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A guide to finding the best prepaid SIM card when travelling to Kiribati

Buy a local SIM card to reduce your roaming bills.

Kiribati not only has great beaches, spots for surfing and prime diving sites, but has some of the best SIM card deals available in the Central Pacific. You can purchase options that could reduce your bills and save on roaming. Users can buy 1GB of data from Kiribati’s telco provider for as little as AUD2.99. So, whether you’re planning a short trip or an island hop, check out the best SIM card options available on finder.com.au.

Prices last updated 08/27/2017
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The telco provider in Kiribati

There is only one main operator in Kiribati: ATH Kiribati. The network has gone through a strict approval process before being allowed to operate on the islands, and tries to offer the best deals available. Services have been tried and tested by both locals and travelers, and can be trusted. It is pretty safe to say that purchasing a local SIM card will most probably work out to be cheaper than using your home phone there.

About ATH Kiribati (or ATHKL)

ATHKL offers great network coverage, providing good 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE wireless services across most of the islands. Roaming rates are average and well-priced. This telco sells prepaid credit, which allows users to take advantage of different offers and deals. Below, we have broken down exactly what ATHKL can offer you during your visit to the islands.

The ATHKL signal can become weaker the further out you head but this will occur on any provider you use. Prepaid SIM cards can be purchased from the airport, the official store or at supermarkets. Passports or ID cards don’t have to be shown to purchase the prepaid SIM card but take some identification, just to be sure. ATH Kiribati’s official store is situated at 72 Main Street, Bairiki, Tarawa.

Prepaid SIM cards can be purchased for AUD5, but credit will have to be added to use the cards. Credit can be purchased from most supermarkets or kiosks that display the ATH logo. Recharge cards or top-ups can be purchased in the following denominations: AUD5, AUD10, AUD20 or AUD50. Check validity because it varies depending on the amount uploaded. Dial *141*<voucher code># to top up your credit. Dial *142# to check your balance. The following data packs can also be added:

150MBValid for 24 hoursAUD2
250MBValid for 7 daysAUD5
800MBValid for 7 daysAUD10
1,600MBValid for 30 daysAUD30

Dial *111# and choose the relevant plan to activate.

ATH has also introduced two weekend only “Kakakibotu” passes (valid on Sat and Sun only):

  • 500MB – AUD1.99
  • 1GB – AUD2.99

There are also “Flashnet” data-only SIM cards available for AUD29, and they come with a USB dongle. The following options are available

150MBValid for 6 daysAUD5
320MBValid for 11 daysAUD10
700MBValid for 20 daysAUD20
1,800MBValid for 30 daysAUD50

The following options are for 4G/LTE only, and can be purchased for AUD39. They come with a router:

Birimaka 10010GBAUD100
Birimaka 15015GBAUD150
Birimaka 20020GBAUD200
Birimaka 25025GBAUD250
Birimaka 30030GBAUD300

To activate, enter the following IP address into the internet browser “192.168.0.1” and select the relevant option.

ATH Kiribati’s APN: web.athkl, and website:http://www.athkl.com.ki/

Some top tips from finder.com.au staff:

  • Gilbertese is spoken on the islands. If you don’t know the language then you may want to download Google Translate onto your phone before you travel. English is also widely spoken.
  • Locals call a SIM card a “SIM” or “Card” or “Chip”.
  • Ask the SIM sellers to set up the SIM for you, because they will know how to do it. If not, follow the instructions we have highlighted above or go to the official operator website to seek advice.
  • Get to the stores early to beat the crowds.

TripAdvisor tips for the best SIM cards and where to buy them

While it’s well known for reviews, booking hotels, flights and holidays, TripAdvisor also has many user comments that can help guide you through which SIM cards have been tried and tested in Kiribati.

Here are some top tips from TripAdvisor users:

Most overseas companies don't cover Kiribati in international roaming. What we have done in the past is just buy a TSKL SIM card over there and use it in an Australian phone as long as the phone is unlocked.

“Most hotels have Wi-Fi, so if you don’t want to use a local SIM card you can take advantage of free connectivity in most places on the islands.”

Pros and cons of ATHKL

ATHKL requires you to have a SIM-unlocked, GSM-compatible international phone. To double check you have this phone, or whether it’s possible to unlock your device, contact your provider before you leave.

Pros:

  • Good value for money
  • Kiribati has good coverage
  • No ID needed to purchase or register the SIM card
  • Prepaid credit when required
  • No in-store contract needed
  • Could be compatible with your current phone
  • Cheap handsets are sold in-store

Cons:

  • No devices offered with the SIM card packages
  • Can only be used on SIM-unlocked GSM phones
  • Signal can suffer in some areas
  • Data speed can sometimes be slow
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