Internet In New Caledonia - How to Get Internet while cruising just about anywhere in New Caledonia.
Great news for cruisers! The 3G/4G mobile network covers almost all of New Caledonia and is now available to visitors using the pay in advance OPT Tourism Card SIM card or the OPT Liberty Card. You can buy the SIM cards at the OPT post office or most tobacco shops (you will need your passport for ID).
Mobile Data in New Caledonia
We use the OPT mobile network in New Caledonia and it works very well just about anywhere in the lagoon. We have been able to get our email as much as 27 nautical miles from the nearest antenna.
New Caledonia mobile phone coverage extends to most of the lagoon and anchorages so you can stay in touch by email or check the Internet for weather reports.
Here's what you need to get Internet (or voice) while cruising (unless you go the easy way and get the NCPocketWiFi hotspot modem mentioned below).
1. An UNLOCKED Android or IPhone smart phone, tablet, WiFi modem or USB 4G dongle.
2. The smartphone, tablet or USB key must have the following bands (frequencies)
- 3G WCDMA Bands: 1 (2100MHz H-IMT), 8 (900 MHz E-GSM) (Normal for Australia, New Zealand and Europe - not for US or Japanese phones). Your 3G will still work and be satisfactory in most areas and in remote places 3G carries further anyway. As long as your pbone has the 3G bands it will be fine.
- 4G Lte Bands: 3 (1800MHz), 7 (2600MHz), 20 (800MHz) (Normal for Australian and European unlocked phones). 4G is more of a problem because, while Australia and New Zealand do use Band 3 (1800 MHz) they don't always have Band 20 (800 MHz). New Zealand phones often have Band 19 (800 MHz) but this is not the same as Band 20 and won't work in New Caledonia. This may not be a big problem if you have an Australian or New Zealand phone. It just means you can only get 4G in Noumea and areas where there are 1800 MHz stations available.
- The phone or tablet or WiFi hotspot has to be unlocked or you won't be able to use it in New Caledonia.. A phone bought from a telco and most retail phone stores will be locked to a particular telecom and it won't work with any other sim card. If you want to make sure your phone will work in New Caledonia (providing it is unlocked) visit https://willmyphonework.net/
3. A pay-in-advance Tourism or Liberty SIM card.
The Cruising Guide to New Caledonia will show you where you can buy the Tourism or Liberty SIM card, How to set set up your phone or WiFi to use the SIM and exactly how to recharge your account online while you are cruising.
When you zoom into an anchorage on the Rocket Guide and go to the information page, you'll see an icon showing you the mobile phone reception. Here's what you see on the Lekiny Anchorage in Ouvea. Most of the out islands have really excellent 4G reception:
Roaming Data Costs in New Caledonia
What would Telstra Australia roaming charges for data be in New Caledonia? Well, if you pay in advance for a travel pack that expires after 30 days....
- One Gigabyte of data (up and down counted) costs $1800! If you don't shovel out $1800 up front you'd pay AUD$15,000.
- For 29 MB you would pay a mere $85 in advance (expires in 30 days) instead of $450. ref.
Telecom New Zealand charges NZ$900 for 20MB of data (That's MB, not GB!). ref.
Vodaphone NZ costs NZ$200 for 20MB of data. ref
So even the high end 450 F (about AUD$6.00) for 24 hrs unlimited access with the Liberty Card seems like a totally great deal.
Stop your computer uploading and downloading in the background
Windows 10 and several programs constantly upload and download data without your knowing about it or letting you stop this abuse of your expensive mobile data limits.
Mac computers also do Gigabytes of downloads automatically. In addition to slowing up your browsing the end result will often require updating lots of other apps. Here's how to stop your Mac from downloading and uploading in the background while you are cruising.
WiFi internet in New Caledonia
The Rocket Cruising guide also shows you where you can connect to WiFi hot spots, and the WiFi coverage of i-Net service in Noumea and Isle of Pines.
The City of Noumea offers free WiFi in the Place des Cocotiers in central downtown Noumea. Works well. You need to open your Internet Browser, fill in a form with a valid email, and the system will send you an email with the login username and password.
Port Moselle Marina offers free Wi-Fi to visitors on the marina's visitor's wharf. This is a happy short-term convenience but you won't have access once you move off the wharf.
i-Net sells a week's open ended high speed WiFi connection. This works a treat on the Visitor's wharf in Port Moselle. You can also get WiFi coverage at anchor in the Baie de Orphelinat from the i-Net transmitter at the CNC fuel wharf (where you can also buy an I-Net card) and in Kouto of Isle of Pines.
But 3G is much cheaper and works nearly everywhere.
Internet Cafes in New Caledonia
There are many Internet Cafes within easy walking distance of Port Moselle Marina and the Cruising Guide to New Caledonia will show you exactly where they are.
To check out other Internet sites of interest to yachts