Notifications
Clear all

Re: CDMA or GSM  

Page 1 / 2
 

threestak
(@threestak)
Advanced Member
Joined: 9 years ago
Posts: 80
September 21, 2011 3:26 pm  

Hello All,

I know I've posted a lot on here in the past couple days, but I keep thinking of new things to ask (I have ordered the Settler's Handbook, but it hasn't arrived yet).

My question was, does the island cell phone network support CDMA phones or GSM phones? Also, what are the plans like for cell phone plans as far as expense and what is available i.e. 4G network, unlimited internet etc.? Which is the best provider?

Any feedback is appreciated in advance. Thank you guys.

Raj H.


Quote
rotorhead
(@rotorhead)
Trusted Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 2472
September 21, 2011 4:30 pm  

We have both Sprint (CDMA) and AT&T (GSM) on the island. Coverage varies. Their rate plans are the same as in the states and are available on the web. No 4G yet.


ReplyQuote
PMH
 PMH
(@PMH)
Advanced Member
Joined: 9 years ago
Posts: 39
September 21, 2011 5:25 pm  

Check out Boost Mobile.. $50 a month unlimited use and on the Sprint network... should work just fine.


ReplyQuote
threestak
(@threestak)
Advanced Member
Joined: 9 years ago
Posts: 80
September 22, 2011 7:04 am  

We have both Sprint (CDMA) and AT&T (GSM) on the island. Coverage varies. Their rate plans are the same as in the states and are available on the web. No 4G yet.

Thanks rotorhead. This means that I could plausibly bring my LG Optimus 500 GSM-based phone from India and connect with AT&T. The only problem is that I think Spring offers the unlimited internet whereas AT&T is a tiered plan. Oh well, a new move comes with new adjustments. Thanks again.

Raj H.


ReplyQuote
threestak
(@threestak)
Advanced Member
Joined: 9 years ago
Posts: 80
September 22, 2011 7:07 am  

Check out Boost Mobile.. $50 a month unlimited use and on the Sprint network... should work just fine.

PMH,

Thanks for the heads up. Could I ask if they possibly offer a package where you commit to like a year or two with them and they sell you a $300 phone for $50? I know Sprint does that, so I was just wondering if Boost did the same thing? Thanks again for the helpful info.

Raj H.


ReplyQuote
Zigmo
(@Zigmo)
Advanced Member
Joined: 10 years ago
Posts: 68
October 5, 2011 9:26 pm  

If you have an unlock GSM phone you can get Innovative Prepaid $50 Unlimited Talk-Text-Web. Coverage is not as good as AT&T but better than Sprint.

AT&T - GSM - Best coverage on the island. Same phones and rates as the states.
Innovative - GSM - Local Company but offers nationwide service via AT&T and T-Mobile at not cost to you. Operates its own network locally. Coverage not as good as AT&T but better than Sprint.
Sprint/Boost/Virgin - CDMA - Nationwide carrier. Mediocre coverage in the VI.
Choice - CDMA - Cheap local unlimited plans but not good if you travel back to the states. They only give you a few hundred roaming minutes. Coverage is weak at best.

Note that coverage will never meet the standards of most state side cities. The terrain is hilly and ocean facing homes may not get any service no matter what the carrier. Hell you're more likely to pick up carriers on the BVI in some places. So the best carrier for you really depends on the area you will be living/working/playing the most.


ReplyQuote
East Ender
(@east-ender)
Expert
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 5389
October 5, 2011 10:33 pm  

Can someone explain "unlocked" phone to me? The new iPhone 4S is supposed to be unlocked. Do I need that? Don't answer that part- I WANT one.:-)


ReplyQuote
rotorhead
(@rotorhead)
Trusted Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 2472
October 6, 2011 3:20 am  

"Unlocked" means that is not tied to a single carrier.
Frequently a phone is sold for less than the retail price of the phone. A carrier will do this planning to make up the difference in price on services over the two year contract period. These phones are usually "locked" to that carrier. This means that you cannot move from one carrier to another by simply replacing the SIM card.

These phones can usually be unlocked remotely and the carrier will do this on request once the contract is fulfilled. There are also published hacks for most phones which allow them to be unlocked.

The iPhone 4S is a World Phone, supporting both GSM and CDMA.


ReplyQuote
threestak
(@threestak)
Advanced Member
Joined: 9 years ago
Posts: 80
October 6, 2011 6:40 am  

Note that coverage will never meet the standards of most state side cities. The terrain is hilly and ocean facing homes may not get any service no matter what the carrier. Hell you're more likely to pick up carriers on the BVI in some places. So the best carrier for you really depends on the area you will be living/working/playing the most.

Zigmo,

Sorry it took so long to get back to you. I have been busy getting everything organized for this relocation. This last bit of information is the most telling. Thanks for mentioning it. It sounds like my best bet is to go with AT&T or Innovative. I already have a LG Optimus 500 GSM unlocked so I wouldn't have to worry about getting another phone.

Would AT&T let me use my phone? The biggest problem with AT&T is that they have switched everything to a tiered plan, so there are no unlimited options at least for internet use. Sprint has that, but their coverage sucks!!! My mom had the same problem with Sprint in Tennessee.

Any ways, thanks for the very useful info. It's greatly appreciated.

Raj H.


ReplyQuote
jbatl
(@jbatl)
Advanced Member
Joined: 9 years ago
Posts: 399
October 6, 2011 11:38 am  

I plan to purchase the iphone4S as soon as I wake up tomorrow on Sprint _ simply because they still offer unlimited data. IMO, what ATT and VZW are doing with these tiered plans is a BAD business model.

In our household, we have one ATT phone (a dumb one) and a Blackberry on Sprint. I have been pleasantly surprised at the quality of the Sprint coverage, even in areas on STX where their own map shows dead zones.

I will keep the dumb phone on a limited plan for emergencies, but have no concerns about having Sprint as my primary carrier on STX.


ReplyQuote
threestak
(@threestak)
Advanced Member
Joined: 9 years ago
Posts: 80
October 6, 2011 6:33 pm  

In our household, we have one ATT phone (a dumb one) and a Blackberry on Sprint. I have been pleasantly surprised at the quality of the Sprint coverage, even in areas on STX where their own map shows dead zones.

jbatl,

I am glad to hear that. I actually loved Spring when I was in Tennessee. I never had coverage problems, but then again, I didn't travel to a lot of the remote places my mom does for her work. If you say the coverage is good, then I might think about getting a Spring phone. What I'll probably do is get one Innovative plan for me and a Sprint plan for my wife. If she says it's good coverage on St. Thomas, then I'll switch.

I agree about the tiered plan system. They have always done that here in India and the reason why they are starting to do it in the States is because most cell phone providers are having a hard time managing the excess data usage because of unlimited plans. They apparently feel that charging customers by the amount of data they use will discourage them from excess use of the internet on their phones thereby easing the load on the cellular network. Personally, the way technology is moving, they will be obligated to find a way to handle large data usage through cellulars because it has literally become a way of life for a large part of the world.

Raj H.


ReplyQuote
East Ender
(@east-ender)
Expert
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 5389
October 6, 2011 9:25 pm  

Raj: Wait and find out where you are going to be living. Some places have good AT&T and poor Sprint, and other areas, vice-versa.

Rotor: So my iPhone 3GS is locked? But it is a world phone, no?


ReplyQuote
jbatl
(@jbatl)
Advanced Member
Joined: 9 years ago
Posts: 399
October 6, 2011 9:29 pm  

Raj,

One disclaimer: I am on STX. I have T. My fiancee has S. Based on what I read here, I, too, thought her S was going to be pretty worthless once we got here, but have been pleasantly surprised. You may want to put more stock in folks from STT and/or wait to make your decision until you arrive.

Otherwise, you can go to either carriers' website and put an STT zip code in and see pretty detailed coverage maps. On STX, T shows coverage across the entire island. S shows some dead zones, esp out east.

J


ReplyQuote
jbatl
(@jbatl)
Advanced Member
Joined: 9 years ago
Posts: 399
October 6, 2011 9:31 pm  

Rotor: So my iPhone 3GS is locked? But it is a world phone, no?

If you bought it with a 'discount' as part of signing a long term contract, it is locked. You can hack it (just google 'unlock iphone'), or your provider will/should unlock it for you once your contract has expired. World phone has nothing to do with locked. All world phone means is that you can use it anywhere in the world _ you still pay your provider for the usage.


ReplyQuote
rotorhead
(@rotorhead)
Trusted Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 2472
October 6, 2011 9:50 pm  

Rotor: So my iPhone 3GS is locked? But it is a world phone, no?

The term world phone has changed slightly in the past several years. GSM (Global System for Mobile communications) was originally designed to be the world standard for cell phones. It was designed in Europe. Differences in frequency allocations led to there being four different bands used in various countries to support GSM. Early GSM phones would only support the bands used in one geographical area even though the GSM standards were common. A GSM phone for ATT would not work in Europe.

Then the first World Phones came out which would support all four bands and would work virtually anywhere that supports GSM.

Several carriers in the US, most notably Sprint and Verizon based their networks on CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) a technology developed by Qualcomm. CDMA and GSM are not compatible.

The iPhone 3GS is an old world phone that works anywhere on GSM. The iPhone 4 had two models, the ATT version which is GSM and the Verizon version which is CDMA.

The iPhone 4S is a new world phone which supports both GSM and CDMA.

Edited to note: by old world phone vs new world phone I mean old technology vs new technology, not old world vs new world.


ReplyQuote
East Ender
(@east-ender)
Expert
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 5389
October 6, 2011 11:45 pm  

So I guess I "need" a 4S, huh?:@)


ReplyQuote
rotorhead
(@rotorhead)
Trusted Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 2472
October 7, 2011 12:08 am  

So I guess I "need" a 4S, huh?:@)

I am sticking with my iPhone 3GS. Not enough new features to bother to upgrade.

BTW. Your iPhone is most likely locked to AT&T. The only reason that you might want to unlock it is if you are planning an extended stay in another country and want to use it with a local SIM card for a carrier in that country in order to avoid AT&Ts very expensive roaming charges. They are like $3.95 per minute in many countries. In many countries in Europe and Latin America you can go into a convienence store or pharmacy and buy a SIM card which gives you a local phone number. You can add minutes as needed.

I have found the best way to make calls back to the US from over seas is to use the Skype app on my iPhone. I also travel with my Magicjack and a Laptop.


ReplyQuote
threestak
(@threestak)
Advanced Member
Joined: 9 years ago
Posts: 80
October 7, 2011 6:59 am  

Raj: Wait and find out where you are going to be living. Some places have good AT&T and poor Sprint, and other areas, vice-versa.

This is great advice and I will definitely do what you suggest. Thank you.


ReplyQuote
threestak
(@threestak)
Advanced Member
Joined: 9 years ago
Posts: 80
October 7, 2011 7:11 am  

The only reason that you might want to unlock it is if you are planning an extended stay in another country and want to use it with a local SIM card for a carrier in that country in order to avoid AT&Ts very expensive roaming charges. They are like $3.95 per minute in many countries. In many countries in Europe and Latin America you can go into a convienence store or pharmacy and buy a SIM card which gives you a local phone number. You can add minutes as needed.

I have found the best way to make calls back to the US from over seas is to use the Skype app on my iPhone. I also travel with my Magicjack and a Laptop.

This is very true. I have a GSM unlocked LG Optimus and when I travel I just take out the SIM card for my prepaid plan here in India and just buy one for whatever country I'm in (where my GSM band is supported) and pop it in. Then I can make all the calls I want. You can add different types of minutes once you do this too. Some will make calls to the States cheaper or some are specific to Europe. It all depends on what you are looking for in terms of communication.

As far as I'm concerned Skype is the sickest revolution in communication we have had yet and it has so many features, and even though it uses VoIP and they might charge you to call land lines it is super cheap as compared to other VoIP services. I hope Microsoft doesn't screw it up!

What is Magicjack? I've heard of this? Is it similar to Vonage, but made for travel?


ReplyQuote
rotorhead
(@rotorhead)
Trusted Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 2472
October 7, 2011 8:42 am  

What is Magicjack? I've heard of this? Is it similar to Vonage, but made for travel?

Cheap VOIP.
http://www.amazon.com/magicJack-PC-to-Phone-Jack/dp/B0011UXSHK


ReplyQuote
Zigmo
(@Zigmo)
Advanced Member
Joined: 10 years ago
Posts: 68
October 15, 2011 8:40 pm  

Raj: Wait and find out where you are going to be living. Some places have good AT&T and poor Sprint, and other areas, vice-versa.

This is great advice and I will definitely do what you suggest. Thank you.

That is good advice. And since you have an unlocked phone I would try Both AT&T and Innovatives (Both GSM) prepaid service. This way you aren't tied into a contract and you can get a taste of the service in the area you move to. Sprint would require that you buy a phone prepaid or postpaid so I would see if you can meet neighbors in the area that use sprint and ask them.


ReplyQuote
caribbeanfreak
(@caribbeanfreak)
Advanced Member
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 24
October 16, 2011 1:48 pm  

Any suggestions on where to get an AT&T Sim card on island? Or would I be better off just buying an AT&T Go phone? Thanks for your help.


ReplyQuote
rotorhead
(@rotorhead)
Trusted Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 2472
October 16, 2011 4:52 pm  

You could try the AT&T store.


ReplyQuote
Bombi
(@Bombi)
Trusted Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 2104
October 16, 2011 6:55 pm  

If you are still in the states go to the AT&T store and get a 340 number for your phone, like roto advised. Probaly easier Ther than one more thing when you come.


ReplyQuote
caribbeanfreak
(@caribbeanfreak)
Advanced Member
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 24
October 16, 2011 8:10 pm  

Thanks for the feedback. I already have an AT&T go phone with a 340 area code for when I travel. This time I will be staying on island much longer and will need my customers to access via email and text. I am considering another ATT go phone that is like a smart phone that would have my local 712 area code. My current server is Verizon and all though I have NEVER had any roaming charges on the Alltel plan I am going to have to re-up with a new phone and new contract. Potential for more roaming... ATT in rural America has Horrible service..so plan to stay with Verizon. Weighing buying an unlocked phone with SIM card or go phone here before I leave that will work down there and take forwarded calls, texts and emails. Suggestions? Thanks for the help. I know this cell phone thing is talked about over and over again.


ReplyQuote
Page 1 / 2
Close Menu