Cell Phone service

Moving to Costa Rica next week for 2-3 year period. Would like to keep US number. Currently have Verizon but need to change to a more economical carrier and method of having cell and data in CR. I've researched both Ting and Google Fi - has anyone tried either or what method have you used to keep your number and still have coverage on Costa Rica?

I have T-Mobile and it works internationally free roaming in most countries. I’ve heard good things about google pi but don’t have first hand info.

Thanks Whigwam!

Check out Whatsapp.  I have found it usefull...not perfect, but it's basically free.

whatsapp and skype both are good for international calls (depending on your and the person your calling's connections).. but it has nothing to do with keeping your same #, it's just another way of making free (or cheap as in skype-to-phone) calls.
There is also onesuite that might work (haven't tried it). For me skype-to- skype (Free) and skype-to-phone (i.e. the other person does not use skype) for like 2 cents a minute, works the best.

I did not keep my U.S. phone number.

Hi all, now living in Huatulco, Mex from San Diego and Thailand. have a huawei 20 pro, is prepaid sim best way to go, as when lived in Thailand? here we have Telcel either pay as u go or contract, they also have internet. Are there companies that provide the same? Telcel uses modem but no need for landline connection, do they do that also?
Thanks for anyone that reads this. Net service is most imperative.

There are prepaid plans here that you can charge as you go. I normally only use about 5mil a month which is about $9 but granted I hardly use the phone for anything other than checking emails when I'm away from wifi, and just a few short business calls like calling to see if my shoes are done being repaired etc.

I'm told that if you want to use data on your phone to surf the web, Kolbi is much cheaper than the others. But it depends on where you live, too, as to what coverage works best there.

I use wifi for everything I can. Whatsapp works free for text messages and audio msgs and phone calls and sending pix and videos on wifi. When not on wifi there is very little data use by whatsapp and you can set it to only accept text when using data, or only accept audio msgs etc.

Skype is another option, all the better if you have it set up from the USA, for some reason - it's cheaper to call the USA SKYPE TO PHONE from a USA skype account in Costa Rica than it is to call Costa Rica from a USA SKYPE account. That's what my friend said he found out when trying to call me here skype to phone.

Of course skype to skype is always free.

Thx for the reply. My phone is basically just calls, whatsapp, pics, and reading the news feeds-all else is for my computer. Skype sucks. FB messenger far superior. Asia is pretty much the same way except Line is the main messenger.
So can just get a sim and go, depending on the carrier.
Thanks for the info. net is good most places? Everyone has wifi in their house? Modems with and without telephone connection? No one uses lan except businesses usually.
Do the cell carriers have internet like here in Mexico-plug in the modem -no telephone-and go-TelCel for example.

Yes you can just get a SIM card and go. Usually as little as $1,75 or so plus maybe that much for the card itself as well.

Not sure about some of your questions. Maybe someone else can reply.
Not sure why you don't like Skype but I find that sometimes when whatsapp doesn't work well for a phone call to  the states, Skype does; and vice versa. Personally I don't like using facebook for anything.

I'd say net is good in most places in Costa Rica but certainly not all. There are holes where there is no connection. I have a friend who moved to a beach where there is no internet where he lives.  He knew it when he moved there but "someone told him" they were going to get it soon. Never believe that! Make sure you have it and it works in your EXACT location.  Sometimes a guy 100 yards from  you might have it but they're the cut off point and they wont' give it to you. I know because I have a friend who is that cut off point. His neighbors are one house over from him but they can't get it. When it comes to hard lines, ICE also sometimes offers only half a megabyte per second which basically means "lousy internet". BUT also ICE (or someone) is putting lines in San Ramon that are something like 30mbps. So it very much depends on exactly where you live.

In towns there are usually coffee shops or restaurants etc that have free wifi. If you need it though, don't order til you ask if it's working; sometimes it is not.

In San Ramon the Municipalidad government building right next to the park provides free wifi for people in at least part of the park. Not sure how much area it reaches.

It's good to have an unlocked phone with 2 SIM cards so you can use, say, Kolbi in one, and Claro or Movistar in the other so you have more possibilities of coverage.

Will be visiting for the first time in May. I know I'll need Waze to get around. For that requirement, is it better to get a SIM card or buy a cheap phone?

I will put my grain of salt: I've had an ICE cell phone for over 13 years; I started with a paid account, used it for 10 years, switched to a prepaid one when I felt I did not need the other one. The service isn't bad but the tariffs are higher than Movistar, for instance. Three months ago I switch all phones to prepaid Movistar, for $3.5 per month I get 1500 minutes to call my family (3 phones, 500 minutes each), plus 6 days of free WhatsApp when I first recharge, plus triple recharge bonus  divided in one third for regular calls (last to be discounted), on third for other operators and one third for other  Movistar phone calls, So $3.5 goes a long ways. ICE doesn't have that, but it has better coverage. All you do is to buy a SIM card unless your phone and phone line are from Verizon which doesn't allow to change SIMs. Another good service from Movistar is that for 50 cents per day, one can have unlimited internet, and one can activate/deactivate that option which will be discounted from the balance if wanted.

Whether you buy a cheap phone or not, you still have to have a SIM card in it which you will pay for, for the amount of minutes you use.

So therefore it seems to me, that you just need to get a SIM card, as long as your phone will allow you to do so.

Samramon specifically:
I have a very good GSM phone, so sim card(in fact can have 2), but I use my phone just as a phone. Pics,  and take vids, use it for reading news maybe if at sunset or something, WhatsApp/Line very important. My computer is for the other stuff. So I like the data and the calling options(don't make a lot of calls. And being new to CR, don't know anyone so.....
What would you say is the best for this situation? Also, once I get a card/number want to keep it, pain in the butt changing numbers.
Thanks for any advice
Rick

While a tourist, you may not be able to get the 'good deals' mentioned on either phone or internet.

Thanks everyone for the input, will be visiting to check out possible moving options, Live in Huatulco, Oaxaca now but have had many surfer friends move to CR in the past. Just want to check out areas and rental homes. Not a cold weather guys so maybe around lake Arenal, or closer to the coast, if anyone wants to offer good sites or places/persons to contact, gonna rent till I find the right spot. Oh, are scooters of any sort available for rent to see the areas?I have 2 big bikes here in Mex.
Feel free to offer any advice or sites to contact.
Thanks all

We switched from Verizon to T-Mobile today and it ended up saving us around $600; $300 for them to pay off my current phone and $300 I won't have to spend using Verizon's "International Plan".

Apparently, T-Mobile's rates do not change while visiting Costa Rica, so that is the best option I've found, so far.

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