Buy a local SIM card to reduce your phone bills.
Antigua and Barbuda are twin islands in the Caribbean, located southeast of Puerto Rico. There are two main islands and a few smaller islands. Using your phone there can be quite expensive, so to keep costs down why not switch to a local SIM card so you can take advantage of better plans, deals and tariffs?
Antigua and Barbuda have several prepaid SIM card deals for travelers – offers that could reduce your bills. You can buy 1GB of data from the leading telco provider for as little as XCD29.99 ($12.50). So, whether you’re planning a quick break or a longer more relaxing time, check out the best SIM card options available on finder.com.au.
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Telco providers in Antigua and Barbuda
The English-speaking islands have two main operators: Flow and Digicel. Both operators have been tried and tested by locals and international travelers, and can be trusted to provide reasonable deals. Operators go through a strict approval process before being allowed to operate and each competes with the other to offer the best deals. This area of the Caribbean has good network coverage and a healthy overall speed. Passports must be shown to purchase the SIM cards. We’ve highlighted the best deals below.
About Antigua and Barbuda telco providers
Flow is the main provider and Digicel follows closely behind, with each having about a 50% market share. Both providers offer services on 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE platforms. The best coverage is on the two main islands. Service on the smaller islands will be unreliable whatever network provider you use. There are several plans available that include data and reasonably- priced international calls, and they certainly work out to be cheaper than using your home phone. Below, we have listed information about the two providers available in Antigua and Barbuda and the best deals they offer during your stay.
Flow is the main provider, and it has a wide reach across the two main islands. Service can suffer once you hit the smaller islands. Flow offers 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE services. Prepaid SIM cards can be purchased from official stores or approved resellers. Credit can also be picked up from the same retailers. If you wish to use a 4G service then make sure you ask for that specific SIM card from the retailer. Prepaid SIM cards can be purchased for XCD25. Passports must be shown to purchase the SIMs.
Credit can be purchased in varying amounts between XCD5 and XCD200, from supermarkets, gas stations and official stores. Top-ups are valid for 90 days. Dial *3733 to check your balance.
The standard default data rate is charged at XCD0.51 per MB. The following data packs can also be added:
Dial *129# and select the relevant plan to activate. Dial *146*0*# to check your balance. All packages will auto-renew, but you can dial *787# to stop.
|100MB||valid for 7 days||XCD26.99|
|250MB||valid for 30 days||XCD64.99|
|500MB||valid for 30 days||XCD129.99|
Dial *190# to activate.
Flow’s APN: ppinternet, and website: https://discoverflow.co/antigua/
Digicel is the second largest provider on the islands. Service is good but can suffer once you hit the smaller islands. Digicel offers 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE services. Prepaid SIM cards can be purchased from official stores or approved resellers. Credit can also be picked up from the same retailers. If you wish to use a 4G service then make sure you ask for that specific SIM card from the retailer. Prepaid SIM cards can be purchased for XCD20 - XCD25. Passports must be shown to purchase the SIMs. Dial *120# to check your balance.
The following “Quick Pick Data” plans can be added:
|100MB||valid for 1 day||XCD4|
|700MB||valid for 7 days||XCD28|
|3GB||valid for 30 days||XCD90|
WhatsApp is free to use once you have activated one of the above-mentioned plans.
Digicel also sells a “Roam Like You're Home” option which can be purchased for XCD27, valid for 7 days. This service will allow customers to use Digicel services in the US, Canada and other Caribbean locations at no extra cost. Dial *153# and follow the instructions to activate. The standard default data rate is charged at XCD0.50 per MB while roaming.
Digicel’s APN: web.digicelantigua.com
Some top tips from finder.com.au staff:
- Locals call a SIM card a “Card” or “SIM”
- Ask the retailer to help set-up the SIM card for you. They are official sellers and will be very happy to help
- Try and get to the stores early to beat the crowds
TripAdvisor tips for the best SIM cards and where to buy them
While it’s well known for reviews, booking hotels, flights and holidays, TripAdvisor also has many user comments that can help guide you through which SIM cards have been tried and tested in Antigua and Barbuda.
“SIM cards are sold at the phone offices. Depending on where you're staying (and what time of day you arrive), you may well be able to get your taxi to stop on the way to pick one up. The office at Townhouse is usually the best bet for this (and stays open an hour later), and is on the way to the west coast.”
”Wi-Fi is widely available to use without needing a local SIM for Internet, voip and whatsapp etc.”
“Digicel at Royal Palms shopping complex is the closest, only about 5 minutes drive from Sandals. Phones probably around $20-$30 US for a basic one.”
Pros and cons of Antigua and Barbuda telco providers:
Both operators require you to have a SIM-unlocked, GSM-compatible international phone. To double check you have this option, or whether it’s possible to unlock your device, contact your provider before you set off on your travels.
- Prepaid credit when required
- No in-store contract needed
- Could be compatible with your current phone
- No phone devices offered with the SIM card packages
- Can only be used on SIM-unlocked GSM phones
- Signal is bad on the smaller islands
- SIM cards can be hard to find on the islands
Another important question
Q: What do I do if I lose my phone?
A: Your phone is your lifeline, especially when travelling around the Caribbean. Make sure you keep it safe and always make a note of where it is. The importance of having a direct link to family and friends via social media or through phone services can never be underestimated! If you do lose your phone, then retrace your steps and ask around. If you still have no luck then cancel any plans or payment methods associated with the phone, report it missing and make a note of the crime number to claim on insurance. Finally, find a cheap replacement to keep in touch with the outside world, and don’t let this one out of your sight!