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2 Best Prepaid SIM Cards in Barbados: Buying Guide

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

With average temperatures rarely going below 20°C (or (20*9/5)+32 for Fahrenheit ;) ), 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. 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 (5 USD) from both Digicel and Flow in their stores. 1 GB of data valid for 7 days will set you back at least 25 BBD (12.50 USD).

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: 25th of October 2021.

Table of Contents

Can You Buy a SIM Card in Barbados?

You can buy a Barbadian SIM card from Digicel or 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. Moreover, your phone has to support the frequencies used in Barbados. Furthermore, 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.

It is not possible to buy a SIM card at Grantley Adams International Airport.

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

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

Can You Use Your Phone in Barbados?

Barbados uses GSM for its 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, and 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, and South America + the Caribbean), ITU Region 2, use American Frequencies, which are different from the European Frequencies.

ITU Regions Map
By Maximilian Dörrbecker (Chumwa) – Own work, using this file by Denelson83, CC BY-SA 2.5

Barbados uses a mix of American Frequencies and European Frequencies for 2G and 3G, depending on the 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 would want to go with Flow Barbados. It supports traditional American Frequencies on 2G, 3G, and 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 would 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 either Flow Barbados or Digicel Barbados, as your phone will support both American Frequencies and European Frequencies, even on 4G/LTE.

Mobile Operators, Networks & Frequencies in Barbados

Barbados has two mobile operators:

  • 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 Will My Phone Work (may be outdated or inaccurate at times).

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.

5G NR in Barbados

5G NR is not available in Barbados as of 2021, 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 either Digicel or Flow. Both operators have excellent nationwide coverage. Digicel offers a large variety of plans. On the other hand, Flow offers free data roaming in various Caribbean nations.

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.

Barbados Mobile Data Rates 2021

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.

The quality of the networks is quite good in Barbados for regional standards. However, you should not expect too much in terms of speeds. Flow states that it provides speeds up to 21 Mbps (much than half the global average), but the speeds are generally between 4 Mbps to 15 Mbps – that is slow.

Overall, you should have a smooth network experience in Barbados.

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 BDS, Bds$, or just $. For example, 25 BBD = BDS/Bds$/$ 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 100 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

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Barbados Prepaid SIM Cards

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

  • Background information
  • Mobile coverage
  • SIM card types, prices, and availability
  • Recharge/top-up information
  • Combo plans, data plans, and 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 operators in Barbados. It managed to become the largest operator somewhere between 2013-2015. It is unknown whether it is still the largest operator on the island or not. Digicel as a company is active in many other Caribbean nations, Central America, and Oceania.

Digicel uses the following frequencies:

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

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:

SIM Card Price – Digicel Barbados

You can buy a Digicel SIM card for 10 BBD in Digicel stores.

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.

Top-Up, Recharge & Balance Check – Digicel Barbados

Digicel top-up vouchers are sold in Digicel stores and many other establishments, such as kiosks, gas stations, and 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 #120# or *140# 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 four data-featured plans:

All Digicel plans can be activated by dialing *246#.

Click on the links above to jump to the plan you are interested in.

Prime Bundles – Digicel Barbados
Digicel Trinidad & Tobago Prime Bundles
© Digicel

Digicel has the new Prime Bundles, which are bundles with data, data for select Digicel apps, minutes, and SMS.

The following Prime Bundles are available:

PricePlanAny Use DataListen More (Music) DataListen More (Radio) DataWatch More DataPlay More DataShare More DataKnow More DataStore More DataOn-Net MinutesAnywhere MinutesLocal SMSValidity
30 BBD7 Day Prime Bundle2 GB7 GB7 GB7 GB7 GB7 GB7 GB7 GBUnlimited270 minutesUnlimited7 days 
55 BBD14 Day Prime Bundle4 GB14 GB14 GB14 GB14 GB14 GB14 GB14 GBUnlimited270 minutes150 minutes14 days
100 BBD30 Day Prime Bundle8 GB30 GB 30 GB 30 GB 30 GB 30 GB 30 GB 30 GB Unlimited300 minutes400 minutes30 days 

You also get unlimited Do More data, which is for the MyDigicel App

Below is a list to download pages of the Prime Bundle Apps:

Digicel Trinidad & Tobago Apps
© Digicel

Anywhere Minutes are minutes for:

Digicel Caribbean includes:

Quick Pick Bundles – Digicel Barbados

The Quick Pick bundles are combo plans with data, minutes, and SMS.

The following Quick Pick Bundles are available:

PricePlanDataOn-Net MinutesLocal/Anywhere MinutesOn-Net SMSValidity
6 BBDPick Data + Talk 1 Day300 MB“Unlimited” 110 minutesUnlimited1 day
25 BBDPick Data + Talk 7 Day1.2 GB“Unlimited” 170 minutesUnlimited7 days
45 BBDPick Data + Talk 30 Day2 GB70 minutesN/AUnlimited30 days
75 BBDPick Data + Talk 30 Day5 GB“Unlimited” 1300 minutesUnlimited30 days

1 undisclosed fair use limit

Unused data will roll over indefinitely as long as you purchase new plans before your current plan expires. Moreover, you can have only 15 GB in your data bank.

Quick Pick Bundles auto-renew. To disable auto-renewal, dial *246#.

Pick Data Plans – Digicel Barbados

The Pick Data Plans are data-only bundles.

The following Pick Data Plans are available:

10 BBDPick Data 3 Day300 MB3 days
17.50 BBDPick Data 7 Day700 MB7 days
31.50 BBDPick Data 14 Day1400 MB14 days
45 BBDPick Data 30 Day3 GB30 days

Unused data will roll over indefinitely as long as you purchase new plans before your current plan expires. Moreover, you can have only 15 GB in your data bank.

Pick Data Plans auto-renew. To disable auto-renewal, dial *246#.

New LTE Data Plans – Digicel Barbados

The New LTE Data Plans are data-only bundles.

You can choose one of the following New LTE Data Plans:

5 BBDLife Line500 MB1 day
12 BBDLife Style2 GB3 day
25 BBDLife Size5 GB7 days

Multiple LTE Data Plans can be activated simultaneously.

New LTE Data Plans auto-renew. To disable auto-renewal, dial *246#.

Get More Bundles (DISCONTINUED) – Digicel Barbados

The Get More Bundles were Digicel's main combo plans before they introduced the Prime Bundles. They include data, minutes, and SMS.

The following Get More Bundles are available, which can be activated by dialing *246#:

PricePlanDataOn-Net MinutesOff-Net MinutesOn-Net SMSValidity
7 BBDGet More 1 Day350 MBUnlimited10 minutesUnlimited1 day
25 BBDGet More 7 Days1.2 GBUnlimited70 minutesUnlimited7 days 
50 BBDGet More 14 Days2.5 GBUnlimited250 minutesUnlimited14 days 
90 BBDGet More 30 Days5 GB Unlimited300 minutesUnlimited30 days

Unused Get More data wlil roll over if you renew the bundle.

You can check your Get More Bundle balance by dialing *246#.

APN/Internet Settings – Digicel Barbados

  • Name: Digicel
  • APN: web

Note: leave anything not mentioned above untouched.

Jump back to the Table of Contents.

Flow Barbados

Flow Logo
© Flow

Flow Barbados, just Flow, is Barbados' first mobile operator, which held a monopoly until Digicel entered the market. Flow is a brand by Cable & Wireless used throughout the Caribbean. Flow used to be known as Lime before 2015.

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, but it is still good.

Below is Flow's coverage map:

SIM Card Price – Flow Barbados

You can get a Flow SIM card for 5 USD (10 BBD) in Flow stores.

Dial *555# to see your Flow phone number.

Top-Up, Recharge & Balance Check – Flow Barbados

Flow top-up vouchers, available in values between 5 BBD to 200 BBD, are sold in Flow stores and many other stores throughout Barbados, including grocery stores, gas stations, and bars.

To top up your Flow, dial *121*9VoucherCode#.

For example, if your voucher code is 123456, you would dial *121*9123456#.

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 plan, which is the Combo Plan. They include data (also for Flow Caribbean roaming), minutes, and SMS.

The following Combo Plans are available:

PricePlanDataWhatsApp DataOn-Net MinutesAnywhere Minutes 1Local SMSValidityActivation Code
25 BBDSmall Plan2 GB1 GBUnlimited100 minutes5000 SMS7 days*244*2007#
45 BBDMedium Plan3 GB1 GBUnlimited250 minutes5000 SMS14 days*244*4041#
90 BBDLarge Plan4 GB1.5 GBUnlimited300 minutes5000 SMS30 days*244*4030#

1 for off-net use and to Canada, United Kingdom (fixed only), United States & Flow Caribbean (Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, Montserrat, St Kitts & Nevis, St Vincent & the Grenadines, Trinidad & Tobago, and Turks & Caicos)

Multiple Combo Plans can be activated simultaneously.

Unused data will roll over indefinitely as long as you purchase new plans before your current plan expires.

Your regular data allowance, not the dedicated WhatsApp data allowance, can be used for free data roaming in Flow Caribbean.

Flow Caribbean consists of the following countries and territories:

Combo Plans auto-renew.

Data Only Plans (DISCONTINUED) – Flow Barbados

The Data Only plans are standard data bundles.

The following Data Only Plans are available:

PriceDataValidityActivation Code
5 BBD50 MB1 day*146*50#
7 BBD200 MB1 day*146*200#
10 BBD500 MB3 days*146*500#
12 BBD700 MB7 days*146*700#
14 BBD1 GB7 days*146*1007#
30 BBD1.5 GB14 days*146*1500#
36 BBD2 GB30 days*146*2000#
48 BBD4 GB30 days*146*4000#
60 BBD10 GB30 days*146*10000#

Unused data rolls over if you let the plan renew.

To activate a Data Only Plan, dial the Activation Code.

For example, if you want the 1 GB plan, you would dial *146*1007#.

APN/Internet Settings – Flow Barbados

  • Name: Flow Internet
  • APN: ppinternet

Note: do not use just “internet” as a prepaid customer. That APN is reserved for postpaid customers. Leave anything not mentioned above untouched.

Jump back to the Table of Contents.

Other Ways to Stay Connected When Traveling in Barbados

I would highly encourage anyone visiting Barbados to get themselves a Barbadian SIM card – you will be saving a lot of money when you do so.

However, for some, getting a Barbadian SIM card is not an option. For example, your device may be SIM-locked, meaning that you cannot use any other SIM card other than the SIM card provided by your operator.

There are other ways to stay online while in Barbados, but they may not be cheap.

However, these methods may be more expensive than getting a SIM card from the two local operators.

International Roaming

International roaming is the most convenient way to stay connected when traveling in other countries because you do not have to buy a new SIM card, have to deal with SIM card registration regulations, nor have multiple phone numbers to deal with.

However, international roaming has proven to be expensive in many cases, especially compared to buying local SIM cards. That is why many travelers are not fond of international roaming.

International roaming has its pros and cons. However, it is important to know how it works. This in-depth guide explains it all.

Find out whether your mobile operator has attractive roaming rates for Barbados here.

Using an International SIM Card or Travel SIM Card

International SIM cards are SIM cards made for the traveler in mind. Using them is often cheaper than international roaming. However, they are almost always more expensive than using a local SIM card.

There are many other advantages and disadvantages of getting international SIM cards, which you can learn about here.

Using a Mobile Hotspot (Pocket WIFI)

Mobile hotspots, or pocket WIFI, are small devices that connect to the local operators of the country you are visiting. Mobile hotspots are ideal for families or those traveling in a large group, as they allow you to connect multiple devices to one hotspot without the need of each traveler having to buy a SIM card.

You can either buy a mobile hotspot or rent one.

Using Free WIFI Networks

Using free WIFI connections is the cheapest way to stay connected because they are free. The major downside of trying to use WIFI hotspots is that you will have to locate them, and they are not available on every corner in Barbados.

Make sure to protect your internet traffic with a VPN so that hackers cannot steal your personal data.

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.

Local Prepaid SIM Cards in Other Caribbean Countries

Visiting other countries in the Caribbean? Check out my Caribbean SIM card buying guide, covering other Caribbean nations, such as:

Going to other places around the world? Then you should also check out my sim card buying guides for other destinations around the world.

Next Steps to Enhance Your Travel Experiences

Looking for the next steps to enhance your phone travel experiences? Here is what to do:

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Save money with international SIM cards, on plane tickets, bus rides, cruises, and accommodation.

Besides that, I also list services and items I use to make my life easier – and I believe they will help you too!

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If I can start a business about something I am passionate about (phone travel), then you can do it too!

Learn About Your Phone Travel Options

You can buy local prepaid SIM cardsinternational SIM cardsmobile hotspots, or roam internationally.

Each of these options has its pros and cons. Learn more about them, and find the best option for you.

Phone Travel Tips, Tricks & Hacks

I have written many articles with tips and hacks to save money on mobile costs while abroad. You surely want to check them out!

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