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Bahamas: 2 Best Prepaid SIM Cards Buying Guide (2022)

The Bahamas – known for having pigs swimming around some beaches, such as at the Pig Beach or Rose Island

Yes – it is true. And the pigs are friendly too.

The country is also known for its stunning beaches with pristine white sand and clear waters.

If you do not feel like being cooked on the beach swimming all the time, you can also enjoy the thrilling nightlife many resorts and bars have to offer.

And if it is a kid-friendly holiday, you may want to visit the Ardastra Gardens & Wildlife Conservation Centre if you do not feel like clubbing all night with your kids.

Overall, with more than 700 islands to explore, you are bound to share your incredible (beach-life) experiences with your friends and family online.

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.

So, how expensive are SIM cards in the Bahamas?

You can get a Bahamian SIM card for 15 BSD (15 USD) in BTC stores or 30 BSD (30 USD) in Aliv stores. Aliv's SIM cards include a plan (Liberty 30), justifying the (high) price. SIM cards are also sold at Nassau-Lynden Pindling International Airport (NAS).

These prices may sound expensive, but Bahamian SIM cards are much cheaper than the standard international roaming rates most operators would charge you for 1 GB of data.

But if you feel like giving AT&T or Verizon more of your money already, then go ahead with roaming 🥴.

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 Bahamas Guide (logos of BTC Bahamas & Aliv)

Original publication: 6th of March 2020. Last updated: 20th of September 2022.


Table of Contents

Can You Buy a SIM Card in the Bahamas?

You can buy a Bahamian SIM card from BTC and Aliv as a tourist. There is nothing preventing travelers from buying a SIM card in the Bahamas.

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

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

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

Where Can You Buy a SIM Card in the Bahamas?

You can get a Bahamian SIM card in the official stores of BTC and Aliv. They are also available at Nassau-Lynden Pindling International Airport (NAS).

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

  • BTC Bahamas: 15 BSD
  • Aliv: 30 BSD (includes a plan)

The following mobile operators also have SIM cards targetting tourists:

  • BTC Bahamas: 25 BSD
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Can You Use Your Phone in the Bahamas?

The Bahamas GSM technology for mobile communications primarily. CDMA phones will not work in the Bahamas. However, almost all phones use GSM anyway.

You also need to be aware of the ITU regions to determine whether your phone will work in other parts of the world.

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

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

Phones sold in the Americas typically have no issues when using their phone in other ITU Region 2 countries.

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

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

If you purchased your phone in the Americas (ITU Region 2), you should not experience any issues with using your phone in the Bahamas.

If you bought 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, then there is a possibility you cannot use your phone when in the Bahamas or can only use slower networks (3G or 2G).

If you have a medium/high-end device with Tri-Band or Quad-Band support, you can use your phone in the Bahamas (to some extent) – also on 4G/LTE.

Mobile Operators, Networks & Frequencies in the Bahamas

The Bahamas have two mobile operators offering prepaid services:

  • BTC Bahamas
  • Aliv

The following frequencies are used in the Bahamas:

  • 2G: 850 MHz & 1900 MHz (BTC Bahamas only – Aliv has no 2G network)
  • 3G: 850 MHz
  • 4G/LTE: 700 MHz (Band 13 & 17) & 1700 MHz (Band 4)

You can learn more about frequencies in the video below.

To check whether your phone will work in the Bahamas, 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.

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VoLTE & VoWiFi in the Bahamas

VoLTE (Voice over LTE (4G) – also known as HD Voice) is available in the Bahamas. However, VoWiFi (Voice over WiFi – also known as WiFi calling) is not available (yet).

However, not all mobile operators in the Bahamas offer VoLTE.

The following mobile operators offer VoLTE only in the Bahamas:

  • Aliv

BTC Bahamas does not offer VoLTE and VoWiFi (yet).

This means that when you make a call with BTC Bahamas, 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 the Bahamas

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

However, the CEO of BTC Bahamas, Andre Foster, claimed that there “is currently no real demand for 5G connectivity in the Bamahas.”

He further speculated that 5G NR would not be rolled out until 2022 or 2023.

So, we have got to be patient in the meantime.

Best SIM Card in the Bahamas

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

Phone Travel Wiz Approved Seal
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Best eSIM in the Bahamas

Unfortunately, none of the mobile operators offer eSIM (to prepaid customers) in the Bahamas yet.

However, you can get the Bahamas (Jitney Mobile) eSIM from Airalo with 1 GB of data valid for 7 days.

Bahamas Jitney Mobile eSIM Airalo
© Airalo

With this eSIM, you can skip the Bahamas' SIM card registration scheme entirely and use it immediately upon arriving in the Bahamas!

TIP: Check out my eSIM lookup tool for an overview of local mobile operators offering eSIMs to prepaid customers and travel eSIMs I use and love (for eSIMs in the Bahamas and eSIMs worldwide).

If you plan on visiting other neighboring Caribbean nations, consider the Island Hopper eSIM with 1 GB of data (7 days) in the Bahamas and these other islands:

Island Hopper Caribbean eSIM Airalo
© Airalo

With the Island Hopper eSIM, you can save a lot of money by skipping the initial SIM card costs per country you visit – averaging 8 USD/country in the Caribbean!

TIP: Check out my eSIM lookup tool for an overview of local mobile operators offering eSIMs to prepaid customers and travel eSIMs I use and love (for eSIMs in the Bahamas and eSIMs worldwide).

SIM Card Registration in the Bahamas

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

Additionally, two forms of identification are required.

So, in addition to your passport, a national ID or a driver's license will be required.

If you do not have a second form of identification… well, good luck 🥴.

The Bahamas Mobile Speeds, Mobile Internet Prices & Insights

Flag of the Bahamas

Mobile data plans used to be insanely expensive in the Caribbean.

To some extent, it made sense because internet on island nations is almost always more expensive than on land (and much slower).

However, the cost of mobile data has gone down significantly over the years in the Caribbean.

Does that mean mobile internet is cheap in the Bahamas?

No, but it is not crazy expensive either.

The average price for 1 GB of data in the Bahamas is 5.98 USD, above the Caribbean average of 4.44 USD. The world average is 4.07 USD.

That average is not too bad. Just look at the Cayman Islands – their average used to be 26 USD/GB in 2019!

So, what about mobile data speeds?

Will you get fast mobile internet speeds in the Bahamas?

They are alright for their circumstances.

Unfortunately, no recent speed data is available at the time of writing (December 2021).

However, in May 2021, the average mobile download speed was 33 Mbps in the Bahamas.

The global average was 55 Mbps at the same time.

In November 2021, the global average mobile download speed was 70 Mbps.

Have local speeds improved since then? Yes, but not by a lot since 5G NR has still not been rolled out in the Bahamas.

But your speeds will still be faster than some other nations in the Caribbean, like Haiti or Montserrat.

With somewhat pricey SIM cards, great to excellent nationwide coverage (on the populated islands), decent mobile download speeds, and around average mobile data rates, you should have a smooth network experience in the Bahamas.

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Currency in the Bahamas

5 Bahamian Dollar Bank Note
© The Central Bank of 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 $. For example, 25 BSD = B$/$ 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 SIM cards and plans. However, you will likely get your change back in BSD.

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

For up-to-date BSD:your currency (let's say EUR – 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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Bahamian Prepaid SIM Cards

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


BTC Bahamas (Bahamas Telecommunications Company)

BTC Bahamas Logo
© BTC Bahamas

BTC by Cable & Wireless, standing for (the) Bahamas Telecommunications Company, and should not be confused with Bitcoin (also BTC), is the largest mobile operator in the Bahamas.

It used to have a monopoly until 2016, when Aliv entered the market.

It is owned by Cable & Wireless, which owns the Flow and Chippie brand in the Caribbean.

BTC uses the following frequencies:

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

This is what you will learn about BTC:

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

Coverage – BTC Bahamas

BTC has extensive coverage in the Bahamas.

Coverage is excellent on the large/main islands (Abaco, Bimini, Eleuthera, Exuma, Grand Bahama & New Providence).

Coverage can also be expected on some smaller islands, but the network reception may not be as strong, speeds will be slower, and you may deal with older networks (3G or 2G).

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 used to have a coverage checker on its website. However, it got removed without warning 😖.

Luckily, I saved the maps of the three most popular islands (Nassau, Grand Bahamas & Abaco) before the tool was removed.

They may be outdated, but you should never fully trust the maps created by the mobile operators anyway.

Here is the BTC coverage map of Nassau:

BTC Bahamas Nassau Coverage Map
© BTC Bahamas

Here is the BTC coverage map of Grand Bahamas:

BTC Bahamas Grand Bahama Coverage Map
© BTC Bahamas

Then we have the BTC coverage of Abaco:

BTC Bahamas Abaco Coverage Map
© BTC Bahamas

Here is a nationwide BTC coverage map by Speedtest:

SIM Card Price – BTC Bahamas

You can get a BTC SIM card for 15 BSD in BTC stores. They are also sold at Nassau-Lynden Pindling International Airport (NAS).

  • 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

Short-term visitors and tourists can also get the BTC Tourist SIM – BTC's tourist offering.

For 25 BSD, you get unlimited data, unlimited local/international minutes & unlimited local SMS for 4 days.

Dial *200# to access the BTC menu.

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Top-Up, Recharge & Balance Check – BTC Bahamas

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

To top up your BTC SIM card, dial *200# or *202# 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 *201# to check your BTC balance.

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

BTC Bahamas MyBTC App
© BTC

Packages, Plans, Bundles & Offers – BTC Bahamas

BTC has three data-featured plans:

All BTC plans can be activated by dialing *203#.

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

Prepaid Combo Plans – BTC Bahamas

The Prepaid Combo Plans are, as the name implies, combo bundles with data, minutes & SMS.

The following Prepaid Combo Bundles are available, which can be activated by dialing the Activation Code:

PricePlanDataYouTube DataSocial Media Data 1On-Net MinutesLocal MinutesInternational Minutes 2On-Net SMSValidityActivation Code
4 BSD1 Day $41 GB 31 hour (500 MB)“Unlimited”, 1 GB1000 minutesN/A100 minutesN/A1 day *203*4#
7 BSD7 Day $7650 MB1 hour (500 MB)“Unlimited”, 1 GB60 minutesN/A60 minutesN/A7 days *203*7
12 BSD7 Day $122 GB1 hour (500 MB)“Unlimited”, 1 GB“Unlimited”, 3000 minutesN/A500 minutes“Unlimited”, 3000 SMS7 days *203*15#
15 BSD7 Day $153 GB1 hour (500 MB)“Unlimited”, 7 GB (30 days)“Unlimited”, 3000 minutes“Unlimited”, 3000 minutes“Unlimited” 4“Unlimited”, 3000 SMS7 days *203*25#
20 BSD10 Day $206 GB1 hour (500 MB)“Unlimited”, 1 GB“Unlimited”, 3000 minutes“Unlimited”, 3000 minutes“Unlimited” 4“Unlimited”, 3000 SMS10 days *203#
39 BSD30 Day $394 GB1 hour (500 MB)“Unlimited”, 1 GB“Unlimited”, 3000 minutes“Unlimited”, 3000 minutes“Unlimited” 4“Unlimited”, 3000 SMS30 days 
60 BSD30 Day $6010 GB 1 hour (500 MB)“Unlimited”, 1 GB“Unlimited”, 3000 minutes“Unlimited”, 3000 minutes“Unlimited” 4“Unlimited”, 3000 SMS30 days 

1 for Facebook Messenger & WhatsApp
2 to Canada & the United States
3 no data rollover
4 unknown fair use limit

Prepaid Combo Bundles auto-renew. To disable auto-renewal, dial *200#.

Unused data will roll over to the new period when your plan auto-renews.

BTC Bahamas Combo Plans
Other Prepaid Plans – BTC Bahamas

The Other Prepaid Plans are combo bundles with data and minutes.

The following Other Prepaid Plans are available, which can be activated by dialing *200#:

PricePlanDataFacebook (Chat) & WhatsApp DataYouTube DataOn-Net + Canada & USA MinutesValidity
7 BSDCombo 7-Days $7650 MBUnlimited1 hour (500 MB)60 minutes7 days
12 BSDCombo 7-Days $122 GBUnlimited1 hour (500 MB)Unlimited7 days
Data-Only Plans – BTC Bahamas

The Data-Only Plans are, as the name suggests, data-only bundles

The following Prepaid Data Plans are available, which can be activated by dialing the Activation Code:

PriceDataValidityActivation Code
3.60 BSD 1550 MB1 day*203*35#
8.50 BSD1.1 GB10 days *203*8#
15.70 BSD2.2 GB30 days *203*13#
30.20 BSD6.6 GB30 days *203*28#
39.20 BSD15 GB 30 days *203*40#

1 no data rollover and does not auto-renew

Prepaid Data Bundles auto-renew. To disable auto-renewal, dial *200#.

Unused data will roll over to the new period when your plan auto-renews.

APN/Internet Settings – BTC Bahamas

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

Note: leave anything not mentioned above untouched.

Jump back to the Table of Contents.

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Aliv

Aliv Bahamas Logo
© Aliv

Aliv, pronounced Aliv, is the smaller mobile operator in the Bahamas.

It started in 2016 and has grown rapidly since.

Aliv has managed to take many subscribers from BTC Bahamas and may become the largest operator in the Bahamas at one point.

Right now, Aliv has a market share of around 40%.

Aliv uses the following frequencies:

  • 2G: N/A – never had it
  • 3G: 850 MHz
  • 4G/LTE: 700 MHz (Band 13) & 1700 MHz (Band 4)

This is what you will learn about Aliv:

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

Coverage – Aliv

Aliv has extensive coverage throughout the Bahamas.

4G/LTE is available almost anywhere throughout the Bahamas.

Below is Aliv's coverage map:

SIM Card Price – Aliv

You can get an Aliv SIM card for 30 BDS with the Liberty 30 plan (3 GB of data, “unlimited” on-net minutes, 300 off-net minutes, “unlimited” on-net SMS & 300 off-net minutes – all for 30 days) in Aliv stores and kiosks. They are also sold at Nassau-Lynden Pindling International Airport (NAS).

  • 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

It is also possible to get an Aliv eSIM for the same price as a regular SIM card.

To use an Aliv eSIM, you need to have one of the following devices:

  • iPhone XR
  • iPhone XS,
  • iPhone XS Max

It is, however, unknown whether prepaid customers can get an eSIM (for now, this perk is often limited to postpaid customers).

If you do want an eSIM, consider the Jitney Mobile or Island Hopper eSIMs from Airalo.

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Top-Up, Recharge & Balance Check – Aliv

Aliv top-up vouchers are sold in Aliv stores and kiosks, grocery stores, gas stations & convenience stores.

To top up your Aliv SIM card, dial *44, *200#, or *202#, 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 *201# to check your Aliv balance.

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

Aliv Bahamas MyAliv App
© Aliv

Packages, Plans, Bundles & Offers – Aliv

Aliv has only one data-featured plan: Prepaid Plans.

While you have the Freedom Plans and the Liberty Plans, both variants are combo bundles with data, minutes & 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 minutes30 minutes“Unlimited”, 4500 SMS 30 SMS1 day
6 BSDFreedom60.6 GB“Unlimited”, 7500 minutes50 minutes“Unlimited”, 4500 SMS 50 SMS7 days
12 BSDFreedom122.5 GB“Unlimited”, 7500 minutes100 minutes“Unlimited”, 4500 SMS 100 SMS 7 days
30 BSDLiberty303 GB “Unlimited”, 7500 minutes300 minutes“Unlimited”, 4500 SMS 300 SMS 30 days
35 BSDFreedom35“Unlimited”, 30 GB “Unlimited”, 7500 minutes“Unlimited”, 7500 minutes“Unlimited”, 4500 SMS “Unlimited”, 4500 SMS 7 days
45 BSDLiberty456 GB“Unlimited”, 7500 minutes400 minutes“Unlimited”, 4500 SMS 400 SMS30 days
60 BSDLiberty6012 GB “Unlimited”, 7500 minutes500 minutes“Unlimited”, 4500 SMS 500 SMS30 days
90 BSDLiberty9015 GB “Unlimited”, 7500 minutes900 minutes“Unlimited”, 4500 SMS 900 SMS30 days
140 BSD Liberty140“Unlimited”, 100 GB “Unlimited”, 7500 minutes“Unlimited”, 7500 minutes“Unlimited”, 4500 SMS “Unlimited”, 4500 SMS 30 days
Aliv Bahamas Freedom & Liberty Combo Plans

APN/Internet Settings – Aliv

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

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 the Bahamas

Getting a SIM card from BTC or Aliv would do you well when considering a Bahamian 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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Your support helps me keep producing impartial content by eliminating the need to recommend international SIM cards as the best local SIM card (but some of them CAN be useful).

Every Ko-Fi donation, one-time or monthly, helps me to spend more time creating local SIM card buying guides.

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Looking for the best companies and gadgets to enhance your travel experience

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

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