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Suggestions on Phone Service #291204
11/15/2022 11:24 AM
11/15/2022 11:24 AM
Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 423
Teresasxm Offline OP
Traveler
Teresasxm  Offline OP
Traveler
Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 423
Hi everyone,
We are flying to SXM on November 22nd and we are so excited we can hardly stand it. Thanks to everyone for your wonderful trip reports and pictures - we will respond in kind when we get to the island.

Question for you very savvy SXM travelers:
We're from Canada and our country has some of the most expensive cellular service in the world. It's absolutely outrageous and there is nothing we can do about it with a Federal Government seeming to side with the cellular bandits. In the past few years we have "bit the bullet" and paid their 10 dollar a day fee on top of the hundreds of dollars we already give them every month for the right to use our phones on the island. I'm wondering if you have any suggestions for us about getting a SIM card and buying service time that we can forward our phones to or anything else you might be doing to remain connected to your home country? We have elderly relatives and few work issues that we'll have to keep an eye on while we're away and need phone service for peace of mind.

Does anyone else have these issues and if so, what have you done? Years ago we used to rent a phone from Sharon but like I said, it's been years.

Can you help us out with some suggestions?
Thanks in advance
Teresasxm

SXM Sponsors
Re: Suggestions on Phone Service [Re: Teresasxm] #291205
11/15/2022 11:44 AM
11/15/2022 11:44 AM
Joined: Oct 2013
Posts: 1,288
United States of America
bdeeley Offline
Traveler
bdeeley  Offline
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Joined: Oct 2013
Posts: 1,288
United States of America
Teresa, who is your cell provider in Canada?


SXMSMISADB
L13SDD&ESAD

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Re: Suggestions on Phone Service [Re: Teresasxm] #291206
11/15/2022 11:51 AM
11/15/2022 11:51 AM
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 754
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phillygirl7 Offline
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phillygirl7  Offline
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Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 754
If I were going to put in a different Sim card, I would either use either an older cell phone you no longer use, or get a burner phone to put the Sim card in. I know some of the Chinese grocery stores will put a SIM in for you. Then you can make that your vacation phone. I think you can buy how much time you want on that phone. Now it may only work on the dutch side of island, not sure on that. Just make sure you write down all important phone numbers since you would have a different phone. You can go to places and use free wifi, for email messages. I tend not to use my phone so much, but do use an Ipad, but pretty easy to find free wifi to check on email messages. Only a week out for you, have a great time, Teresa.

Re: Suggestions on Phone Service [Re: Teresasxm] #291208
11/15/2022 12:50 PM
11/15/2022 12:50 PM
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 4,807
Massachusetts
boucharda Offline
Traveler
boucharda  Offline
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Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 4,807
Massachusetts
The vacation phone and sim concept works and is appropriate if you will be using your phone away from your (or any) wifi. If using for calls home or the USA like we do then just use wifi calling on your phone at no cost.

Re: Suggestions on Phone Service [Re: Teresasxm] #291210
11/15/2022 01:01 PM
11/15/2022 01:01 PM
Joined: May 2006
Posts: 517
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
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KGB Offline
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KGB  Offline
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Joined: May 2006
Posts: 517
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
We are in the same boat. $15 a day for roaming out of country… we tend to leave the phones at home when going to the beach and check on messages and missed calls when we have a wifi. If you need access to the phone 24/7, then you bite a bullet or get a local SIM card. Last few years our daughter decided that she is an independently wealthy and can afford $15 a day charge so we just used her cell phone as a Hot Spot to get the wifi data….
It’s not like we can’t afford this $15 per day charge- we are spending way more than that for a breakfast every day while on the island- but rather an act of rebellion towards our beloved cell phone providers….


"Often Wrong, Never in Doubt"
Re: Suggestions on Phone Service [Re: Teresasxm] #291211
11/15/2022 03:28 PM
11/15/2022 03:28 PM
Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 13,022
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
islandgem Offline
Traveler
islandgem  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 13,022
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
If you are with Roger's, the roam like home service is now $15 a day. I have a SXM sim card in another phone which I use to make local calls, but that phone is very expensive to make calls to Canada. I use it to make local calls and use my Canadian phone for long distance calls to Canada.I mainly use WIFI for my phone service here and keep the phone in flight mode to limit data use.You can purchase a sim card and put it in your Canadian phone to use when you are here and there is a weekly plan which you can purchase for a reasonable amount.If you go to the cellular store located within the Carrefour Market on Bush Road, they will set you up.




Re: Suggestions on Phone Service [Re: Teresasxm] #291212
11/15/2022 03:30 PM
11/15/2022 03:30 PM
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 918
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CrazyCanuxx Offline
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CrazyCanuxx  Offline
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Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 918
Greetings all,

I am following this thread as I too expect our options to be more affordable.

option 1:Some phones work with esims, but not all. I believe esims are very affordable and easy to load from home. You receive a link, et voila!

option 2: some carriers offer an international monthly plan. Mine is $80/mth for 1gb, 100mins, 200 txt, I believe. I use Whatsap on wifi alot too. Skype to land land offers low rates. VOIP.

option 3: order your physical sim card online (not practical for any of us, esp not last minute for the OP)


Please take above with a grain of salt.. a starting point.

What is the trend for us island hoppers?

Safe travels to all. Stay healthy.

Re: Suggestions on Phone Service [Re: Teresasxm] #291235
11/16/2022 04:18 AM
11/16/2022 04:18 AM
Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 395
Michigan
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cacapasa Offline
Traveler
cacapasa  Offline
Traveler
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Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 395
Michigan
Here is what I did once Sharon's phones were no longer an option. I bought a no-frills, cheap, unlocked Motorola phone at Best Buy and obtained a Chippie SIM for it. I now have an SXM phone number that i have kept active ever since. Once we are on the island I can use a credit card or even cash to add to my pre-paid Chippie account at the Bush Road Carrefour, where there is a phone shop. I can also add funds to the account online prior to arrival at the Chippie site. The rate for calling back to the US or Canada is reasonable, but we use that phone almost exclusively for restaurant reservations and confirming dinner plans with the many friends we have made who visit the island the same weeks we are there in February. Reception is pretty good on the French side as well as on the Dutch side.

Re: Suggestions on Phone Service [Re: Teresasxm] #291247
11/16/2022 07:02 AM
11/16/2022 07:02 AM
Joined: Jun 2009
Posts: 4,453
Portland, OR
jazzgal Offline
Traveler
jazzgal  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Jun 2009
Posts: 4,453
Portland, OR
I have done pretty much the same thing as Cacapasa, except I use my regular phone. Once the plane leaves the US, I switch SIM cards in my US phone. This gives me the advantage of retaining all my US contacts in the phone I use on island. I used to go to Tech Hub to get it set up, but now that I'm more familiar with the setup, I just go to The Mailbox, which is closer to where I stay, to pay for data. I used to pay $35 for thirty days. This time it was $18 for thirty days. I will add another week when my thirty days are up. I really like having wifi at all times without having to enter passwords of various venues I visit.


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Re: Suggestions on Phone Service [Re: Teresasxm] #291257
11/16/2022 11:25 AM
11/16/2022 11:25 AM
Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 423
Teresasxm Offline OP
Traveler
Teresasxm  Offline OP
Traveler
Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 423
Thank you so much everyone. This information is so valuable!

We really appreciate it.

Teresa

Re: Suggestions on Phone Service [Re: Teresasxm] #291258
11/16/2022 11:41 AM
11/16/2022 11:41 AM
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 4,063
Vancouver, WA
Todd Offline
Traveler
Todd  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 4,063
Vancouver, WA
We are coming from the US and have Verizon so no help to Canadians, we will use wifi when available and wifi calling if need be but since (until this trip) we tend to have to work while on island I just get the one month international plan from Verizon for $100 per phone which gives us more data than the $10 per day plan and since we are there for three weeks it is less expensive. They set it up where it automatically ends after the 30 days. It works on both sides of the island and Anguilla.

I just bill it to the company, it helps that my wife sleeps with the owner of the company.

Leaving today to start the journey first to Anguilla, SXM on Sunday!

Last edited by Todd; 11/16/2022 11:42 AM.

I prefer the Isle seat
Re: Suggestions on Phone Service [Re: Teresasxm] #291268
11/16/2022 10:16 PM
11/16/2022 10:16 PM
Joined: Jan 2015
Posts: 32
Canada
BillS Offline
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BillS  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Jan 2015
Posts: 32
Canada
We do the same as jazzgal . Use our regular phones and swap out the sim card. Never been an issue.

Re: Suggestions on Phone Service [Re: Teresasxm] #291271
11/17/2022 03:49 AM
11/17/2022 03:49 AM
Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 395
Michigan
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cacapasa Offline
Traveler
cacapasa  Offline
Traveler
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Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 395
Michigan
We never take anything to the island--jewelry, clothes, or anything else that we would be upset to lose or to have stolen. That's why I bought an inexpensive phone to use there. We even bought some cheap Timex watches years ago to wear while we're there.

Re: Suggestions on Phone Service [Re: Teresasxm] #291277
11/17/2022 07:37 AM
11/17/2022 07:37 AM
Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 13,075
Peaceful Eastern North Carolin...
GaKaye Offline
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GaKaye  Offline
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Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 13,075
Peaceful Eastern North Carolin...
In the past I've had an island sim card in an old phone, but this year I'm just going to use my regular phone if I need it. Again, it's not as costly for us. There's a tech store inside the Carrefour in Philipsburg, and they can set you up with a Chippie sim.

Re: Suggestions on Phone Service [Re: Teresasxm] #291287
11/17/2022 08:43 AM
11/17/2022 08:43 AM
Joined: May 2008
Posts: 606
Plano, Texas
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cruzer Offline
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cruzer  Offline
Traveler
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Joined: May 2008
Posts: 606
Plano, Texas
I know virtually nothing about cell phones, having finally relented and bought them earlier this year. We're with Spectrum--$30/month for each line. International is 7 cents for calls and 2 cents for text--to or from SXM. No charge other than the minute charges. Sounds easier and cheaper than what you folks go through. If you're thinking of changing carriers, Spectrum might be an option--they operate over the Verizon network.

Re: Suggestions on Phone Service [Re: cruzer] #291291
11/17/2022 09:02 AM
11/17/2022 09:02 AM
Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 16,827
Ohio
ruralcarrier Offline
Traveler
ruralcarrier  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 16,827
Ohio
We have Spectrum cell service as well and have used it on the island and to call to the island. There are some taxes added to the rates but it is still only around 9 cents per minute and works well. In March I used it a few times to call home and to also make local SXM calls but if you have access to wi-fi, you can use that and avoid any charges. One just has to remember to change to and from airplane mode. You also have to make sure you have international calling activated on your Spectrum phone/account.

I also have a SXM cell and still use it some as I have time/credit on it and also my Chippie card. It was bought prior to the Spectrum cell service.

I have no idea if Spectrum is available in Canada as the poster that started the post is from Canada.

WhatsApp is a good alternative also.


J.D.
Re: Suggestions on Phone Service [Re: Teresasxm] #291292
11/17/2022 09:08 AM
11/17/2022 09:08 AM
Joined: Feb 2006
Posts: 636
Albany, New York
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WWII Offline
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WWII  Offline
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Joined: Feb 2006
Posts: 636
Albany, New York
Same here with Spectrum. Cost was negligible.

Re: Suggestions on Phone Service [Re: Teresasxm] #291299
11/17/2022 11:52 AM
11/17/2022 11:52 AM
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 3,267
Maryland/DC Metro
BeachKitten Offline
Traveler
BeachKitten  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 3,267
Maryland/DC Metro
I do what Jazzgal does.

When I began I bought a phone on Amazon that was a dual SIM. I've now put the island SIM into an old smartphone.

Top up with Chippie, renew online for free to keep the island number active, and add funds at the Texaco at the end of the causeway, or at the Maho Market. Eazy Peezy.

I activate a 7 day data plan when I arrive, and renew as necessary. This comes from the balance I've put in Chippie. I like having internet in the car, etc., and not always relying on public wifi.


"It is good to do nothing all day, and then to rest" wink
Re: Suggestions on Phone Service [Re: Teresasxm] #291501
11/22/2022 03:43 PM
11/22/2022 03:43 PM
Joined: Mar 2022
Posts: 7
Sebago Maine
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Peter & Christine Offline
Traveler
Peter & Christine  Offline
Traveler
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Joined: Mar 2022
Posts: 7
Sebago Maine
We use whatsapp its free and works great. The person you are calling has to be on whatsapp also. Free download on your cell phone. Everyone in SXM uses whatsapp, resturants
hotels and locals. Just have family members you plan on calling down load the free app.

Re: Suggestions on Phone Service [Re: Teresasxm] #291510
11/22/2022 05:24 PM
11/22/2022 05:24 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 2,606
MIA
I
irina Offline
Traveler
irina  Offline
Traveler
I
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 2,606
MIA
Yes, use Whatsapp. I agree with Christine and Peter.
Cheers

Re: Suggestions on Phone Service [Re: Teresasxm] #291515
11/22/2022 06:09 PM
11/22/2022 06:09 PM
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 16,637
Auburn, WA
SXMScubaman Offline
Traveler
SXMScubaman  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 16,637
Auburn, WA
WhatsApp is the way to go. Anybody in your regular contact list that also uses it will show up in the WhatsApp contacts. Easy texting, Voice mail, Video Calls and regular calls all free. Just need WiFi or Data.


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