Here’s how to find the best prepaid SIM card in the British Virgin Islands
Buy a local SIM card to reduce your phone bills.
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The British Virgin Islands are popular with tourists looking to relax, explore or soak up the sun. Using your phone there can prove to be quite expensive, so to keep costs down, switch to a local SIM card to take advantage of better plans, deals and tariffs. The British Virgin Islands have several prepaid SIM card deals for travellers, offers that could reduce your bills. You can buy 1GB of data from the leading telco provider for US$20 (AUD$25.62). Although this may sound expensive, it could work out cheaper than your home provider. So, whether you’re planning a quick break or just pure relaxation, check out the best SIM card options available.
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Telco providers in the British Virgin Islands
The English-speaking islands are a British territory, although they use the US dollar as currency. There are three main phone operators: Digicel, Flow and CCT. All three operators go through a strict approval process before being allowed to operate on the islands, and each competes with the others to offer the best deals. All have been tried and tested by both locals and international travellers, and can be trusted. The islands have good network coverage, and speeds are relatively fast. Digicel is thought to have the better signal out of all three providers.
About the British Virgin Islands telco providers
Roaming rates are good (compared to what your home phone network could offer abroad), and all operators sell prepaid credit, which allow users to take advantage of cheap offers and deals. All operators provide 2G, 3G and 4G services. The locals call their SIM cards “chips”, and they can be purchased and registered by showing your passport. Credit can be purchased from official stores, supermarkets and online by using your credit card. There are many options available that include good call, SMS and data deals, so shop around. Below, we have listed the three providers available in the British Virgin Islands and the best deals they offer.
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Digicel is the largest operator in the British Virgin Islands and offers 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE services. Prepaid SIM cards can be purchased from official stores and approved resellers, and credit can also be picked up from the same retail outlets. Your passport must be shown to the retailer before the SIM card can be activated. SIM cards can be purchased for US$20, and credit bonuses are available depending on the deals on offer at the time of purchase. Credit can be added in the form of credit vouchers that can be picked up from most stores across the islands, or by using your credit card online. Top-ups can be added in varying amounts between US$5 and US$120. Dial *120# to check your balance.
The standard data rate is charged at US$0.20 per MB. The following data packs can also be added:
|30MB||Valid for 1 day||US$2|
|250MB||Valid for 7 days||US$10|
|500MB||Valid for 7 days||US$17|
|1GB||Valid for 30 days||US$27|
|2GB||Valid for 30 days||US$35|
|3GB||Valid for 30 days||US$50|
The following plans are only available on 4G/LTE:
|75MB||Valid for 1 day||US$2.90|
|350MB||Valid for 7 days||US$11|
|750MB||Valid for 7 days||US$19|
|750MB||Valid for 30 days||US$22|
|1.5GB||Valid for 30 days||US$30|
|3GB||Valid for 30 days||US$45|
|5GB||Valid for 30 days||US$75|
Dial *284# and select the relevant plan to activate it.
Digicel also offers the “Roam Like You're Home” package, which can be purchased for as little as US$5. This pack will allow you to use your SIM card while travelling to the USA, Canada and other Digicel Caribbean locations. Calls, SMS and data use will be charged at domestic rates. The standard data rate of US$0.20 per MB will be charged on this package. Dial *284# to activate one of the following plans:
- For 2 days: US$5
- For 7 days: US$15
- For 30 days: US$30
Digicel’s APN: web.digicelbvi.com, and website: https://www.digicelgroup.com/vg/en/mobile.html
Flow is the second-largest provider on the islands and offers 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE services. Prepaid SIM cards can be purchased from official stores and approved resellers, and credit can also be picked up from the same retailers. Your passport must be shown to the retailer before the SIM card is activated. SIM cards can be picked up for US$20, but they come with varying amounts of credit. Check at the time of purchase for the latest deals. Credit can be purchased in the form of credit vouchers that can be found at most stores across the island or bought by using your credit card online. Top-ups can be added in amounts between US$6 and US$55. Dial *120# to check your balance.
The standard data rate is charged at US$0.31 per MB. The following data packs can also be added:
Dial *146*0# to check your balance or upload a new plan.
Flow also offers international roaming packages on other Flow networks, called TravelPasses:
- 100MB for 7 days: US$10
- 250MB + 60 minutes for 7 days: US$59
- 1GB + 500 minutes for 14 days: US$99
- 250MB for 30 days: US$25
- 500MB for 30 days: US$49
Dial *190# to activate. Unless one of the above-mentioned roaming packs is added, the standard data rate for roaming is charged at an excessive rate of US$4.99 per MB.
Flow’s APN: ppinternet, and website: http://discoverflow.co/british-virgin-islands/
CCT Wireless is the smallest operator in the British Virgin Islands but still offers 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE services. Prepaid SIM cards can be purchased from official stores and approved resellers, and credit can also be picked up from the same retail outlets. Your passport must be shown to the retailer before the SIM card can be activated. SIM cards can be bought for US$20 and credit bonuses are available, depending on the deals being offered at the time of purchase. Credit can be purchased in the form of credit vouchers that can be found at most stores across the island, or by using your credit card online. Top-ups can be added in varying amounts between US$5 and US$150.
The following data packs can also be added:
|50MB||Valid for 2 days||US$2|
|500MB||Valid for 7 days||US$10|
|1GB||Valid for 14 days||US$15|
|2GB||Valid for 30 days||US$20|
|4GB||Valid for 30 days||US$50|
|5GB||Valid for 30 days||US$65|
|7GB||Valid for 30 days||US$75|
CCT’s APN: cctmobilenet.com, and website: http://www.cctbvi.com/
Some top tips from finder.com.au staff:
- Locals call a SIM card a “card” or “SIM”.
- Ask the retailers 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.
While it’s well known for reviews, booking hotels, flights and holidays, TripAdvisor also has many user comments that can help guide you through the SIM cards that have been tried and tested in the British Virgin Islands.
Here are some top tips from TripAdvisor users:
“Flow and Digicel both sell SIM cards and dongles at their Road Town stores.”
“Buying a local SIM card is usually a good idea if you are going to be in the Caribbean for an extended stay or you are making a lot of calls, otherwise you are better off buying a local calling card.”
Pros and cons of British Virgin Islands telco providers
All three 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 devices offered with the SIM card packages
- Can only be used on SIM-unlocked GSM phones
- Speeds can sometimes be slow
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.
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