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An article written by our staff and featured in The Charter Connection


WILL MY CELLPHONE WORK IN THE ISLANDS?

by Lynne
May 2007

Many of today's cell phones work in the BVI and other Caribbean destinations. You'll want to contact your provider to ask them about using your phone while on charter. Most providers' websites have a "Usage" or "Travel Guide" section where you can put in your phone number, type of equipment and itinerary. They will tell you whether or not your phone will work in that area (including calls, voice mail and text messages) and also what the standard charges are (about $4/minute for calls for standard international roaming). The local telecommunications company in the BVI, CCT Communications (Boatphone) is in the process of updating their system. The way it used to work is that you boarded your boat, gave a credit card number to CCT, then the phone onboard was activated. This is now outdated!

Another option is to rent a phone from WorldCell (www.worldcell.com). The Moorings, Footloose and NauticBlue recommend this company. They offer equipment based on satellite signals that will work anywhere. They also provide 24-hour technical service and customer support. Just order on line, and they will send you the phone, charged batteries, charger/adapter and instructions. When you return home, just send the equipment back in a pre-paid Federal Express packet. Another company with similar service is www.mobalrental.com. These companies offer phone rentals for destinations worldwide.

In the BVI, some charter companies offer a phone on board, but it is only good for making calls to the base. TMM offers cell phones with "pay as you go" credit. The cost is $10 for the phone rental, and the calls are 50 cents/minute for local calls and around $1/minute to the States and Canada (depending on the time of day). You may use this phone as much as you want and can even get an assigned phone number before you arrive, which you can give to family and friends. If you run out of credit, call the charter company and they will add minutes to your phone and you may pay them at the end of your charter. Calls to the charter company are no longer free, so call them from your phone onboard, and they will call you back using the office phone.

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  Ed Hamilton & Company
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