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Fiji Travel Guide

Communications

Internet

Internet access around Fiji is spotty. You can usually get access (whether you're on your own laptop or on a shared computer) in the major cities—Suva, Lautoka, and Nadi—which all have a number of Internet cafés, and most accommodation (from backpackers to resorts) have access. In these areas, access is cheap; usually about 10¢ per minute. Outside of the cities, especially in the outer islands, access is more difficult to come by and you'll pay for the privilege; the fees nearly double the price of that in urban areas.

For travelers carrying their own laptop, it makes sense to create a dial-up account with a service provider like Connect or Unwired Fiji.

Connect (www.connect.com.fj.)

Cybercafes (www.cybercafes.com.)

Unwired Fiji (www.unwired.com.fj.)

Phones

The good news is that you can now make a direct-dial telephone call from virtually any point on earth. The bad news? You can't always do so cheaply. Calling from a hotel is almost always the most expensive option; hotels usually add huge surcharges to all calls, particularly international ones. In some countries you can phone from call centers or even the post office. Calling cards usually keep costs to a minimum, but only if you purchase them locally. And then there are mobile phones, which are sometimes more prevalent—particularly in the developing world—than land lines; as expensive as mobile phone calls can be, they are still usually a much cheaper option than calling from your hotel.

Fiji's country code is 679.

Calling Within Fiji

The best option for making phone calls in Fiji is to use a phone card and dial direct, as it's usually the cheapest and the most reliable. Phones are available in most hotels and resorts. Local calls are usually free, and you can use a phone card for the international calls. Public phones are scattered throughout the city, but they're rarely in working order. In the outer islands, satellite and cable systems provide some phone access, but it's spotty at best, and calls tend to be more expensive than calling from the major cities.

Calling Outside Fiji

When calling from Fiji, put 00 before the number. International directory assistance in Fiji is 022.

Calling Cards

The cheapest way to phone home is by using a phone card to dial direct. You can buy phone cards at post offices, news agents, dairies, and some pharmacies and petrol stations.

Mobile Phones

If you have a multiband phone (some countries use frequencies different from those used in the United States) and your service provider uses the world-standard GSM network (as do T-Mobile, Cingular, and Verizon), you can probably use your phone abroad. Roaming fees can be steep, however: 99¢ a minute is considered reasonable. And overseas you normally pay the toll charges for incoming calls. It's almost always cheaper to send a text message than to make a call, since text messages have a very low set fee (often less than 5¢).

If you just want to make local calls, consider buying a new SIM card (note that your provider may have to unlock your phone for you to use a different SIM card) and a prepaid service plan in the destination. You'll then have a local number and can make local calls at local rates. If your trip is extensive, you could also simply buy a new cell phone in your destination, as the initial cost will be offset over time.

If you travel internationally frequently, save one of your old mobile phones or buy a cheap one on the Internet; ask your cell phone company to unlock it for you, and take it with you as a travel phone, buying a new SIM card with pay-as-you-go service in each destination.

Vodafone is the primary mobile phone company in Fiji; Mobal and Planet Fone also have coverage. You can rent a phone for approximately $5 per day. Check out the Web site for more information. If you bring your own mobile phone, ask your company about rates in Fiji as you may end up paying international rates for local calls.

Mobal (888/888–9162. www.mobalrental.com.)

Planet Fone (888/988–4777. www.planetfone.com.)

Vodafone (www.vodafone.com.fj/.)

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