Cell phones in Punta Cana
Need to use cell phones in Punta Cana? Don’t worry, they work – here’s what you have to
do. Calling home from anywhere is generally a pain in the ass. The amount you end up paying
using your phone in the hotel room works out to about $3 per minute when all is said and done so
you might as well bring your cell phone.
Your cell phones will work in Punta Cana, you just have to decide how much you need to use it
because there are a few different options.
Just need your cell phones in Punta Cana for emergencies?
Call your cell phone provider and ask them to put “International Roaming” on your account –
there is no charge for this. From most resorts in Punta Cana, your cell phone will get a
signal on the “Orange” network, but only on roaming, which means you’re going to get charged
long distance and roaming charges. Ask your provider how much it will cost to use your cell
phones in Punta Cana before you leave, but it’s normally around $2 to $2.50 per minute.
That’s quite expensive, but if you only need to call home to check in or have it turned on
in case of an emergency at home – it’s cheaper than the other options. Your phone will ring
when people call you, if you answer you’ll be paying a fortune. So turn your ringer off and
check your messages or assign a special ring tone to people who need to get in touch with
Need to make a lot of calls on your cell phones in Punta Cana?
If you need to make a lot of calls on your cell phones in Punta Cana, just bringing your
phone is going to cost you a fortune. There are a couple different options you can choose
Option 1 for cell phones in Punta Cana
Most cell phones now are GSM phones. GSM stands for Global System for Mobiles which means
that they can be used on any network anywhere in the world provided that they are unlocked.
What do I mean by unlocked? There is a tiny computer chip in your phone – usually under the
battery called a SIM card. That card gives the phone its identity (phone number) and allows
it to work on a specific network. With an unlocked phone, all you have to do is pop out the
battery, switch the SIM card to one from your destination county and Bob’s your uncle!
However, most cell phone providers don’t want you to use your phone on another network, that
way they get to charge you outrageous international roaming fees, so they sell you the phone
locked – meaning the SIM card cannot be changed.
So what you need to do is either buy an unlocked phone from the get-go or get your phone
unlocked. Call your provider and tell them that you’re going to be out of the country for
several months and would like to use your phone on another network and need it unlocked. Of
course they are profiting by your continued payment of your contract without using their
network. This works sometimes! There are also companies out there that will unlock your cell
phone for you for around $25. Either they give you a code that will unlock it or sometimes
you need to fedex your phone to them and they send it back to you the next day. Not a bad
idea if you travel a lot.
Just google on “unlocking my phone” or even add your type of phone to the search and they’ll
pop up. Many phones can be unlocked simply be entering an unlocking code which is easily
available online – just look for the search result that reads “unlock codes” and find your
Things you need to know about changing SIM cards
Your SIM card provides your phone number – change your SIM card and your phone number
changes. In this case it will change to a local Dominican number. For most people this is a
good idea, you don’t want everybody from home calling you and having a local number means
you can call places like restaurants in Punta Cana without paying long distance.
Most prepaid SIM cards allow free incoming-calls, which means that anyone calling you from
home will be free. Give someone at home your number and a time to check in with you every
Finding a phone retailer in Punta Cana is a pain in the butt, I’ve been suggesting to a cell
provider there for years that they put a booth at the airport, but it hasn’t happened yet.
Your best bet is to order one online well in advance, that way you’ll know your new number
before you leave.
Here’s a site where you can order a SIM
card or even buy a phone just for traveling.
When you get home, just put your old SIM card back in and your phone is back to normal.
Option 2 for cell phones in Punta Cana (great for people who travel often)
Buy one of those cheap prepaid cell phones – make sure it’s GSM and unlocked! Just use it for
traveling, every time you go somewhere, buy a new SIM card and you’ve got a phone for your
trip. I recently switched cell phones and instead of throwing out my old phone, I’ve sent it
to get unlocked. That phone will now be my traveling phone.
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