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.
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) in BTC and Aliv stores. 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.
Original publication: 6th of March 2020. Last updated: 24th of February 2021.
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).
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.
To check whether your phone will work in the Bahamas, 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.
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.
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
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 world average is about 36 Mbps.
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.uk.
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!
The Bahamas Prepaid SIM Cards & Video Guide
- 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)
If you prefer to watch a video of what the Bahamian operators have to offer, be sure to check the video below AND also subscribe to my channel for more local prepaid SIM card guides, SIM card reviews (prepaid and international), mobile hotspots, and international roaming guides. You should still go through the guide after watching the video (I refer to it multiple times throughout the video).
With that being said, let’s see what the Bahamas have to offer to us.
BTC is the largest operator in the Bahamas. They used to have a monopoly until 2016 when Aliv entered the market.
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:
- Alice Island
- Berry Islands
- Bullocks Harbour Berry Island
- Cat Island
- Grand Bahama
- Long Cay
- Long Island
- Rum Cay
- San Salvador
- Treasure Cay
BTC has a coverage checker on its website. However, it shows you BTC's coverage per individual island, not its nationwide coverage.
The Speedtest app does produce a nationwide map.
Getting a BTC SIM Card & Price
You can purchase a BTC SIM card for 15 BSD in BTC stores 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 stores 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:
- Always On Plan (combo plan)
- Prepaid Combo Bundles (combo bundles)
- Prepaid Data Bundles (data-only bundles)
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.
|Price||Data||YouTube Data||Facebook Messenger Data||WhatsApp Messaging Data||Local Minutes||International Minutes to Canada & the USA||Local SMS||Validity|
|15 BSD||3 GB||1 hour (500 MB)||“Unlimited” (30 days – 7 GB)||“Unlimited” (30 days – 7 GB)||“Unlimited”, 3000 minutes||50 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#:
|Price||Data||YouTube Data||Facebook Messenger Data||WhatsApp Messaging Data||On-Net Minutes||International Minutes to Canada & the USA||On-Net SMS||Validity|
|4 BSD||1 GB||1 hour (500 MB)||“Unlimited” (30 days – 7 GB)||“Unlimited” (30 days – 7 GB)||1000 minutes||100 minutes||1000 SMS||1 day|
|7 BSD||650 MB||1 hour (500 MB)||“Unlimited” (30 days – 7 GB)||“Unlimited” (30 days – 7 GB)||60 minutes||60 minutes||60 SMS||7 days|
|12 BSD||2 GB||1 hour (500 MB)||“Unlimited” (30 days – 7 GB)||“Unlimited” (30 days – 7 GB)||“Unlimited”, 3000 minutes||500 minutes||“Unlimited”, 3000 SMS||7 days|
|25 BSD||6 GB||1 hour (500 MB)||“Unlimited” (30 days – 7 GB)||“Unlimited” (30 days – 7 GB)||“Unlimited”, 3000 minutes||Unlimited||“Unlimited”, 3000 SMS||10 days|
|60 BSD||10 GB||1 hour (500 MB)||“Unlimited” (30 days – 7 GB)||“Unlimited” (30 days – 7 GB)||“Unlimited”, 3000 minutes||Unlimited||“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#:
|2.99 BSD||500 MB||1 day|
|7 BSD||1 GB||10 days|
|12.99 BSD||2 GB||30 days|
|25 BSD||6 GB||30 days|
|35 BSD||15 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.
- Buying a SIM card in the Caribbean (All Caribbean nations)
- Buying a SIM card in the Turks and Caicos Islands
- Buying a SIM card in Haiti
- Buying a SIM card in the British Virgin Islands
- Buying a SIM card in the Cayman Islands
Aliv 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%.
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.
Getting an Aliv SIM Card & Price
You can buy an Aliv SIM card for 30 BSD in Aliv stores 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#:
|Price||Plan||Data||On-Net Minutes||Off-Net Minutes||On-Net SMS||Off-Net SMS||Validity|
|4 BSD||Freedom4||1 GB||“Unlimited”, 7500 minutes||30 minutes||“Unlimited”, 4500 SMS||30 SMS||1 day|
|6 BSD||Freedom6||0.6 GB||“Unlimited”, 7500 minutes||50 minutes||“Unlimited”, 4500 SMS||50 SMS||7 days|
|12 BSD||Freedom12||2.5 GB||“Unlimited”, 7500 minutes||100 minutes||“Unlimited”, 4500 SMS||100 SMS||7 days|
|30 BSD||Liberty30||3 GB||“Unlimited”, 7500 minutes||300 minutes||“Unlimited”, 4500 SMS||300 SMS||30 days|
|35 BSD||Freedom35||“Unlimited”, 30 GB||“Unlimited”, 7500 minutes||“Unlimited”, 7500 minutes||“Unlimited”, 4500 SMS||“Unlimited”, 4500 SMS||7 days|
|45 BSD||Liberty45||6 GB||“Unlimited”, 7500 minutes||400 minutes||“Unlimited”, 4500 SMS||400 SMS||30 days|
|60 BSD||Liberty60||12 GB||“Unlimited”, 7500 minutes||500 minutes||“Unlimited”, 4500 SMS||500 SMS||30 days|
|90 BSD||Liberty90||15 GB||“Unlimited”, 7500 minutes||900 minutes||“Unlimited”, 4500 SMS||900 SMS||30 days|
|140 BSD||Liberty140||“Unlimited”, 100 GB||“Unlimited”, 7500 minutes||“Unlimited”, 7500 minutes||“Unlimited”, 4500 SMS||“Unlimited”, 4500 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
However, these methods may be more expensive than getting a SIM card from the two local operators.
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.
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.
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.
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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Learn About Your Phone Travel Options
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