Saturday, July 24, 2010

Belize Cell Phones and Internet...

I frequently get asked about cell phones here on the Peninsula.  This morning I responded to a friends' questions and realized that most of the information was pretty "generic." By no means am I an expert with this stuff... and I suspect that many of you may have more current and accurate details... so please add your comments.

You will need a "GSM" phone (that's the network type here in Belize and the most common in the "rest of the world," except US) for it to work in Belize. It takes a SIM drop-in chip. So you can buy pre-paid minutes here in Belize, etc. Also stores your address book/numbers/etc.  They are reasonably easy to come by online... just be sure to buy an "unlocked" one. I found a Samsung (Gravity 2) while we were in San Diego that has a "querty" keyboard... I hate typing in names and phone numbers on the standard cell phone key pads... it's awkward and frustrating!  


Samsung Gravity 2
Samsung Gravity 2


You can get a decent cell phone right here in Placencia for $100 or $200 USD... or less, drop in a sim chip and be on your way... not a smart phone, but it does the job. With four BTL cell towers on the Peninsula, coverage isn't an issue... or maybe it is if you enroll in the "Smart" plan competitor. Too many "smarts" to sort out! On balance I think BTL has the better coverage. But that may have changed.


 I haven't sprung for an iPhone... but they do seem to work here. I am told you can purchase them here (? through BTL) for about $2000 BZE! The iPhone does need to be "unlocked," and they are pricey when purchased without a contract. It seems pointless to me since you can't really (yet) use most of the desirable internet features of any "smart phone" here... at least not smoothly or economically that I know of. 


BTW, Southern Cable TV network is now offering internet service... and is working it's way up the Peninsula. Somewhat less expensive than BTL. I have switched to them for the Cabanas (and replaced the satellite here at our place), and it works well. Several "levels" of speed and price... from about $77 BZE/month for 128k on up. That does not include your cable TV monthly fee of about $40 BZE.

2 comments:

Wilma said...

Hi Drew,

I use my BlackBerry Bold with service from AT&T when I come to Belize. I can add international service for Belize just for the time that I am in Belize. It doesn't cost much more than what I pay for my regular service. I use it more for the email that keeps me connected to my job so that when I get back to work I am not totally overwhelmed. Sad, but true. I can even get service down Monkey River way. Even though the service plan i have through AT&T is expensive (unlimited data), I will probably keep something like that when we move down for good in less than 2 years. Of course a lot can happen technologically speaking in 2 years! Who knows what will be available then. :-)

cheers,
Wilma

cheers,
Wilma

Drew Travers said...

Thanks Wilma... that's great information and just what I was looking for to keep folks updated!