A recent forum thread asking about unlocked phones and getting a Belize SIM card with a data plan was a good reminder to do an update on basic vacation phone options and pricing for travelers. Since so many that visit Belize fall in love and start daydreaming about how they can make their move, I have also included home WiFi information.
Using Your Cell Phone On Vacation
Many folks want to know if the phone they use in their home country will work in Belize. First of all, unless you have a good travel plan with your company, the phone must be unlocked. There are places here that can help you do that on the island however, I would recommend doing it before you travel. Not only do you not want to deal with “waiting and chores” on vacation, but sometimes what is possible elsewhere is not possible here tech wise.
A good example – my friend and editor Shirlee decided to get her iPhone unlocked before she came back from Canada to Belize and was glad she did. It turns out the company her phone was attached to in North Western Ontario was so obscure that it could only be unlocked by that company. Luckily, she bought her phone from her niece who was able to get it done within a few hours for $50.00 CAD by contacting the company.
I knew unlocked phones attached to AT&T Carrier can use a SIM (Subscriber Identity Module) card from my tech savvy friend Jason but decided to go for a second official word from Digicell.
Here is their answer on what will work:
“A DigiCell customer is encouraged to purchase a factory unlocked device with GSM 850/1900 MHz frequency, which is the specification required to connect to our DigiCell Voice & Data (GPRS/Edge) network or has HSPA+ 850 MHz technology, which is the specification required to connect to our DigiCell Voice & Data (4G) network.”
Buying a Belize SIM Card
A Digicell SIM card for a new number costs $22.50 BZD ($11.25 USD) and it includes $10.00 BZD worth of credit. You can do this at the Belize Telemedia Limited office (In town just south of the Police and Fire Station.) BTL registers all SIM cards, so take your passport (or other photo ID) to the office to get things set up. They also have SIM card cutters should your phone require a smaller size chip.
Buying Phone Credit
Phone credit in Belize works a bit different than in other places around the world. You can buy a certain amount of credit that lasts for 30 days. It can be extended by “Topping Up” your credit for as low as $2.00. Local calls cost $0.47 BZD to other BTL numbers and $.50 BZD to the other local carrier. Incoming calls are free. Buying text bundles with your phone credit is also a popular option to keep cost down.
There are 4 postpaid plans available, all with unlimited talk & text with various data amounts depending on the plan you choose.
Digicell Smartphone Data Options
You can also buy varying amounts of prepaid data. From a 24 hour plan of 225 MB for $2.00 to a 30-day 5000 MB (5GB) for $40.00 BZD ($20.00 USD) – and 3 other prepaid data options in between. The site even tells you which level is best for you based on what internet activities you plan to do.
Purchased phone credit I mentioned above can be used to buy data directly from your phone, which can also be extended by adding more. You get a text when you’ve used half the data you’ve purchased. The Belize Telemedia Limited office has a cool little business card size instruction sheet with Digicell price levels on it but basically, if you dial *100 and follow the prompts on the menu it’s pretty easy to buy data (and check the balance). Don’t worry about making a mistake – it will give you plenty of opportunity to confirm what you are doing before you actually make the purchase. Time to complete transaction: < 1 minute.
Belize Telemedia Home WiFi and Monthly Cell Data Information
Since so many people that Vacation in Belize fall in love with it and start daydreaming about how they can make their move, and what it costs to live here. Click through to Fiber Optic Pricing on Ambergris Caye If you are interested in the Diginet home service pricing and details.
If you use WiFi a lot on your cell phone you may want to go with a postpaid plan which gets added to your monthly billing you can check out the postpaid plans here. One note of clarification, you can have a pre-paid or pay as you go cell phone still get a postpaid data plan that gets added to your internet bill. The options in Belize are actually very good.
November Weather And Pictures
So far so good for weather this November although the forecast is showing 80% – 100% for rain on the weekend. Part of me hopes showers are short n sweet at a time that does not affect anyone too greatly and part of me would not mind a good rainy day for a Netflix marathon.
According to weather underground app, today’s temp 31 C or 89 F but feels like 29 C or 85 F. I can totally verify that to be true, as I did not break a sweat picking up my veggie cooler at Tropic Cargo. It did help that a nice gentleman offered me a ride on my return. As soon as I reached the bend by Belize Water Services and took me straight to my door. Afternoon winds just increased from the north, sky grew dark and 20% chance of rain started. So far only a light a shower and it looks like it will pass fast.
I will leave you with a few pics, dusk on the lagoon and an old skool phone booth near Placencia Airport. Remember the days before modern cell phones and WiFi were popular? Touching base with people back home while on vacation or checking in with work was a much different scenario.