Wanna Talk in the USVI?

Telephone service in the Virgin Islands keeping travelers in touch with loved ones

Photo credit: © bettyx1138

AT&T is the primary phone service supplier on St. Thomas and they have a modern telecommunications center across from the Havensight Mall that is available for use by locals and tourists.

This center contains TDD equipment, a video phone, and 15 booths with desks, fax, and copy machines. For more information, contact AT&T at 340-777-9201. Islander Services and East End Secretarial Services also provide communications services, but are limited in comparison to AT&T's facility because they only provide copying services, fax assistance, and long-distance calls. Contact Islander Services at 340-774-8128 or East End Secretarial Services at 340-775-5262.

When calling locally, dial just the seven-digit local number; area codes do not exist within the islands. The country code for the U.S. Virgin Islands is 340. Direct dialing is available to and from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the U.S., and the United Kingdom from nearly all phones. For other areas, dial the outgoing international country code of 001. Making a local call from a public phone costs $0.35(USD) for every five minutes.

Mobile Telephones

If you plan to bring your cellphone with you, be sure it is GSM (Global System for Mobiles) capable. Popular U.S. providers that carry GSM capable phones include AT&T and T-Mobile. If your phone is GSM capable, you'll be able to make and receive calls abroad, provided you contact your service company and inform them of your travel plans. Be prepared to pay, though - prices for GSM calls can range from $1(USD) to $9(USD) per minute.

If you aren't interested in paying exorbitant per minute rates, look into cellphone rentals, which are particularly common in tourist areas. Though still expensive, renting a phone is considerably cheaper than regularly using GSM minutes. Because the wireless phone industry is constantly growing, it's difficult to say who will be providing what services when, and for how much.

Internet Access

If you plan to leave your personal organizer and laptop at home, you can still do basic things online such as read and send e-mail and check the local sports scores. You're almost guaranteed to find an Internet cafe near your hotel. Costs vary greatly depending on what the cafe offers and how much time you purchase, but look to spend between $2(USD) and $9(USD) per hour. You can save some money by finding Internet access at a public library. Furthermore, hotels, hostels, shopping malls, and airports sometimes contain Internet kiosks, but these often charge exorbitant rates and have slow connections.

You can also connect to the Internet if you bring your own computer to the Islands. Hotels may provide in-room dataports for laptops, and a good number of hotels now have high-speed Ethernet access. If your hotel does provide Ethernet, be sure to bring the proper networking cards and Ethernet cable. Laptops with Wi-Fi can get online wherever wireless Internet service is available. Many hotels, airports, lobbies, and cafes are T-Mobile Hotspots, where wireless Internet is free of charge. (Specifically, Starbucks are the most frequent hotspots in the Virgin Islands).


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