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Old 11-11-2012, 00:53   #1
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Cruising Phone

What is the best cruising phone? I have Verizon at the moment with a Razr M phone which is an international phone. I have been told that you can use a SIM card with this phone and local providers. Or you can keep Verizon and pay $1.99 per minute.

There are also sat phones but they seem even more expensive. A company called Mobal offers a world phone but the rates are higher than Verizon and vary from country to country.

Are there more alternatives? What do you use and are you happy with it? What are it's strengths and weaknesses?
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Old 11-11-2012, 01:09   #2
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Re: Cruising Phone

I have a Samsung Rugby Smart with AT&T. Via my employer (just to be clear I'm not footing the bill here) it has an international voice, text, and data plan. It's a quad band phone which works pretty much anywhere there's a cell tower. AT&T has negotiated terms with all the regional carriers so I just roam around and it works. In a pinch I can flip it to a hotspot and use the wifi signal for my laptop. Like most smart phones it also can hop on a wifi itself, so for big data operations you can save yourself a lot of cell-data time by doing things over wifi. Pretty handy, although the most monthly data that AT&T offers prepaid is 850mb. That's enough for some of my work assignments, email, and the occasional googling of something.

I also have an Iridium 9555 satellite phone with a prepaid plan as well. That is a much more touchy device and a lot of things don't work well (like any form of touch-town menus). But when you're really out in the middle of nowhere, it works.

AT&T bill is somewhere around $300/month, Iridium is about $200/month. Again, this is my employer paying these tabs.

We're going to be in Mexico for about a year so for my wife I'm going to pick up a little flip phone at TelCel (local Mexican cell provider). Refill the minutes/texts monthly, no contract.

You can also rent satellite phones for when you need them, and you can adjust your plan needs monthly.

Get a good noise cancelling headset if you need to do anything professional. A huge monster sized one that makes you look like a drive-thru attendant.
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Old 11-11-2012, 01:47   #3
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Re: Cruising Phone

ditto rh,my sat phone works out much cheaper than a gsm on mobile roaming!
though with "pay as you go" getting a local sim card keeps cost down for those wanting to phone you whilst in europe
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Old 11-11-2012, 01:59   #4
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Re: Cruising Phone

Local providers is the way to go in SEAsia

In Thailand , for example, you can get unlimited 3G ( means wifi on your iphone all the time ) for less than USD 40 a month ( go to Telewiz );

You can then use your phone to act as your "personal hot spot" = running wifi for everyone on board

In Malaysia its a very similar deal

You can also top up your phone credit at any 7 -Eleven

*** thanks to the very smart people on s.v. Crystal Blues who showed me how this works !

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Old 11-11-2012, 09:02   #5
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Re: Cruising Phone

The major thing I dig about AT&T phones (and Iridium's "+1 service") is that with both you can have a regular US number. If you're doing business in the states it's really important that people have a "normal" number to call you at. Further, you can use Google Voice to route callers to the appropriate phone. Can't do that with international numbers.

If you use any kind of calling services (for conference calls), get the local in-country phone numbers.

Most toll free numbers don't work outside the US.



***** Neat Fact ****

You can use your Iridium satellite phone with twitter. I'm planning on telling my friends (and cruisersforum) the next time I'm on a multi day passage so I can get some company on the night watches. Would be nice to have some people to text with.
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