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donahuj 09-04-2010 01:31 AM

Info on Digicel or Lime GSM SIM for Mobile Calling in Windwards
 
Hello fellow sailors. Has anyone had experience using an unlocked GSM phone with either a Digicel or Lime SIM card in St Lucia and also St Vincent & The Grenadines? I'm going to be cruising St Lucia and SVG and am trying to figure out the best thing to do:

1) Should I buy the SIM card online from mrsimcard.com or wait to pick it up in St Lucia? Doyle's guide mentions that the cards can be purchased for about $10 but they start at $30 on mrsimcard.
2) Do either Digicel or Lime offer free roaming for outbound calls to the US as you go from St Lucia to St Vincent & the Grenadines, or will I need to purchase multiple SIM cards? Lime says it has a "roam free" program, but I've read that the roaming is free only for inbound calls, not outbound. I'm ideally looking for one SIM card with just a St Lucia or St Vincent number that I can then use in both countries.
3) Have any of you had experience unlocking your blackberries? I see that it's possible to buy an unlock code on eBay for about $1 and I want to get my normal email over my blackberry via my AT&T (roaming) service, which I believe roams to Lime, in the Caribbean. I would like to interchange my normal SIM card (for receiving emails) with a Digicel or Lime card (for receiving and making calls). Has anyone tried this?

Thanks for any info on experiences you have regarding calling via mobiles out of the Windwards using prepaid SIM cards.

SVAuspicious 09-04-2010 05:09 AM

Try calling AT&T and explaining what you are trying to accomplish and that you aren't planning to leave AT&T, simply be able to use a local SIM card in the islands. Unless you are a brand-new customer at the beginning of a new contract they are likely to give you the unlock code for your phone at no charge. You may have to work up through some management layers to get the desired answer.

That approach worked for me on my Motorola Razr V3. I haven't tried it on my iPhone yet -- I still carry the Razr as my local phone.

sailingdog 09-04-2010 05:54 AM

Don't buy an unlock code. It isn't usually necessary. If you explain to your carrier that you'll be going overseas and need to unlock the phone so you can use it abroad, they'll walk you through unlocking it. This is usually true, even if you're on a brand new contract, since the contract requires you to pay the carrier or pay the early disconnect fee if you're not using their service.

No experience with either carrier. I've ordered my overseas SIM card via Amazon.com, but don't remember who the provider was.

Allanbc 09-04-2010 08:06 AM

You need to call AT&T customer service and ask for th subsidy unlock code for you phone. I have unlocked two of my phones and my wireless wifi card. Tell them you are going out of the country and want to get another SIM card for use there. They will email you the instructions and the subsidy unlock code within 24 hours. The only requirement is that your account be in good standing and you have had the phone for something like 6 month.

donahuj 09-05-2010 11:24 AM

I have called AT&T and they are gladly willing to unlock my Blackberry and have confirmed that I could just switch SIM cards during the trip to use the Blackberry for data and a local SIM for calls. Thanks everyone for the input on that, as this is very helpful- no need to buy another phone for the trip.

Please do let me know if anyone has had experience with Lime or Digicel switching between countries, and if multiple SIM cards are required to do this without paying roaming fees.

Thanks again

donahuj 10-18-2010 09:44 PM

I just finished the trip so figured I'd post a follow-up report. I strongly advise you get your 3G phone unlocked before you go cruising so you can buy a local SIM card. It worked great for me. I have a Blackberry and I switched back and forth between my normal AT&T card (for data service) and the local SIM card I bought (Digicel) for incoming calls. Digicel service worked great through all of the Grenadines- there was no area I didn't have service, even when far off shore. You can have friends use Google Voice or Skype to call you at about $.22 or $.23 per minute and incoming calls are free for the recipient using the Digicel (or a Lime) SIM. This is almost 10x cheaper than calling out from the Caribbean on a mobile, and service quality was as if I was down the street from my family. SIM cards cost about $10 US and can be purchased locally when you arrive. Enjoy!


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