Travelling to Cuba - roaming charges

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I've Been Around
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Travelling to Cuba - roaming charges

Hi, I'm travelling to Cuba and I want to make sure I don't incur any ridiculous roaming charges. I do want to be able to keep my phone on in case of an incoming emergency phone call, however.  I guess first of all, will my phone even work to make/receive calls in Cuba? Do I have to disable my email and facebook app? Is there a way I can prevent receipt of text messages while I am gone? Anything else I should be aware of that my phone might do to incur data/roaming charges?

Also, I have My10 on my phone but I assume that I can only use this without (extra) charge in Canada. Is that the case? Thanks for your assistance! Cat Tongue

 

Claire

 

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Resident Expert
Resident Expert
Posts: 14,233

Re: Travelling to Cuba - roaming charges

As far as the rogers website says... for Cuba, the only options are pay per use.

$2.50/minute1

 

$0.75/sent text message2


$1.50/MB3,4

 


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I'm a Trusted Advisor
Posts: 32,038

Re: Travelling to Cuba - roaming charges

If you want to disable Data you need to go into Options > Network and Connections > Mobile Network & you will see " Data Services" Click & select Off. Also underneath the "Data Services" you will see " While Roaming" click that one & select Off as well .


As for text messages you need to put your phone on flight mode. That is the ONLY way to not get Calls / text messages.
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I've Been Here Awhile
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Re: Travelling to Cuba - roaming charges

Two months ago, Rogers Wireless actually sold me a Caribbean roaming plan that is good for Cuba! So you're in luck!

 

Oops, sorry. Rogers gave me the wrong info when they sold me that plan. Then they had to reimburse me.

 

Cuba is one of only three countries in the world where they don't have some kind of plan. You'd think those sales donkeys could keep that fact straight in their heads, but NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.

 

It's a good thing I didn't use the phone. My wife checked her messages ONCE. For a 2-minute call (actually rounded up; it was probably 1.01 minutes), Rogers posted  an $8.00 fee on our bill.

 

I'm exploring the possibility of buying a 7-11 unlocked phone, then using a Cuban chip. It might be cheaper. Cellphone use is expanding rapidly down there. Anybody have info on this subject?

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I'm a Trusted Contributor
Posts: 336

Re: Travelling to Cuba - roaming charges

I have no direct experience with using roaming plans or buying foreign SIMs, but from what I've heard from the BlackBerry Support Forums (where I hang out quite a bit), you're better to go the route of the unlocked phone and foreign SIM than paying for a roaming package from your home carrier.

 

That's just my opinion.  I'd like to hear what others have to say on the subject.  🙂

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I've Been Around
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Re: Travelling to Cuba - roaming charges

I was looking into this same thing as I've gotten ridiculous charge amount the last time I went. So from what foreign/cuban friends tell me, there are few ways to get local cell phone use:

 

1) Have a Cuban friend 'rent' you one of their SIM cards for your unlocked quad band (need band 900) phone while you are there - there is only one cell number allowed per Cuban and so they may have one in their grandmother's name for example. Foreigners aren't able to get regular SIMs like we could in other countries. Most Cubans don't use their phone much for talking or texting (text now costs 0.09 cuc local and 1 cuc international); instead it tends to be like a pager so that they look at the number and go to landline to call it back. However, for foreigners it would certainly be cheaper than using roaming or paying the hotel an inflated rate to call even locally (or use the confusing local telephone card (without Spanish or explanation) even if you can find a pay phone that's not in constant use.

 

2) Rent a tourist SIM or cell phone. I believe this is fairly recent, but I'm told you can book a SIM/cell phone at the airport from Cubacell (at least in Havana - should be Terminal 2 & 3 and in some hotels; not sure of other places). Again, better for local calls,  as the international rate is still the same as using your roaming if it's about $3/minute). Last I checked, the charge for the cell w/SIM is $10/day (I think - I was only looking at renting the SIM) and SIM only $3/day, then $2.70/min int'l, $0.70/min local (in/out). But the deposit is supposed to be about $200, so that would be a turnoff for most. You'd get that back at the end of the rental of course as long as the phone was undamaged (or lost or stolen ...). And it's reported on the internet that the service to international lines is not very good anyway (it certainly is bad for me when I've tried calling a local cell in Havana from Canada anyway).

 

3) And just quickly looking online now, I see that you can also apparently buy a prepaid phone (even a model to include datea) in some places so you get the local rates and wouldn't have to have the initial deposit. And you would be able recharge the phone at various vendors. Thing of note here is that there may be at least a $50 activiation charge from what one poster elsewhere reported, and I have no idea yet of how much the phones would actually cost.

 

However, I'm heading off to Cuba tomorrow (May 7th) so this will be one of things I will be researching as I stay right in Havana anyway. And I will try to remember to post results here for any future searches. Hasta luego.

 

Lisa S.

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I've Been Around
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Re: Travelling to Cuba - roaming charges

I went to Cuba in January 2011. I went to rogers and got a travellers pack for Cuba. I didnt check my e-mails or facebook. I used it only for BBM. It worked great and I would do it again. The only thing that you have to do  is go into Rogers and cancel the package or they will continue to charge you.

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Re: Travelling to Cuba - roaming charges

How much was the package and what did it include?  I am going to Cuba next week and I would like to bring my Blackberry to BBM the babysitter but I'm not sure if I should buy a voice package or just pay the $0.03/KB for the BBM used.  Any advice? 

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I've Been Around
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Re: Travelling to Cuba - roaming charges

Hi,

I go to cuba often and I have been using a Cubacell SIM card while there. Tourists cannot just go in and buy a SIM card. Only a cuban can do it and with identification. I have a friend who bought one (my money of course) and the phone is registered in their mother's name.

 

Using this SIM card, a text message to Canada will be $1 CUC (convertible peso/tourist money) .. and if its a long text, it could go as 2 texts, which would then be $2. It costs me .25 cents cdn to send a text to Cuba through my Rogers 'pay-as-you-go' phone. Bell mobility does not allow text messages to cuba (although that could have changed recently). I take my unlocked phone that I use at home strictly for cuban contact, and change the Rogers SIM card for the Cubacell SIM card during my vacation. Works wonderful.

 

The best thing to do if you are concerned about money and do not go often to cuba  .. is to just buy a 'phone card' and call home each day to check out things .. or buy an internet card .. they had them for $5 for 30 minutes but last I checked, it was now $10 for 60mins ... and check email .. although I would find that to be a pain in the butt.

 

Good luck

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Re: Travelling to Cuba - roaming charges

I have not went to cuba, but i did go to the carribean recently, went to dominican republic, brought my rogers blackberry with me.

I made sure to turn off Data while roaming, turn off my location data while roaming as well.

I was pleased to say I never got charged. I was able to find a public wifi network that was open access, it allowed me to send/receive bbm, go on face book, and use my e-mail capabilities. My UMA did not work unfortunately, i would get the error message location not allowed, no big deal as I knew they did not allow uma on non canadian ip addresses. Either way, it was great, i was able to keep in touch with back home via bbm and email, and it costed me nothing, no surprise charges, and i did not need to add any of those roaming travel packs.

if you can hold back the urge to send text messages, then this might be a good idea for you and save u money two.


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I've Been Around
Posts: 1

Re: Travelling to Cuba - roaming charges

There is no data in Cuba, so don't bother with a data plan. Phone calls are $4/min and texts are 75 cents i think.