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Old 03-12-2009, 11:21   #16
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Yes, my wife has a fancy one that does e-mails, but a cheap one bought on e-bay does not send just receives so get a quality one...Since I have left cell phones in the Pacific, Atlantic, Caribbean and English Channel I am only allowed cheap ones.

You can also get internet in most marinas with good antenas but the cell phone works 90% of the time if you can see an island (Haiti don't count) and almost 100% if you are anchored off one.
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Old 03-12-2009, 11:48   #17
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I'm a bit dense about cell phones, as I live in an area with no cell coverage. So please bear with me, and talk slowly. . . . :-)

If you look at this map of Batelco's GSM covergae:
BTC Bahamas - GSM Coverage Map
does this indicate that I'd be able to e-mail over a GSM phone in these areas, or is this map only for voice, with e-mail needing 3G service?

In any case, it looks like about 70% of the Exumas have GSM coverage -- pretty good.

There is this press release about GSM service coming to Eleuthera,
BTC Launches GSM Cellular Phone Service for Eleuthera Bahamas
which includes a quote about how now people will be able to use their Blackberries there. So . . . if a Blackberry can fetch your e-mail, a smartphone should, too -- yes?
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Old 03-12-2009, 13:55   #18
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Well, I e-mailed Batelco through their website and got back a quick reply. I asked if all the pink areas on that GSM coverage map included data service/ e-mail accessibility. Here's what he said:

"Most of these areas have the data service. Especially closer to main settlements. Email is accessible. I can speak to the islands that I have travelled to personally and the Exuma Cays is on the list.

"The coverage map includes GSM, GRPS and EDGE. If you get a localprepaid SIM you will have to indicate that you would like our data package. Our local blackberry packages come with data included."



So . . . looks like I'll be buying an unlocked GSM phone soon.

Anyone know how much more you have to pay for a Batelco SIM card with data package? Couldn't find that on their website.
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Old 04-12-2009, 04:38   #19
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Furthering my cellphone education, I found a bit of info on GSM/GPRS/EDGE:

--GSM supports voice calls and data transfer speeds of up to 9.6 kbit/s, together with the transmission of SMS (Short Message Service).

--GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) offers throughput rates of up to 40 kbit/s, so that users have a similar access speed to a dial-up modem.

--Enhanced Data rates for GSM Evolution (EDGE) technology, provides up to three times the data capacity of GPRS.

Up till now I never really knew the distinctions. So I guess I shouldn't count on receiving any large attachments via cellphone e-mail. But for basic correspondence, it will be a huge help.
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Old 04-12-2009, 07:51   #20
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You should consider a WiFI & VoIP-capable GSM phone like most of the Nokia E-series. This way you have both GSM and VoIP rates available to you and can make calls when you are out of GSM/Cellular coverage areas.

Voip Rates are usually a couple pennies per minute no matter where in the world you are located. The Nokia phones allow you to make and receive VoIP calls where many other smart-phones, e.g., the iPhone are not practical for inbound calls yet.

Also, avoid any long term contracts and be sure to get an unlocked phone. The international roaming market is changing very rapidly.
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Old 04-12-2009, 10:44   #21
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Thanks for the advice on Nokia wifi phones. Those are nice looking units, and I see some unlocked ones on EBay (E63-2) for $215.

I contacted BTC again to ask about data rates. For prepaid SIMs, data is charged at $0.05 per KB. So if you get a 1MB attachment, it'll cost you $50. Yikes. That wifi is looking better all the time. . . .

If you have a monthly contract with them, you can get unlimited data for $25 per month (in addition to your monthly service charge for voice). The monthly contracts have a 1-year minimum, but I haven't been able to figure out what is the cheapest plan available. If it's $60 a month, it doesn't really make sense to sign up for a whole year just to get unlimited data for two months. But if they have a $30 plan, I might consider it.
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Old 04-12-2009, 11:48   #22
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I'm not familiar with that particular model, but, the specs look good. If you come out of the mountains and into NYC you can visit the Nokia Flagship store on East 57th Street and see many of the models.
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