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Old 21-02-2009, 13:07   #1
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Unlocked Aircard for the Caribbean / South America

Hello all,

I've got a question for the Caribbean Cruisers out there..

I was thinking about getting an unlocked aircard for the laptop and using it on our cruise along the coast of Central and South America.

My understanding is that as we stop in certain countries we could by a sim card with minutes and use the sim card in the unlocked aircard, thus giving us access to the Internet.

Is anyone using this method to help stay connected?

Thanks for any and all insight.

Jon
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Old 27-02-2009, 05:51   #2
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Should Work

Lime (Cable and Wireless) has advanced and now you can buy sims for $15-20 USD from a dispensing machine, with $10 credit where I'm located.

I had a mate visiting last month and he was able to access the internet with his aircard.

Now is the service is available where you want to venture, that's the question.

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Old 13-04-2009, 22:13   #3
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Good question. I am wanting the same thing but on the Pacific North west down to the Baja and then down to Costa RIca?????
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Old 14-04-2009, 15:52   #4
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I just discovered this thread while doing a search -- I was going to start a new one on just about the same subject. This summer will be our 3rd cruising in the Virgins. My wife & I both need an internet connection for work. Our first summer we rented a card from CCT, and were able to use it for a month for a reasonable price (about $100, I think). Last summer, CCT decided that it was not going to do anything like this: no card without a 2 yr contract, I was told. (So we struggled with WIFI.) So this spring I have been looking for alternatives and found Digicel. (I think they are new to the BVI). They are offering a sim card to use in an unlocked aircard (I just bought Sierra 875U for about $65). They promise that I do not need a contract and say they will charge about $40/month for unlimited use. If the service is as good as CCT's two years ago (it almost always worked), I will be very happy. Feel free to PM me for more information -- including my very polite contact at Digicel (they do not say anything about aircards on their website.)

In case there is any doubt: I have no commercial interest here (but am self-interested: if there is a lot of demand, they are certainly more likely to continue letting sailors do this short-term). And a caveat: I am hopeful that this works as promised but now know no more than I have said. I will gladly report when I return in late July.

One other thing: they do have a roaming charge if you use their sim card outside the BVI: .02/kb. But, of course, it might be possible to insert a different sim in the aircard.
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Old 14-04-2009, 17:21   #5
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Sounds good..............can someone tell me what a sim card is?
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Old 14-04-2009, 17:26   #6
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yes. It is a tiny card, a bit larger than a thumbnail that goes in certain phones (and aircards) and connects them to a particular network.
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Old 14-04-2009, 20:32   #7
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I need this technology when we are sailing down the PNW and into Mexico and then on to Costa Rica............after that when one comes around to the Carribean the Digicel can come into play. Any suggestions?
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Old 18-09-2010, 08:11   #8
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Aircard in the BVIs

I have a Sprint Overdrive to use in the USVI's, but not sure what to do about the BVIs-- we will be cruising there all winter. I am not willing to "unlock" my iPhone 3GS, so I thought I'd get an aircard and local sim card for data. (I want to supplement when I can't get wi-fi from the boat.) So 2 questions:

1) What aircard should I get and from whom?
2) Will the aircard take a Digicel, Lime, or CCT sim card or are the sim cards unique to the hardware?

Any advice appreciated. Thanks.
Kelly.
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Old 18-09-2010, 08:58   #9
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I thought the Digicell aircard system might be better than doing the external amplified antenna WiFi dance, but a friend who uses Digicell via an aircard to his lapbook computer mentioned that he cannot use SKYPE as the data transfer speed is too slow. Looking at the Digicell FAQ page: DigiCell Frequently asked Questions (FAQs)
they only guarantee 9.6kbps which is a positively "dinosauric" data speed.
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Old 18-09-2010, 12:45   #10
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I think the link you've posted must be to a Brazilian network provider, Digicell, as opposed to the Caribbean provider, Digicel. Anyhow, I'm not sure what an aircard is but I occasionally use my cellphone as a modem to connect to the internet via Digicel and GPRS, and it is pretty slow - fine for email and basic weather reports but too slow for general web-surfing - I suspect it's the same rate as the Brazilian mob.
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Old 18-09-2010, 16:45   #11
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The original "aircard" was actually a pcmia card that inserted into your lapbook/notebook computer and had a little antenna on the end of it. The cell phone companies installed extra antennas on their cell towers that were dedicated to data link transfers. Now the computers do not come with "card slots" just USB ports. So the "aircard" is now a little oval bulb that has a USB cable for attaching it to your notebook/lapbook/netbook computer. (sort of like the hockey puck GPS's). You have to purchase the service for the datalink and it is usually separate from a cellphone account. The going rate in Grenada is US$40/mo. - but the folks I know who are using it report very slow data rates. I used to get 19Kbps out of my Satellite phone and a decade ago the same out of my Sprint cell phone.
- - Wifi is available just about anywhere on the planet that there are major communities of people. Various cell phone companies are offering direct datalink services in many different forms and versions for usually under $100/mo. The market is changing dramatically as the "tablet PC's" flood the market.
- - Normally if there is one major cell phone provider that has service in a region of several countries then their "aircard" service is usable in all the countries in their service area.
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Old 18-09-2010, 18:37   #12
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Locked phone and aircards are a real US phone company.....antic (being nice)

I buy such things oveseas. They come "unlocked". Last phone I bought in the US cost me an additional $50... and the trouble to get it unlocked.
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