The U.S. Virgin Islands – one of the two Virgin Islands out there, together with the British Virgin Islands.
The U.S. Virgin Islands is known for its beaches, clear water & amazing food.
The island group is an unincorporated and organized United States territory.
What that means is beyond the scope of this guide, but it is somewhat part of the US.
But what can you even do on these islands?
You can explore the many national parks, like the Virgin Islands National Parks.
Snorkeling around Buck Island is recommended too.
And, of course, enjoy the beach life on the many beaches on the islands.
But… the U.S. Virgin Islands are not cheap. You need some good money to enjoy your trip there.
And the prices of SIM cards in the U.S. Virgin Islands will surprise you.
You can get a U.S. Virgin Islands SIM card for free from Liberty (formerly AT&T) and Viya (formerly Innovative VI) in their stores. However, you are required to purchase a plan before you get your SIM card (starting from 20 USD). You may be able to get a SIM card at St. Thomas-Cyril E. King Airport (STT).
Now you may be thinking, why not use my American (USA) SIM card in the U.S. Virgin Islands – I can use it here for free!
In many cases, you can. However, speeds can be painfully slow (2G speeds).
So yeah, get yourself a local SIM card.
In this guide, I will tell you everything you need to know about buying a SIM card in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Let's get started.
Original publication: 12th of December 2021. Last updated: 2nd of January 2022.
Table of Contents
Can You Buy a SIM Card in the U.S. Virgin Islands?
You can buy a U.S. Virgin Islands SIM card from Liberty (formerly AT&T) or Viya (formerly Innovative VI) as a tourist. There is nothing preventing travelers from buying a SIM card in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Your phone has to support the frequencies used in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Furthermore, your phone needs to be unlocked (SIM-lock free) to use a U.S. Virgin Islands SIM card.
Where Can You Buy a SIM Card in the U.S. Virgin Islands?
You can get a U.S. Virgin Islands SIM card in the official stores of Liberty (formerly AT&T) and Viya (formerly Innovative VI). You may be able to get a SIM card at St. Thomas-Cyril E. King Airport (STT).
You can expect to pay the following for U.S. Virgin Islands SIM cards:
- Liberty U.S. Virgin Islands (formerly AT&T): free, but plan purchase required (minimum of 25 USD)
- Viya U.S. Virgin Islands (formerly Innovative VI): free, but plan purchase required (minimum of 20 USD)
Can You Use Your Phone in the U.S. Virgin Islands?
The U.S. Virgin Islands use GSM technology for mobile communications primarily. CDMA phones will not work in the U.S. Virgin Islands. 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.
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.
If you purchased your phone in the Americas (ITU Region 2), you should not experience any issues with using your phone in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
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 U.S. Virgin Islands 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 U.S. Virgin Islands (to some extent) – also on 4G/LTE and 5G NR.
Mobile Operators, Networks & Frequencies in the U.S. Virgin Islands
The U.S. Virgin Islands have two mobile operators offering prepaid services:
- Liberty U.S. Virgin Islands (formerly AT&T)
- Viya U.S. Virgin Islands (formerly Innovative VI)
The following frequencies are used in the U.S. Virgin Islands:
- 2G: 850 MHz
- 3G: 850 MHz & 1900 MHz
- 4G/LTE: 700 MHz (Band 12, Band 14, Band 17 & Band 29), 850 MHz (Band 5), 1700 MHz (Band 4 & Band 66), 1900 MHz (Band 2), 2300 MHz (Band 30) & 2500 MHz (Band 41)
- 5G NR: 850 MHz (through DDS)
You can learn more about frequencies in the video below.
To check whether your phone will work in the U.S. Virgin Islands, 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.
VoLTE & VoWiFi in the U.S. Virgin Islands
Both VoLTE (Voice over LTE (4G) – also known as HD Voice) and VoWiFi (Voice over WiFi – also known as WiFI calling) are available in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
However, not all mobile operators in the U.S. Virgin Islands offer VoLTE and VoWiFi.
The following mobile operators offer VoLTE and VoWiFi in the U.S. Virgin Islands:
- Liberty U.S. Virgin Islands (formerly AT&T)
Viya U.S. Virgin Islands (formerly Innovative VI) does not offer VoLTE nor VoWiFi (yet).
This means that when you make a call with Viya U.S. Virgin Islands, 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 U.S. Virgin Islands
Commercial 5G NR has been available in the U.S. Virgin Islands since 2019, with T-Mobile US extending coverage to the territory. Liberty, then AT&T, started rolling out 5G NR in 2020. Viya has yet to obtain a 5G NR license.
Best SIM Card in the U.S. Virgin Islands
If you want to buy the best SIM card in the U.S. Virgin Islands, I recommend going with Liberty (formerly AT&T) or Viya (formerly Innovative VI). Both mobile operators have extensive coverage. Liberty is already offering 5G NR to prepaid customers (one plan only).
Best eSIM in the U.S. Virgin Islands
Unfortunately, none of the mobile operators offer eSIM (to prepaid customers) in the U.S. Virgin Islands yet.
With these eSIMs, the data costs can be lower than Liberty and Viya themselves, and you can use them immediately upon arriving in the U.S. Virgin Islands!
If you plan on visiting other neighboring countries, or any nation globally, consider the Discover Global with 1 GB of data (7 days) in the U.S. Virgin Islands and these other countries:
Best International/Travel SIM Card for the U.S. Virgin Islands
If you want to buy the best international/travel SIM card for the U.S. Virgin Islands, I recommend going with SimCorner's International Travel SIM card. You get 6 GB of data valid for 15 days to be used in the U.S. Virgin Islands and 100+ countries, including nearby Colombia, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico.
You can use the Simcorner International Travel SIM card in the following countries:
- Papua New Guinea
- Puerto Rico
- San Marino
- Saudi Arabia (KSA)
- South Africa
- South Korea
- Sri Lanka
- Svalbard and Jan Mayen
- U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI)
- United Arab Emirates (UAE)
- United Kingdom
- United States
- Vatican City
Use discount code PHONETRAVELWIZ for extra savings!
SIM Card Registration in the U.S. Virgin Islands
SIM card registration, with the use of your personal information (such as your passport), is not required when buying a SIM card in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
U.S. Virgin Islands Mobile Internet Prices & Insights
Traveling and living in the Caribbean is not cheap.
Yet, it is still a popular region for travelers.
That is why every method to save some cash is appreciated.
While the U.S. Virgin Islands is not known for being inexpensive, the cost of mobile data is quite low.
The average price for 1 GB of data in the U.S. Virgin Islands is 2 USD, below the Caribbean average of 4.44 USD. The world average is 4.07 USD.
Compared to 2019's figures, the average cost of 1 GB of data has decreased by 59.8%.
Normally, I show you some data about mobile data speeds about the particular country I am covering.
Unfortunately, there is not much aggregate data about mobile download and upload speeds in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
I can say, however, is that mobile data speeds are quite fast in the territory.
Much better than many other countries in the Caribbean.
With free SIM cards, low mobile data rates, fast mobile download speeds, and extensive territory-wide coverage, you should have a smooth network experience in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Using an American (USA) SIM Card in the U.S. Virgin Islands
T-Mobile US, AT&T USA & many mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs, including Boost Mobile USA, Cricket Wireless, Google Fi, H2O Wireless, Lycamobile USA, Metro by T-Mobile (formerly MetroPCS), Mint Mobile, Straight Talk, TracFone & Ultra Mobile) allow you to use your American SIM card in the U.S. Virgin Islands without additional roaming fees.
The U.S Virgin Islands (and Puerto Rico) are considered native or extended coverage by T-Mobile US and AT&T USA.
Verizon does not have native coverage in the U.S. Virgin Islands (and Puerto Rico, for that matter).
While T-Mobile US and AT&T have coverage in the U.S. Virgin Islands, not all their plans include the islands.
The same counts for the MVNOs – they are less likely to include the U.S. Virgin Islands (for free).
Moreover, speeds can be excruciatingly slow – basically useless (at 2G speeds).
This guide will not cover T-Mobile US – only the actual local mobile operators (and T-Mobile US only has three 3G/LTE towers).
However, the two former Sprint stores (now acquired by T-Mobile US) do sell prepaid SIM cards and plans.
But they may have slightly different offerings in the U.S. Virgin Islands to meet the demand of the territory.
If you are still interested in T-Mobile US, you can read more about what it has to offer in my United States SIM card buying guide.
Currency in the U.S. Virgin Islands
The U.S. Virgin Islands use the US Dollar with the symbol USD (which will be used throughout this guide).
Prices in the U.S. Virgin Islands 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).
U.S. Virgin Islands Prepaid SIM Cards
- 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 U.S. Virgin Islands have to offer.
Liberty U.S. Virgin Islands (formerly AT&T)
Liberty U.S. Virgin Islands, just Liberty and formerly AT&T, is one of the mobile operators in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
While it took years for the rebrand to complete, it has finally happened.
However, Liberty still uses some of AT&T's features, such as online top-ups.
Liberty uses the following frequencies:
- 2G: N/A – shut down on the 31st of December 2016
- 3G: 850 MHz & 1900 MHz
- 4G/LTE: 700 MHz (Band 12, Band 14, Band 17 & Band 29), 850 MHz (Band 5), 1700 MHz (Band 4 & Band 66), 1900 MHz (Band 2) & 2300 MHz (Band 30)
- 5G NR: 850 MHz (n5 – through DDS)
Coverage – Liberty U.S. Virgin Islands (formerly AT&T)
Liberty has extensive coverage throughout the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Most of the U.S. Virgin Islands are already covered by 5G NR.
Below is Liberty's 4G/LTE and 5G NR coverage map:
Below is Liberty's coverage map produced by Speedtest:
SIM Card Price – Liberty U.S. Virgin Islands (formerly AT&T)
You can get a Liberty SIM card for free in Liberty stores. However, you are required to purchase a plan upon retrieval. You may be able to get a SIM card at St. Thomas-Cyril E. King Airport (STT).
Top-Up, Recharge & Balance Check – Liberty U.S. Virgin Islands (formerly AT&T)
Packages, Plans, Bundles & Offers – Liberty U.S. Virgin Islands (formerly AT&T)
All Liberty plans have to be activated in-store.
No-Contract Plans – Liberty U.S. Virgin Islands (formerly AT&T)
The No Contract Plans are combo plans with data, minutes & SMS.
No-Contract Plans have to be activated in a Liberty store:
|Price||Data 1||Local/International Minutes 3||Local/International SMS 3||Validity|
|25 USD||1 GB||Unlimited||Unlimited||30 days|
|30 USD||5 GB||Unlimited||Unlimited||30 days|
|40 USD||15 GB 2||Unlimited||Unlimited||30 days|
Unlimited Plans – Liberty U.S. Virgin Islands (formerly AT&T)
The Unlimited Plans are combo bundles with unlimited data, minutes & SMS.
Unlimited Plans have to be activated in a Liberty store:
|Price||Plan||Data||Local/International Minutes 3||Local/International SMS 3||Validity|
|45 USD||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited||30 days|
|55 USD||Unlimited Plus||Unlimited 1, 2, 4||Unlimited||Unlimited||30 days|
Viya U.S. Virgin Islands
Viya U.S. Virgin Islands, just Viya and formerly Innovative VI, is one of the mobile operators in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
It is the only local mobile operator in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Viya uses the following frequencies:
- 2G: 850 MHz
- 3G: 1900 MHz
- 4G/LTE: 2500 MHz (Band 41)
Coverage – Viya U.S. Virgin Islands (formerly Innovative VI)
Viya has extensive coverage in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
4G/LTE reception is almost anywhere.
Below is Viya's coverage map:
SIM Card Price – Viya U.S. Virgin Islands (formerly Innovative VI)
You can get a Viya SIM card for free in Viya stores. However, you are required to purchase a plan upon retrieval. You may be able to get a SIM card at St. Thomas-Cyril E. King Airport (STT).
Top-Up, Recharge & Balance Check – Viya U.S. Virgin Islands (formerly Innovative VI)
You can top-up your Viya SIM card in Viya stores and top-up locations, including grocery stores, corner shops & electronics shops throughout the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Packages, Plans, Bundles & Offers – Viya U.S. Virgin Islands (formerly Innovative VI)
Viya has one type of data-featured bundle, which is the Plans. It includes data, minutes & SMS.
The following Plans are available:
|Price||Plan||Data||Social Data 2||Local + to Puerto Rico/USA Minutes||Local SMS||Validity|
|20 USD||Basic||5 GB||N/A||Unlimited||Unlimited||1 month|
|40 USD||Unlimited||Unlimited||N/A||Unlimited||Unlimited||1 month|
|60 USD||Home Abroad||Unlimited 1||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited||1 month|
1 +10 GB for in Puerto Rico and the United States + 5 GB for in the Caribbean (Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, Montserrat, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines & Turks and Caicos Islands)
Other Ways to Stay Connected When Traveling in the U.S. Virgin Islands
I would highly encourage anyone visiting the U.S. Virgin Islands to get themselves a U.S. Virgin Island SIM card – you will be saving a lot of money when you do so.
However, for some, getting a U.S. Virgin Island 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 mobile operator.
There are other ways to stay online while in the U.S. Virgin Islands, but they may not be cheap.
However, these methods may be more expensive than getting a SIM card from the local mobile 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.
Find out whether your mobile operator has attractive roaming rates for the U.S. Virgin Islands 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 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 U.S. Virgin Islands.
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 U.S. Virgin Islands
Getting a SIM card from Liberty or Viya would be your only option when considering a U.S. Virgin Islands SIM card.
Local Prepaid SIM Cards in Other Caribbean Countries
Going to other places around the world? Then you should also check out my sim card buying guides for other destinations around the world.
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