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Saba: 2 Best Prepaid SIM Cards Buying Guide (2023)

Saba – a potentially active volcano in the Caribbean.

It is a special municipality of the Netherlands.

Previously, it was part of the Netherlands Antilles until it was dissolved in 2010.

Now, it is the smallest and least inhabited territory in the Caribbean

What can you do in Saba? Not much besides visiting forests, beaches & Mount Scenery.

Ironically, Mount Scenery is the largest volcano/mountain in the Netherlands.

Just like many other Caribbean nations, Saba is not a cheap travel destination.

What is even more expensive are the international roaming rates for Saba – roaming can be expensive.

You are better off getting local SIM cards, like a Saban one, when you travel to enjoy local rates.

SIM cards are not cheap in Saba, but they are still way more affordable than international roaming rates.

You can get a Saban SIM card for 17 USD from Flow/Chippie (formerly UTS) in the Flow store or 20 USD from TelCell in the Satel store (local TelCell partner). You cannot buy SIM cards at Saba-Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport (SAB).

Yep – the SIM cards are not inexpensive, but they are still worth the investment.

Unless you want to receive a 300 USD roaming bill when you go back home😜.

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

Buying a SIM Card in Saba Guide (logos of Flow & TelCell/TelEm)

Original publication: 19th of December 2021. Last updated: 18th of October 2022.


Table of Contents

Can You Buy a SIM Card in Saba?

You can buy a Saban SIM card from Flow/Chippie (formerly UTS) and TelCell (TelEm) as a tourist. There is nothing preventing travelers from buying a SIM card in Saba.

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

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

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

Where Can You Buy a SIM Card in Saba?

You can get a Saban SIM card in the official store of Flow/Chippie (formerly UTS) and Satel (for TelCell). They are not available at Saba-Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport (SAB).

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

  • Flow/Chippie Saba (formerly UTS Saba): 17 USD
  • TelCell (Saba): 20 USD
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Can You Use Your Phone in Saba?

Saba 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 Maximilian Dörrbecker (Chumwa) – Own work, using this file by Denelson83, CC BY-SA 2.5

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

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 can go with any mobile operator.

They support traditional European frequencies on 2G, 3G & 4G/LTE. However, one of TelCell Saba's 3G and 4G/LTE frequencies (850 MHz (on Band 5)) is a traditional American frequency.

Luckily, the other ones (1800 MHz on Band 3 and 2100 MHz on Band 1) are traditional European 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 can go with any mobile operator.

One of their 3G frequencies (850 MHz) is a traditional American frequency. The same counts for 850 MHz (Band 5) on TelCell's 4G/LTE network (which barely exist anyway).

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 Saba

Saba has two mobile operators offering prepaid services:

  • Flow/Chippie Saba (formerly UTS Saba)
  • TelCell (Saba – TelEm)

The following frequencies are used in Saba:

  • 2G: 900 MHz & 1800 MHz
  • 3G: 850 MHz & 2100 MHz
  • 4G/LTE: 850 MHz (Band 5), 1800 MHz (Band 3) & 2100 MHz (Band 1)

You can learn more about frequencies in the video below.

To check whether your phone will work in Saba, check out this page by Will My Phone Work.

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 Saba

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 Saba (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 Saba

5G NR is not available in Saba as of 2022, and the Saban government has not made any andications of when it will auction 5G licenses.

Best SIM Card in Saba

If you want to buy the best SIM card in Saba, I recommend going with Flow/Chippie (formerly UTS). It has the best (4G/LTE) coverage, is the fastest, and allows for free roaming in Chippieland (neighboring territories with Flow/Chippie).

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SIM Card Registration in Saba

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

Saba Mobile Internet Prices & Insights

Flag of Saba

The Caribbean is certainly not known for being a cheap travel destination.

Many of the Caribbean nations have many high-end resorts.

They are fun, but they are off-limits for your on-a-budget backpacker – if you get me.

So what about mobile data rates? Are they low in Saba?

The average price for 1 GB of data in Saba is 3.76 USD, around the Caribbean average of 4.44 USD. The world average is 4.07 USD.

But what about the arrows in the image above?

Yes, Saba is part of Caribbean Netherlands. But I do not know how Cable.co.uk came with their average, as it is nowhere clear to reality.

Based on my own calculations, the average cost of 1 GB of data is 3.76 USD.

Much better than the 10.94 USD average from Cable.co.uk, I would say 😏.

While there is not much information about mobile data speeds in Saba 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.

The same applies to Saba, although you will be on the lower end of the range.

With quite expensively priced SIM cards, good nationwide coverage (in populated areas), decent mobile download speeds, and average mobile data rates, you should have a smooth network experience in Saba.

.

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Currency in Saba

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

Saba uses the US Dollar with the symbol USD (which will be used throughout this guide).

Prices in Saba are listed in just $.

For up-to-date USD: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 Euros, my main currency, when using Wise abroad when traveling compared to my debit and credit cards. Open a Wise account FREE!

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Saban Prepaid SIM Cards

Below, I will guide you through Flow/Chippie Saba (formerly UTS Saba) & TelCell (Saba – TelEm), 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 Saba has to offer to us.


Flow/Chippie Saba (formerly UTS)

Flow Logo
© Flow

Flow Saba, just Flow and formerly UTS Saba – going by Chippie, is one of the two mobile operators in Saba.

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

Flow/Chippie uses the following frequencies:

  • 2G: 900 MHz & 1800 MHz
  • 3G: 850 MHz & 2100 MHz
  • 4G/LTE: 1800 MHz (Band 3)

This is what you will learn about Flow/Chippie:

* Coverage
* How to Get a Flow/Chippie SIM Card & SIM Card Price
* Topping Up Options & Methods
* Plans & Packages
* Chippieland Explained
* APN/Internet Settings

Coverage – Flow/Chippie Saba (formerly UTS)

Flow/Chippie has the best (4G/LTE) coverage in Saba.

3G and 4G/LTE reception are available in the populated areas.

Below is Flow's/Chippie's coverage map produced by Speedtest:

SIM Card Price – Flow/Chippie Saba (formerly UTS)

You can get a Flow/Chippie SIM card for 17 USD with 11 USD credit from the Flow Store in The Bottom (Mathew Levenstone Street 16). They are not sold at Saba-Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport (SAB).

  • 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

Dial *91 or #191# to access the Flow/Chippie menu.

Dial *555# to see your Flow/Chippie phone number.

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Top-Up, Recharge & Balance Check – Flow/Chippie Saba (formerly UTS)

Flow/Chippie top-up vouchers, called Chippiecards, are sold in the Flow Store in The Bottom (Mathew Levenstone Street 16), grocery stores, gas stations & bars.

The following top-ups are available:

Top-UpValidity
5 USD30 days
10 USD30 days
20 USD30 days

To top up your Flow/Chippie SIM card, dial *191*VoucherCode#; dial *91, select option 2, and enter the VoucherCode; or dial *444#, select option 1, select option 1 again, and enter the VoucherCode.

For example, if your voucher code is 123456, you would dial *191*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 #191# or dial *91 and select option 1 to check your Flow/Chippie balance.

You can also top up on the Topup Chippie app (Android/iOS).

Flow Chippie Topup Chippie App
© Flow/Chippie

Packages, Plans, Bundles & Offers – Flow/Chippie Saba (formerly UTS)

Flow/Chippie has three data-featured plans:

All Flow/Chippie plans can be activated by texting the Activation Code to 3434.

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

Combo Bundles – Flow/Chippie Saba (formerly UTS)

The Combo Bundles are, as the name implies, combo plans with data, minutes & SMS.

Activate Combo Bundles by texting the Activation Code to 3434:

PricePlanDataLocal MinutesLocal SMSValidityActivation Code
3 USD1 Day Combo1.5 GB1000 minutes100 SMS1 daycombo1d
7 USD3 Day Combo2.5 GB1000 minutes200 SMS3 dayscombo3d
14 USD7 Day Combo7.5 GB“Unlimited”, 3000 minutesUnlimited7 dayscombo7d
51 USD30 Day Combo10 GB“Unlimited”, 3000 minutesUnlimited30 dayscombo30d
Flow Chippie Saba Combo Bundles
Data Bundles – Flow/Chippie Saba (formerly UTS)

The Data Bundles are, as the name suggests, data-only plans.

Activate Data Bundles by texting the Activation Code to 3434:

PricePlanDataValidityActivation Code
2.50 USD1 Day2 GB1 daydata1d
6 USD3 Days3 GB3 daysdata3d
12 USD7 Days4 GB7 daysdata7d
18 USD30 Days Small2 GB30 daysdata30ds
24 USD30 Days Large8 GB30 daysdata30ds
Flow Chippie Saba Data Bundles
Extra Data Add-On – Flow/Chippie Saba (formerly UTS)

The Extra Data is a data-only add-on exclusively for Combo Bundles. It cannot be purchased as a standalone plan.

For 6 USD, you get 1 GB on top of your existing data allowance.

The validity of your current Combo Bundle stays in place.

Text extra data to 3434 to activate Extra Data.

PriceDataValidityActivation Code
6 USD1 GBUntil plan expiresextra data

APN/Internet Settings – Flow/Chippie Saba (formerly UTS)

  • Name: Chippie
  • APN: premium

Note: leave anything not mentioned above untouched.

Jump back to the Table of Contents.

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TelCell (Saba – TelEm)

TeleM-TelCell Sint Eustatius, Sint Maarten & Saba Logo
© TelEm/TelCell

TelCell Saba, just TelCell but also known as TelEm, is one of the mobile operators in Saba.

It operates as one mobile operator network in Saba, Sint Eustatius & Sint Maarten.

This allows you to use your TelCell SIM card in the aforementioned territories without paying roaming fees.

TelCell uses the following frequencies:

  • 2G: 900 MHz & 1800 MHz
  • 3G: 850 MHz & 2100 MHz
  • 4G/LTE: 850 MHz (Band 5) & 2100 MHz (Band 1)

This is what you will learn about TelCell:

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

Coverage – TelCell (Saba – TelEm)

TelCell has good coverage in Saba.

3G reception is available in populated areas.

4G/LTE barely exists with TelCell.

Below is TelCell's coverage map produced by Speedtest:

SIM Card Price – TelCell (Saba – TelEm)

You can get a TelCell SIM card for 20 USD with 10 USD credit in the Satel store (TelCell's local partner). They are not sold at Saba-Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport (SAB).

TelCell Sint Eustatius, Sint Maarten & Saba SIM Card
© TelEm/TelCell
  • 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

Text number to 121 to see your TelCell phone number.

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Top-Up, Recharge & Balance Check – TelCell (Saba – TelEm)

TelCell top-up vouchers are sold in the Satel store (TelCell's local partner) and from Top Up Vendors, including grocery stores, gas stations & bars.

The following top-ups are available:

Top-UpValidity
1 USD – 2.99 USD2 days 
2 USD – 4.99 USD5 days 
5 USD – 9.99 USD10 days 
10 USD – 19.99 USD30 days 
20 USD – 59.99 USD60 days 
60 USD – 99.99 USD80 days 
100 USD – 200 USD100 days 
TelCell Sint Eustatius, Sint Maarten & Saba Top-Ups

To top up your TelCell SIM card, dial *123*VoucherCode#.

For example, if your voucher code is 123456, you would dial *123*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 *124# to check your TelCell balance.

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

TelCell Sint Eustatius, Sint Maarten & Saba TelCell Customer Selfcare App
© TelEm/TelCell

Packages, Plans, Bundles & Offers – TelCell (Saba – TelEm)

TelCell has two data-featured plans: Mobile Prepaid Data Plans (as the name implies) & Smart Data (add-on).

Mobile Prepaid Data Plans – TelCell (Saba – TelEm)

The Mobile Prepaid Data Plans are, as the name suggests, data-only bundles.

The following Mobile Prepaid Data Plans are available, which you can activate by texting DATA ON to the corresponding number:

PriceDataValidityActivation Code
2 USD750 MB1 dayDATA ON to 1001
3 USD1.5 GB1 dayDATA ON to 2001
7.50 USD4 GB1 dayDATA ON to 2004
10 USD1 GB30 daysDATA ON to 1007
10 USD5.25 GB7 daysDATA ON to 3001
20 USD3 GB30 daysDATA ON to 2030
30 USD5 GB30 daysDATA ON to 1030
35 USD7.5 GB30 daysDATA ON to 1035
40 USD10 GB30 daysDATA ON to 1040
TelCell Sint Eustatius, Sint Maarten & Saba Prepaid Mobile Data Plans
Smart Data Add-On – TelCell (Saba – TelEm)

The Smart Data plan is a data-only add-on. It cannot be purchased as a standalone plan.

For 10 USD, you get 1 GB on top of your existing data allowance.

The validity of your current Mobile Prepaid Data Plan stays in place.

Text DATA ON to 3230 to activate Smart Data.

PriceDataValidityActivation Code
10 USD1 GBUntil plan expiresDATA ON to 3230

APN/Internet Settings – TelCell (Saba – TelEm)

  • Name: TelCell
  • APN: internet.telcell.an
  • Authentication Type: PAP or CHAP

Note: leave anything not mentioned above untouched.

Jump back to the Table of Contents.

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The Preferred Way to Stay Connected When Traveling in Saba

Getting a SIM card from Flow/Chippie would be your only when considering a Saban SIM card.


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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