SailNet Community banner

1 - 20 of 25 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
103 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
All,
We are finishing our current contract with Verizon in December 2012 just about the time we will cross over for a standard 5 month trip through the Caribbean.

With no contract, we can use any carrier we want, bear in mind in May when we return we'll be back to normal US operations. We need to get some sort of of contract to support our two college kiddos so going without is not an option as the "family plan" stuff has proved economical and a good deal overall. Also coming out of the Caribbean after 5 months we'll just hook back up with our kids in the usual "unlimited" minutes we'be using for years. We are inclined to use an android in this family plan as we can use it as a "hub" for our PCs when we are out of WiFi but within cell phone coverage if needed.

We've seen the posts about SIM cards in the Caribbean; changing as needed. Does this work with a "cheap" phone from Wal-Mart? Will our US based contract be cost prohibitive in the islands (it appears so looking at BTCBahamas.com)

We'll use WiFi and Skype when able, I also have a Google phone number that I "own".

Doing a search for cell-phones here on sail-net was a hodge-podge of satellite, cell, WiFi, and quite often dated material in the ever evolving world of telecom.

Is anybody doing the same thing right now or recently with a great idea that worked for them and might work for us?

I'm sure my novella is clear as mud but that is how I feel about my solutions as well....please help

THanks
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
656 Posts
Most of the world uses the GSM phone standard, but Verizon and most other carriers in the USA use the CDMA standard. You cannot use a phone for one on the other. You might find
useful. Most of the islands supports GSM.

If you want a US GSM phone that you can use in other countries, get one from T-Mobile or AT&T, but make sure it is unlocked or that you can unlock it yourself so you can use it with other phone companies' systems. You'll have to investigate to see what AT&T or T-Mobile offers in terms of family plans. I'm a Verizon subscriber and have no idea.

Tom
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,415 Posts
FYI, when my contract period with AT&T was up they willingly gave me the instructions for unlocking the phone. I just called customer service and asked.

We have since switched to a Verizon phone and plan here in Tampa, but keep the unlocked, GSM, AT&T phone for overseas use with cheap SIM cards.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
103 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Gentlemen,
thanks for the words and the link. My wife is tuned into the GSM issue and unlocking phones. I think we'll be able to avoid any huge pitfalls, just trying to optimize our capability in the various countries we'll visit with the least amount of hardware.
 

·
Bombay Explorer 44
Joined
·
3,619 Posts
If you plan to make calls out of the Leeward/Windward islands then the best option is to have TWO phones on either Lime or Digicell. Keep one phone for incoming cals with the same sim therefor the same no. and a second phone with a sim from the current island for outgoing calls.

As a visitor to the US I could not get a contract phone so used payasyougo Net10 from Walmart and found it to be OK for my needs.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
103 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
If you plan to make calls out of the Leeward/Windward islands then the best option is to have TWO phones on either Lime or Digicell. Keep one phone for incoming cals with the same sim therefor the same no. and a second phone with a sim from the current island for outgoing calls.

As a visitor to the US I could not get a contract phone so used payasyougo Net10 from Walmart and found it to be OK for my needs.
TQA,
So I am to understand that if I have my GSM phone I might purchase when entering the Bahamas for example it will still work at the usual rates (maybe) but outgoing calls would be high with that phone so get another SIM through Lime or Digicell for outgoing calls?
 

·
formerly posting as eryka
Joined
·
1,123 Posts
We bought a SIM thru "BaTelCo" (Bahamas Telephone Company) for $15 to use with our unlocked GSM phone. You could then buy pay as you go minutes for 50 cents or less to the USA, cheaper in-island. The same phone worked in Aruba on the same kind of contract, $15 for the SIM card with a local phone number, and then the per-minute rate was pretty inexpensive depending on how much you bought (60 minutes, the price per minute was more expensive than 120 minutes, etc). We also "trained" our USA contacts to use email to communicate with us - that was the best savings.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
You might consider tollfreeforwarding.com We use a us number and change sim cards whenever we want. All U.S. contacts call the same U.S. number and it forwards flawlessly and inexpensively to our local cell. It is very similar to Google Voice; however, it allows you to forward to a foreign cell phone. You could set it up with Google Voice forwarding to Tollfreeforwarding that forwards to your local (temporary sim) number if you wanted to be able to receive texts and voice mail via email.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
207 Posts
I would definitely take in everyone's input here, but an AT&T iPhone 4 or 4S has been wonderful for traveling in the Caribbean for me. When I'm traveling for pleasure, I often buy local SIM cards, and when traveling on business the AT&T SIM works great (at their expense).

It can be easily unlocked by anyone who is reasonably technically savvy, and A paper clip is all that is needed to swap out SIM cards. Having an iPhone also lets you have a great backup tool for GPS/chart plotting.
 

·
██▓▓▒▒░&
Joined
·
13,645 Posts
I can't help you on the Carib side but on the US, Verizon DOES have a few 'global' phones that will do GSM and CDMA and work outside the US. If you really want to stay with them.

But if you are heading out, I'd suggest looking into Straight Path (only available at WalMart) or one of the other new "unlimited no contract" carriers. They have only recently started carrying smartphones and have a limited selection, but you're looking at $45-50 per month for unlimited everything. SP uses the Verizon network as their backbone, so the coverage is about the same. MetroPCS is even cheaper, not real national coverage yet. There are a lot of options that would pay off over just a 5-month period, and give you the chance to look at the US market afresh when you come back.

Meanwhile, that GVoice number means you give out one number, and no one needs to know if you've changed carriers or whatnot behind the scenes.
 

·
Bombay Explorer 44
Joined
·
3,619 Posts
We could not use the call forwarding option as we did not have a contract phone in the USA. Having an island sim in one phone at all times allowed us to get incoming calls from the UK and Europe without a problem. Then the other phone with it's local sim was used for outgoing calls.

Basic phones are about $40 US

I am not sure of my facts on this topic and things keep changing but believe that roaming charges in islands like St Lucia can be 5 to 10 times higher than the costs of calls made with the local sim.
 

·
Pirate Chief
Joined
·
42 Posts
I am a cell phone manufacturer ,1st buy a cheap 25dollar phone that has multiple sims card slots , GSM quad band .
once you get in the area you are staying at purchase a pay as you go sim card or oay as you use .
I have 4 slots in my phones , I put all 4 sim cards in my phone .... for the usa , mexico china and Costa rica [China and Costa rica are pay as you go cards ]
Buy GSM phone quad band phone ,this is important buy a quad band phone!!!!!not just a GSM phone ,they are cheaper than cdma or wcdma and can be used anywhere .....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
103 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
I am a cell phone manufacturer ,1st buy a cheap 25dollar phone that has multiple sims card slots , GSM quad band .
once you get in the area you are staying at purchase a pay as you go sim card or oay as you use .
I have 4 slots in my phones , I put all 4 sim cards in my phone .... for the usa , mexico china and Costa rica [China and Costa rica are pay as you go cards ]
Buy GSM phone quad band phone ,this is important buy a quad band phone!!!!!not just a GSM phone ,they are cheaper than cdma or wcdma and can be used anywhere .....
You sound very adamant about this and I appreciate your enthusiasm. As mentioned above can you offer a few brands that meet this criteria?
 

·
██▓▓▒▒░&
Joined
·
13,645 Posts
f15, do a web search for "4 sim cell phone" and you'll get a horde of hits from alibaba and a dozen companies from Shenzhen (surprised?) that all sell for $25-40. How good they are and whether a US carrier will provision them, prepaid or otherwise, is a whole other question. And that's mostly "2g" voice phones, nothing fancy.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
103 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
f15, do a web search for "4 sim cell phone" and you'll get a horde of hits from alibaba and a dozen companies from Shenzhen (surprised?) that all sell for $25-40. How good they are and whether a US carrier will provision them, prepaid or otherwise, is a whole other question. And that's mostly "2g" voice phones, nothing fancy.
Got it, buyer beware but that's fine. Been in 3rd worlds countries so you get what you get and 2 G will be fine.

THanks
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
24 Posts
In prep to go back to they western carib I attempted to get our old nokia unlocked in Clearwater, Fl. The shop said it would be $75, and three weeks. Ended taking locked phone on trip, had it unlocked in Roatan for $5, in about 10 minutes. I now have a Nokia, unlocked, quad band, model 2700-c2, which I purchased off Amazon for $80. We carried sim cards for each country/cell provider. Some prepaid and some pay as you go. The phone works fine when back home in Clearwater with ATT sim on contract.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,249 Posts
check out Telestial on the internet (just google it). They have an excellent primer on cell phones abroad and also sell unlocked tri-band cell phones that will work in any country overseas. I got one of their cheaper models and got sim cards in the various islands I went to for 10-15 bucks. Worked great until I dropped it in the water.
 
1 - 20 of 25 Posts
Top