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Old 13-05-2013, 08:51   #1
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Cell Phones in BVI

Any advice for obtaining a couple of cell phones for short term use in BVI? My iPhone4 won't work there (not GSM) I understand. Do folks usually rent? There or here?
Or do you get by with radio and occasional wifi access?

Thanks - I've cruised there often but now with Teenagers, the phone access seem to loom more important
Martin
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Old 13-05-2013, 09:12   #2
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Re: Cell Phones in BVI

I have iPhone 4 with AT&T. Mine just works fine in anywhere is Caribbean including BVI, DR, Bahamas, Belize, Panama, PR etc. If you are staying for a while, just get a new SIM card in the local store.
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Old 13-05-2013, 09:56   #3
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Re: Cell Phones in BVI

We were in the Bahamas for 5 weeks in Jan-Feb. of this year. My suggestion is that you should buy an open GSM phone in the US - it will be cheaper than what BaTelCo has to offer - and then just buy a SIM from BaTelCo and you are in business. You can look on the BaTelCo website and see what frequencies they use to make sure the phone you get will work. You may have to change an ID number - I think it is called the API number - so that the phone will connect with BaTelCo's network. The BaTelCo office in Nassau did not know how to do this, but I accidently met a consultant from a computer/cell technology company with an office in a shopping center across the street from Nassau Harbour Club Marina. He didn't know how to make this switch either but took the time to mess around with the menus on my MIFI device and figured it out.

I had a separate MIFI device to use for internet access via the cell 3G or 4G network. But if you get an opened smart phone, it may be able to create a hotspot for internet access. Our phone and MIFI device worked in Nassau, Marsh Harbour, and some of the outlying islands in both the Abacos and Exumas - anywhere there are enough people to justify BaTelCo's expense of installing and maintaining a cell tower. So the more remote the area you go to, the less likely that any cellular device is going to work. This little device was a great backup to WIFI as marinas may have WIFI but the quality/reliability is often an issue.
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Old 13-05-2013, 11:24   #4
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Re: Cell Phones in BVI

Sigh - My iPhone 4 is through Verizon - they do not use SIM cards ;( - which is a deal breaker.
Buying a GSM phone may be the best route, though connectino sounds a tad tricky - and buying 4 such devices may prove cost prohibitive...

I was hoping that one of those cheapo/purcase by the minute phones wouild be reasonable option

- The charter company offers one for $10, I now understand - that'll be the simplest option - provided calls are not $5/min !

Thanks all for your help.
Martin
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Old 13-05-2013, 11:34   #5
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Re: Cell Phones in BVI

Quote:
Originally Posted by MFraser View Post
Any advice for obtaining a couple of cell phones for short term use in BVI? My iPhone4 won't work there (not GSM) I understand. Do folks usually rent? There or here?
Or do you get by with radio and occasional wifi access?

Thanks - I've cruised there often but now with Teenagers, the phone access seem to loom more important
Martin
Hello..

Moorings7Sunsail/Footloose charterers usually rent a phone from the rental place at the Moorings marina. Charterers from some other companies usually get a loaner phone from their charter company. In both cases they just pay for air time.

(For my trips that are longer than a week) I prefer to take my own unlocked quad-band GSM and buy a prepaid SIM card directly from Lime (mobile operator) in Road Town. The neat thing is that you get to keep the number for the following year so you can give it to family.. I also use this SIM card for data access.

All three options above let you receive calls for free; the caller will pay long distance but no one pays roaming at $1 or so a minute.

Cheers

C
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Old 13-05-2013, 11:55   #6
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Re: Cell Phones in BVI

Well, the OP asked about the BVI's not the Bahamas... But in case they stop on the way down...

Lime and Digicell in the BVI's work with GSM just fine... Of course your regular US phone works in the USVI' (verified with AT&T, t- mobile and Verizon).

. Second, Batelco does sell an unlocked GSM Nokia cell phone for $29... So not too shabby on price anyway. Good phone and even has a built in led flashlight, unless on fleabay not much cheaper in the US.



Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulSommers View Post
We were in the Bahamas for 5 weeks in Jan-Feb. of this year. My suggestion is that you should buy an open GSM phone in the US - it will be cheaper than what BaTelCo has to offer - and then just buy a SIM from BaTelCo and you are in business. You can look on the BaTelCo website and see what frequencies they use to make sure the phone you get will work. You may have to change an ID number - I think it is called the API number - so that the phone will connect with BaTelCo's network. The BaTelCo office in Nassau did not know how to do this, but I accidently met a consultant from a computer/cell technology company with an office in a shopping center across the street from Nassau Harbour Club Marina. He didn't know how to make this switch either but took the time to mess around with the menus on my MIFI device and figured it out.

I had a separate MIFI device to use for internet access via the cell 3G or 4G network. But if you get an opened smart phone, it may be able to create a hotspot for internet access. Our phone and MIFI device worked in Nassau, Marsh Harbour, and some of the outlying islands in both the Abacos and Exumas - anywhere there are enough people to justify BaTelCo's expense of installing and maintaining a cell tower. So the more remote the area you go to, the less likely that any cellular device is going to work. This little device was a great backup to WIFI as marinas may have WIFI but the quality/reliability is often an issue.
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