Buying a Prepaid SIM Card in the Bahamas Guide

The Bahamas is a popular travel destination in the Caribbean. With more than 700 islands, you are bound to share your incredible (beach-life) experiences with your friends and family.

The thing is, international roaming can be super expensive. This is especially true when in the Bahamas.

Luckily, there is a way to cut down on excessive international roaming fees – getting a Bahamian SIM card.

How expensive are SIM cards in the Bahamas?

You can get a Bahamian SIM card for as low as 15 BSD (15 USD). A data plan with 1 GB of data is sold for 7 BSD (7 USD).

These may sound expensive, but they are much cheaper than the standard international roaming rates most operators around the world will charge you for 1 GB of data.

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

Buying a SIM Card in the Bahamas Guide (logos of BTC & Aliv)

Original publication: 6th of March 2020. Last updated: 13th of November 2020.

Table of Contents

Can I Buy a SIM Card in the Bahamas?

Anyone residing or visiting the Bahamas is allowed to purchase a Bahamian SIM card. You have to ensure your SIM card is registered upon purchase.

Moreover, your phone needs to support the frequencies used in the Bahamas, and it needs to be SIM-lock free (unlocked).

Can I Use My Phone in the Bahamas?

GSM technology is used for mobile communications in the Bahamas. The 4G/LTE frequencies used in the Bahamas are used mainly in the Americas (North-, Central-, and South America + the Caribbean – ITU Region 2).

However, these frequencies are not used in other regions in the world (Europe, Asia, Africa, and Oceania – ITU Regions 1 & 3).

ITU Regions Map
By Maximilian Dörrbecker (Chumwa) – Own work, using this fileOpens in a new tab. by Denelson83, CC BY-SA 2.5Opens in a new tab.

If you bought your phone in the Americas (ITU region 2) or have a high-end phone, then you can generally use your cellphone in the Bahamas.

If you purchased your phone in Europe, Asia, Africa, and Oceania (ITU Regions 1 & 3) and it is not a high-end device supporting the Bahamian frequencies, then you cannot use your phone in the Bahamas.

Mobile Operators, Networks & Frequencies in the Bahamas

The Bahamas have two mobile operators:

The following frequencies are used by the Bahamian operators:

  • 2G: 850 MHz & 1900 MHz
  • 3G: 850 MHz
  • 4G/LTE: 700 MHz (Band 17) & 1700 MHz (Band 4)

Note: Aliv does not have a 2G network.

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.

Best SIM Card in the Bahamas

If you want to buy a SIM card in the Bahamas, then I recommend going with either BTC and Aliv. The coverage with both operators is on par, so are their speeds. Aliv is more generous with their allowances and slightly cheaper than BTC.

ALSO: Want to get an excel sheet of the best SIM cards of over 230+ destinations around the world, updated monthly? Sign up for the Phone Travel Wiz Newsletter and get the excel sheet for FREE!

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SIM Card Registration in the Bahamas

SIM card registration with two forms of identification is mandatory in the Bahamas. This includes your passport and another government-issued ID (like a national ID or driver's license). Registration will be done at the point of purchase.

The Bahamas Speeds, Internet Prices & Insights

Bahamas Flag

Mobile internet speeds can be slow on island nations. Unfortunately, all of the Caribbean are islands.

But that does not mean you should always expect slow speeds while in the Caribbean. The speeds on islands are often slower than the world average.

What speeds can you expect in the Bahamas?

The average mobile download speed in the Bahamas is around 30 Mbps, placing the country in the top 75Opens in a new tab. on the Speedtest Global IndexOpens in a new tab..

Mobile Internet Speeds in the Bahamas

The world average is about 36 Mbps.

Speedtest Global Index Speeds
Source

The Caribbean can be an expensive area in terms of (mobile) internet. This also applies to the Bahamas.

With SIM card prices relatively high, how expensive is mobile data in the Bahamas?

The average price for 1 GB of data in Anguilla is 6.02 USD, which is below the Caribbean average of 7.19 USD. The world average is 5.03 USD.

That is all according to Cable.co.ukOpens in a new tab..

So although SIM cards are somewhat expensive, mobile data rates in the Bahamas are reasonable. At least from a regional perspective.

With decent internet speeds, reasonable mobile data rates, and extensive mobile coverage, you can expect a smooth network experience when in the Bahamas.

Currency in the Bahamas

The Bahamas use the Bahamian Dollar with the symbol BSD (which will be used throughout this guide). However, prices are often listed as B$ or $. For example, 25 BSD is B$/$ 25.

BSD is pegged 1:1 to the US Dollar (USD), meaning that 1 BSD is 1 USD. 10 BSD is 10 USD. 100 BSD is 100 USD. You know the drill.

USD is widely accepted in the Bahamas, so you can use it to pay for a SIM card and plans. However, you will get your change back in BSD.

If your credit/debit card charges you foreign exchange fees, get yourself a Transferwise Borderless Account and Debit Card. Their fees are MUCH lower than banks, and credit card companies charge you (and Transferwise is transparent about their fees, unlike banks). I have saved literal THOUSANDS of Euros, my main currency, when using Transferwise abroad when traveling compared to my debit and credit cards. Open a Transferwise account FREE!

Transferwise Banner

The Bahamas Prepaid SIM Cards

Below, I will guide you through the Bahamian operators, BTC & Aliv, 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 the Bahamas have to offer to us.

BTC

BTC Bahamas Logo

BTCOpens in a new tab. is the largest operator in the Bahamas. They used to have a monopoly until 2016 when Aliv entered the market.

This is what you will learn about BTC:

* Coverage
* How to Get a BTC SIM Card & SIM Card Price
* Topping-Up Options & Methods
* Internet Packages
* APN Settings

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

Jump to Aliv

BTC Coverage

BTC has extensive coverage in the Bahamas.

The operator claims to cover 99% of the population with its 4G/LTE network.

Coverage is excellent on the largest/main islands (Abaco, Bimini, Eleuthera, Exuma, Grand Bahama & New Providence). Coverage can be expected on some smaller islands, but the network reception may not be as strong.

BTC covers the following islands:

  • Abaco
  • Acklins
  • Alice Island
  • Andros
  • Berry Islands
  • Bimini
  • Bullocks Harbour Berry Island
  • Cat Island
  • Eleuthera
  • Exuma
  • Grand Bahama
  • Inagua
  • Long Cay
  • Long Island
  • Mayaguana
  • Nassau
  • Rum Cay
  • San Salvador
  • Treasure Cay

BTC has a coverage checker on its websiteOpens in a new tab.. However, it shows you BTC's coverage per individual island, not its nationwide coverage.

BTC Coverage in Nassau

The Speedtest appOpens in a new tab. does produce a nationwide map.

BTC Coverage Map

Getting a BTC SIM Card & Price

You can purchase a BTC SIM card for 15 BSD in BTC storesOpens in a new tab. throughout the Bahamas.

Dial *200# to manage your account.

Topping-Up Your BTC SIM Card

BTC refill cards are sold in values of 5 BSD to 100 BSD in BTC storesOpens in a new tab. and many retailers in the Bahamas, such as supermarkets, post offices, and small shops.

To redeem your BTC voucher, dial *202# and enter the Voucher Code. Or you can dial *44, press option 2, and enter the Voucher Code to activate the refill card.

Dial *201# to check your BTC credit balance.

BTC Internet Packages, Plans, Bundles & Offers

BTC offers several types of bundles and plans, which are:

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

BTC Always On Plan

The Always On Plan is a combo plan with data, minutes, and SMS. Although the plan itself is valid for 7 days, your Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp Messaging data allowances are valid for 30 days.

You can see what the Always On Plan includes below.

PriceDataYouTube DataFacebook Messenger DataWhatsApp Messaging DataLocal MinutesInternational Minutes to Canada & the USALocal SMSValidity
15 BSD3 GB 1 hour (500 MB)“Unlimited” (30 days – 7 GB) “Unlimited” (30 days – 7 GB) “Unlimited”, 3000 minutes50 international minutes“Unlimited”, 3000 SMS 7 days

The Always On Plan can be activated by dialing *203#.

The Always On Plan auto-renews. When the plan auto-renews, unused data will roll over to the new period.

BTC Prepaid Combo Bundles

The Prepaid Combo Bundles are combo plans with data, minutes, and SMS.

The following Prepaid Combo Bundles are available, which can be activated by dialing *203#:

PriceDataYouTube DataFacebook Messenger DataWhatsApp Messaging DataOn-Net MinutesInternational Minutes to Canada & the USAOn-Net SMSValidity
4 BSD1 GB 1 hour (500 MB)“Unlimited” (30 days – 7 GB) “Unlimited” (30 days – 7 GB) 1000 on-net minutes100 international minutes1000 SMS1 day 
7 BSD650 MB1 hour (500 MB)“Unlimited” (30 days – 7 GB) “Unlimited” (30 days – 7 GB) 60 on-net minutes60 international minutes60 SMS7 days 
12 BSD2 GB1 hour (500 MB)“Unlimited” (30 days – 7 GB) “Unlimited” (30 days – 7 GB) “Unlimited”, 3000 on-net minutes500 international minutes“Unlimited”, 3000 SMS 7 days 
25 BSD6 GB1 hour (500 MB)“Unlimited” (30 days – 7 GB) “Unlimited” (30 days – 7 GB) “Unlimited”, 3000 on-net minutesUnlimited“Unlimited”, 3000 SMS 10 days 
60 BSD10 GB 1 hour (500 MB)“Unlimited” (30 days – 7 GB) “Unlimited” (30 days – 7 GB) “Unlimited”, 3000 on-net minutesUnlimited“Unlimited”, 3000 SMS 30 days 

The Prepaid Combo Bundles auto-renew. When your bundle renews, unused data will roll over to the new period.

BTC Prepaid Data Plans

The Prepaid Data Plans are data-only bundles.

The following Prepaid Data Plans are available, which can be activated by dialing *203#:

PriceDataValidity
2.99 BSD500 MB1 day
7 BSD1 GB10 days 
12.99 BSD2 GB30 days 
25 BSD6 GB 30 days 
35 BSD15 GB 30 days 

The Prepaid Data Bundles auto-renew. When your bundle renews, unused data will roll over to the new period.

BTC APN Settings

Most phones will automatically retrieve the correct APN settings when inserting a SIM card – the same counts for BTC SIM cards. If that does not automatically happen, you can text APN to 5100 to download the APN settings.

If that does not work, you will have to add the settings manually by filling in these fields (leave anything else not mentioned below untouched):

  • Name: BTC
  • APN: internet.btcbahamas.com

Note: leave anything not mentioned above untouched.

RELATED GUIDES:

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Aliv

Aliv Logo

AlivOpens in a new tab. is the other operator in the Bahamas. They started in 2016 and have grown rapidly since.

Aliv has managed to take many subscribers from BTC and may become the largest operator in the Bahamas at one point. Right now, Aliv has a market share of 40%.

This is what you will learn about Aliv:

* Coverage
* How to Get an Aliv SIM Card & SIM Card Price
* Topping-Up Options & Methods
* Internet Packages
* APN Settings

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

Jump to BTC

Aliv Coverage

Aliv has substantial coverage throughout the Bahamas.

As part of Aliv's license agreement, the operator had to cover 99% of the population of the Bahamian Islands, which are Abaco, Bimini, Eleuthera, Exuma, Grand Bahama & New Providence within two years of obtaining the license.

Since then, Aliv has been focusing on expanding its network on the smaller islands.

Unlike BTC, Aliv does not have a list of islands they cover. I assume Aliv covers all the islands BTC covers – perhaps not as extensively.

Aliv Coverage Map

Getting an Aliv SIM Card & Price

You can buy an Aliv SIM card for 30 BSD in Aliv storesOpens in a new tab. and kiosks. The starter pack includes the Liberty 30 Package with 3 GB, unlimited on-net minutes, 300 off-net minutes, unlimited on-net SMS, and 300 off-net SMS for 30 days.

Aliv offers eSIMs, for the same price as physical SIM cards, to those who have an iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, or iPhone XR with iOS 12.1 or later.

Topping-Up Your Aliv SIM Card

Aliv top-up cards are sold in denominations of 5 BSD to 100 BSD in Aliv stores and many other establishments in the Bahamas, including grocery stores, electronic shops, and corner shops

To redeem your Aliv recharge card, dial *202# and enter the Voucher Code. The same can be done by dialing *200#. You could also dial *44, press option 1, and enter the Voucher Code to activate the recharge card.

Dial *201# to check your Aliv balance.

Aliv Internet Packages, Plans, Bundles & Offers

Aliv has Prepaid Plans, also known as the Freedom and Liberty Plans, which are combo plans with data, minutes, and SMS.

The following Prepaid Plans are available, which can be activated by dialing *206#:

PricePlanDataOn-Net MinutesOff-Net MinutesOn-Net SMSOff-Net SMSValidity
4 BSDFreedom41 GB“Unlimited”, 7500 on-net minutes30 off-net minutes“Unlimited”, 4500 on-net SMS 30 off-net SMS1 day
6 BSDFreedom60.6 GB“Unlimited”, 7500 on-net minutes50 off-net minutes“Unlimited”, 4500 on-net SMS 50 off-net SMS7 days
12 BSDFreedom122.5 GB“Unlimited”, 7500 on-net minutes100 off-net minutes“Unlimited”, 4500 on-net SMS 100 off-net SMS 7 days
30 BSDLiberty303 GB “Unlimited”, 7500 on-net minutes300 off-net minutes“Unlimited”, 4500 on-net SMS 300 off-net SMS 30 days
35 BSDFreedom35“Unlimited”, 30 GB “Unlimited”, 7500 on-net minutes“Unlimited”, 7500 off-net minutes“Unlimited”, 4500 on-net SMS “Unlimited”, 4500 off-net SMS 7 days
45 BSDLiberty456 GB“Unlimited”, 7500 on-net minutes400 off-net minutes“Unlimited”, 4500 on-net SMS 400 off-net SMS30 days
60 BSDLiberty6012 GB “Unlimited”, 7500 on-net minutes500 off-net minutes“Unlimited”, 4500 on-net SMS 500 off-net SMS30 days
90 BSDLiberty9015 GB “Unlimited”, 7500 on-net minutes900 off-net minutes“Unlimited”, 4500 on-net SMS 900 off-net SMS30 days
140 BSD Liberty140“Unlimited”, 100 GB “Unlimited”, 7500 on-net minutes“Unlimited”, 7500 off-net minutes“Unlimited”, 4500 on-net SMS “Unlimited”, 4500 off-net SMS 30 days

Aliv APN Settings

  • Name: ALIV
  • APN: pda.newcomobile.com

Note: leave anything not mentioned above untouched.

Other Ways to Stay Connected When Traveling in the Bahamas

Besides getting a local SIM card in the Bahamas, there are other ways to get online while traveling on the island.

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 the Bahamas 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 the Bahamas.

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 the Bahamas

Getting a SIM card from Aliv would do you well when considering a Bahamian SIM card.

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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:

Check Out My Resource Page

Looking for the best companies and gadgets to enhance your travel experience? Check out my travel resources page for the best companies to use when you travel! 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!

Start Your Own Online Business – Make Money While Traveling

Do you want to learn how I started an online business that allows me to generate income while traveling? In my starting an online business guide, I tell you which tools, services, and products I have for this site and my YouTube channel. 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 cards, international SIM cards, mobile 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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Get regular phone-travel-related news, tips, and articles. I will also send you a FREE Excel sheet with the best operator(s) of 230+ destinations around the world, including why they are the best, SIM card prices, and more! 

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Learn More About Who Adu Actually Is

Who is the guy behind Phone Travel Wiz? Well, find out on the Ernest Adu about page!

Ernest Adu

Ernest Adu, going by just Adu, is the founder and editor at Phone Travel Wiz. He has been a traveler for 6 years. Although from Europe, the Netherlands, Adu's favorite region is Asia. In particular, East and Southeast Asia. He currently lives in Tainan, Taiwan.

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