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Which mobile phone services work in Tortola?

Water Mill, New York
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8 posts
1 review
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Which mobile phone services work in Tortola?

Which mobile phone services work in Tortola?

I heard that Cingular and T-Mobile work down there....We have Sprint, will that work? If not, I may get a prepaid Cingular or T-Mobile phone if Sprint doesn't work.

Thanks in advance for any info/reccomendations!!!

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Tortola
Tortola
British Virgin Islands
Washington, DC
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2 posts
9 reviews
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1. Re: Which mobile phone services work in Tortola?

Generally only GSM carriers will work on Tortola. Sprint is alleged to work - if you're in the Drake Channel on a boat with a view of the USVI. Rather than using a prepaid Cingular or T-mobile phone, buy a cheap GSM tri-band phone used (ebay or craigslist) and get a prepaid CCT Boatphone SIM card when you arrive in Tortola. The roaming rates that CCT Boatphone (the only carrier on Tortola) charges are outrageous. Check the Cingular and T-mobile site for more info.

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Tortola
Tortola
British Virgin Islands
Austin, Texas
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56 posts
472 reviews
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2. Re: Which mobile phone services work in Tortola?

I have Cingular and had service pretty much everywhere on the island (usually roaming via CCT Boatphone). The service was fine, but it cost me $3.95 a minute.

York, Maine
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34 posts
44 reviews
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3. Re: Which mobile phone services work in Tortola?

Just back from there. T-mobile didn't work for us. And our Nextel phones (now Sprint affiliated) didn't work either. Definitely shop it.

Boston, MA
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37 posts
3 reviews
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4. Re: Which mobile phone services work in Tortola?

Kudos to Ed Hamilton Yacht Charters

www.ed-hamilton.com/ for this info:

For those in BVI, the service provider changes. When you arrive in the BVI and turn on your phone, you will get a signal from CCT Boatphone (the BVI cellular service provider). You can then register your phone with Boatphone using a credit card. For information about activating your cell phone for use in the BVI, or for renting a phone while you are visiting, go to http://www.bvicellular.com/ for details.

(My note: It seems less confusing if you set-up prior: go to contact us and then Pre-register)

Here's another solution - no phone! We gave it up for 2 weeks there last year, and didn't miss it at all! Used email if/when we found.

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BVI Yacht Charters
BVI Yacht Charters
152 Reviews
Tortola
York, Maine
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34 posts
44 reviews
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5. Re: Which mobile phone services work in Tortola?

Yep. It was only hard for us the first day when we realized NO PHONE, but boy, the BVIs make it easy to just forget it. We realized how hooked we are to our cells, and it's a bad addiction...

Colorado
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11 posts
12 reviews
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6. Re: Which mobile phone services work in Tortola?

We were just there and here's our experience. We were on a Moorings boat, so out and about throughout the islands our whole stay. One person on the boat had Cingular and had coverage pretty much everywhere (at 3.95 per minute) Verizon didn't work anywhere. I had bought a generic GSM phone with the intention of getting a SIM card when we got there. I hadn't set up any cell service on that phone since it wasn't my regular phone. Nice plan, but Boatphone is on Island time. There's an office in the airport but it was closed on Saturday evening when we got there, and also closed on Sunday, at the airport and in their Road Town office. Then were were off sailing and not back in Road Town until the following Saturday, which of course made it irrelevant by then. Stores everywhere advertise that they sell SIM cards, but since my GSM phone wasn't set up in advance with any carrier or phone number, those cards wouldn't work. I needed the Boatphone office to establish a cell account and they were never open. My advice to anyone who absolutely must have phone service, would be to set up an account with a GSM phone in advance, maybe just a cheap pre-paid account. Then when you get there, you can go to any store and buy the Boatphone SIM card which I think makes it a little cheaper than $3.95 per minute, and you're good to go. The other option would be to set up a Cingular account in advance and just pay the $3.95 per minute, with no hassle of getting the SIM card. Hope this helps someone!

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Road Town
Road Town
Tortola
Louisville
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57 posts
56 reviews
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7. Re: Which mobile phone services work in Tortola?

Had Sprint PCS in BVI the last couple of years, but now have Cingular. My experience with Sprint was to call Sprint International Calling and advise them you will be out on a boat and want to download the software for extended reception. This was free. Once in BVI I had to change the roaming feature on the phone from Automatic to Sprint only or analog (otherwise CCT Boatphone kept interrupting my transmission). Note, the signal comes from St Thomas, so I had to be in line-of-sight. I had a good signal in the area of Soper's Hole and Jost Van Dyke, a weak signal in the Drake Channel, and no signal most anywhere else. The good thing was the calls were free (if you have free LD included in your Sprint plan). Now that I have Cingular, CCT Boatphone has the strongest signal and will register your phone with them, at $3.95 per minute. When you flip open your phone, note the signal in the upper left corner. If it is something other than Cingular, perhaps some number such as XXX-XXX, you are probably registered with CCT Boatphone. I had success in registering back with Cingular by going to "tools" and "Networks". The phone will search for a Cingular signal and then allow you to register back with them.....and again, if you have LD in the Cingular plan, the calls are free.

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St. Thomas
St. Thomas
U.S. Virgin Islands
Soper's Hole
Soper's Hole
279 Reviews
Tortola
Jost Van Dyke
Jost Van Dyke
British Virgin Islands
albany
Level Contributor
34 posts
5 reviews
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8. Re: Which mobile phone services work in Tortola?

Stay at Fort Recovery in the West End... our sprint phones work on their beach and in our villa!

Tucson, Arizona
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3,344 posts
27 reviews
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9. Re: Which mobile phone services work in Tortola?

I always try to vacation somewhere the cell phones don't work and even if they do work in BVI I would probably lie and say they don't. Too tempting to answer work calls. I check in by email every so often just in case of crisis, but otherwise I put the cell phones in a safe and there they stay till the day we leave.

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New Jersey
14 posts
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10. Re: Which mobile phone services work in Tortola?

Thanks to all for the info - we are going to be down end of June for our wedding. There are four villas and two hotels among all of the guests so using a cell phone may be needed in order to coordinate or get a hold of someone for any last minute excursions or even changes. This info is great - thanks!