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Basics Edit

The Bahamas, officially the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, is an island state that consists of more than 700 islands in the Atlantic Ocean. It's located north of Cuba and Hispaniola (Haiti and the Dominican Republic); northwest of the Turks and Caicos Islands; southeast of the US state of Florida and east of the Florida Keys. The territory of the Bahamas encompasses 13,878 km2 with around 300,000 inhabitants.

Since 2016 two mobile operators are in the Bahamas:

  • BTC
  • aliv (by NewCo)

Originally the mobile network was monopolized by Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC), that was critisized for bad service and high prices. In 2015 Cable Bahamas (CB) was approved by the government as recipient of a second license. Thus NewCo Ltd. was born and started to compete from 2016 under the brand aliv.

From the start in 2016 the two competitor have been at locked horns. The regulator demanded from BTC to give aliv roaming service for two years during its roll-out. But BTC has been slow to cooperate with the newcomer, forcing alive revert to simply rollout all new infrastructure.

The prices are given in Bahama dollar or Bahaminan dollar (BSD) that is linked 1:1 to the US dollar. In 2015 a new VAT tax was introduced on all goods and services that is not included in the prices. So for final prices you need to add 7.5%.

BTC Edit

BTC

BTC for Bahamas Telecommunications Company was the only provider until 2016. It's the primary telecommunications provider for the Bahamas and offers telephone, internet and wireless services. It's partly owned by the government and Cable & Wireless, sold to Liberty Global. The incumbent still has the better coverage and more customers, but faces competition now.

2G/EDGE is on 850 MHz and 1900 MHz, 3G up to HSPA+ on 850 MHz. 4G/LTE started in 2014 on 700 MHz (band 17). In 2017 it claims to cover 99% of the Bahamas by 4G/LTE at good speeds: coverage maps. It's still the better choice when you go to remote islands and service quality has improved.

Availability Edit

Their SIM card is available for $ 15 in their shops (locator) and other stores throughout the islands. Be sure to get an LTE-enabled SIM card. Expect to show a passport for identification.

You can top-up online through EZ top-up by credit card from $ 5 to $ 100 or by refill cards called Prepaid Card sold in many shops and outlets. VAT will not be charged at point of purchase, instead when you use your phone (example make a call, send a text or activate a data plan).

Top-up by voucher: *202#, top-up one BTC number by another: *203#, check balance: *201#.

Data feature packages Edit

There are no data without a plan or package added. These are offered (add 7.5% VAT):

  • daily bundles:
    • 500 MB: $ 2.49
    • 1 GB: $ 7
  • monthly bundles:
    • 2 GB: $ 10
    • 3 GB: $ 20
    • 4 GB: $ 30 (for 35 days)
    • 7 GB: $ 60 (for 40 days)

To activate a bundle dial *205#. All bundles are on 4G/LTE too and don't renew automatically. 7% taxes need to be added.

More info Edit

aliv (by NewCo) Edit

Aliv

Aliv (spoken: alive) by NewCo changed the mobile world when it started in 2016. NewCo is partly owned by triple-play provider Cable Bahamas Ltd. and the government.

They build up a 3G/HSPA network on 850 MHz and 1900 MHz and 4G/LTE on 700 MHz (band 13), no 2G/GSM.

NewCo has a strict timeline given by the regulator for its two-year network rollout period, including covering 99% of the population of six largest islands (New Providence, Grand Bahama, Eleuthera, Abaco, Bimini and Exuma) by February 2017. For now it's a good alternative in the main islands only as they still don't offer any roaming with BTC in more remote islands as demanded by the regulator.

Availability Edit

You can purchase a SIM card at any of their retail locations, from any authorized SIM-only resellers and at many kiosks (locator).

You can buy top-up online through your account by credit card. Refills are also sold at their retail stores, local top-up distributor locations (locator) from $ 5 to $ 100.

To top-up by voucher dial *202#, to check account balance *201#.

Data feature packages Edit

There are no data without packages. Unfortunately, they only offer combo packs so far with local minutes, texts and data. For final price add 7.5% taxes:

Plan Time Data Voice SMS Price
Freedom 5 7 days 500 MB 50 mins 50 $ 5
Freedom 10 1 GB 100 mins 100 $ 10
Freedom 20 2 GB 200 mins 200 $ 20
Liberty 50 30 days 5 GB 500 mins 500 $ 50
Liberty 90 9 GB 900 mins 900 $ 90
Liberty 120 "unlimited" subject to FUP $ 120

Allowances include all calls and texts to the Bahamas, US and Canada. "Unlimited" means a max. of 30 GB, 7,500 mins and 4000 SMS per month. All plans renew automatically, if there is enough credit.

Activation of plans is via their myALIV app, on your phone, bealiv.com, calling 611 or visiting a store.

More info Edit

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