Costa Rica Cell phone Service

It’s a secret!!! So tell everyone! You can get a cheap Costa Rica cell phone service while you visit the country….and it works very well. Roaming on your world phone can cost your hundreds…so can renting a phone here in Costa Rica. I am visiting Costa Rica for a few months. My girlfriend asked me to write about my cell phone experience, so here goes. You may be interested in this if you are visiting Costa Rica and want to have a local cell phone. The reason this is a secret is that so few know about this program. Even the employees of the only phone company, ICE (pronounced esay), don’t seem to know about it. You will have one chance to buy the SIM card you need and that is at the Juan Santamaria International airport (SJO) on your arrival in San Jose. The ICE kiosk is located between the baggage claim and the customs area. As you walk away from the baggage conveyors, look to your right for the small ICE desk, if you get to the customs X-ray machines you have missed the ICE kiosk. Since the prepaid program is intended for visitors, it makes sense that the kiosk is located in the airport and you will be required to show your passport to the ICE employee selling you the SIM card.

I know…I know…you need more info….OK…here is everything I know:

Costa Rica cell phone frequency for GMS phones is 1800, this means that you will need an 1800 band GSM phone. To understand this, google it or call your local cell phone company. If you have a “world phone” that takes a SIM card you most probably have a GSM capable phone. In my case, I called my USA cell carrier, Verizon, and told them I wanted to get a phone that would work with a Costa Rican prepaid SIM card on an 1800 band GSM network. They only had two phones that would work so I ordered one and it was in my pocket when I arrived at the San Jose airport. There are a number of sources for low cost GSM phone in the USA…one is Ebay.

You need to know how to unlock and configure your phone for GSM service. There are so many phone manufactures and configuration settings that understanding this is something you will have to learn for your particular phone. The ICE employees will give you a set of instructions to activate you SIM card and your cell phone service. But again, you need to unlock and configure your particular cell phone for 1800 GSM service. There will be actions needed to set up your specific cell phone. If you have a world phone, from your USA cell phone provider, your best reference may be your own USA international customer service… them BEFORE you come to Costa Rica….carefully go over the steps to configure your phone for the local system here….write the configuration steps down and have it with you. I would suggest calling them back on a different day and get another person to talk you through the steps and compare …. to be sure you have it correct.

Copy the section of your phone owner’s manual related to GSM service and if all else fails, you can do what no one does and read the instructions!!! Between your phone instructions and your USA international customer service you have a good chance of success.

You need a little cash to buy the SIM card at the airport. Approx 5 USD gets you a month of service and approx 80 minutes of local talk time or 15min of international calls, 10 USD get you a 45 days and approx 160 minutes of local talk time or 30min of international calls, and 20 UDS gets you 60 days of service and approx 330 minutes of local talk time or 60min of international calls. The ICE desk will take US bills $20 and under. ICE will give you an information sheet with: their phone number, how to buy additional minutes, how to activate your SIM Card / phone service, how to check minute availability.

Ok…even the most careful planners like me fail…sort of…in my case new SIM card would not activate because my phone’s “tones” were not compatible with the local service…..the work around was pretty simple and was give to me by the ICE representative after a few “help me please” calls…..I put my SIM card in my girlfriend’s Costa Rica cell phone….followed the instructions to active my SIM card … then put the SIM card back in my phone….and success….I have a low cost local cell phone….a lot of trouble you say….well yes….it took a couple of hours…but consider this…..I paid a $300 Verizon bill last year after roaming here with world phone Verizon so kindly loaned me for free..the Costa Rica cell phone rental service I tried was even more costly … so you have choices!  I will keep the prepaid for local calls and use Skype for VOIP international calls.  Between those two methods my cell phone and international calls cost me 70% less than just my cell service in the USA.

I am putting this here for those of you that are already in Costa Rica when you read this because I don’t recommend it. You can buy a phone here. The cheapest will cost at least $100. If you do that, be sure you keep the receipt and take it with you to the ICE office. You will have to find an ICE office that knows about the Prepaid program and has the SIM cards for sale so call, call, call, get a name and go see that person at that office. An American friend of mine was able to get the prepaid card at an office not in the airport but in San Jose proper. He and I returned to that same office a week later and the employees there knew nothing about the prepaid program. If you buy a cell phone here, you will have to search for an ICE office that has the SIM cards and knows about the program OR return to the ICE kiosk at the airport….but remember, the airport desk is between the baggage claim and customs and I don’t know how you would pull that off after you left the airport. I can tell you this….most ICE employees will tell you that it is not possible to get a prepaid chip….so expect that only the ICE employees selling the prepaid cards at the airport will know about the program. One note about discussing this with Ticos. Ticos have to apply and wait for a cell phone number…everyone refers to it as an “a line.” So a visitor getting a prepaid SIM card and cell phone service in a few hours is really simple and convenient compared to a Costa Rican national getting new Costa Rica cell phone service….so keep that in mind.

And last but not least, it is important to be aware that Costa Rica cellular connection is not infallible, the connection may not be good in some remote areas and sometimes even in some buildings.

For you process oriented folks here is a flow chart.

Get an 1800 band GSM phone (Costa Rica Cell phone frequency)

Have instructions for unlocking and configuring a GSM phone in Costa Rica

Have your USA customer service number for help with your phone

Have a copy of your owner’s manual GSM configuration instructions

Stop at the ICE kiosk between baggage claim and customs at SJO airport

Buy the SIM card

Read the ICE instructions and active your service

Call ICE and /or your customer service for help if you need to

Be Patient!!!you are not in Kansas!

Make a friend and give them a call!

Pura Vida, Charles the Gringo


11-23-2010 update
This time it got even easier.  The ICE representative activated my prepaid SIM card right at the kiosk next to the customs area at the airport.   This time there were no instructions to follow…..they did everything….I just showed my passport and paid for the SIM!  The process took 5 minutes.


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71 Responses to “Costa Rica Cell phone Service”

  1. Dan Bereskin Says:

    Is it possible to obtain a prepaid data plan as well as voice? Do you know if ICE provides microsim cards that work with the iPhone 4 or should I figure on cutting down a regular sim?

    • Know About Costa Rica Says:

      Yes, you have data / internet access with the ICE prepaid sim cards. Most any smart phone that accepts a SIM card will work except for Blackberry’s. ICE does not have an agreement with Blackberry for the prepaid plan. You will see lots of Blackberry in use here, but they will be for standard (not prepaid) plans.

      And yes again, you will need to cut down the regular SIM to fit the iPhone. ICE does not provide micro sim cards for the iPhone and cutting down the standard SIM cards to fit seems to be very common. Of course ICE will not do that for you, that will be at your own risk.

      Charles the Gringo.

  2. stevemackonline Says:

    Excellent article!
    My wife is traveling there for a few months. I have been going nutty trying to find info and the best deal on in country Sim cards.
    Calling back to the US is how much a minute?

    Thanks again,

    • Know About Costa Rica Says:

      Hi …. I am Charles the Gringo….I wrote the article….Thanks. The current cost per minute to call to US is $0.26……this data comes from the ICE (local phone co.). Also, you can use Skype to call computer to computer for free but this ties you to an internet or wifi connection for calls. You can use Skype for computer to phone calls after buying skype credit. Skype also allows you to get an on line number so calls from you to her will go to her computer. If your wife has a smart phone or blackberry, you can put a Skype application on the phone. for all the info. If you talk a lot, Skype is worth it. If you just want a phone for emergencies, then the ICE tourist sim card is simpler and will not have learning curve with skype. Pura Vida!

  3. Stevemackonline Says:

    Hey Charles the Gringo,
    Thanks for the prompt reply.Few more questions for ya.
    The calling rate you referenced does that include roaming charges?
    Is there any roaming charges?

    If I send her with smart phone for skype will it automatically connect to a data connection for all the aps ?Here in the states with Verizon you have no choice as soon as you turn on your smart phone it starts using data.

    Are the sim cards available at Liberia International Airport (Daniel Oduber) as well?

    My wife will start her adventure in Tamarindo which the other air port is much closer.

    Thanks for your time sir.
    Steve Mack

    • Know About Costa Rica Says:

      If you use your existing service provider to call you will have roaming charges. If you use ICE (the tourist sim card in your phone), you will not have roaming charges.

      Connection to data services will be controlled by your phone settings and access to 3G coverage. I don’t know where you will have coverage for data services. The generalities are that you are likely to have it in the San Jose area and much less likely to have data services anywhere else. That is why I rely on skype. The desk at any particular hotel can tell you if they have cell phone data services at that location.

      SIM cards are available at the Liberia airport…just ask for the ICE desk BEFORE you go through customs.

      The Liberia airport is about 1 hour from Tamarindo and the San Jose airport is about 4 hours away.

  4. Stevemacknline Says:

    Thanks for all the help chief!!
    Have a good one.
    Steve Mack

  5. June Says:

    Thanks for info. re phone service in Costa Rica. I’ve always heard it’s almost impossible to get phone service there as a visitor.

    • Know About Costa Rica Says:

      You are right, just a few years ago it was impossible for a visitor to get phone service in Costa Rica. Today you only need to have a GMS unlocked cell phone, and get the prepaid chip at the airport. Remember to do it at the airport, because after you leave the airport, it may be difficult to find an ICE office that has a pre-paid chip.

  6. Charlie DeMarco Says:

    Is this service for incoming & outgoing calls and do they give you a phone number or do you use your own?

  7. SAM Says:

    Do you know the ICE service hour in San Jose International airport? Because I’ll arrive around 7AM, Can I find anyone to help?

  8. Const Says:

    Great info, thank you!
    Do you know what is the rate for incoming calls with this SIM?

  9. Blake Says:

    I sent my girlfriend who is studying down there a phone and she got a SIM card but she can not call me. I can only call her. Is there something else she is not doing when placing an outgoing call to the US?

    She bought a $5 SIM card if that matters

    I have been able to call her through Skype but she cant call me.

    Help please!

    • Know About Costa Rica Says:

      If your girlfriend’s phone is accepting incoming calls from US then her phone is not blocked… to place an outgoing call to US and Canada you have to dial 001 + area code + number (8 digit number). If she’s using the correct dialing code and it still doesn’t work, we recommend that she visits any ICE office and ask them to check the sim card.

      In case that you want to call her to Costa Rica from a land phone in USA, instead of Skype, just to double check that her phone is accepting international calls, you have to dial 011 + 506 + phone number (8 digit number).

  10. peter chambers Says:

    Hi Charles…I note your earlier post re cutting down CR sim cards to fit iphone 4…if i use a noosy sim card cutter for example will it cut into the gold contact patch on the card and leave it useless??? I guess what I would like to know is the size of the contact patch…the old fashioned big patches might well not come off too well???? Maybe the ice 3g sim cards have a more modern smaller contact patch?? By the way.. I can obtain sim cards from ice without a problem. Any help would be much appreciated…Peter

    • Know About Costa Rica Says:

      While I have seen this done and read about it, I have very little experience with it myself. If I was cutting a SIM for my phone, I would cut a little from both sides to minimize the possibility that the card would be damaged beyond use. I do know that people have ruined their cards so there is that risk. Sorry, I could not be more helpful here.

  11. peter chambers Says:

    Thank you Charles…I appreciate your wishes

  12. Maria Says:

    Hello, I thank you for all of the information that you are providing us on here. I have an unlocked Blacberry 9650 Bold and wanted to know if that was going to work in Costa Rica. I am going to be there next week , March 23rd and would purchase the SIM Card if it will work. thank you so much for your time. Maria

    • Know About Costa Rica Says:

      If your phone acts like a non-blackberry and you can use it in the USA without the blackberry surcharge,…..then we think it will work here and ICE says that it will work….but we have never personally seen here a blackberry phone being used with a prepaid phone service…so the short answer is probably.

  13. Christina Says:

    Thanks for the info! Is it possible to send/receive text messages locally with a pre-paid SIM card? If so, do you know the rates?

  14. Barry Says:

    Charles, when you say that text messages cost $0.17 to send, does that amount come off the total that you paid for the SIM?

    And you said that data is included… but how is that billed?

    • Know About Costa Rica Says:

      Yes, the cost of text messages come off the total that you paid for the SIM.
      There are no bills, this is a prepaid card. Please note that as of March 7th, 2011 the ICE has suspended the data transmission for prepaid lines indefinitely.

  15. bellissimaitaliana Says:

    Hi there!

    I am excited I found your blog with all this info – I am going to Costa Rica for 6 months. I will arrive in June. I have a question for you, however —

    Have you used the kolbi SIM card since March 7, 2011?

    The reason I ask is because there is now a message on the kolbi website stating the following (regarding prepaid data service):

    *** “ kölbi ” te informa:

    Trabajamos en el rediseño del servicio de internet para líneas prepago, por tal motivo a partir del 7 de marzo del 2011 todo servicio nuevo prepago no incluye la facilidad del internet, sin embargo los servicios de voz no se verán afectados por esta disposición, se comunicará de manera oportuna cuando esté disponible el servicio .

    Le ofrecemos disculpas por cualquier inconveniente causado.

    I’m sure you understand Spanish, but just in case – what it basically says is that, after March 7, 2011, data service will no longer be available for prepaid SIMS due to a redesign in the internet service. It says voice service will not be affected.

    Do you have any experience with this? Were you currently using data service on your phone with the prepaid kolbi SIM? If so, have you been able to use the data service since March 7, 2011?

    I am concerned for a couple reasons:

    1) The most materialistic reason – I REALLY want data service on my cell when I am in Costa Rica. (I know the only way I can have cell service without being a legal resident, sharing a line with a local, or opening up business is to use the prepaid system).

    2) If it turns out data service will not be possible for me, oh well, bummer – I’ll just have to deal with it. BUT — the part about this that really concerns me is the fact that I NOW become uncertain as to what cell I can buy in the U.S. that will now work in Costa Rica. Even without data service, I will still appreciate being able to take advantge of wifi where I can, so I definitely need a smartphone. BUT, most smartphones, even when unlocked, will not function (or activate) without a data plan! So basically, I’m in a bind as to what kind of phone to buy here in the U.S. Will ANY 1800 band GSM phone work in Costa Rica, regardless if it has access to data or not once down there????? I think I can get a phone for much cheaper here in the U.S. than I can in Costa Rica, and so I’d really like to buy one prior to getting down there.

    If you can advise me in any way regarding this current issue, I’d REALLY appreciate it!! Thanks so much!!!

  16. April Says:

    I’m Canadian, but a resident of CR
    I am considering buying an iPhone 4 from Canada. They sell them unlocked as well as in plans.
    I would obviously buy the unlocked one.
    My current CR phone has a SIM card, but I read that the iPhone 4 has the microSIM cards.

    Obviously my old SIM will not work in the iPhone 4, but would work in iPhone 3

    Will I have a problem in getting a microSIM card from ICE knowing that I bought the phone from Canada?

    Just this past week the iPhone 4’s arrived in Costa Rica, so I’m assuming ICE has these microSIMs..

    I guess, my debate is whether I should buy the iPhone 3, or iPhone 4 because of the SIM card issue.
    Thanks so much!

    • Know About Costa Rica Says:

      You can buy an unlocked iPhone 4 or 3 in Canada, but the ICE will not take any responsibility if the phone does not work…The ICE not even sell prepaid plans for the iphone.
      The ICE does not have microsims, they cut them for the iPhones that they sell with their plans… If you buy your iPhone in Canada or any other place different than the authorized ICE dealers, the ICE will not cut the sim for you, you have to do it yourself at your own risk…There are various videos on YouTube that show you how to cut a sim card.

  17. Lucia Prieto Says:

    Hi Charles,
    What if I want to refill my sim card?

  18. Jana Says:

    My son is traveling to Costa Rica for about a month. He would like to have a phone mainly to use to stay in touch with others who are traveling with him – he should not need to make calls to the US. I have been researching phones and came to the same conclusion as your suggestion: buy an unlocked 1800 band GMS phone and then my son could purchase a SIM card at the airport. I found one that is on the list recommended by ICE. So, I guess I just want confirmation that if I purchase a phone that is on the list, that there a pretty good chance that my son can just purchase the SIM card and insert it and it will work. Is there anything I need to be aware of before buying the phone? I found a new one on EBay. Thanks for you help!

    • Know About Costa Rica Says:

      Yes… have a high probability of success. Also, there is a good chance ANY 1800 unlocked phone will work….but the ICE list does increase the confidence level. Tell him to be patient and verify the phone will work before leaving the kiosk….your welcome.

      • Jana Says:

        a couple more questions….if I buy an unlocked GSM quad band phone off Ebay, will I have to know how to configure the phone for GSM service or is that already done? My son will not be able to call our carrier (Verizon) for help because the phone will not be purchased through them. Also, I’ve read lots about phone rentals and know they are expensive, but can you purchase some kind of pre-paid phone at the airport? Thanks so much!

      • Know About Costa Rica Says:

        There is no way for me to know the status of the phone….this is a question to ask the vendor you are considering buying the phone from. There are no pre-paid phones in CR…..only pre-paid chips for your GSM phone. Configuring a phone for GSM is not that difficult and the ICE might help you with this, just remember to get a phone that is on the ICE list so that it is easy for them to assist you.

  19. Lucia Prieto Says:

    Hello again Charles,

    I am curious what phone you got with Verizon. I’m thinking of getting the Droid 2 Global or the Droid Pro Global, but I think you said you had problems with it? Is there a certain global phone you would suggest getting if I want a phone with internet capabilities?

    Also, do you have any recommendations for buying a phone with Verizon, with a contract, but then putting the contract on hold or something? I think I heard that they can do that for up to 3 months? I’m planning on being in Costa Rica for about a year, so I was just wondering what’s the best way to do that.

    I’ve already tried buying a global unlocked phone off Ebay but it was no good, and I don’t want to keep trying that.

    I’m going to go visit the Verizon store and see what I can find out from them as well.

    Thanks so much!

    • Know About Costa Rica Says:

      There is no internet service with prepaid SIM cards in CR at this time and no date is given on the ICE site for starting it. I have a Samsung Renown. I no longer use phone internet services of any kind in either the USA or Costa Rica….I dumped them a few years ago. New and expensive phone models will be a target for theft and replacing them will be very expensive in CR.
      If you are going for a year then I recommend no contract with Verizon….just fire them and rehire them when you get back to the USA. Yes, Verizon has a seasonal plan…you can just call them to set it up….I have suspended my Verizon service for more than 3 months…so you should be able to as well. You can still buy any phone you want at a much reduced rate from a vendor other than Verizon….buying a phone from Verizon then going away for a year will result in a 3 year contract end date…..something to consider.
      Yes…there is an increased risk buying a phone off ebay…..sorry you got a bad one…..I have bought two and they worked perfectly…..I still think Ebay is the most cost effective way to get a phone for Costa Rica….this is the one I bought off Ebay for my Fiance….it worked perfectly.

      • Erik Says:

        Does this mean that internet/data capability was discomtinued on the tourist prepaid chips as well, or only on the prepaid chips that residents can get? Thanks

      • Know About Costa Rica Says:

        The internet/data capability was discontinued on the prepaid chips…there is no difference between the tourist prepaid chips and the residents prepaid chips… they are all same chips. ICE has not given yet a date when the service will be available again.

  20. Jana Says:

    Just wanted to let you know that the phone I got for my son off ebay (motorola V600) worked when he inserted the SIM card! Thanks for your advice.

  21. April Says:

    Hi My husband and I are going to costa rica in Nov.we need a phone so we can keep intouch with our children .I have verizon as my cell can I use my cell it is a 3g htc pro 2 I am due for an upgrade there is a place to put a sims card .I just really need some help on this cause i paid 600 dollars for my last bill when I went to st.martin using verizon please help me.

    • Know About Costa Rica Says:

      There are so many phones that I can not give advice on specific models. However, If your phone has a slot for SIM card it should work with a Costa Rica pre paid SIM card provided you learn to make the necessary changes to the phone configuration settings. Also, make sure you are not confusing a SIM card slot for a SD memory card slot. If you phone has GSM capability, then you should already have a Verizon SIM card installed. Here is what I suggest……Call Verizon and ask for the “Verizon Global Customer Support” number….Call the Global department and ask: 1)if your phone will a accept a SIM card from Costa Rica 2) ask for the instructions to configure your particular phone for international GSM use with a SIM card from Costa Rica, 3) write the instructions down carefully, write the Global customer number down and take them to Costa Rica for reference when you pick up your prepaid SIM card at the airport……this will take a bit of preparation on your part, but it is way better than paying Verizon 600 bucks.

      Remember that Verizon wants you to use their SIM card for obvious reasons….do not let them steer you in that direction.

      Charles the Gringo

  22. Joeln Says:

    I have a MOBAL cell phone that I bought for traveling. The company says it will work in Costa Rica, how do I figure out if it is unlocked and I can use this sim card in it?

    Thanks! – Joel

    • Know About Costa Rica Says:

      You need to contact your service provider. If you bought the phone from them, they should have the answers within their technical service department. For additional assurance and confidence beyond your service provider, contact the manufacturer of the phone or read the owners manual to determine how to check the phone settings (including a unlocked condition). Unfortunately, there are way too many phones for me to know specifics for each phone model.

  23. Luke Says:

    Thanks so much for this valuable info. Ill be heading down to SJO in a few days and one big question I had was if the ICE desk at the airport sold any cell phones and if they did how much does the cheapest one go for? Im not sure if I will have time to get my hands on a phone I can unlock before I leave.


    • Know About Costa Rica Says:

      The last time I was at the airport, the ICE Kiosk did not have phones for sale…..and I don’t know if they will ever do that at the airport. However, there are many new phone companies in Costa Rica selling post paid sim cards (Movistar, Claro, Tuyo), now you can also go to any ICE office or to any of these new phone companies and get a prepaid sim card. They also sell some cheap cell phones…last time I checked, the ICE had one at for $40.

  24. Gary Says:

    I don’t know how long it’s been since you’ve visited Costa but pre-paid chips is what the vast majority of Ticos use and are available at any ICE or ICE authorized private Kiosk in the country.

    They are 3G chips (CR 3G that is) but will work in any GSM phone (the 3G phones have Far better receiption) which you can get as cheap as $30.

    Also, the only non ICE provider at the moment is Claro and that is only in the San Jose area. They have had problems getting their towers built (no tower sharing here). It is expected that others will be up soon but not yet.

    • Know About Costa Rica Says:

      Thank you for the info…Other non-ICE suppliers besides Claro are Movistar and Tuyo. In the past you could only get a prepaid chip at the ICE offices outside the airport only if you were a Costa Rican, because they used to asked for a bunch of papers. But now tourists can get a prepaid chip not only at the airport but at the different ICE offices or with any of the other suppliers.

  25. Nice Post Says:

    Nice Post…

    […]Costa Rica Cell phone Service « Costa Rica Blog Central[…]…

  26. raz Says:

    Very informative post. However, I have been in and out of SJO about 3 times in the last 6 weeks and they now do sell phones at the airport. There is an ICE Kolbi kiosk in the gates area, just before you do down to the Migracion. I think it is near gate 6 or 7. They have some cheap phones – as well as more expensive ones. (I do not think these will be unlocked but fine for use in CR.) The ICE desk in the baggage area still exists and sells SIMs.

    Also – data on prepaids has been reinstated and you can get it by the day, week 2 week or month.

    • karen Says:

      Do you know if the ICE kiosk at SJO still has cheap phones for sale, and how much they cost? I prefer not to bring my phone and deal with potential SIM card issues, but want something for emergencies or to contact tour operators etc. We can rent one for $7/d with our car rental ($98 for 2weeks; includes 120 local mins). I was wondering if purchasing something at the airport would cost less.

      • Know About Costa Rica Says:

        The ICE office at the airport in San Jose has cellphones for sale. They cost approximately US$70.00 and usually include at least 60 minutes that you can use local or international. From time to time they even have some specials.

  27. Rica Says:

    Claro and Movistar are two other mobil providers besides Kolbi ICE. Movistar has the BEST reception everywhere especially in the house as with Kolbi ICE you often need to go outside to have red reception. Also I took my iphone 4S and unlocked it with Verizon and cut my old Kolbi ICE sim card so it would fit in side slot and works great in costa rica, I go online for 200 colones a day and 1 colon per text and cery inexpensive to call usa and columbia.

  28. Priscilla Says:

    Do you know if they can cut the sim card there at the airport?

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  31. Clair Says:

    Thanks for all the great info! Do you know what time the kiosk closes? Our flight gets in at 9pm on Friday Jan 4th. Have you heard if there is any other place to get a prepaid sim card in San Jose? Thanks for your time!

  32. Clair Says:

    Can you get Nano Sim’s for the iPhone 5 in Costa Rica?

  33. zijibg Says:

    Hi! Beth here, and I depart for CR (Liberia airport) on Feb.19 for
    five weeks. Right now I have an older Samsung model with Verizon monthly service(no longer on contract,,does that mean it is unlocked?) and I purchased a new Samsung Galaxy SIII recently via Best Buy online Intl version which I have not yet activated. My thought was to activate it to PagePlus Cellular which supposedly uses Verizon’s network, but the PagePlus map doesn’t show service in CR as Verizon’s map does. I will have my laptop and WiFi service at Samara Beach and I have Skype for LD calls and I believe even local calls while in CR?? So, maybe I don’t even need a local phone. I am walking distance to beach and local markets/bank etc. My original thought was to boot up the SIII on PagePlus. I think that will work fine in the U.S., but the CustSvc feedback online for PP does not look great and the phone was costly, so could be risky to take it along. Maybe just take the old phone for calls in MA-Atlanta transit prior to intl flight to Liberia, and possibly purchase the phone/Sim and get the local support once in the town of Samara? I’m looking for easiest yet not priciest options and I’m not super high tech.

    So, thanks for any recommendations. I’m not really sure how to proceed.

    • Know About Costa Rica Says:

      Contracts and unlocked phones are completely separately issues. If you want to know if your phone is unlocked, you have to contact your phone provider and tell them that you want to unlock the phone, sometimes they’ll do it, sometimes they won’t…and remember that your phone has to be a GSM phone or it will not work with Costa Rican sim cards. The easiest and less pricy option would be to just buy an unlocked used phone from EBay ($20 to $25) and get the sim card in Costa Rica…If you want to use Skype that’s a good idea but you will need an internet connection.

      • zijibg Says:

        There’s a Motorola Droid A855 smartphone available locally that
        someone purchased on eBay. How does a potential buyer know if it’s GSM and SIM card available? Unlocked?

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