The Hawaii Admirer
Hawaii Mobile Phone Use

How Can I Use My Mobile Phone in Hawaii?

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Are you in need of Hawaii mobile phone coverage? Here’s how to use your mobile phone while on vacation in Hawaii.

Use Your Mobile Phone and Number

Using your existing mobile phone and number is the most convenient option while traveling overseas. However, it can cost a fortune depending on your plan. Check with your mobile phone provider regarding global roaming charges before departure.


  • Will your mobile phone work overseas, specifically in the United States including Hawaii?
  • Does your current plan include global roaming (overseas calls, messages, and data), and what are the costs?
  • If your current plan does not contain global roaming, what are the options and costs for adding this service?

TIP: I was on a Vodafone plan in Australia and was able to add global roaming for a flat rate of $5 per day. I could use my mobile phone in Hawaii, just like I did in Australia. Any overseas calls, messages and data were the same rates of my plan, but I was charged an additional $5 per day for every day I was overseas. I didn’t have to swap out my SIM card, and everyone was able to contact me on the same number.

If adding global roaming to your current plan is too expensive, there are other options.

Use Your Mobile Phone Only Through Wi-Fi

This option requires you to disable global roaming on your existing mobile phone and only use your mobile phone if, and when, you are connected to Wi-Fi in Hawaii.

Complimentary Wi-Fi is often provided at cafes or in the public areas of hotels and resorts. Check with your accommodation, some will charge guests for Wi-Fi based on a flat rate per day, others include it the ‘resort fee’ or provide it complimentary.

Depending on your plan you may or may not be able to receive your normal message texts and phone calls when relying on Wi-Fi only. Consult your mobile phone provider for advice. Either way, there are other options for communicating including Wi-Fi-enabled apps like WhatsApp, Viber and Messenger.

Use Your Mobile Phone With a U.S. Prepaid SIM Card

Using a U.S. prepaid SIM card in Hawaii, in your existing mobile phone, is an excellent way to keep your bill under control.

A U.S. prepaid SIM card will provide you with a U.S. number and, depending on the plan, will allow you to make local and international calls, send messages and use data. It’s usually inserted into your existing mobile phone and used while overseas. The obvious downside is that your original number is out of action unless you opt to carry two phones.

Please note, your mobile phone must be ‘unlocked’ for a U.S. prepaid SIM card to work. An ‘unlocked’ phone means that you can take out your existing SIM card and use another company SIM card with no problems. Consult your mobile phone provider for advice.

RELATED >> Where Can I Buy a SIM Card for Hawaii?

Don’t Use Your Mobile Phone at All

You could ditch your mobile phone in Hawaii and give yourself a digital detox!

Convenience stores across Hawaii sell phone cards, perhaps you could go old school and buy phone cards to make local and international calls from your hotel phone. Traditional phone booths are hard to find but I have seen one at Ala Moana Center.

There are a very limited number of internet cafes in Hawaii, but most hotels and resorts will have a business center where guests can access computers with free internet services.

TIP: Mobile phones are referred to as cell phones in Hawaii.

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