Communications

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Communications

Internet

Wireless Internet service is becoming more available throughout the islands, but there are still pockets where service is impossible or difficult to get, and it's likely to be slower than you may be accustomed to. If Internet is important, ask your hotel representative about service before traveling.

If you're carrying a laptop into the Bahamas, you must fill out a Declaration of Value form upon arrival, noting make, model, and serial number. The Bahamian electrical current is compatible with U.S. computers.

Phones

Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC) is the phone company in the Bahamas. Pay phones accept Bahamas Direct prepaid cards purchased from BTC at vending machines, stores, and BTC offices. You can use these cards to call within the country or to the United States.

Check with your calling-card provider before traveling to see if your card will work in the islands (on the smaller cays it almost certainly won’t) and to see about surcharges. Always ask at your hotel desk about what charges will apply when you make card calls from your room. There's usually a charge for making toll-free calls to the United States. To place a call from a public phone using your own calling card, dial 0 for the operator, who will then place the call using your card number.

When you're calling the Bahamas, the country code is 242. You can dial any Bahamas number from the United States as you would make an interstate call.

Calling Within the Bahamas

Within the Bahamas, to make a local call from your hotel room, dial 9, then the number. If your party doesn't answer before the fifth ring, hang up or you'll be charged for the call. Some 800 and 888 numbers—particularly airline and credit card numbers—can be called from the Bahamas. Others can be reached by substituting an 880 prefix and paying for the call.

Dial 916 for directory information and 0 for operator assistance.

Calling Outside the Bahamas

In big resorts instructions are given by the room phones on how to make international calls and the costs, which differ from resort to resort. In small inns, especially those in the Out Islands, you may not be able to get an AT&T, Sprint, or other operator or international operator, but the hotel front desk can usually do it for you.

The country code is 1 for the United States.

Access Codes

AT&T USADirect (800/872–2881.)

MCI Call USA (800/888–8000.)

Sprint (800/389–2111.)

Phone Company

BTC (242/302–7000. www.btcbahamas.com.)

Mobile Phones

Some U.S. cell phones work in the Bahamas; check with your provider before your trip. The BTC has roaming agreements with many U.S. companies, including AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint Nextel. Roaming rates are $3 per day and $1.19 per minute.

In Nassau you can rent phones from BTC on a variety of packages. Or purchase a SIM card for about $15 at any BTC office; this will allow you to use your own cell phone while in the Bahamas. (You’ll also need a BTC prepaid minutes card, but these cards can be purchased for as little as $10.) You can rent GMS cellular phones from companies such as Cellular Abroad, which charges $1.14 to $1.32 a minute on calls to the United States plus the rental of the phone, starting at $69 for a week or less. Service is improving, but is still spotty, and on the Out Islands, cell phones may not work at all.

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