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SIM Cards in Barbados: The Best Prepaid Plans | 2024 Guide

Barbados – known for its tropical beaches, for being an amazing surf destination & being the birthplace of rum.

With average temperatures rarely going below 20°C (or (20*9/5)+32 for the Fahrenheit lovers 😏), you better wear some good sunscreen while in Barbados to avoid getting sunburned.

Perhaps you will explore the Harrison's Cave Eco-Adventure Park, or maybe take a tour through the St. Nicholas Abbey.

And do not forget about the Andromeda Botanic Garden.

Or you could just enjoy one of the many beaches in Barbados – getting a nice tan, huh?

Before you share your amazing beach-life photos on Facebook, Snapchat, or Instagram, you should know that international roaming can be expensive.

So expensive that it should almost be criminal.

Lucky, there is no need to pay those high roaming bills when you use a local SIM card, like a Barbadian one.

And they are quite affordable.

You can get a Barbadian SIM card for 10 BBD (4.95 USD) from Digicel and Flow in their stores. SIM cards are not sold at Barbados/Seawell-Grantley Adams International Airport (BGI).

Those prices are not too bad, huh? It could be much worse in this region.

But we are not there yet. There are still plenty of things to be aware of about Barbadian SIM cards.

In this guide, I will go over everything you need to know about buying a SIM card in Barbados. Let's do this.

Buying a SIM Card in Barbados Guide (logos of Digicel & Flow)

Original publication: 7th of March 2020. Last updated: 15th of January 2024.


Table of Contents

Can You Buy a SIM Card in Barbados?

You can buy a Barbadian SIM card from Digicel and Flow as a tourist. There is nothing preventing travelers from buying a SIM card in Barbados.

You do have to comply with the SIM card registration regulations.

SIM Card Registration Worldwide Tool by Phone Travel Wiz

Moreover, your phone has to support the frequencies used in Barbados.

Finally, your phone needs to be unlocked (SIM-lock free) to use a Barbadian SIM card.

Where Can You Buy a SIM Card in Barbados?

You can get a Barbadian SIM card in the official stores of Digicel and Flow. They are not available at Barbados/Seawell-Grantley Adams International Airport (BGI).

You can expect to pay the following for Barbadian SIM cards:

  • Digicel Barbados: 10 BBD
  • Flow Barbados: 5 USD (10 BBD)

The following mobile operators also have SIM cards targeting tourists:

  • Flow Barbados: 20 BBD & 40 BBD
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Can You Use Your Phone in Barbados?

Barbados uses GSM for their cellular communications, meaning that you need a GSM-capable phone to use your phone in the country. Fortunately, there is about a 99% chance your phone supports GSM.

Besides that, you need to be aware of the ITU Regions to determine whether your phone will work in other parts of the world.

Although there are 3 ITU Regions, you only need to know these two terms: American frequencies and European frequencies.

Africa, Asia (including the Middle East), Europe & Oceania (ITU Regions 1 & 3) typically use European frequencies, meaning phones bought in those regions can be used in countries using European frequencies without issues.

The Americas (North-, Central– & South America + the Caribbean), ITU Region 2, use American frequencies, which are different from the European frequencies.

ITU Regions Map by Phone Travel Wiz

Barbados uses a mix of American frequencies and European frequencies for 2G and 3G, depending on the mobile operator. 4G/LTE is exclusively on American frequencies.

If you bought your phone in the Americas (ITU Region 2) and have a low/medium-end device (without Tri-Band or Quad-Band) support, you want to go with Flow Barbados.

It supports traditional American frequencies on 2G, 3G & 4G/LTE, meaning that you can take full advantage of its network.

If you purchased your phone in Africa, Asia, Europe, or Oceania (ITU Regions 1 & 3) and have a low/medium-end device (without Tri-Band or Quad-Band) support, you want to go with Digicel Barbados.

It supports traditional European frequencies on 2G and 3G, but you will not be able to use its 4G/LTE network.

Suppose you have a medium/high-end device with Tri-Band or Quad-Band support. In that case, you can go with any mobile operator, as your phone will support both American frequencies and European frequencies, even on 4G/LTE.

Mobile Operators, Networks & Frequencies in Barbados

Cellular Connectivity Illustration by Phone Travel Wiz

Barbados has two mobile operators offering prepaid services easily accessible to travelers:

  • Digicel Barbados
  • Flow Barbados

The following frequencies are used in Barbados:

  • 2G: 900 MHz, 1800 MHz & 1900 MHz
  • 3G: 850 MHz, 1900 MHz & 2100 MHz
  • 4G/LTE: 700 MHz (Band 17), 850 MHz (Band 5), 1700 MHz (Band 4) & 1900 MHz (Band 2)

You can learn more about frequencies in the video below.

To check whether your phone will work in Barbados, check out this page by Kimovil or this one by Will My Phone Work (outdated, unfortunately, but extremely user-friendly – useful for phones launched in or before 2019. It does not check for 5G NR compatibility).

Again, make sure your phone is unlocked. Otherwise, you will not be able to use any SIM card except the one from your home operator (meaning you have to roam internationally or buy another unlocked phone that does support the frequencies listed above).

If you want to learn how international roaming works, this guide explains it in-depth. If you wonder why it is often so expensive to roam, this article explains the hidden reason they do not want you to know.

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VoLTE & VoWiFi in Barbados

Both VoLTE (Voice over LTE (4G) – also known as HD Voice) and VoWiFi (Voice over WiFi – also known as WiFi calling) are not offered by the mobile operators in Barbados (yet).

This means that when you make a call, your phone will downgrade to 3G (or 2G when 3G is not available) instead of staying connected to 4G/LTE.

This is also why you often cannot use mobile while calling if not connected to WiFi.

VoWiFi is, as the name implies, calling on a WiFi connection as opposed to on a cellular network.

5G NR in Barbados

5G NR Connectivity Illustration by Phone Travel Wiz

5G NR is not available in Barbados as of 2022, and the Barbadian government has not made any indications of when they will auction 5G licenses.

Best SIM Card in Barbados

If you want to buy the best SIM card in Barbados, I recommend going with Digicel or Flow. Both mobile operators have excellent nationwide coverage. Digicel offers a large variety of plans, while Flow has SIM cards targeting tourists that may be interesting.

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Best eSIM in Barbados

Unfortunately, none of the mobile operators offer eSIM to prepaid customers in Barbados yet.

Note that the Barbadian mobile operators require your identification (passport) for (future) eSIMs and physical SIM cards (will be discussed later).

However, you can also get a travel eSIM from various eSIM providers.

The list below is not exhaustive – many more providers have eSIMs for Barbados.

But these are the ones I have tried and had pleasant experiences with.

Moreover, they are reasonably priced, which I find very important (you will not see me recommending an eSIM I would not buy myself).

So here are the five best eSIMs for Barbados:

Because this is the SIM card buying guide for Barbados, I will not spend too much time about travel eSIMs here and throughout this guide (but I will still do here and there).

If you want to learn more about the best eSIMs for Barbados, you better check out my Barbados eSIM buying guide.

It is as helpful and comprehensive as this guide but about eSIMs instead 😜.

Buying an eSIM for Barbados Guide (logos of Holafly, Nomad, Island Hopper, Barbnet, Alosim & Airalo)

SIM Card Registration in Barbados

SIM card registration with your passport information is mandatory in Barbados. It will be done at the point of sale.

Barbados Mobile Internet Prices & Insights

Flag of Barbados

Mobile data used to be crazy expensive in the Caribbean.

Luckily, that has changed over the years.

For the better for travelers, but especially for the locals.

But some Caribbean nations still have pricey mobile data rates, especially when looking at it from a global perspective.

How expensive is mobile data in Barbados?

The average price for 1 GB of data in Barbados is 6.79 USD, above the Caribbean average of 4.44 USD. The world average is 4.07 USD.

In fact, Barbados is the 6th most expensive country for mobile data.

But the average cost of 1 GB of data has gone down by 57.8% compared to 2019's figures.

There is, of course, still room for improvement.

While there is not much information about mobile data speeds in the country because not many people do speed tests there, I can mention something about speeds.

In the Caribbean, you can expect your speeds to range between 10 Mbps and 25 Mbps.

With reasonably priced SIM cards, close to excellent nationwide coverage, decent mobile download speeds, and above average mobile data rates, you should have a smooth network experience in Barbados.

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Currency in Barbados

50 Barbardian Dollar Bank Note
© Central Bank of Barbados

Barbados uses the Barbados Dollar with the symbol BBD (which will be used throughout this guide).

However, prices are often listed as BDD$ or just $. For example, 25 BBD = BDD$/$25.

The Barbados Dollar is pegged 2:1 to the US Dollar (USD), meaning that 2 BBD is 1 USD. 20 BBD would be 10 USD, 200 BBD is 99 USD, etc.

Many shops allow you to pay in USD in Barbados but expect your change in BBD instead.

10 US Dollar Note
© U.S. Currency Education Program

For up-to-date BBD:your currency (let's say Euro) exchange rates, use the Wise Currency Converter tool.

If your credit/debit card charges you foreign exchange fees, get yourself a Wise Borderless Account and Debit Card.

Their fees are MUCH lower than banks and credit card companies charge you (and Wise is transparent about their fees, unlike banks).

I have saved literal THOUSANDS of Australian Dollars and Euros, my main currencies, when using Wise abroad when traveling compared to my debit and credit cards.

Open a Wise account for FREE!

Wise Currency Exchange Banner
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Barbadian Prepaid SIM Cards

Below, I will guide you through Digicel Barbados & Flow Barbados, and go through:

  • Background information
  • Mobile coverage
  • SIM card types, prices & availability
  • Recharge/top-up information
  • Combo plans, data plans & special packs (such as social media packs) 

With that being said, let’s see what Barbados has to offer to us.


Digicel Barbados

Digicel Logo
© Digicel

Digicel Barbados, just Digicel, is one of the two mobile operators in Barbados.

Digicel, as a company, is active in many other Caribbean nations, Central America & Oceania.

Digicel uses the following frequencies:

  • 2G: 850 MHz & 1900 MHz
  • 3G: 900 MHz & 1900 MHz
  • 4G/LTE: 700 MHz (Band 17)

This is what you will learn about Digicel:

* Coverage
* How to Get a Digicel SIM Card & SIM Card Price
* Topping Up Options & Methods + Balance Check
* Plans & Packages
* APN/Internet Settings

Coverage – Digicel Barbados

Digicel has the best coverage in Barbados.

It also has the most extensive 4G/LTE coverage.

However, coverage around Speightstown may be spotty for some reason.

Below is Digicel's coverage map produced by Speedtest:

SIM Card Price – Digicel Barbados

You can get a Digicel SIM card for 10 BBD in Digicel stores. They are not sold at Barbados/Seawell-Grantley Adams International Airport (BGI).

You may have to dial *122# to activate your SIM card if your SIM card does not work upon purchase.

Dial *129# to see your Digicel phone number.

Dial *246# to access the Digicel menu.

  • Find out how much SIM cards cost in every country, including data-only SIM cards and tourist SIM cards, offered by each mobile operator + information about starter benefits (lookup tool)
SIM Card Prices Worldwide Tool by Phone Travel Wiz

Digicel has no eSIMs.

You can consider getting a travel eSIM for Barbados, which can, in specific scenarios, be cheaper than getting a SIM card from Digicel.

Especially if you get a Latin (Central- and South) America-wide eSIM (for when you visit at least two or more supported Latin American countries) or a global eSIM (for frequent travelers visiting multiple continents).

In my Barbados eSIM buying guide, I analyze various eSIM options of eSIM providers I have tested extensively worldwide.

But I will introduce them here quickly:

  • Airalo: Barbnet (Barbados only), – use code FEB15 (15% off – first-time users only) or FEB10 (10% off)
  • Alosim: Barbados – use code PTW (5% off – no limits)
  • Holafly: Barbados – all variants in both options include unlimited data – use code PHONETRAVELWIZ (5% off – no limits)
  • Nomad: Barbados & Global (109 or 139 countries, depending on the variant) – use code ADU123 (3 USD off – first-time users only)

Once again, check out my Barbados eSIM buying guide to learn more about these eSIM options.

Buying an eSIM for Barbados Guide (logos of Holafly, Nomad, Island Hopper, Barbnet, Alosim & Airalo)

For now, I will continue with Digicel.

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Top-Up, Recharge & Balance Check – Digicel Barbados

Digicel top-up vouchers are sold in Digicel stores, kiosks, gas stations & grocery stores.

To top up your Digicel SIM card, dial *125# and follow the instructions.

You can also tell the salesperson how much credit you want, your phone number, pay, and they will top up your SIM card with the POS system.

You can also recharge online with (international) debit and credit cards.

Dial *246# to check your Digicel balance.

You can also top up and check your balance on the Digicel app (Android/iOS).

Digicel App
© Digicel

Packages, Plans, Bundles & Offers – Digicel Barbados

Digicel has only one data-featured prepaid plan: Digicel Prepaid Prime Plan (combo). It includes data (without 5G NR access), minutes & SMS.

I will list all the prices in BBD (Barbados Dollar).

To convert BBD to your currency (let's say USD) with up-to-date exchange rates, use the Wise Currency Converter tool.

Wise Currency Exchange Banner
© Wise

The following Prime Plan are available, which can be activated by dialing *246#:

PricePlanDataSocial Data 1On-Net Minutes Off-Net MinutesLocal SMSValidity
8 BBD1 Day Prime Plan1 GB1 GB/appUnlimited50 minutesUnlimited1 day
16 BBD3 Day Prime Plan2 GB3 GB/appUnlimited50 minutesUnlimited3 days
30 BBD7 Day Prime Plan5 GB7 GB/appUnlimited100 minutesUnlimited7 days 
55 BBD14 Day Prime Plan8 GB14 GB/appUnlimited270 minutesUnlimited14 days
100 BBD30 Day Prime Plan15 GB30 GB/app Unlimited300 minutesUnlimited30 days 

1 for BiP, GoLoud, Loop & SportsMax (so you would have the said data allowance per app, aka 1 GB for BiP, 1 GB for GoLoud, 1 GB for Loop, etc., if the data allowance says “1 GB/app”)

Digicel Barbados Prepaid Prime Plan
© Digicel Barbados

APN/Internet Settings – Digicel Barbados

  • Name: Digicel
  • APN: web

Note: leave anything not mentioned above untouched.

Jump back to the Table of Contents.

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Flow Barbados

Flow Logo
© Flow

Flow Barbados, just Flow, is one of the two mobile operators in Barbados

Flow is a brand by Cable & Wireless used throughout the Caribbean.

Flow uses the following frequencies:

  • 2G: 850 MHz
  • 3G: 850 MHz & 1900 MHz
  • 4G/LTE: 700 MHz (Band 13)

This is what you will learn about Flow:

* Coverage
* How to Get a Flow SIM Card & SIM Card Price
* Topping Up Options & Methods + Balance Check
* Plan & Packages
* APN/Internet Settings

Coverage – Flow Barbados

Flow has extensive coverage throughout Barbados.

Its 4G/LTE reception lacks a bit compared to Digicel Barbados, but it is still great.

Below is Flow's coverage map produced by Speedtest:

SIM Card Price – Flow Barbados

You can get a Flow SIM card for 5 USD (10 BBD) in Flow stores. They are not sold at Barbados/Seawell-Grantley Adams International Airport (BGI).

Short-term visitors and tourists can also get the Flow Tourist SIM card.

Flow Barbados Tourist SIM Card
© Flow Barbados

They cost 20 BBD for 1 day or 40 BBD for 7 days with data, minutes & SMS.

The following two Flow Tourist SIM cards are available:

PriceSIM CardDataWhatsApp DataLocal MinutesInternational Minutes 1Local SMSValidity
20 BBDTourist 1 Day6 GB1 GBUnlimited25 minutesUnlimited1 day
40 BBDTourist 7 Day6 GB1 GBUnlimited75 minutesUnlimited7 days

1 to Canada, the United Kingdom (fixed only) & the United States + Flow Caribbean (Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Bonaire, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Curaçao, Grenada, Jamaica, Montserrat, Saba, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Martin, Saint Vincent & the Grenadines, Sint Eustatius, Sint Maarten, Trinidad and Tobago & the Turks and Caicos Islands)

Dial *129# to access the Flow menu.

Dial *555# to see your Flow phone number.

  • Find out how much SIM cards cost in every country, including data-only SIM cards and tourist SIM cards, offered by each mobile operator + information about starter benefits (lookup tool)
SIM Card Prices Worldwide Tool by Phone Travel Wiz

Flow has no eSIMs.

You may want to get a travel eSIM for Barbados, which can be cheaper than getting a SIM card from Flow (in some cases).

Especially when getting a Latin (Central- and South) America-wide eSIM if you do not stay in just Barbados or a global eSIM valid for up to a year if you want one eSIM to work practically worldwide.

My Barbados eSIM buying guide analyzes various eSIM options of eSIM providers I have tested extensively worldwide.

Here is a quick introduction to them:

  • Airalo: Barbnet (Barbados only), – use code FEB15 (15% off – first-time users only) or FEB10 (10% off)
  • Alosim: Barbados – use code PTW (5% off – no limits)
  • Holafly: Barbados – these eSIMs have unlimited data – use code PHONETRAVELWIZ (5% off – no limits)
  • Nomad: Barbados & Global (up to 139 countries) – use code ADU123 (3 USD off – first-time users only)

For more information, such as the prices and data allowances, check out my Barbados eSIM buying guide.

Buying an eSIM for Barbados Guide (logos of Holafly, Nomad, Island Hopper, Barbnet, Alosim & Airalo)

But let's continue with Flow for now.

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Top-Up, Recharge & Balance Check – Flow Barbados

Flow top-up vouchers are sold in Flow stores, grocery stores, gas stations & bars.

To top up your Flow SIM card, dial *121*VoucherCode#.

For example, if your voucher code is 123456, you would dial *121*123456#.

You can also tell the salesperson how much credit you want, your phone number, pay, and they will top up your SIM card with the POS system.

You can also recharge online with (international) debit and credit cards.

Dial *120#, *129#, or *2273# to check your Flow balance.

You can also top up and check your balance on the Flow app (Android/iOS).

Flow App
© Flow

Packages, Plans, Bundles & Offers – Flow Barbados

Flow has one data-featured prepaid plan: The Combo Plans (combo, obviously). It includes data (without 5G NR access), minutes & SMS.

I will list all the prices in BBD (Barbados Dollar).

To convert BBD to your currency (let's say USD) with up-to-date exchange rates, use the Wise Currency Converter tool.

Wise Currency Exchange Banner
© Wise

The following Combo Plan Plans are available, which you can activate by dialing the Activation Code:

PricePlanData 1Social Data 2On-Net MinutesOff-Net MinutesInternational Minutes 3Local SMSValidityActivation Code
28 BBDSmall Plan5 GB2 GBUnlimited100 minutes100 minutesUnlimited7 days*244*1007#
49 BBDMedium Plan8 GB3 GBUnlimited250 minutes250 minutesUnlimited14 days*244*1014#
95 BBDLarge Plan12 GB7 GBUnlimited Unlimited300 minutesUnlimited30 days*244*1031#

1 +extra 2 GB with upon auto-renewal
2 1 for Whatsapp
3 to Flow Caribbean (Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, Bonaire, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Curaçao, Grenada, Jamaica, Montserrat, Saba, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Martin, Saint Vincent & the Grenadines, Sint Eustatius, Sint Maarten, Trinidad and Tobago & the Turks and Caicos Islands) Canada, the United Kingdom (fixed) & the United States

Unused data will roll over to the next billing cycle.

Combo Plans auto-renew.

Flow Barbados Combo Plans

APN/Internet Settings – Flow Barbados

  • Name: Flow Internet
  • APN: ppinternet

Jump back to the Table of Contents.

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The Preferred Way to Stay Connected When Traveling in Barbados

Getting a SIM card from Digicel or Flow would do you well when considering a Barbadian SIM card.