Sunday, June 12, 2011

Tortola, Ho! Part 7a: Telephones

If you're relocating to the BVI, you probably want to know how to keep in touch with your friends and family back home, and what you might expect to spend on phone service. From my experience, landlines are fairly uncommon except for businesses, as they are relatively expensive, and take forever to install. Cell phones, on the other hand, are ubiquitous, and it's estimated that 97% of the population of the BVI has at least one cell phone.

Upon arriving in the BVI, HB's employer took him to Radio Doctor, near One-Mart, in order to get his phone "unlocked". Most phones manufactured in the US are locked so that they can only be used on your service provider's network, or roaming on the networks your service provider authorizes. However, almost any cell phone can be "unlocked" to be compatible with any network.

Radio Doctor, unfortunately, was not able to unlock HB's HTC phone, and so he was forced to buy a new one. He quickly learned how expensive cell phones are in the BVI - $120 for a base model slider. Blackberries typically retail in the BVI for twice what they would in the States, but along with iphones, are some of the easiest to "unlock". My Motorola phone was unlocked within a few hours, and I simply replaced my T-Mobile SIM Card with a Lime SIM Card. The cost for unlocking my phone was $35 and included a $20 credit on my new Lime Pay-as-you-go SIM.

So you've either gotten your phone unlocked, or faced the sticker shock and bought a phone here. What service provider should you choose? How much does a monthly plan cost? If you choose pay-as-you-go, how much will a call cost you? Answers to these questions in the next Tortola, Ho! post.

1 comment:

  1. Very helpful! I was just searching for Radio Doctor's phone number and found this post -- hopefully they will be able to unlock my AT&T phone.


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