South Pacific Telephone Services

Telephone cards are available in the Cook Islands, Fiji, French Polynesia, New Caledonia, Tonga, Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu, and these are very handy. If you’ll be staying in a country for more than a few days and intend to make your own arrangements, it’s wise to purchase a local card at a post office right away. You can look up the numbers you’ll need at Online Telephone Directories.

By using a telephone card to call long distance you limit the amount the call can possibly cost and won’t end up overspending should you forget to keep track of the time. On short calls you avoid three-minute minimum charges. International telephone calls placed from hotel rooms are always much more expensive than the same calls made from public phones using telephone cards. What you sacrifice is your privacy as anyone can stand around and listen to your call, as often happens. Card phones are usually found outside post offices or telephone centers. Check that the phone actually works before bothering to arrange your numbers and notes, as they’re often out of service.

To place a call to a Pacific island from outside the region, first dial the international access code (check your phone book), then the country code, then the number. The country codes are listed HERE. None of the Pacific countries have regional area codes, but local telephone numbers have varying numbers of digits: four digits in Niue and Tokelau; five digits in the Cook Islands, Tonga, Samoa, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, and Solomon Islands; six digits in French Polynesia, Easter Island, Wallis and Futuna, and New Caledonia; and seven digits in American Samoa and Fiji.

You’re better off calling from North America to the South Pacific in the evening as it will be mid-afternoon in the islands (plus you’ll probably benefit from off-peak telephone rates). From Europe, call very late at night. In the other direction, if you’re calling from the islands to North America or Europe, do so in the early morning as it will already be afternoon in North America and evening in Europe.