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I am looking for info on cell phone carriers in Panama.
What is the best company , with the best deals, preferable a prepaid card system, nationwide coverage, etc etc .Handy tips or info more than welcome.
I use a Palm Treo and it works everywhere i went in the Caribbean, South-America, USA and Europe.
You only need a simcard from local provider because roaming is exspensive.
On the other buying a cheap or secondhand cell phone in Panama could do the job too.
To echo Patricio--me too. I use the same phone in the States as I use in Panama, I just swap out the SIM cards. A Movistar SIM card is at most $5, and then you buy minutes--no problem. A bonus is that your U.S. SIM card can contain all of your U.S. #s, and your Panamanian card, those #s. It's the easiest and cheapest way I've found to stay in touch aside from Skype.
You can also buy Skype-enabled phones that act as your normal, everyday landline, as well as being able to connect through the computer. Its more convenient for those that aren't comfortable using headsets or mic/speaker set-ups, or who aren't really into computers. The phones are little more expensive that regular non-Skype phones, but it's totally worth it; long-distance calls between the U.S. and Panama are around $0.30/min, and about the same to Europe, while Skype calls are free around the globe. I'd rather buy a $125 phone once, and use the cheap monthy service than worry about spending $3 for every ten minutes that I'm using my phone to call friends, family, co-workers, etc.
I know in Bocas Del Toro they now have 8 digits in the phone number . I had to get a new cell phone last year to adjust for this . It cost me under $50 . I buy a $20 phone card and it usally last me about 1 1/2 months . The nice part is no fee's while I am away and when I go back to Panama ,I just get a new card and I am back on phone service . We leave it there and if friends come down and use the house they also can use the cell phone . My old phone was this way for 5 years until we needed to upgrade for the new 8 digit number system .
Just like any other commercial consumer product, look for the prices that you want; the more you buy, the better the price. If you speak Spanish, you will get better prices--you can read the signs, the ads, the websites, and chat w/folks in chinos, etc. Prices vary all over the country...you've got to look for the product that best fits your needs, just like anywhere else on the planet.
I agree with Lalaguayaba. Prices depend on the package you get. Buying minutes in bulk will make them cheaper, but watch out for minutes that will expire if you do not use them in a certain amount of time. Also, some phones will charge you a fee just for having your phone. This may be a daily fee or a monthly fee. So, even though the minutes are cheaper, it might cost you more out of fees.