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!
******* Edit labels ********
Solved! Solved! Go to Solution.
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?
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. 🙂
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.