Monday, April 23, 2012

Telephone Companies in the Caribbean

Al made the biggest mistake in selecting a cellular telephone/internet access provider in St Martin by believing the attendant in Digicel, who did not want to deal with a non-French speaking client. She dismissed Al and said that Digicel did not have a pay-as-you-go program with internet access, so he had to buy more time on his French SIM card "Orange" , the most expensive program we had seen so far. We later found a cheaper one, UTS from Sint Maarten, but outside the island it only operates in the old Dutch colonies, like St Kitts, Nevis, Bonaire, Curacao etc. All through our journey, the first thing Al did after arrival at a new island was to see which of his multiple SIM cards would work on that island, so that he could send our new coordinates to family and friends. I was usually carrying our sim cards in my backpack, but occasionally they could be misplaced; or the signal would be weak; or that particular card would not have enough airtime at that moment. Our major occupation was establishing communication lines to the outside word at every island, sometimes not very successfully. And everywhere we went without fail, we saw the presence of Digicel. When we reached Grenada, Al dropped by the Digicel counter in St George’s and got a deal that was the cheapest and the most efficient among all the others that we had used! I curse that woman, who caused so much grief to us! Of course we will never be able to recover what we had spent on the prepaid cards. Since it is Al’s obsession to have continuous Internet access, he does not hesitate to buy airtime, without thinking if we can use it up or not. I think only with Orange 20 euros was almost all spent (in half an hour), then he smartened up and went to UTS. Unfortunately on French soil (Guadeloupe and Martinique) he was forced to use Orange, but very sparingly of course. Even there Digicel exists. It is a wonder how Orange can survive.

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