Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 01-12-2009, 12:17   #1
Registered User
 
Sea Yawl Later's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Hemphill, Texas
Boat: 33' Seawind 1000 Cat
Posts: 150
Images: 7
Cell Phones in Bahamas

We are leaving for the Bahamas in January. I have to return my cell phone to my former employer. We have elderly parents and children so I want them to be able to reach me quickly and I want to call them.

I checked with Verizon and it just seems expensive especially since I don't have first hand knowledge that it will even work in the in the Exumas ( where we will probably be most of the 6 months we are gone.


Advice from anyone with recent first hand experience would be greatly appreciated. We will have e-mail capability but some of my family refuses to join the 21st century

Thanks

Linda
__________________

__________________
Sea Yawl Later is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-12-2009, 12:43   #2
Registered User
 
scook1's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Bourbonnais, Illinois
Boat: McGregor venture 15 "IMP"
Posts: 506
I wonder if something like skype could help in this situation? It is free computer to computer but does have a small cost if computer to cell phone.
Spencer
__________________

__________________
Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air…
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
scook1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-12-2009, 12:45   #3
Senior Cruiser
 
Vasco's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Toronto
Boat: CS36Merlin, "La Belle Aurore" Ben393 "Breathless"
Posts: 7,138
You can rent or buy cell phones in the Bahamas. GSM. Works well in GT and much of the Bahamas. Batelco is letting their pay phones go all to hell so many of these phones don't work. Cruisers used to buy Batelco cards but fewer and fewer use these now as it's hard to find a working pay phone, not cheap either, used to be a buck a minute but now only 50 cents a minute. Batelco blocks dial around and 800 numbers and even collect calls in some places. Thats the benefit of a government run telecom system. They're concentrating on the cell business. Many use Skype too. If you're in GT you can get good wifi service. And wifi is available in a few spots in the Exumas. We just use Skype. Quite a few of the cruisers whose anchors seem to be stuck fast to the bottom in GT have local cell phones. Buy a GSM phone and get a chip in the Bahamas.
__________________
Rick I
Toronto in summer, Bahamas in winter.
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/beneteau393/
Vasco is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-12-2009, 05:17   #4
Registered User

Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Tennessee/Florida
Boat: Mariner 40/IP 37-30
Posts: 97
I have just heard about a product called 'Magic Jack' that, as I understand, connects to your computer and with wifi you can make telephone calls.
Is anyone familar with that product or something similar that would work in the Bahamas?
If this works, we could communicate with our mothers that do not have computers.

Wm Mayberry
OPTIMYSTIQUE
IP 37-30
__________________
Wmiii is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-12-2009, 05:24   #5
Senior Cruiser
 
Vasco's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Toronto
Boat: CS36Merlin, "La Belle Aurore" Ben393 "Breathless"
Posts: 7,138
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wmiii View Post
I have just heard about a product called 'Magic Jack' that, as I understand, connects to your computer and with wifi you can make telephone calls.
Is anyone familar with that product or something similar that would work in the Bahamas?
If this works, we could communicate with our mothers that do not have computers.

Wm Mayberry
OPTIMYSTIQUE
IP 37-30
You can use Skype. No need for Magic Jack. You can call any phone with Skype (as long as there's wifi) for a couple of cents a minute.
__________________
Rick I
Toronto in summer, Bahamas in winter.
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/beneteau393/
Vasco is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-12-2009, 05:32   #6
Registered User

Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Tennessee/Florida
Boat: Mariner 40/IP 37-30
Posts: 97
Thanks, Good information.
I thought the caller needed skype as well.

Wm
__________________
Wmiii is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-12-2009, 05:50   #7
Senior Cruiser
 
S/V Antares's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Annapolis, Bahamas
Boat: 1983 Gulfstar 36
Posts: 1,249
Images: 1
Vasco is correct. Batelco has a stranglehold. If you have stateside ATT cell phone it will work in the bahamas but $$$$. Verizon will not. not sure about the others.

Skype works well. We use it regularly. There is good wifi in most populated areas. You might think about a good wifi antenna for the boat or hang out in bars and coffee shops.
__________________
Will & Muffin
Lucy the dog

"Yes, well.. perhaps some more wine" (Julia Child)
S/V Antares is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-12-2009, 06:10   #8
Registered User

Join Date: May 2009
Location: NJ, Paris FR and, for the moment, Cape Coral FL
Boat: Islander Freeport 41, AEGEA
Posts: 186
You can use your cell phone from most carriers but it's expensive. If you have an unlocked GSM phone you can buy a SIM card from Batelco and buy time by the minute. Last time I did this the card cost $50 and air time was $.50 per minute. There are cell towers on most islands and coverage is good (for the Bahamas). Technically, Skype is illegal but everyone uses it. Internet coverage is not bad in general. Lots of Starbucks and lots of businesses like gas stations have wireless and don't bother with security. The Green Parrot on Nassau is a popular gathering spot for cruisers and has free WiFi. My experience is on Nassau and Bimini. No direct experience on other islands.

Dick Pluta
AEGEA
__________________
Dick Pluta is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-12-2009, 06:32   #9
Marine Service Provider
 
Inkwell's Avatar

Join Date: May 2007
Location: St. Simons Island, Ga.
Boat: Hunter Legend 37.5 1993
Posts: 241
Send a message via Skype™ to Inkwell
Download Skype to your laptop. Any where there is wifi. You are good to go. Most places in the Bahamas as wifi. Take a GSM cell and purchase a Batelco sim card, they are sold on most street corners. Do not us a US cell..Way too expensive. All of the above is good advice. I guess I am just repeating it..sorry. Have fun.
__________________
Inkwell is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-12-2009, 06:59   #10
Registered User
 
Cormorant's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Catskill Mountains when not cruising
Boat: 31' homebuilt Michalak-designed Cormorant "Sea Fever"
Posts: 2,073
Anyone know about 3G services in the Exumas? If I rent a Batelco Blackberry, could I check my email out there? Or does 3G only work in Nassau and other big population centers?

We'll be in the Exumas mid-Feb to mid-April, and so far my communications plan is:
1) Borrow a friend's Iridium sat phone for daily e-mail check (with stripped-down datastream via MailASail) to keep my small business running.
2) Use Spot Messenger to send "OK" messages to friends and family once a day. Not going to do the "Tracking," though.
3) Pick up Wifi wherever available via our Yagi antenna to upload photos or other large files.

The email-via-Iridium thing is probably a critical bottleneck, and if I could get faster service over a rented Blackberry, I'd do that.

Sea Yawl Later -- hope to see you there!
__________________
Cormorant is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-12-2009, 08:54   #11
Registered User

Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Camden, ME
Boat: A Thistle and a Hallberg-Rassy 36
Posts: 664
I was in the Bahamas a few weeks ago, and tried to use Skype at the Old Bahama Marina at West End, Grand Bahama. I could not dial out to a landline in the US. Skype kept putting the Bahamas 242 area code in front of any number I tried to dial. Maybe I was doing something wrong, or maybe Batelco got to Skype somehow, I don't know.

That was the only time I tried to use it, and I didn't have an opportunity to try a Skype to Skype connection, which might have had a better chance of working.
__________________
SoonerSailor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-12-2009, 09:18   #12
Senior Cruiser
 
nautical62's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Live Iowa - Sail mostly Bahamas
Boat: Beneteau 32.5
Posts: 2,264
Images: 12
I've used my Iphone (at&t) quite a bit, but that was in the Abacos. It's over $2/minute so not a good option for long conversations, but was a quick, easy option for verifying crew arrivals, the occasional local reservation, or emergency communications.
__________________
nautical62 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-12-2009, 10:44   #13
Registered User
 
s/v Moondancer's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Fiji but heading for Alaska
Boat: Tayana 55
Posts: 1,225
We have quad-band unlocked cell phones and buy local chips for anywhere we stay for any length of time. Worked in:
Mexico
Bahamas
Trinidad
Grenada
Grenadines
UK
France
__________________
Phil

"Remember, experience only means that you screw-up less often."
s/v Moondancer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-12-2009, 10:55   #14
Senior Cruiser

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Cruising NC, FL, Bahamas, TCI & VIs
Boat: 1964 Pearson Ariel 'Faith' / Pearson 424, sv Emerald Tide
Posts: 1,531
Thumbs up

Quote:
Originally Posted by s/v Moondancer View Post
We have quad-band unlocked cell phones and buy local chips for anywhere we stay for any length of time. Worked in:
Mexico
Bahamas
Trinidad
Grenada
Grenadines
UK
France
Cheapest, and best idea. The Batelco SIM card was something like $14, and the minutes were reasonable. I bought the unlocked phone off of ebay for less then $20.
__________________
s/v 'Faith' is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-12-2009, 11:00   #15
Registered User
 
Cormorant's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Catskill Mountains when not cruising
Boat: 31' homebuilt Michalak-designed Cormorant "Sea Fever"
Posts: 2,073
Phil -- were you able to do e-mail over your phone in any of those areas?

I see there are some unlocked quadband 3G phones available on Ebay for about $55. That plus a local SIM chip would be cheap way to communicate.

But for me, voice isn't as important as e-mail. I had a funny episode with one of my cruising friends last summer on the Chesapeake. I kept trying to pick up WiFi from houses 1/2 mile away using my yagi -- pointing the antenna, squinting at the laptop screen, cursing, etc. He casually checked his e-mail all day, everywhere, on his iPhone.

If I could do that in the Exumas, I might never come back.
__________________

__________________
Cormorant is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
Bahamas, cell phone

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Cell Phones on Catalina? Other Areas? HobieFan Pacific & South China Sea 0 23-08-2009 13:59
Cell Phones in the Bahamas buff57 Marine Electronics 14 07-11-2008 15:36
Handheld satellite phones Stranded Mariner Marine Electronics 6 05-10-2008 12:38
sat phones beau Marine Electronics 35 03-04-2007 15:38



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 03:27.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.