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Old 16-04-2015, 14:26   #1
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Verizon Phone Service in the Bahamas?

I am about to head to the Bahamas and I cannot get consistent information about whether or not my Verizon mobile phone (iphone 4) will operate in the Bahamas. Some sites say yes, some no. We will only be in the Abacos this trip. I would sign up for the Verizon international plan before departure if I can get confirmation from this group that the phone should work there. Appreciate any input with recent experience.
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Old 16-04-2015, 14:41   #2
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Re: Verizon Phone Service in the Bahamas?

... from https://activecaptain.com/articles/m...es/bahamas.php

It is possible to use your existing mobile phone in the Bahamas but expect it to be very costly - between $1.99 and $2.99 per minute for voice. This applies to calls made to numbers in the Bahamas as well as calls made back to the US.

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Carsten
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Old 16-04-2015, 14:49   #3
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Re: Verizon Phone Service in the Bahamas?

Sprint worked in Bimini and exumas as long as there is a batelco tower. 99cents minute

Sent from my LG-LS980 using Cruisers Sailing Forum mobile app
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Old 16-04-2015, 14:53   #4
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Re: Verizon Phone Service in the Bahamas?

Just go to any Batelco office and pick up a cheap rechargeable phone. Our was less than $30.00. You can put minutes on it at any telephone office or online. You can also buy minute cards at most businesses. Easy and it works.
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Old 16-04-2015, 14:54   #5
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Re: Verizon Phone Service in the Bahamas?

I think the main islands have 4G LTE which should work on both ATT phones and Verizon, as long as they are LTE equipped. But most of the rest of the islands and outlying areas are GSM 3G only. I'm not an expert on this, but that's my impression.

See this coverage map:
BTC : Support
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Old 16-04-2015, 15:07   #6
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Re: Verizon Phone Service in the Bahamas?

.... International Trip Planner

Carsten
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Old 16-04-2015, 19:10   #7
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Re: Verizon Phone Service in the Bahamas?

I've used my iPhone with Verizon in the Abacos a few times. I did have to activate the roaming service with Verizon for a fee first. (which I could do from the Bahamas or prior to leaving) As Carsten mentioned, the roaming is not cheap. Also beware of the data usage. Everytime time your phone downloads an email header or even checks for email or messages, that's data. Turn data roaming off most of the time and only turn it on to download messages when needed. Consider turning unneeded email accounts off and only use it when you have wifi access.

Texting was much cheaper for me. 10 cents to receive and 50 cents to send. Very helpful for getting updates on an approaching 45 knot storm one time...

If you are chartering with either Sunsail or Moorings, expect that required radio contact may not work when/if rounding Whale Cay, so make the call. I found my phone very helpful in obtaining weather forecasts when out of radio range of Marsh Harbour.

Give Verizon a call for further advice and current rates.

(Note about 4 years ago, we could use AT&T but not Verizon for roaming in the Abacos. That's now changed, but might be why you get conflicting information)
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Old 16-04-2015, 19:33   #8
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Re: Verizon Phone Service in the Bahamas?

If it is an Iphone 4s (not just Iphone 4) it supports both CDMA and GSM so you can put a Batelco prepaid GSM SIM in it (and switch back to the Verizon SIM when you go home). This will give you a different phone number but everything else (calling, email, contacts, apps) will be like at home.

Just go up to a Batelco office when you arrive. They will switch the SIM for you. Don't lose the Verizon SIM. They're very small.

You then put money in your account (and can add new money by buying a "Top Up Card" at many stores). With the money in your account you can make calls local calls inexpensively but more importantly buy 3G data. 2GB of data is only $30. Here's more detail:

Prepaid

In many places the Batelco GSM data will be faster than wifi at a marina. Coverage is very good now.

You can also turn on "Hot Spot" in the iphone and then connect to it with wifi from laptops, other people's phones, or ipads.

Calling back to the US is expensive on either Verizon or Batelco. The best thing to do is to use 3G or Wifi and make calls to the US with Skype. Works great.
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Old 17-04-2015, 05:52   #9
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Re: Verizon Phone Service in the Bahamas?

Quote:
you can put a Batelco prepaid GSM SIM in it
Only if 'the Verizon phone' is unlocked.

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Old 17-04-2015, 07:19   #10
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Re: Verizon Phone Service in the Bahamas?

The major U.S. cell phone providers are VERY expensive to use in the Bahamas, no matter what the customer rep tells you. BTC controls the phone system in the Bahamas. Providers like Verizon, AT&T, etc. will usually only work in the larger cities like Nassau, Freeport and maybe Marsh Harbor. Between those points, you will not have service. For the best option and coverage, as others have said, get an unlocked GSM phone and a BTC sim card. You did not mention data and that is another subject. Chuck
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Old 17-04-2015, 08:11   #11
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Re: Verizon Phone Service in the Bahamas?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tingum View Post
Just go to any Batelco office and pick up a cheap rechargeable phone. Our was less than $30.00. You can put minutes on it at any telephone office or online. You can also buy minute cards at most businesses. Easy and it works.
That's what we did. The simple solution.
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Old 17-04-2015, 08:18   #12
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Re: Verizon Phone Service in the Bahamas?

Or look on EBay for some of the 5.5" or 6" screen Android phones in the $70-$100 range. Some of them are surprisingly good, and can be used as a small tablet when you're done with your Bahamas cruise.

Just be sure you get one with the right GSM frequencies for Batelco:
  • It works on 850 MHz and 1900 MHz for voice
  • It works on 850 MHz for HSPA+ (4G) and HSPA (3G)
  • It works on 700 MHz for LTE (4G LTE) using band 17
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Old 17-04-2015, 08:25   #13
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Re: Verizon Phone Service in the Bahamas?

I have used a Verizon for S phone in the Bahamas with batelco Sim card. it worked fine with the new number . have Verizon unlock your phone which they can do before you leave and then you just take the Sim card out and replace it with the bahama card.

I had to trim the card to fit because the iPhone slot is smaller but the Large card works fine cut down in the iPhone.

When you get back to the US just replace the bahama card with the Verizon card everything is fine

This is the cheapest way to go. Other than that you can buy a $30 Bahamas phone. That's not a smart phone though
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Old 17-04-2015, 08:45   #14
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Re: Verizon Phone Service in the Bahamas?

All Verizon Iphones 5's and 6's are sold unlocked. Verizon will unlock your 4s on request for international use (and maybe has unlocked it already, give them a call)

The lady at the Batelco office did the cutting of the SIM for me. She has a nifty machine that looks like an office stapler. She also would have tested the cut Batelco SIM in my phone if I had remembered to charge it

If the OP is close to upgrading, the Iphone 5 and 6 support more 4G types of signals than the Iphone 4s. It may get better data speeds in the Bahamas (although I don't know).

But that's a great excuse to your spouse for splurging on an Iphone 6.
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Old 17-04-2015, 09:26   #15
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Re: Verizon Phone Service in the Bahamas?

Spent the winter of 2014 in the Exumas - the best plan was to obtain a cheap Batelco phone. If you can get an unlocked phone (good luck) then Batelco can put one of their SIM's into your Verizon/Sprint/Whatever phone. Don;t get caught going online to obtain an unlock code for your phone-LOTS of ripoffs for that one-thats exactly why the greedy providers don't want to give you an unlocked phone-so ditch their phone and just get a Batelco phone (for less than $30). If you do a LOT of phone calls/internet/weather checks - just bite the bullet and bypass all these old greedy mechanisms and buy an SSB ! Thats what I am doing now.
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