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 "LIBERTE" SIM cards. This is excellent news as New Caledonia has a good Mobile Internet service but until now the data service was only available to residents of New Caledonia. Visitors either had to pay roaming fees or turn off their smart phone data capability and rely on WiFi in Noumea and Isle of Pines to get online.

Click Here for the OPT 3G and 4G coverage map.

Data access on your smart phone, tablet, USB dongle or WiFi Hotspot is very inexpensive. One hour will cost about 100 cfp (about AUD$1) and 20 MB in 24 hrs costs 220 cfp and unlimited data for 24 hours will cost you 420 cfp.

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. Whoopee.
  • 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. ref.

Vodaphone NZ costs NZ$200 for 20MB of data. ref

So even the high end $4.50 for 24 hrs unlimited access 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.

Here's how to stop your Windows 10 computer from downloading and uploading in the background while you are cruising.

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.

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. The Cruising Guide to New Caledonia shows you the mobile phone reception in any anchorage you might wish to visit.

Here's what you need to get Internet (or voice) while cruising.

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)

4G Lte Bands: 3 (1800MHz), 7 (2600MHz), 20 (800MHz) (Normal for Australian and European unlocked phones)

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).

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 usable in New Caledonia. This may not be a huge 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. 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.

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 http://willmyphonework.net/

3. A pay-in-advance SIM card package (Liberte) that costs about 6200 cfp (about $60) and includes a SIM card and 3000 cfp in call or data credits.

4. To set up your phone once you've installed the SIM card. For an Android smartphone go to "settings/Wireless & networds/Mobile Networks/ Access Point Names (APN). Click on the menu then "New APN" Give the new APN a name like OPT and set the APN to IM (stands for Internet Mobile). Ignore all the other settings.

If you are setting up a USB key start the USB software, Click on Tools/Options and select Profile Management. Click on "new" and give the profile the name OPT, set the APN number to Static and enter the APN im. The Access Number should be *99#. Click on the advanced button and under Authentication Protocol uncheck both CHAP and PAP then click on OK. Save the new profile and you should be ready to connect.

5. Your phone will work as a phone right away but whenever you want to get on the Internet you need to send a text SMS with the letters "IMD" .

(Like an abbreviation for Internet Mobile Demand)

Depending on the number you dial you'll get a different amount of Internet data time.

Here are the numbers with the corresponding Internet access and the approximate cost that will be debited against your pay in advance card.

Number Dialed

Time allowed

Data Cap

Speed

Cost

1110

1 hour

100 MB

6 MB/sec

100cfp

1111

24 hours

200 MB

6 MB/sec

420cfp

You'll get a return SMS message with the activation of the data service and the time it will expire

Once you download the Data Cap of 100 MB or 200 MB you can still access the Internet and download as much as you can in the time you have left but the speed drops to less than 500 Kb/sec

Use an external antenna for the best Internet coverage while cruising in New Caledonia

In some anchorages it helps to have an external antenna or to use a WiFi connection between the phone and your computer and hoist the phone up to the spreaders.

I use a WiFi modem with a plug for an external antenna. An external antenna is important when you are in a steel yacht or out in an anchorage with minimal reception. I bought the RFI CD2197 7.5dBi Marine Antenna from TelcoAntennas. Contact Craig at TelcoAntennas if you also need to get additional antenna wire to mount the antenna on top of the mast.

The Cruising Guide to New Caledonia will show you the mobile phone reception for every anchorage in New Caledonia so you will know before you get there if you can access the Internet or get your email.

Find out how to get set up for reasonable data while cruising in New Caledonia

Order the guide now so you can be sure your phone or tablet will work OK here and what to do to get quickly set up for Internet.

If you already have our guide visit our Google + page for the latest information on how to get data in New Caledonia.

WiFi internet in New Caledonia

Our 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 now 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 with i-Net. This works a treat on the Visitor's wharf in Port Moselle so if you need to spend some time online that's the way to do it. 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 around Noumea 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