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Old 04-11-2014, 14:06   #16
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Re: Phone in Caribbean

In order to do what you want you need to buy a sat phone.
You can not go from island to island down here without incurring roaming charges.

Irridium came out with a new product that allows you to use your existing cell phone with their hot spot for sat service. Not very expensive, but you still need to buy air time.


https://iridium.com/products/Iridium...tCategoryID=29
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Old 14-11-2014, 10:37   #17
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Re: Phone in Caribbean

Love this thread, but still confused. I'm traveling the windwards and leewards this winter and need reliable phone and Internet (homeschooling my son and I need help with math homework!)

My plan was to buy a new iPhone 6 (unlocked), and then get a SIM card through Lime (mrsimcard.com - Lime Caribbean Sim Cards). I assume I can purchase a data plan and then use my iPhone as a hotspot to let us get online (when wifi isn't available) on all of our devices on the boat.

I'm also hoping to use the bigger iPhone as my backup electronic nav, loading either Garmin or iNavX charts/apps to it.

Will this work? And are there advantages to doing something more hard core like the Iridium product mentioned here for dedicated Internet?

Thanks in advance for any help
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Old 19-11-2014, 08:31   #18
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Re: Phone in Caribbean

Quote:
Originally Posted by rourkeh View Post
In order to do what you want you need to buy a sat phone.
You can not go from island to island down here without incurring roaming charges.

Irridium came out with a new product that allows you to use your existing cell phone with their hot spot for sat service. Not very expensive, but you still need to buy air time.


https://iridium.com/products/Iridium...tCategoryID=29

Any idea how much $ for the phone and data plan
It's like having your own cell tower!


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Old 19-11-2014, 15:34   #19
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Re: Phone in Caribbean

Thanks, I've contacted a company that sells the Iridium option and I'll post here when I get the details.
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Old 21-11-2014, 07:59   #20
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Re: Phone in Caribbean

Here is the info I received back on the IridiumGo product:

Unfortunately the Iridium does not have the speed capabilities to accomplish what you are looking to do as the data speeds on the Iridium GO are in the 2.4 kbps range. (very slow)

So this kind of product is not going to cut it for me unfortunately. Those kinds of speeds will allow you to maybe get some email through but using the web/apps, etc. would be pretty impossible. It looks like my best bet is to buy a wifi booster. Any suggestions are welcome
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Old 21-11-2014, 09:47   #21
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Re: Phone in Caribbean

You may want to check out Axxess Marine in St. Martin as they furnish a cellular plan that mostly uses Digicell to seamlessly connect going down island in the Caribbean, it would probably work for you. We used it last season with a router and antenna provided by them and it worked well


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Old 21-11-2014, 10:27   #22
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Re: Phone in Caribbean

Your iphone can be used as a hotspot, the better the connection (ie 3 or 4g LTE) the better it will work. Digicel is a good choice, works all over the Carib (except the Bahamas) and even the South Pacific. Go on line and open an account, no need for a 3rd party vendor, they always have some online discounts and promos, which you can use when refilling.

The other option is T-mobile they don't charge roaming now, check out their web site for specific countries, again not the Bahamas, but ok in the Turks & Caicos.

We keep our T-mobile account active and only use local sims where/if needed, easy to change out.

We also have two older unlocked (read disposable) phones that we buy local sims for and carry ashore for really inexpensive comm with each other or local vendors etc. No worries if they get dropped or wet.

Unsecured wifi is virtually disappearing, don't count on using it even with a repeater.
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Old 21-11-2014, 10:34   #23
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Re: Phone in Caribbean

We have dual SIM android phones, with a local chip for all data needs (email, weather, and etc), and our T-Mobile chip for rare texts and calls from friends and family to our American numbers.

T-Mobile threatened to cancel our service for 'extreme roaming' after about a year. We called and explained that we hadn't moved out of the country permanently, we were just on a very long vacation, and they uncanceled us. They said it helped that we'd had the accounts for years before this long vacation. I'll see how long it is until they threaten to cancel us again. We didn't use the T-Mobile SIM that much -- probably less than an hour of calls a month. Though it was on to receive texts and calls. So I don't know what their computer looks for when it flagged us.

We started with cheap waterproof phones -- Samsung GT-B2710's -- with local chips in them. The idea was to have phones we would always have with us, even if we were just landing on the beach for the day. Instead of taking a VHF handheld to coordinate the dinghy or lunch. And to coordinate finding each other as we wandered around random new cities. It worked OK, but the camera in them is too awful, and texting the old timey way with 12 rubber buttons is frustrating. So after a while we got little waterproof boxes for our Android phones and just took them everywhere with us. It turns out we pretty much always have a backpack, so the extra size doesn't make as much difference as I expected.
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Old 21-11-2014, 11:11   #24
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Re: Phone in Caribbean

thanks barboak, 1ercru and mspooner. Super helpful. So it seems I can either buy a data plan/sim from TMobile or Digicel for my iPhone and use as a hotspot with hopefully consistent 3G data or go through Axxess Marine for a more in-depth service. I'm both researching options and will repost on what we decide to do in case it can help someone else.
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