Cell Phone Query
July 21, 2009 4:11 PM   Subscribe

I will be in the Bahamas for ten days for work. My wife will be back here in the States taking care of our two small children. I am worried that I won't be able to reach her. Will my cell phone work? Can I call her from the Bahamas, and can she call me?

We are on a Verizon Wireless plan, if that helps. Thanks!
posted by Spyder's Game to Technology (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I haven't a clue about the cell phone connection/availability question.

Will you have access to the 'net, though? If so, sign up for Skype and pack a headset with a microphone. When I had a long-distance fling with an Aussie, Skype was the cheap, easy way for us to communicate. If we were both on the internet Skype, then there was no cost. I could call his cell phone from Skype for a charge... ten cents a minute, iirc.
posted by LOLAttorney2009 at 4:28 PM on July 21, 2009

It probably depends on where in the Bahamas you will be, but if you're worried that you might be unreachable in an emergency, you could rent a satellite phone (assuming your peace of mind is worth a couple hundred bucks).
posted by dersins at 4:29 PM on July 21, 2009

Best answer: Barbados has CDMA coverage, which is the technology that Verizon uses. So your phone will work, but you'll have to pay roaming charges.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 4:33 PM on July 21, 2009

Best answer: Also- verizon link
posted by ethnomethodologist at 4:34 PM on July 21, 2009

Sorry, meant "Bahamas"
posted by ethnomethodologist at 4:35 PM on July 21, 2009

Consider using Skype + Wifi
posted by Spurious at 4:54 PM on July 21, 2009

Response by poster: Hey all! We don't have a laptop (I know, I know, welcome to the new millenium Spyder's Game) so unless I borrow someone else's laptop for two weeks, we're out of luck. And if I *DO* borrow a laptop, do most hotels have free wifi? Or do you have to pay through the nose for a connection?
posted by Spyder's Game at 5:06 PM on July 21, 2009

Best answer: Have you already booked a hotel for your trip? Can you call or check the hotel's website to find out about wireless availability? You can also find out if your job will reimburse you for a reasonable amount for in-room phone calls. Unless you're in a tiki hut on the beach, your hotel room will have a phone.
posted by chiababe at 5:22 PM on July 21, 2009

Best answer: We spend three months a year in the Bahamas ( in the Abaco"s ) and our US cell phones do not work--as is true of most for most of our friends. It is relatively easy to rent or buy an inexpensive unlocked phone the appropriate SIM card and prepaid minutes. BTW, you can use the phone in the states with many carriers by inserting a compatible chip. We use the same phone in England, Ireland and the Bahamas. Satellite phones will work but they are extremely expensive. Broadband--necessary for Skype--depends entirely on where you are. We live on a very remote Island and have broadband and wireless--the adjacent Island has zip--dial up. Have a good time and your family will be fine--last thought--Do not, I repeat--do not use hotel landlines or other landlines that you do not have complete control over the connections. If you use a land line use a reputable prepaid phone card--you can research this--as a default ATT prepaid phone cards will work anywhere.
posted by rmhsinc at 6:02 PM on July 21, 2009

Best answer: Using both T-mobile and AT&T, I have been able to make and receive calls normally while in the Bahamas. All I did was activate international roaming service for my account. This page describes Verizon's Bahamas service (and charges) and has more info about partner networks and geographic areas covered.

Signal strength is a different matter, but even on one of the smaller, more remote islands there were at least 5 or 6 places nearby where I knew I could get a good signal. Whenever I was in those areas, I'd make sure my phone was on and loiter for a few minutes to make sure any missed call messages had a chance to load to my phone. Also, as I understand it, text messages are cheaper, so you could have your wife send a daily text message to let you know all is well, or that she wants a call.

rmhsinc, why the strong recommendation not to use landlines due to not having "complete control over the connections." Even in the states you don't have complete control over the connections. Do you mean for controlling costs?
posted by cocoagirl at 3:37 AM on July 22, 2009

Best answer: Yeah, prepaid At&T cards work everywhere
posted by matteo at 7:12 AM on July 22, 2009

Yes, some hotels, payphones and other vendors will route you call through very expensive third parties--this is particularly true if you call home collect or use a credit card instead of a prepain phone card--be sure you understand the rates--this is not likely to be a problem in major hotels but it can be a problem at local phone kiosks--This is not unique to the Bahamas.
posted by rmhsinc at 9:09 AM on July 22, 2009

Response by poster: FWIW, this will be on Paradise Island at the Atlantis, so I'm pretty sure everything will be legit. But I will double check, just in case!
posted by Spyder's Game at 10:38 AM on July 22, 2009

This page gives a rundown of the various mobile phone technologies in the Bahamas.

According to that website, the bottom line is: Phone usage in the Bahamas can be difficult and frustrating. Try to find and use WiFi for data connectivity and low-cost voice communications. Then again, you're in the Bahamas. You might want to turn off the electronics and just enjoy the beach!

The lower-tech solution might be to buy a phone card once you get to the Bahamas and call from your hotel. Scroll down to the bottom of this page for more info.
posted by SteveInMaine at 3:28 AM on July 23, 2009

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