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Staying in Touch/Cell Phone Question

Costa Rica - Belize - Guatamala - etc.
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Staying in Touch/Cell Phone Question

Postby kendalloz » Wed Dec 09, 2009 5:43 pm

Don't know if anyone here is a Clark Howard fan (he is the ultimate tight-wad). He says the cheapest most reliable way to stay in touch in a foreign country is to buy an unlocked (can be used with any service provider) cell phone used, usually on evilBay, for $15 on up. When you arrive at your country buy a SIM card at the airport when you arrive. The SIM has the number/subscriber info on it (usually plugged in under the battery). Most foreign cell services have free incoming calls, so folks can call you all they want . I realize many like to go away and be out of touch (I did that when i had a real job) but I have young kids who like to talk to dad. So...anyone ever tried this? Just curious. SIM cards are supposed to be for sale at foreign airports but I have not noticed them (or looked for them). You can buy them here before going but they are more expensive.

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Re: Staying in Touch/Cell Phone Question

Postby BCflyfisher2012 » Wed Dec 09, 2009 11:33 pm

Thanks for posting this KO. I am actually preparing to head out of the country for a few weeks in Jan. and am looking into cheaper and more convenient methods of contacting home than phone cards.
Bradley

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Re: Staying in Touch/Cell Phone Question

Postby toddkfly » Wed Dec 09, 2009 11:53 pm

Good info Kendall. I have a friend who travels down to Nicaragua to surf and he mentioned something similar. My crackberry is a world edition and works in most corners of the world(except parts of WV :shock: ). I just need to tell Verizon where I'll be and they expand the network for whatever time period I tell them. Ain't too expensive for the calls either. I know more and more phones are having this functionality built in while not advertised so it may be worth asking your provider what your phone can or can't do, especially if it is fairly new.

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Re: Staying in Touch/Cell Phone Question

Postby pmaxwell » Thu Dec 10, 2009 12:06 am

if you are staying at a place that has internet access, you can also use Skype call place calls from your computer. There are two options. Computer to computer is free. Computer to phone is EXTREMELY cheap. I used it to call jen from mexico and two calls from my computer to our home phone cost a whooping $0.15

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Re: Staying in Touch/Cell Phone Question

Postby kendalloz » Thu Dec 10, 2009 7:56 am

Thanks for the info folks. I had a friend use his verizon phone overseas and the rates were vicious. Perhaps that has changed or it depends on where you go. Skype sounds interesting too and I think Clark Howard recommends that and possibly magic jack but you have to have high speed internet for them to work.

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Re: Staying in Touch/Cell Phone Question

Postby bhorsley » Thu Dec 10, 2009 8:44 am

SKPE is the answer---i always carry my laptop. My At&T phone also fine
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Re: Staying in Touch/Cell Phone Question

Postby Emerson » Thu Dec 10, 2009 2:36 pm

Kendall,
Like Pete and Brian said..SKYPE is the deal. Now..you do need internet. It worked in Baja for a while...sometimes no electricity, sometimes internet was down...no telling when that happens. Last year, the internet worked some times, other times it only worked in my room, sometimes no worky at all! The owners said...oh, I guess it is down again. Two years ago, we had no electricity for 2- 3 days..like zip. I do not think you should go on the assumption that they have internet and it will work. I had a number of people use my Skype to call. My guess was I used for the week around 45 minutes of calls....it cost me a whopping $0.42. I even told the others that used my computer...No Problem...I'll take care of the bill! :lol: :lol: :lol:

In Guatemala the internet was slow but worked. My problem was that I got too fancy and sent a video home...that stopped up my computer until I got home.

The biggest problem in using the stuff in 3rd world places is dependability. If you really really need it.. ..no place is dependable. Maybe the only sure way is a satellite phone. Remember, those other phones are relying on cell towers.....you might not be near one, or the cell tower could be down. Just one glance at how the electrical system is set up tells you, the sky is the limit to potential problemos.
expelled by el Compressor

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Re: Staying in Touch/Cell Phone Question

Postby Keysjake » Thu Dec 10, 2009 4:03 pm

Greetings from Casa Vieja Lodge in Guatemala:

I am at Casa Vieja Lodge here in Guatemala, I spend at least 30 to 90 days in Central and South America each year, phone service and internet service has usually been poor unless you are in the big cities. Today I have solved this problem without paying dollars per minute using satalite phones, or being beat up by Verizon or AT&T. The american cell phone companies all sell a "World Plan" or an "Extended Plan" or some othe rname, they all charge exorbinate rates to call to use their phones in these companies.

There is a company "Movistar" who sells phones in most central and south american countries. The one I am holding in my hand is a LG phone which cost me $40 US here in Guatemala. Then I purchase a card which has minutes in incraments of up to 300 per card, (That card costs $30) and install it into the phone, (Antonio, here at Casa Vieja Lodge does it for me). I then use it to call the states, and allow all of my companions to use this phone to call anyone that they want. During a 2 week stay I usually have minutes left over, and leave my phone here at the lodge fo rorher guests to use, when it runs low on minutes Antonio puts more minutes into the phone so it is full when I return.

The good thing is that this movistar phone also works in most countries in south and central america, land lines here are not as dependable as cell phones. Also the US blocks the use of these cheap phones in the states so it will not work on ATT or Verizon towers in the states.

That said the internet here is better than it used to be and the lodge can get you a Movistar modem to plug into your computer, they sell unlimited time on line for 24 hours, one week, or one Month, then you have internet where you have cell service. I am using one right now. Hope this helps, I will try a picture, I hope it works but does not get you too excited!
Jake

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Re: Staying in Touch/Cell Phone Question

Postby bhorsley » Thu Dec 10, 2009 4:11 pm

Hell with phone service --how is the fishing?? :D :lol:
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Re: Staying in Touch/Cell Phone Question

Postby Keysjake » Thu Dec 10, 2009 4:17 pm

Good!!!
I will get a report out with pictures Tomorrow!
Captain Jake Jordan

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