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I recently went on an 8 day cruise from NYC to the Caribbean that stopped in Turks and Caicos, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic. My first stop was Grand Turk and there I opted for the free roaming. My S9+ automatically connected to Flow's (Cable & Wireless) LTE network where I received speeds of around 120kbps on average with boosts of up to 150kbps. Something worth noting is that on speed tests, the server prefers to default to Sprint's Miami server as opposed to local servers. Speeds were more than adequate for any amount of web browsing and honestly felt much faster than in reality. It helps that using Chrome will save you data by not loading pictures on certain sites unless you click them.

In Puerto Rico, I connected to Band 13 on the way into the port in San Juan but once I was in the city, my phone never left Band 41. While the phone was usable, speeds remained significantly lower than what I've come to expect from 3xCA in the mainland U.S. Data speeds peaked at around 25-30Mbos but on average were in the 5-10 Mbps range even on LTE+. Signal remained strong everywhere though. 

Finally in the Dominican Republic, I entered in Amber Cover which is in Puerto Plata. My phone latched onto a weak Band 2 LTE signal in the port from Altice (called Orange Dominicana in SignalCheck). I had trouble loading pages though. Once off of the ship and out in the open, I had a much stronger signal which allowed me to browse the internet without a hitch. Because it was the last day of my trip, while at the beach I decided to purchase the 24 hour high speed pass for $5. My speeds went from 120kbps to 65Mbps in less than 5 seconds. In some areas speeds were slower, particularly at the port where it struggled to break 2Mbps. Now, back on the boat my phone is flipping between weak Band 4 LTE and overloaded Band 5 HSPA+ from Claro (called Verizon Dominicana in SignalCheck Pro). Here is the difference in speed from before and after purchasing the high speed pass. E5UEWxk.jpgjrQBnED.jpg

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37 minutes ago, vryan44 said:

For the brief time you were connected to band 13, how did it perform?

I didn't get a chance to run a speed test at all because before I knew it, my device decided to switch to Band 41. I just happened to check and it said Sprint Band 13.


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  • 3 years later...

Adding onto this thread! 

I went to Roatán, Honduras and CocoCay, Bahamas recently. Here's my experience in both places.

Roatán, Hondruas:

I bought a 5GB international high speed data pass for $35 from T-Mobile. It lasts 10 days and gives you virtually unrestricted access to partner networks out there. 

For some background there are 3 networks in Honduras; Tigo, Claro, and Honducel. I did my research and found out that Tigo and Claro are virtually the only two viable carriers in the country. Honducel has a tiny 3G network and controls less than 1% of the market so you'll probably never encounter their network in the country.


Upon arrival in Roatán I took my phone off of airplane mode and got a text from T-Mobile welcoming me to Honduras. I also got a text from Claro welcoming me to Honduras which was quite the surprise.


Because Roatán is a pretty small island, both Claro and Tigo have signal virtually everywhere with zero coverage dropouts. However it's obvious that Tigo has invested more on the island as they not only have massive macro sites on towers but they have lots of mini-macros/small cells on telephone poles throughout the island to provide infill coverage on mountain roads and in tourist areas.

Unfortunately Tigo does not provide T-Mobile customers with access to their LTE network in Roatán, only their HSPA network. Nonetheless it still performed well. Any time I (manually) switched my phone to Tigo's network I had a full signal. Speeds were good everywhere at about 8-10Mbps down and 1 up. On Claro's network, I was seeing average LTE speeds of 7-20 Mbps with peak speeds of 50Mbps. Checking the Service Menu on the iPhone I could see that I was on 20MHz of Band 4 however I'm not sure if it was aggregated with any other bands. Given the speeds I was seeing it definitely seemed like I was only connecting to that single carrier.

Claro LTE:



CocoCay, Bahamas:

The Bahamas has two carriers, BTC which is a state run telecom that is partially owned by Cable & Wireless (the company behind the Flow brand across the Caribbean) and the other carrier is called aliv. Aliv is a relatively new carrier in the has an all LTE network with lower prices than BTC that was created to bring competition to the Bahamian telecom space.


I believe that T-Mobile's roaming agreement with BTC predates the arrival of aliv and as a result, T-Mobile doesn't have a roaming deal with them, only with BTC. I couldn't find a coverage map for either carrier on their websites but according to Bell Canada's international roaming map, aliv provides LTE coverage to CocoCay and BTC provides 3G coverage.

Upon arrival in The Bahamas, my phone connected to BTC's 3G network and I got a welcome text from T-Mobile.


Neither BTC nor aliv has a tower on the actual island of CocoCay. Instead, they have a tower on Great Stirrup Cay, the private island that belongs to Norwegian Cruise Lines about a mile and a half away. This is not an issue though as BTC uses Band 5 for their HSPA network and have power and downtilt set such that you get full signal across the entirety of CocoCay. 



I was actually getting great 3G speeds from the tower at about 12-18Mbps down and 2-4Mbps up. Ultimately I had nothing to complain about with BTC's network there.

BTC 3G: 



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  • 11 months later...

Back with another update!

This time I went to Haiti, Puerto Rico, and Sint Maarten. T-Mobile has a domestic network in Puerto Rico so I'll leave my thoughts on that for the PRVI thread. Since my previous update I've upgraded my plan to Magenta MAX to take advantage of the free 5GB of high speed international roaming among other perks.

— — — — —

Labadee, Haiti:

Haiti has two networks, Digicel and Natcom. Digicel is well known throughout the Anglophone/Francophone Caribbean and the Netherlands Antilles. They have a presence in 27 Caribbean countries and Panama and they operate LTE networks in every single one. Natcom on the other hand was previously a state-owned telecom but in 2010 they privatized and are now 60/40 private-public with Vietnam's Viettel owning 60% of the company and the Haitian government owning 40%. Upon taking my phone off of airplane mode, my phone immediately connected to Digicel's network and here's the welcome text that I received:


It seems that because Digicel's roaming agreement covers 27 Caribbean countries, T-Mobile has opted to provide a generic "Welcome to The Caribbean" message when you connect to their network. I was able to see Natcom's network via the network selector on my iPhone but I was unable to connect to it, indicating that T-Mobile doesn't have any sort of roaming agreement with them. Attempting to connect to it would cause me to lose signal completely. However I could see via ServiceMode that Natcom uses 10MHz of Band 12.

Digicel's LTE network on the other hand consists of 20MHz of Band 3 and 10MHz of Band 5. Interestingly I noticed them use MFBI to broadcast Band 26 too. Here are some ServiceMode screenshots showing Band 3, 5, and 26.


My phone never aggregated the two bands so speeds on Digicel's network in Haiti weren't impressive but they were more than enough to do any browsing or streaming you need. For a country with so many people and only two carriers, you'd think they'd be using more spectrum or have better performance on each carrier but that wasn't the case. Here are some speed tests.


— — — — —

Sint Maarten/Saint Martin:

Sint Maarten is the complete opposite of Haiti in terms of the telecom landscape. While Haiti is a country about 10,000 sq mi in size with 11.4 million people and 2 carriers, Sint Maarten/Saint Martin is only about 34 sq mi with a population of 74,000 people and has 6 carriers and technically 7 networks. Because I arrived via cruise ship, on the ocean you can see every network operating on the island. Here's the network selector showing every network.


The networks in Saint Martin are Dauphin Telecom (340 08), Orange Caraïbe (F-Orange), SFR Caraïbe (not listed), Chippie (340-03), and Digicel (Digicel/Digicel-StaySafe). 

In Sint Maarten there are two networks, Chippie (CHIPPIE/Flow) and Telcell (Telcell GSM).

Here are some interesting factoids about their network situation and how it works with so many carriers. The island is small but very mountainous so coverage on one side can't reach the shores of the other side. All of the French operators with the exception of Digicel (Orange, SFR, Dauphin) offer free roaming in the Dutch part (Sint Maarten) through Telcell. Chippie uses their own partner network (same name, different PLMN) depending on which side you're on, and Telcell has free roaming on Dauphin Telecom.

While I typically spend most of my time on the island in Saint Martin (the French side) this time I decided to stay in Sint Maarten (the Dutch side). Because we pulled into port from the north (the French side) my phone initially connected to Digicel's network indicating to me that they're the primary roaming provider for people visiting Saint Martin. Interestingly, they didn't use the normal Digicel PLMN but instead the Digicel-StaySafe PLMN (which I'm assuming was created for Covid awareness). I got another one of those generic "Welcome to the Caribbean" messages just like I did in Haiti.

I was seeing 10MHz of Band 12 on Digicel and speeds were similar to what I was seeing in Haiti.


When we finally docked in Sint Maarten just outside of the capital of Phillipsburg, my phone switched to Chippie and I got the following welcome text:


I thought this was weird given that I wasn't in Curaçao but after some research I found out that Chippie was once operated by a company called UTC which was based out of Curacao. UTC operated the Chippie network throughout the Netherlands Antilles using a single 362-91 PLMN. As a result, they form a single network on all Dutch islands. This means that Chippie users can roam free in Curaçao, Bonaire, Saba, St. Eustatius, St. Maarten and St. Martin. They refer to their combined network as "Chippieland". UTC was acquired by Liberty Latin America in 2019. This is the same company that runs Liberty Mobile in Puerto Rico and the USVI, BTC in the Bahamas, and Flow throughout the rest of the Caribbean. While all of UTC's operations in the Netherlands Antilles have been renamed to Flow, their mobile network is still called Chippie.

Speeds on Chippie were pretty inconsistent due to the terrain of the country. Their LTE network primarily operates on 20MHz of Band 3 but looking at Cellmapper there are a few sites where they use Band 66 as well.



Here are some sites I took pictures of in Sint Maarten:




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  • 9 months later...

Just got back from Jamaica so here's another quick write-up.

Jamaica has two carriers, Digicel and Flow. If those names sound familiar it's because both of those companies are pretty much the duopoly of the Caribbean. You can find them throughout the Anglo, French, and Dutch Caribbean operating either under those brands or under a brand that Flow's parent company Cable & Wireless or C&W's parent company Liberty Global operates.

— — — — —

T-Mobile's Caribbean roaming agreement is with Digicel which means that in every country that Digicel operates they're the roaming provider and access to Flow's network is completely blocked. While I've tried Digicel's network in other countries, what makes Jamaica special is that they're headquartered in Kingston, Jamaica's capital. Because of this I went into it expecting Digicel to have a much better performing network than other Caribbean countries given it's their home market and their first market.

I spent my time on the north coast of the country, traveling between Montego Bay and Ocho Rios. 

The four primary LTE bands and bandwidths on Digicel are:

  • Band 2: 20MHz
  • Band 4: 20MHz
  • Band 5: 10MHz
  • Band 12: 10MHz

There is also one HSPA band on Digicel:

  • Band 5: 5MHz

Speeds were fantastic on their LTE network, averaging 40-60Mbps with peaks of over 100Mbps. They're making great use of carrier aggregation which provided consistent high speeds throughout the areas I traveled, significantly higher than what I saw in other Digicel countries. It helps that Digicel operates a fiber network in Jamaica meaning that they're able to supply their own backhaul to their own towers, though microwave backhaul is equally as common.

Here's some speed tests on 3G and LTE. Check out how upload CA kicked in on that last speed test giving me 72Mbps upload speeds on LTE.


What stood out to me was that Digicel still hasn't overlayed their 3G network in its entirety. Even though Digicel has so much lowband deployed, I found that indoor penetration on their LTE network was lacking at a lot of resorts, regularly dropping down to a strong 3G signal while indoors. At times I wondered if Digicel was using small cells or a DAS at some of these resorts but I never spotted any. Luckily 3G performance was good enough, typically in the low teens which was usable for any task on my phone.

Finally, here are some pics of cell sites I saw while there (including a bonus monopalm)




— — — — —


I forgot to mention that while you can use your roaming data allotment in all of these countries, Digicel has made it super easy to get an eSIM for tourists. You just go to this site and select which country you're traveling to and they'll show you all plans available for that destination. Super cool.




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