This article details the islands of the Netherlands Antilles that remain a part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in the Caribbean:
- Sint Maarten (= Dutch side of Saint Martin)
- Sint Eustatius (also known as Statia)
Furthermore, it's about the neighbouring islands of the French Antilles that are Overseas Territories of France:
- Saint-Martin (= French side of Saint Martin)
- Saint-Barthélemy (= St. Barths)
6 different providers operate here that are mostly linked by free roaming:
- Chippie (by UTS): on the Dutch and French islands, see article below
- Telcell: on the Dutch islands only, see article below
- Dauphin Telecom: on the French islands only, see article below
- Orange Caraïbe: on the French islands, see French West Indies
- SFR Caraïbe: on the French islands, see French West Indies
- Digicel: on the French islands, see French West Indies
Saint Martin Edit
The island of St. Martin is unique in the world and confusing for most travellers. It consists of two parts:
- a French part in the North with 53 km2 under French rule with French operators
- a Dutch part in the South with 37 km2 with different rules and operators
There is no place in the world where 7 networks (UTS is the only one that has 2 licenses for both sides) cater for around 70,000 inhabitants. That's why roaming rules and regulations become essential.
In September 2017 mobile services of the whole island were severely damaged during the devastating cat. 5 hurricanes Irma and Maria, but service is being restored.
Island roaming (in St. Martin) Edit
The island of St. Martin is small, but mountainous. That's why the coverage of one side can't reach the shores of the other side. All French operators (Orange, SFR, Dauphin) but not Digicel offer roaming without surcharges in the Dutch part through Telcell. UTS/Chippie use their partner network for the other side and Telcell has free roaming on Dauphin Telecom.
Caribbean roaming Edit
All French operators offer roaming without surcharges on all other French Caribbean territories within their network: These are Guadeloupe, Martinique and French Guyana. For more details see our French West Indies chapter.
Chippie/UTS offers roaming without surcharges in "Chippieland": Curacao, Bonaire, St. Barths, Saba and St. Eustatius and both sides of St. Martin.
International roaming Edit
Now things become really complicated. The French side is considered part of the European Union (EU), while the Dutch part is not. This essentially means that all roaming regulations valid for the EU (see European Union) only apply to French-based operators and while you are using French antennas.
Effective June 2017 the European Union has scrapped all surcharges on roaming within their area on SIM cards issued there. So you can use the French networks without roaming surcharges on a European SIM card or use a SIM card from the French Caribbean without surcharges to call Europe. While the French Caribbean is seen as EU now without roaming charges, the Dutch Caribbean will remain unregulated. This leads to very different prices for roaming, not between Dutch and French parts (as seen above), but for a user with a European SIM card or on a local SIM calling Europe.
Chippie (by UTS)Edit
UTS (for United Telecom Services) offers 3G/4G prepaid and postpaid service under the Chippie brand in St. Martin, St. Eustatius, Saba and some other Caribbean islands.
Essentially, they are running two networks under the same marketing name, but under two licenses in St. Martin.
- French UTS by UTS Caraïbe under French regulation: network ID: 340-03, country code: 340
- Dutch UTS by UTS N.V. licensed in Sint Maarten: network ID: 362-91, country code: 362
They form a single network on all Dutch islands including both sides of St. Martin. Additionally they offer free roaming in Bonaire, Curacao, Saba, St. Eustatius and St. Barths (what is called 'Chippieland'). They offer 3G/HSPA on 850 and 2100 MHz and 4G/LTE on band 3 (1800 MHz).
In 2017 after the hurricane UTS has informed that the older, 2G-based network has not been turned back on following Irma due to malfunctioning of key network components. At present the company is working on the logistics to move all customers that may have still been using 2G to the newer faster 3G and 4G networks instead.
Note that different roaming regulations apply for Europe according to network and antenna used (see international roaming above).
A SIM card costs US$ 16.70 with US$ 11 credit included. It's available it UTS stores (list on St Maarten) in Marigot and Philippsburg on both sides of the island.
Top-ups are available at Chippie stores and many more independent shops: list of recharge points.
Data feature packages Edit
Default data rate is steep US$ 0.10 per MB (= US$ 100/GB). So better buy one of these data packages:
- 500 MB @ 3G for 1 day: US$ 2.25 - activation: 3gvp 1d
- 2.5 GB @3G for 10 days: US$ 16.75 - activation: 3gvp 10d
- 4 GB @4G/LTE for 30 days: US$ 35 - activation: 4gvp 30 d
For activation text code to 3434.
They also offer combo packs with calls, texts and data:
|500 MB||0||0||US$ 3.99||1 day||B1D|
|500 MB||90 mins||10||US$ 17.90||7 days||B7D|
|2 GB||45 mins||30||US$ 25||30 days||BS|
|4 GB||60 mins||60||US$ 35||30 days||BM|
|8 GB||90 mins||60||US$ 55||30 days||BL|
|12 GB||240 mins||90||US$ 120||30 days||BXL|
All combo packages are on 4G/LTE network too. To activate text code to 3636.
For more data you can upsize the monthly combo packs by:
- 500 MB: US$ 12 - activation: BS
- 1 GB: US$ 17.50 - activation: BM
- 2 GB: US$ 22 - activation: BL
- 4 GB: US$ 35 - activation: BXL
Upsize packs are running for the rest of the base package. Unused data will not roll over.
More info Edit
- APN: premium
- Balance and account management menu: #191#
- Website: http://www.uts-ec.com
Telcell, part of the TelEm Group, offers 2G/GSM on 900 MHz and 3G/HSPA on 2100 MHz. In September 2017 they launched their long-awaited 4G/LTE network and utilize the 1800 MHz (band 3) spectrum band. Like Chippie it considers shutting down its 2G network entirely after restoration past hurrican Irma.
They form a single network on all three Dutch islands and offer free roaming to the French side of St. Martin and St. Barths through Dauphine Telecom.
SIM costs US$ 20 with US$ 10 credit included. Available in their shops. Full list of shops is on their website, click on "Where to topup". The section "Top-up via our branches" lists their official shops.
Data bundles Edit
Data bundles have a 2G- and 3G-(4G?) version. These are sold for 3G:
|200 MB||1 day||US$ 2||text "3G ON" to 1001|
|500 MB||7 days||US$ 10||text "3G ON" to 1007|
|2 GB||30 days||US$ 32||text "3G ON" to 1030|
You can buy the same bundle again before it has expired. They sell 2G data passes too, but they may be only suitable for messenging.
More info Edit
- APN: internet.telcell.sx (Android) or internet.telcell.an (iPhone)
- Website: http://www.telemgroup.sx/telcellpersonal
- to check balance: dial *124#.
Dauphine Telecom Edit
Dauphine Telecom is a provider based in the French part of Saint Martin. It has a network on both northern islands (Iles du Nord): Saint-Martin and Saint Barthélemy. In the rest of the French Caribbean it only resells other networks and operates the submarine fibre-optic cable to Puerto Rico.
They have a good 2G/3G coverage on 900/1800 MHz 2G/GSM and 2100 MHz 3G up to HSPA+ speeds on the two islands: coverage maps. 4G/LTE is licensed but hasn't started yet. They offer roaming without surcharges for data too in the Dutch part of St. Martin on Telcell and roaming according to EU regulations as long as you connect to French antennas.
You can buy their prepaid SIM card in one of their shops in Marigot or Gustavia (location). Their "Easy" SIM card is given out at 25.90 € with 10 € de credit pre-loaded. If you buy it somewhere else, you will have 15 days to register in an agency of them or your line will be suspended.
Data featured packages Edit
Default rate is 0.00025 € per KB (= 0.25 € per MB). These monthly packages are offered:
|Pass 200Mo||200 MB||5 €|
|Pass 500Mo||500 MB||10 €|
|Pass 1Go||1 GB||15 €|
|Pass 4Go||4 GB||50 €|
These passes are sold at their sales points or online. You can check your remaining data allowances by entering #222#.
Data-only SIM Edit
They also sell a prepaid data-only SIM for tablets and routers called "SIM Internet 3G". It has a default rate of 0.052 € per MB and can be loaded with these options:
- 750 MB: 14.90 €
- 1.5 GB: 29.90 €
- unlimited for 10 days: 79.90 €
More info Edit
- APN: internet /or/ internethd
- Website in French: http://www.dauphintelecom.fr
Orange Caraïbe, SFR Caraïbe, Digicel Edit
For all these French-based operators on the French side of St. Martin and St. Barths check our chapter about the French West Indies.
Click on the logo below to get detailed information about these providers: