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Cell phone and data options on the island or with carrier? #293197
12/29/2022 07:51 PM
12/29/2022 07:51 PM
Joined: Dec 2014
Posts: 28
T
TheViking Offline OP
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TheViking  Offline OP
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Joined: Dec 2014
Posts: 28
HI All,
First off thank you to everyone for the wonderful posts, pics and info on this board, it is very much appreciated!
4th trip for me on this island and this time a trip with my bestie after not having traveled together in a long time.
Staying in Simpson bay. From my previous trips I recall not using my cell but we were with larger groups that knew the island well especially driving at night.
Want to have access to GPS on phone (if someone has a better method I am all ears, and ability to make calls bc we have 2separate reservations and also want to call ahead for reservations etc. Also want access to travel itinerary and confo numbers etc.
Whats the best/most cost effective way to do this.

If there is already a thread here and I missed it please link.
Thanks,
Viking

SXM Sponsors
Re: Cell phone and data options on the island or with carrier? [Re: TheViking] #293206
12/30/2022 08:07 AM
12/30/2022 08:07 AM
Joined: Jan 2012
Posts: 60
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CharlieAndElaine Offline
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CharlieAndElaine  Offline
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Joined: Jan 2012
Posts: 60
We use the maps.me app for directions while on the island. It uses the phone GPS but does not need a cellular connection. We keep our phone on airplane mode generally and use wifi calling when we need to.

Re: Cell phone and data options on the island or with carrier? [Re: CharlieAndElaine] #293207
12/30/2022 08:13 AM
12/30/2022 08:13 AM
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 5,085
Massachusetts
boucharda Offline
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boucharda  Offline
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Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 5,085
Massachusetts
Yup....exactly the same as above

Re: Cell phone and data options on the island or with carrier? [Re: TheViking] #293226
12/30/2022 05:08 PM
12/30/2022 05:08 PM
Joined: May 2006
Posts: 552
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
K
KGB Offline
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KGB  Offline
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K
Joined: May 2006
Posts: 552
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
There is another option. I just found out about this one so no personal experience but on another travel forum people have been using it and are very happy. It’s called Airalo. It’s an app that you can download on your smart phone. Then you purchase a country or region specific data package. They do have SXM. You will then have a data service from the local cell provider but you will not be able to make a voice calls unless using another apps like FaceTime or WhatsApp. So it’s basically like having the island wide wifi all the time and not only at the free wifi spots like bars and restaurants.
I will be giving this app a try in a few months. Apparently, there are a few other similar apps available.


"Often Wrong, Never in Doubt"
Re: Cell phone and data options on the island or with carrier? [Re: KGB] #293227
12/30/2022 05:35 PM
12/30/2022 05:35 PM
Joined: Mar 2002
Posts: 90
Ontario, Canada
CdnCouple Offline
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CdnCouple  Offline
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Joined: Mar 2002
Posts: 90
Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted by KGB
There is another option. I just found out about this one so no personal experience but on another travel forum people have been using it and are very happy. It’s called Airalo. It’s an app that you can download on your smart phone. Then you purchase a country or region specific data package. They do have SXM. You will then have a data service from the local cell provider but you will not be able to make a voice calls unless using another apps like FaceTime or WhatsApp. So it’s basically like having the island wide wifi all the time and not only at the free wifi spots like bars and restaurants.
I will be giving this app a try in a few months. Apparently, there are a few other similar apps available.



Airalo (and Ubigi) are eSIM solutions. You need a phone that is capable of adding an eSIM. You download the app, add an eSIM to your phone, then buy a data plan. Airalo mentions Saint Martin (French side) and Sint Maarten (Dutch side) but these are separate data plans. Ubigi only works on the French side. My understating is the eSIM may not necessarily work island-wide because there are different carriers on either side (I’d love to be told I’m wrong because I’m looking at Ubigi - but I will be on the French side 90% of the time anyway).

The other option is an actual SIM card (like Chippie) to replace the one in your phone. Most of these, I believe, work island-wide since you are with a specific carrier, some of which make their signals available on both sides. This solution however would give you a local phone number.

Last edited by CdnCouple; 12/30/2022 05:37 PM.
Re: Cell phone and data options on the island or with carrier? [Re: CdnCouple] #293234
12/30/2022 08:55 PM
12/30/2022 08:55 PM
Joined: Dec 2014
Posts: 28
T
TheViking Offline OP
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TheViking  Offline OP
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Joined: Dec 2014
Posts: 28
Thanks all for the info. Looks like Chippie is the way to go. Need to make calls and use cell for GPS in car. Hate driving on French side at night and Ive heard roads are worse since Irma.

Re: Cell phone and data options on the island or with carrier? [Re: CdnCouple] #293238
12/30/2022 11:36 PM
12/30/2022 11:36 PM
Joined: Jun 2009
Posts: 4,882
Portland, OR
jazzgal Offline
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jazzgal  Offline
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Joined: Jun 2009
Posts: 4,882
Portland, OR
Originally Posted by CdnCouple
The other option is an actual SIM card (like Chippie) to replace the one in your phone. Most of these, I believe, work island-wide since you are with a specific carrier, some of which make their signals available on both sides. This solution however would give you a local phone number.


This is what I do since I stay for several weeks at a time, and I do have a local phone number. The only disadvantage is that texts sent to my US cell number aren't delivered.


[Linked Image]
Re: Cell phone and data options on the island or with carrier? [Re: CdnCouple] #293239
12/31/2022 01:02 AM
12/31/2022 01:02 AM
Joined: May 2006
Posts: 552
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
K
KGB Offline
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KGB  Offline
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K
Joined: May 2006
Posts: 552
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Originally Posted by CdnCouple
Originally Posted by KGB
There is another option. I just found out about this one so no personal experience but on another travel forum people have been using it and are very happy. It’s called Airalo. It’s an app that you can download on your smart phone. Then you purchase a country or region specific data package. They do have SXM. You will then have a data service from the local cell provider but you will not be able to make a voice calls unless using another apps like FaceTime or WhatsApp. So it’s basically like having the island wide wifi all the time and not only at the free wifi spots like bars and restaurants.
I will be giving this app a try in a few months. Apparently, there are a few other similar apps available.



Airalo (and Ubigi) are eSIM solutions. You need a phone that is capable of adding an eSIM. You download the app, add an eSIM to your phone, then buy a data plan. Airalo mentions Saint Martin (French side) and Sint Maarten (Dutch side) but these are separate data plans. Ubigi only works on the French side. My understating is the eSIM may not necessarily work island-wide because there are different carriers on either side (I’d love to be told I’m wrong because I’m looking at Ubigi - but I will be on the French side 90% of the time anyway).

The other option is an actual SIM card (like Chippie) to replace the one in your phone. Most of these, I believe, work island-wide since you are with a specific carrier, some of which make their signals available on both sides. This solution however would give you a local phone number.

I saw that Airalo offers two options for sxm- one Dutch and one French. I have no idea if one works on another side of the island or not. I was thinking of messaging the app provider to find that out. But if they use one of the local cell providers on the island- it should work everywhere, that is just my uneducated guess….


"Often Wrong, Never in Doubt"
Re: Cell phone and data options on the island or with carrier? [Re: KGB] #293386
01/03/2023 08:17 PM
01/03/2023 08:17 PM
Joined: Mar 2002
Posts: 90
Ontario, Canada
CdnCouple Offline
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CdnCouple  Offline
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Joined: Mar 2002
Posts: 90
Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted by KGB
I saw that Airalo offers two options for sxm- one Dutch and one French. I have no idea if one works on another side of the island or not. I was thinking of messaging the app provider to find that out. But if they use one of the local cell providers on the island- it should work everywhere, that is just my uneducated guess….


I asked both providers. Ubigi only offers French side and won’t work on the Dutch side. Airalo offers both French and Dutch side options but neither works on the other side of the island. Oh well sad

Attached Files 06C74D24-8860-45CE-A0E1-8B66F2F56608.jpeg68343589-22F0-4FAA-9898-604E3B7D6B5A.jpeg
Re: Cell phone and data options on the island or with carrier? [Re: TheViking] #293394
01/04/2023 07:59 AM
01/04/2023 07:59 AM
Joined: Jun 2005
Posts: 1,860
Greensboro,N.C.From Colonie NY
wildbill069 Offline
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wildbill069  Offline
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Joined: Jun 2005
Posts: 1,860
Greensboro,N.C.From Colonie NY
Who is your carrier ???
Is your phone unlocked ???
I used a Chippie Sim for years its the best way to go but your phone needs to be unlocked !!!
I changed Carriers i now have T Mobile unlimited Data and texting is free and phone calls cost 25 cents a minute !!!

Re: Cell phone and data options on the island or with carrier? [Re: TheViking] #293404
01/04/2023 09:42 AM
01/04/2023 09:42 AM
Joined: Jun 2019
Posts: 161
Arlen, TX
BillDauterive Offline
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BillDauterive  Offline
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Joined: Jun 2019
Posts: 161
Arlen, TX

I use Verizon. On days that I want/need service, I use Verizon's TravelPass. Just fire-up the phone, and it works. When activated, I get a text saying that the phone is good for 24 hours. About an hour before the period is set to expire, I get a reminder text to either go to airplane mode, power off, or be charged again. Works on both sides of the island.

The charge is $10/day with the same talk/text limitations as my plan at home. Good enough for me.

Re: Cell phone and data options on the island or with carrier? [Re: BillDauterive] #293409
01/04/2023 10:35 AM
01/04/2023 10:35 AM
Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 13,414
Peaceful Eastern North Carolin...
GaKaye Offline
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GaKaye  Offline
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Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 13,414
Peaceful Eastern North Carolin...
Originally Posted by BillDauterive

I use Verizon. On days that I want/need service, I use Verizon's TravelPass. Just fire-up the phone, and it works. When activated, I get a text saying that the phone is good for 24 hours. About an hour before the period is set to expire, I get a reminder text to either go to airplane mode, power off, or be charged again. Works on both sides of the island.

The charge is $10/day with the same talk/text limitations as my plan at home. Good enough for me.


And depending on your plan, you get one free travel pass day per month. I used those on my last trip. We have their Do More Unlimited plan.

Re: Cell phone and data options on the island or with carrier? [Re: TheViking] #293416
01/04/2023 12:25 PM
01/04/2023 12:25 PM
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 4,302
Vancouver, WA
Todd Offline
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Todd  Offline
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Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 4,302
Vancouver, WA
Noting I am usually there for multiple weeks and want daily use including data, I get a higher use monthly plan with Verizon. If I remember correctly, about $100 which is less than the $10 per day for me. Still best to use wifi when able.

Adding, Mexico is so much easier and better, wishing SXM would step up.

Last edited by Todd; 01/04/2023 12:27 PM.

I prefer the Isle seat
Re: Cell phone and data options on the island or with carrier? [Re: TheViking] #293430
01/04/2023 05:42 PM
01/04/2023 05:42 PM
Joined: Nov 2017
Posts: 42
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PMagistro Offline
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PMagistro  Offline
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Joined: Nov 2017
Posts: 42
I switched from AT&T Wireless to T-Mobile and one of the main factors was the fact there is no charge for international data and texting. You are charged for calls though.

Re: Cell phone and data options on the island or with carrier? [Re: PMagistro] #293449
01/05/2023 10:37 AM
01/05/2023 10:37 AM
Joined: Jun 2005
Posts: 1,860
Greensboro,N.C.From Colonie NY
wildbill069 Offline
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wildbill069  Offline
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Joined: Jun 2005
Posts: 1,860
Greensboro,N.C.From Colonie NY
i made the switch in October ..

Re: Cell phone and data options on the island or with carrier? [Re: PMagistro] #293451
01/05/2023 10:54 AM
01/05/2023 10:54 AM
Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 17,517
Ohio
ruralcarrier Offline
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ruralcarrier  Offline
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Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 17,517
Ohio
If you have the option of using Spectrum wireless, they have a very good international plan also.


J.D.
Re: Cell phone and data options on the island or with carrier? [Re: PMagistro] #293454
01/05/2023 11:26 AM
01/05/2023 11:26 AM
Joined: Jun 2004
Posts: 1,111
St. Maarten/Long Island
SharonfromSXM Offline
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SharonfromSXM  Offline
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Joined: Jun 2004
Posts: 1,111
St. Maarten/Long Island
With T-Mobile you can make free WiFi calls so as long as your data is working you should be able to make calls free. Make sure the phone is set for WiFi calling & you should be good…

Re: Cell phone and data options on the island or with carrier? [Re: SharonfromSXM] #293455
01/05/2023 11:35 AM
01/05/2023 11:35 AM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 82,693
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
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Carol_Hill  Offline
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Posts: 82,693
Central Florida!
Sharon--I don't think it matters what carrier you have, if you're able to make wifi calls??? I'm not at all an expert on such things, but we have Verizon and can make free wifi calls, as well as receive them, on island.


Carol Hill
Re: Cell phone and data options on the island or with carrier? [Re: SharonfromSXM] #293458
01/05/2023 12:00 PM
01/05/2023 12:00 PM
Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 17,517
Ohio
ruralcarrier Offline
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ruralcarrier  Offline
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Posts: 17,517
Ohio
And in "airplane mode".


J.D.
Re: Cell phone and data options on the island or with carrier? [Re: ruralcarrier] #293459
01/05/2023 12:03 PM
01/05/2023 12:03 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 82,693
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
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Carol_Hill  Offline
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Posts: 82,693
Central Florida!
OK thanks.


Carol Hill
Re: Cell phone and data options on the island or with carrier? [Re: CharlieAndElaine] #293493
01/06/2023 11:41 AM
01/06/2023 11:41 AM
Joined: Mar 2007
Posts: 539
Sugar Land, Tx
I
IslandBoi Offline
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IslandBoi  Offline
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Posts: 539
Sugar Land, Tx
Originally Posted by CharlieAndElaine
We use the maps.me app for directions while on the island. It uses the phone GPS but does not need a cellular connection. We keep our phone on airplane mode generally and use wifi calling when we need to.


maps.me is good, another option is to use Google Maps with offline maps…you download the maps ahead of time while on Wifi for the areas you will need, then you can use Google Maps for turn by turn driving directions without using cellular data…currently GM will only give driving directions with offline maps, not walking directions, so not so useful for walking navigation in big cities, like in europe for example


[Linked Image]
Re: Cell phone and data options on the island or with carrier? [Re: TheViking] #293501
01/06/2023 03:01 PM
01/06/2023 03:01 PM
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 5,085
Massachusetts
boucharda Offline
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boucharda  Offline
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Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 5,085
Massachusetts
Rumor has it that the upcoming 2023 Honda Accord has discontinued their Garmin GPS for Google Maps using GPS without cell signal. Never considered that for SXM on the phone but may give it a go in a another week

Re: Cell phone and data options on the island or with carrier? [Re: TheViking] #293507
01/06/2023 04:17 PM
01/06/2023 04:17 PM
Joined: Mar 2007
Posts: 539
Sugar Land, Tx
I
IslandBoi Offline
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IslandBoi  Offline
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I
Joined: Mar 2007
Posts: 539
Sugar Land, Tx
the apps Apple Carplay and Android Auto pair your phone with a compatible vehicle allowing you to use apps like Google Maps with your car’s display


[Linked Image]
Re: Cell phone and data options on the island or with carrier? [Re: IslandBoi] #293509
01/06/2023 04:27 PM
01/06/2023 04:27 PM
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 5,085
Massachusetts
boucharda Offline
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boucharda  Offline
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Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 5,085
Massachusetts
Correct but you have to pair your phone to the vehicle and then you will get other stuff on the display. I would like to just have the GPS display without the noise and this does NOT need a phone to be connected....different but, yes, both work

Re: Cell phone and data options on the island or with carrier? [Re: TheViking] #293551
01/07/2023 04:54 PM
01/07/2023 04:54 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 2,666
MIA
I
irina Offline
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irina  Offline
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Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 2,666
MIA
Why do you guys want GPS or a map on SXM? If you drive one way and it's not there, go the other way.
Also use your regular phone on wifi. No drama. If you have WhatsApp you can hook up to wifi as well and make calls.
No charge. Really. Not a big deal. Don't overthink it. You will be fine. And chippie is cheap but you won't get messages like you would on wifi.

Re: Cell phone and data options on the island or with carrier? [Re: TheViking] #293559
01/07/2023 06:34 PM
01/07/2023 06:34 PM
Joined: Nov 2006
Posts: 1,883
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Bahston Offline
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Bahston  Offline
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My carrier is ATT. I used to chase every opportunity to keep my costs down, including having an island phone. These days I don’t bother, I put everything except one phone in airplane mode, with wi-fi enabled, I use my phone for one reason or another every day, away from my wi-if. It costs me $10/day, with a 10-day cap on charges. I’m on SXM for 21 days, in the middle of my billing cycle, so I pay $10/day for the first 10 days, and the next 11 days are free. It costs me $100 in total, which is less than $5/day, and I’m good with that. If I should happen to need to use a different device away from my wi-if then I just enable a hotspot on my phone and use that - not fast, but free.


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