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Old 04-07-2016, 17:29   #16
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Re: Cell phone for cruising

Dual SIM phones are definitely the way to go. One slot for your home country SIM and one for a temporary SIM from the country you are visiting for local calls and internet.
The difficulty is in deciding which connection plan is most convenient and cost effective.
I am away from my home country most of the year and international roaming rates in Australia are outrageously expensive so I use a monthly prepaid account only when i am home. I stiĺl receive security SMS codes for financial transactions even if my prepaid has expired. I make voice over internet calls or a message app on my local SIM when i need to make outward calls.

Of course this is only possible with coastal cruising in range of a mobile phone service.

For offshore trans ocean comms I plan to use a satellite service like "Yellow Brick" which has a webpage tracking function as well as a short text messenger and distress calling.

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Old 13-07-2016, 04:50   #17
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Re: Cell phone for cruising

Ideal would be a dual sim unlocked GSM quad band phone.
Reality any relatively new (past 4 years) unlocked GSM quad band should work well.
T Mobile offers an international plan, some have reported data slower than using a local carrier's SIM.
We use local SIM, Skype call, and hotspot feature.
SPOT a good Device to alert family members where you are and OK, also a handy backup EPIRB function. Cost ~120, 100/year subscription.
Delorme Inreach next option, similar to spot but allows limited texting and recently OCENS Marine weather download. Cost ~$300 and monthly subscription varies between $30-$80/month.

Other op
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Old 19-07-2016, 07:30   #18
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Re: Cell phone for cruising

Think about the sea air and moisture getting into the phone. I'd be looking at a cheap waterproof model, possibly Sony Xperia M4.

As a phone salesman Most phones are brought back due to water damage

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Old 19-07-2016, 08:44   #19
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Re: Cell phone for cruising

Almost any unlocked Cell Phone will work in foreign countries...

We had unlocked Blackberries when we were cruising and would purchase new SIMs when we entered a new country.

One thing I can warn you about... If you are full-time cruising and don't spend at least six months a year in the USA, DO NOT PURCHASE an International Calling Plan from a US Carrier...

Those International plans are not valid after being abroad for certain time periods (90-180 days) and you will be charged roaming and international charges after that. In other words they are made for business travelers based in the US who travel to foreign countries, not sailors who live out of the country full-time and never return to the States.

My wife called Italy frequently when we were cruising and she found Calling Cards used on the local SIMs worked the best. She was talking to her mom in Italy for 0.03 cents a minute all through Mexico and Central America.
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Old 19-07-2016, 10:21   #20
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Re: Cell phone for cruising

Related: online services make adding credit to your phone much easier (dont have to go to the tienda to buy a card...). Some carriers have this on their sites directly and some are third party services like " Ding". The third parties charge a convenience fee, but so do some of the little shops selling cards. Upside to third party services is they have agreements with most carriers and you only need to register once to send credit to almost any phone anywhere...from the comfort of your boat. You can use them to credit your modem SIM too.
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Old 20-07-2016, 17:33   #21
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Re: Cell phone for cruising

As a Canadian resident, I'm finding it impossible to sign up for a US-based phone service (like Ting). They all require shipping and billing address to be in the US. I want to use my AT&T Galaxy S2 for coastal US, and I have an unlocked Windows (GSM) phone I plan to pop a SIM into when I get to the Bahamas. Any Canadians care to explain how to sign up a for pay-as-you-go plan for the US with no US address?
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Old 20-07-2016, 17:51   #22
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Re: Cell phone for cruising

I am a Google Fi user. If you are a US resident and sign up, you have data in 120 countries. The phones are unlocked as well. No contracts. You can use your data through whatsapp and other apps to call if you need to. It's not perfect but I think it's the best deal for US users.
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Old 20-07-2016, 18:17   #23
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Re: Cell phone for cruising

Quote:
Originally Posted by LLCoolDave View Post
I am a Google Fi user. If you are a US resident and sign up, you have data in 120 countries. The phones are unlocked as well. No contracts. You can use your data through whatsapp and other apps to call if you need to. It's not perfect but I think it's the best deal for US users.
+1. Allows you to keep a US number and use it those countries too. For $20/month + $10/GB for data.
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Old 20-07-2016, 18:43   #24
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Re: Cell phone for cruising

Great thread.

Thanks for all the useful information.

We did our circumnavigation before there were so many options that are so good.

I need to write down all the information in this thread!
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