EPLD Report 2: Roaming the Pacific with my BlackBerry

Since I was to be away from PNG for 2 and a half weeks on the Emerging Pacific Leaders Dialogue (EPLD) program I decided to grab a BlackBerry so that I could keep in touch with work and of course Callista and baby, (not that the baby can talk yet or anything but we can imagine).

Fortunately in March, Digicel had introduced the BlackBerry Gemini 8520 which I was able to pick up for K999.00. The March deal was for pre paid, so I switched to post paid which is also mandatory for enabling roaming.

So I had to pay the following to get on roaming:
• K500 Roaming Deposit
• K280 BlackBerry Silver Plan (K420 credit limit)
• K670 Data Platinum (500MB Bundled Data)

All up K1,450.00. Its expensive, but it saved me allot in terms of keeping in touch with business.

Which brings me now to roaming. For those of you that have not tried it, the phone simply finds a partner network to Digicel in whatever country your in and then voila, it connects just like here.

The following are the countries I visited, what services that worked and which ones had a Digicel office:

• Samoa (voice, sms, data, digicel)
• Australia (voice, sms, data)
• New Zealand (voice, sms)
• New Caledonia (voice, sms)
• Fiji (voice, sms, digicel)
• Wallis-Futuna (voice, sms)
• Tonga (voice, sms, data, digicel)

As you can see not all places had data/internet access even though they had Digicel offices. But at least voice and sms worked in all the countries.

In terms of plain internet access, this is what I found out in each country:

• Samoa (AggieGrey hotel had a landline internet service which you could pay for at reception).
• Auckland Airport (Free internet at sponsored kiosks or pay with credit card WiFi).
• Brisbane Domestic Airport (pay as you go WiFi).
• Noumea (Le Surf hotel had Free WiFi for all guests).
• Tonga (Dateline hotel had Free RJ45 plugin internet access).

Well that’s a wrap on my connectivity issues. Next EPLD story, I write about how I ended up in a taxi with 3 women on the way to Robert Louis Stevensons house.


7 thoughts on “EPLD Report 2: Roaming the Pacific with my BlackBerry

  1. Fascinating post on the new mobile Pacific.

    We did a report for AusAID (Pacific Survey 2008: connecting the region) so it’s great to hear about benefits of mobile phones in 2010.

    Have you got your bill yet? I wonder how those roaming charges add up!

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