Communications

Internet

You should have no trouble bringing a laptop through customs into Bermuda, though you may have to open and turn it on for inspection by security officers. It's a good idea to bring proof of purchase with you so you will not run into any difficulty bringing the computer back to the States, especially if it's a new machine.

Most hotels charge connection fees each time a laptop is hooked up to the Internet ($3 to $10), with additional charges (10¢ to 30¢ per minute) during the connection. The Fairmont Southampton Resort, Fairmont Hamilton Princess, and Rosewood Tucker’s Point have fully equipped business centers where guests can use hotel computers for Internet access (connection charges still apply).

TeleBermuda International offers hotspots around the island for $4.99 an hour, including all of Dockyard. While most of the hotspots are advertised as WiFiZone, log on to their website at www.telebermuda.com to find the closest.

Phones

The good news is you can now make a direct-dial telephone call from virtually any point on earth. The bad news? You can't always do so cheaply. Calling from a hotel is almost always the most expensive option; hotels usually add huge surcharges to all calls, particularly international ones. In some countries you can phone from call centers or even the post office. And then there are mobile phones , which are sometimes more prevalent—particularly in the developing world—than landlines; as expensive as mobile phone calls can be, they are still usually a much cheaper option than calling from your hotel.

Destination-specific international calling cards from Logic Communications in Hamilton offer the cheapest way of calling. You can use them on any phones, including public pay phones and mobile phones. You can also get standard international cards from pharmacies, some supermarkets, and many gas stations, which will also get you a better rate than calling directly from the hotel.

The country code for Bermuda is 441. When dialing a Bermuda number from the United States or Canada, simply dial 1 + 441 + local number. You do not need to dial the international access code (011).

Calling Within Bermuda

Telephone service in Bermuda is organized and efficient, though service may be interrupted during storms.

When in Bermuda, call 411 for local phone numbers. To reach directory assistance from outside the country, call 441/555–1212.

To make a local call, simply dial the seven-digit number.

You can find pay phones similar to those in the United States on the streets of Hamilton, St. George's, and Somerset as well as at the airport, cruise ship terminals, ferry landings, some bus stops, and public beaches. Deposit 50¢ (U.S. or Bermudian) before you dial. Most hotels charge from 30¢ to $1 for local calls.

Calling Outside Bermuda

The country code for the United States is 1.

Most hotels impose a surcharge for long-distance calls, even those made collect or with a phone card or credit card. Many toll-free 800 or 888 numbers in the United States aren't honored in Bermuda. Consider buying a prepaid local phone card rather than using your own calling card. In many small guesthouses and apartments the phone in your room is a private line from which you can make only collect, credit-card, or local calls. Some small hotels have a telephone room or kiosk where you can make long-distance calls.

To call the United States, Canada, and most Caribbean countries, simply dial 1 (or 0 if you need an operator's assistance), then the area code and the number. For all other countries, dial 011 (or 0 for an operator), the country code, the area code, and the number. Using an operator for an overseas call is more expensive than dialing direct. For calls to the United States, rates are highest from 8 am to 6 pm and discounted from 6 pm to 8 am and on weekends.

Access Codes

AT&T USADirect. 800/225–5288.

MCI Call USA. 800/888–8000; 800/888–8888.

Calling Cards

Buy a prepaid phone card for long-distance calls. They can be used with any touch-tone phone in Bermuda, although they can only be used for calls outside Bermuda. Rates are often significantly lower than dialing direct, but the downside is that some hotels will charge you for making the call to your card's 800 number. Phone cards are available at pharmacies, shops, gas stations, and restaurants. The phone companies TeleBermuda and Logic Communications sell prepaid calling cards in denominations of $5 to $50. The cards can be used around the world as well as in Bermuda.

Phone-Card Companies

Logic Communications. 441/296–9600.

TeleBermuda International. 441/296–9000.

Mobile Phones

If you have a multiband phone (some countries use different frequencies than what's used in the United States) and your service provider uses the world-standard GSM network (as do T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon), you can probably use your phone abroad. Roaming fees can be steep, however: 99¢ a minute is considered reasonable. And overseas you normally pay the toll charges for incoming calls. It's almost always cheaper to send a text message than to make a call, since text messages have a very low set fee (often less than 25¢).

If you just want to make local calls, consider buying a new SIM card (note that your provider may have to unlock your phone for you to use a different SIM card) and a prepaid service plan in the destination. You'll then have a local number and can make local calls at local rates. If your trip is extensive, you could also simply buy a new cell phone in your destination, as the initial cost will be offset over time.

If you travel internationally frequently, save one of your old mobile phones or buy a cheap one on the Internet; ask your cell phone company to unlock it for you, and take it with you as a travel phone, buying a new SIM card with pay-as-you-go service in each destination.

Most travelers can use their own cell phones in Bermuda, though you should check with your provider to be sure. Cell-phone rentals are available from stores in Hamilton, some of which will even deliver the phone to you. A typical charge is $2 a day for the rental while local calls will cost 60¢ a minute. Incoming international calls will also cost 60¢ a minute, but outgoing international calls will cost $1.10 a minute.

Contacts

Cellular Abroad. Cellular Abroad rents and sells GMS phones and sells SIM cards that work in many countries. 800/287–5072; www.cellularabroad.com.

Mobal. Mobal rents mobiles and sells GSM phones (starting at $29) that will operate in 140 countries. Per-call rates vary throughout the world. 888/888–9162; www.mobal.com.

Planet Fone. Planet Fone rents cell phones, but the per-minute rates are expensive. 888/988–4777; www.planetfone.com.

Rentals

Bermuda Cell Rental. 441/232–2355; www.bermudacellrental.com.

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