalauNet and Palau Telecoms. They both sell prepaid airtime for their WiFi hotspot access and are mentioned at the bottom of this article.
PalauCel by PNCCEdit
PNCC for Palau National Communications Corp. is the only mobile operator in Palau. Their mobile wireless service is branded as PalauCel.
The network primarily operates on 3G/UTMS on the 900 MHz (Band 8) frequency. This is supplemented by 4G/LTE on 700 MHz (Band 28) in Koror and Airai. Other areas still feature the old 2G/GSM 900 MHz. However this is soon to be replaced by 4G and can not be relied upon. 3G/UMTS on 900 MHz is not so common, check that your phone supports it.
Coverage extends throughout Palau including Rock Islands. Koror is served by digital antennas in Ngermid, Meyuns, Malakal, and at the Surangel’s building. Other cell sites are in Airai, Melekeok, Ngarchelong, Ngardmau, Ngaraard and Peleliu. Additional sites are installed to enable full coverage from Kayangel to Angaur. On this table you can find the coverages of each island.
SIM cards are sold at PNCC offices in Koror (across the post office) and Airai at business hours Mon-Fri 8am-4:30pm. SIM is sold for US$ 25 with US$ 10 airtime.
Refill cards called GSM mobile airtime cards are available there and at more then 100 local stores.
Recharges of over US$ 10 give a validity period of 30 days. US$ 25 of 60 days and US$ 50 and initial activation give 90 days. After that the service is suspended and after further 90 days fully terminated.
To check remaining balance or for available plans and activation codes, dial *500#.
Data feature packages Edit
Default data rate is pricey US$ 0.15 per MB (= US$ 150 per GB). So make sure to activate a package. Their packages don't auto-renew, so you need to get a new one before the old one expires or used up.
In early 2018 Palau activated their undersea internet cable. This has resulted in the price reductions from $49.90 for 1 GB to the current plans listed below.
|500 MB||2 days||US$ 2|
|2 GB||8 days||US$ 8|
|4 GB||15 days||US$ 15|
|8 GB||30 days||US$ 25|
Activation is now done by dialing *780# and multiple plans can be purchased at once. In addition they now allow data to be rolled provided a new package is purchased whilst the existing one is active.
Packages expire when data quota is used up or plan period ends, whichever comes first. When the package has expired, continued data usage will be charged at the default rate of 15¢ per MB.
More information Edit
- APN: palaucel
- New website: https://pnccpalau.com/ (they changed their website url and the old site is still online and visible in web searches.
WiFi Hotspots Edit
PalauNet by PNCC Edit
PNCC also operates mobile WiFi hotspots throughout the islands to connect your tablet, smartphone or laptop by WiFi. There are about 50 locations (listed here) in public buildings, restaurants, hotels and stores.
To connect to the hotspot, you need to buy a PNCC Prepaid Internet Card available at certain sales locations (mentioned here). Mobile network top-up cards don't work for their WiFi.
To login turn on your WiFi and select PNCC Wireless Hotspot, then open your web browser and type any website in the address bar. Wait for redirection to the login page and then create or login by entering your user ID and password and minimize this login page to keep the session alive.
They offer two packages for WiFi access:
- US$ 5 for 5 hours
- US$ 10 for 10 hours
Sessions can be ended anytime and resumed later. Speed is up to 512 kbit/s upload and 128 kbit/s download only to give you an impression what you can expect.
Palau Telecoms Edit
The only other internet provider in Palau called Palau Telecoms manages public WiFi hotspots on the islands too. They are located mostly in hotels and restaurants and are called PTHOTSPOT. Logon is similar to PNCC's hotspots described above.
They have recently accelerated speeds and lowered prices. The prepaid internet card of Palau Telecoms is available in many stores throughout the islands. PNCC cards don't work on their hotspots. They are sold at:
- US$ 10 for 10 hours
So they are somewhat cheaper than PNCC's offer while speeds are reported to be slightly higher. But their speed is still below below 1 Mbps at all locations. Don't expect to be able to stream videos or load large files.
- Website: http://www.palautelecoms.com/