The definitive guide to living and working in the Cayman Islands
Oct 08, 2015
Telecommunications and Internet
Last updated: 7th October 2015
This section provides detailed information on Cayman telecommunications, internet providers and monthly costs; how to get a mobile phone, what the different telecom providers offer in the Cayman Islands and where to take your phone for repairs.
Cayman’s sophisticated tourism and financial industries have ensured that telecommunications are as advanced as those you would find in any developed country. Staying connected, whether at home or on the go, has never been easier. There are plenty of options for mobile and residential phone services, and high speed internet connections, both via fixed lines and through mobile data, are available across all three islands.
Choosing the right provider will depend both on the services available in your area and your personal usage. Bundled options from the same provider combining mobile and residential phones, phone and broadband, broadband and TV packages, or three or more services can result in significant discounts.
It is worth noting, however, that due to the small population of the Islands, the costs of broadband, residential and mobile phone services tend to be quite a bit higher than in Europe and North America.
TELEPHONE SERVICES Every provider in the Cayman Islands must be able to provide local and long distance telephone services. All the mobile phone providers offer an International Direct Dialling service and depending on your plan rate, prices are often comparable to those for fixed lines. Mobile phone service options are varied and there are choices to suit any need, including mobile data, text messaging, voicemail and more.
The mobile providers in the Cayman Islands are Digicel and FLOW (previously known as LIME). Internet services are available from all providers: C3, Digicel, FLOW and Logic. High speed fibre optic cables and networks are increasing in availability, with C3, FLOW, and Logic providing even higher internet speeds to homes in Grand Cayman than previously possible. Stand alone and bundled internet and VoIP options are available, and in some instances discounts are offered for taking more than one service.
Residential phone service choices are plenty with installation times varying from a couple of hours to a couple of weeks depending on the company and the type of service you choose. If you are building a home in a newly developed area and want a fixed line installed, check directly with FLOW to confirm the expected time of installation, as they are the only providers with a landline network. Digicel’s wireless VoIP telephone service makes it possible to have phone service at home in a matter of hours once the modem set-up is completed.
It’s definitely worth spending a bit of time researching what is available, to ensure you find the best service provider and plan to suit your individual calling habits.
Overview of Local & Long Distance Telephone ServicesMore and more people are making do without residential phones and instead relying on their mobile phones to stay in touch. However, families with children often like to have a residential phone, and should you need to make a 911 emergency call, your phone number is used to pinpoint your location.
FLOW (previously known as LIME), as mentioned above, is the only provider of residential phones that uses fixed landlines. They offer three options for residential phone accounts: light users can simply pay a monthly line rental fee ($18) and then pay for the calls they make; heavier users can choose from one of two packages that include 500 or 800 minutes of calls. It should be noted that these packages only cover calls to other FLOW numbers. Calls to non-FLOW numbers and international calls fall outside of the packages and are usually more expensive from a landline than from a mobile phone.
Logic and C3 offer VoIP phone services which allow users to make calls using an internet connection rather than traditional fixed lines.
C3 offers VoIP phone services which allows users to make calls using an internet connection, rather than traditional fixed lines. In addition, the C3-n-GO app for smart phones allows customers to take their C3 phone number with them and make and receive excellent voice quality domestic and international calls from their iPhone, via their data network (WiFi, 3g or 4g. Data rates may apply).
Logic’s Chatterbox service works with any internet provider and gives you unlimited international calls for a fixed monthly fee. Several monthly plans are available, depending on where you call the most.
For those who want family or friends to be able to call them in Cayman without having to pay for overseas calls, the Chatterbox International Numbers mean Cayman residents can be reached on a US/UK/other country number.
MOBILE SERVICESTwo mobile service providers operate in the Cayman Islands: Digicel and FLOW. Both companies offer pre-paid (or pay-as-you-go) options, as well as post-paid plans. Plans typically include voice calls and text messaging, and most also include a certain amount of international calls (anywhere minutes) and data allowance.
A high proportion of residents use smartphones, both Android and iOS, and both FLOW and Digicel use 4G LTE technology - the latest generation of mobile data - so mobile internet speeds are as fast as you will find anywhere else in the world.
The My FLOW and MyDigicel apps enable customers to view and pay their bills, or top up credit with pre-paid phones, as well as activate a number of add-on plans, such as reduced international calling rates, roaming and data plans.
Prepaid Mobile ServicesThe advantage of prepaid mobile phones is that there is no contract, no monthly fee and no deposit required.
Prepaid SIM cards can be purchased from Digicel and FLOW stores as well as from other retailers, such as supermarkets and gas stations. All you need to do is purchase the SIM card, put it in your phone, add calling credit and start calling.
Credit can be added (also known as topping up) at the same locations, as well as at some ATMS, online and through the mobile service providers’ apps.
The disadvantage of prepaid phones is that the per minute rates are higher than for post-paid plans. Local calls cost 20 to 45 cents per minute depending on the time of day and on whether you are calling numbers within your network, or fixed and mobile numbers outside the network. You may purchase calling plans for prepaid to save on regular calling rates.
The prepaid credit can be used for making calls, using mobile internet or for texting. You will get better value by purchasing data, text and calling plans.
Postpaid Mobile ServicesFLOW (previously LIME) and Digicel postpaid plans include itemised billing, per second billing, roll over minutes and 4G LTE data.
You will usually be required to sign a contract for 12 or 24 months with a postpaid plan. These are easy to set up – you just need to take along ID and a proof of address - and there is a choice of plans allowing customers to choose the one that best fits their needs.
Postpaid plans with both companies start at around $25 per month which will include a basic allocation of minutes, text messages and data allowance. Heavier users can select plans at higher monthly allocations.
Contracts often include a discount on handsets (some basic models may even be provided for free) and the cost of the phone can usually be spread out over the course of the contract.
Because there is no such thing as credit ratings in the Cayman Islands, however, you will need to put down some kind of deposit if you choose a postpaid plan. This is refundable should you decide to cease your service with the provider.
FLOW’s postpaid plans with a contract are for 12 or 24 months duration, with higher discounts on handsets for longer contracts. FLOW also offers a no contract rolling monthly postpaid plan, with the same rates for calls and data available as with contracts. The main difference is that there is no discount on handsets with the pay-as-you-go/no contract plan.
Rather than offering a choice of different plans, FLOW’s MyPlan system means that you start with a basic plan allowance (100 calling minutes, 100 texts, 250 MB data per month) and you can then customise it by adding extra text messages, ‘anywhere minutes’ (international and locals calls), data plans and cloud storage according to your particular needs.
Digicel offers several postpaid plans, starting from $29 per month all the way up to $149 per month, available on 12 or 24 months contracts. The plans include an allocation of ‘anywhere minutes’, Unlimited Digi to Digi calls and SMS plus varying data allowances.
For those who are not sure how much data they will use, Data Test Drive gives customers unlimited data usage for the first three months of their contract, allowing them to calculate their typical usage in MBs and then choose the plan that best fits their needs.
HandsetsIt is worth noting that if you bring a mobile phone with you from overseas when you move to Cayman, it will not necessarily work here. It all depends on the frequency used: Cayman mobile providers use GSM, HSPA and LTE technology. It is a good idea to check with your provider prior to moving to find out if your phone will be compatible, if you are free of contract obligations, and if your phone is unlocked. As a general rule, European phones will use the same frequency, but phones from CDMA carriers in the US and Canada will not.
Mobile phones can be unlocked locally at Cellular World, in the Bay Town Plaza, opposite the Wharf Restaurant on West Bay Road. They can also repair mobile phones and replace cracked screens on iPads. For more information call them on (345) 943 2355 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
FLOW and Digicel sell a wide range of new handsets, some of which will be discounted or even free, depending on the plan you choose. Purchasing a handset from one of the mobile providers on Island is advisable as their selection of phones are the ones that work best on the networks here, plus you will get a warranty and access to authorised repair services.
RoamingAll mobile phone providers offer worldwide roaming, so that you can make and receive calls while abroad on your Cayman number. These calls fall outside your monthly plan, meaning that you will be billed at much higher rates than at home for both outgoing and incoming calls and text messages as overseas network charge higher rates for visiting users.
To enable frequent (and not so frequent) travellers to keep using their phones abroad without breaking the bank, both FLOW and Digicel offer roaming plans.
These can be activated just before departure, and are usually valid for 30 days, but can be extended. You pay a flat monthly fee for the roaming plan and in return will be able to receive incoming calls and text messages for free and make calls at much reduced rates. Check with your provider which countries are covered by their roaming plans, as these vary.
Travellers should also be very aware of using data while overseas. Because smartphones are constantly checking for incoming mail, texts, social media updates and so on, even if you are not actively surfing the web, you may well be using data without realising it. Using data while roaming can cost up to $12 per MB, so it is usually a good idea to turn data roaming off on your smartphone, unless you have purchased a roaming plan that includes data. Add-on data roaming plans are also available.
Roaming plans and data roaming plans are also available for prepaid phones but you will first need to ensure you have topped up with sufficient credit to be able to activate these.
INTERNET at homeThe options for broadband are increasing every year, with wireless, fixed line and fibre optic connections available. FLOW, Digicel, Logic and C3 all offer home-based Internet plans with unlimited usage.
Bandwidths vary from as low as 512Kbps to as high as 300 Mbps in some areas. Fibre optic installation is on-going, so how far the different fibre optic networks extend is constantly changing. It is therefore well worth researching what kind of coverage each provider has in your area.
Fibre Optic (+TV)FLOW, Logic and C3 have all been busy over the past year or two installing fibre optic cables, which means many residents can now enjoy consistent superfast broadband speeds. Because fibre optic cables allow such consistently fast download speeds, all three providers offering fibre optic broadband now also offer TV packages. The choice of channels will vary according to the provider but is generally based on US programming with add on packages available for those who may want other specific channels such as Hispanic, Filipino, sports or movies (see TV section for more information). Purchasing Internet and TV as a bundle will often be more economical than purchasing the two separately
Internet Providers Digicel, FLOW, Logic, WestStar and C3 offer broadband internet service, by either a traditional fixed line network, a fibre-optic network or a modem (details for each company are listed below). Bandwidths vary depending on whether it is for a business or residence and can start as low as 512Kbps and go as high as 104Mbps (upload and download speeds). All five companies offer unlimited Internet usage plans and 24/7 customer support. An internet security computer protection add-on is available from Digicel, FLOW and Logic for a low monthly fee. Digicel and FLOW offer internet on the go with a Mi-Fi device over their LTE networks and with an iPhone from FLOW you can also turn your phone into a hotspot. Digicel’s internet for the home is available through their home broadband modem. Digicel and FLOW also offer PC cards, which give full mobile internet service on a laptop computer.
Digicel Broadband for business and residential customers is available through their LTE network, offering fast speed internet of up to 50Mbps across all three islands and Unlimited downloads. Just pick up a wireless modem at a Digicel store and select from their pre-paid or post-paid plans. They also have a 24/7 customer care hotline and a technical support centre. With Digicel LTE Home Broadband there is no installation required, allowing you to get online sooner. There is no need for a fixed line and no need for a fixed-term contract. You just purchase the LTE wireless modem, with the price dependent on the plan you take.
FLOW has replaced all of their copper wires across Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac with fibre optic, so can offer superfast broadband across the two islands. Packages are offered to suit different needs and household sizes, from 10Mbps to 300Mbps. Rates start from CI$79 per month. Contracts are usually for 12 months minimum, although a no-contract option is available for a slightly higher monthly fee. Installation time for superfast broadband is between five and fifteen business days, depending on whether customers have a FLOW landline, or not. FLOW does not currently charge an installation fee
FLOW’s superfast broadband customers can access a range of FLOW TV packages, plus choose additional channels. Discounts are offered on bundles. TV packages include US and Latin American programming plus Video on Demand content. FLOW TV uses cloud technology to store programs so you can watch them when it suits you. To apply go to www.discoverflow.ky or visit a FLOW retail store.
Logic At the time of writing, Logic’s fibre optic network is available in the Seven Mile Beach area, South Sound and large parts of West Bay. They hope to have extended the network to cover the whole of Grand Cayman by 2017.
Logic offers 3, 5, 10, 15 and 25 Mbps plans (this refers to download speeds) where fibre optic is available. Plans start from $59 per month up to $149 and contracts are for a minimum of 12 months. Logic TV, with anywhere from 22 to 127 channels, plus the ability to add on packages, is also available in fibre areas. Elsewhere, traditional cable TV is offered, with up to 51 channels.
Logic customers signing up for both fibre TV and internet will not pay an installation fee. If they only take one service there is a $199 installation fee. Installation takes approximately one week.
C3 is the latest player to enter the fibre optic/TV market. By the end of 2015 they expect their fibre optic network to extend from southern George Town and South Sound out to Prospect, Savannah and Bodden Town. Standalone broadband packages of 5 to 25 Mbps start at $69 per month, and currently C3 does not charge any installation fee and no contract is required. The time frame to get fibre optic internet installed is 5 to 10 working days.
C3 also offers various TV packages, giving viewers between 46 and 161 channels, with the option to add on sports, family, movie or other packages. Bundled packages that include high speed Internet, Digital TV and phone services are more economical, starting at just $89 per month, although both can be purchased as standalone services.
Wireless Internet In areas outside their fibre optic network, Logic offers a wireless internet service. This can be more economical ($40-$125 per month) but speeds are significantly lower – from 512k at the lower end of the scale, up to 2.5Mb at the top end. This system requires no installation and no contract, so one can simply pick up a modem from the retail centre, plug it in and start surfing immediately.
Digicel offers a home internet service via their LTE network. To activate this you will need to purchase a modem and install a 4G SIM from Digicel. There is no installation or set up cost and no deposit required. The monthly cost is $89. Both pre- and post-paid plans are available.
Internet on the GoFor those who need to stay connected while on the move, there are various options. Depending on your phone, you may be able to create a hotspot through which other devices can connect to the Internet using your phone’s mobile data. Although the 4G LTE technology means such connections are fast, it can become an expensive way to stay connected.
Alternatively, FLOW and Digicel have mifi (mobile wifi) devices which act like wireless modems but can be charged up and taken anywhere. Several devices can connect to a mifi at one time and it will work in the car, at the beach or anywhere else. This is a good option for occasional use but not a long-term substitute for home-based internet.
Providers’ Contact DetailsC3
409 Walkers Road, George Town
Open Monday-Friday 9am-6.30pm
and Saturdays 9.30am-1pm
Tel: (345) 333 3333
Digicel Retail Stores
> 45 Market Street, Camana Bay. Monday-Friday 10am-7pm and Saturdays 9am-5pm
> 72 North Church Street, George Town. Monday-Saturday 9am-6pm
> Countryside Shopping Village, Savannah. Monday-Friday 10am-7pm and Saturdays 9am-4pm
> A. L. Thompson’s. Monday, Wednesday-Saturday 8am-5pm and Tuesdays 10.30am-5pm
Corporate office: (345) 623 3444
Customer Care from Digicel mobile: 100
Customer Care while roaming: (345) 326 0000
Business Customers: (345) 623 2499 or
FLOW’s Retail Locations:
> Galleria Plaza, West Bay Road. Opening hours: Monday, Wednesday and Friday 9am-5.30pm, Tuesday 10am -5.30 pm, Saturday 9am-4pm
> Anderson Square, George Town. Open: Monday, Wednesday-Friday 8.15am-5pm, Tuesday 9.15 am-5pm, Saturday 9am-2pm
> Countryside Shopping Village, Savannah. Open: Monday-Friday 10am-7pm, Saturday 10am-5pm
> Heritage Square, West Bay. Open: Monday-Friday 10am-7pm, Saturday 10am-5pm
> Stake Bay, Cayman Brac. Open: Monday-Thursday 9am-5pm, Friday 9am-4.30pm, Saturday 9am-noon
Customer Care: 811 or 1 800 804 2994
To make an appointment to visit Customer Care, call (345) 949 7800.
Main Office: (345) 949 7800
Directory Assistance: 411 (0.50 per call)
Business Services: (345) 949 7800
> Governors Square, West Bay Road. Open: Monday-Friday 9am-6pm, Saturday 9am-1pm
> TV Centre (off Eastern Avenue), George Town. Open: Monday-Friday 8.30am-5.30pm.
Tel: (345) 745 5555
Call Centre hours: Monday –Thursday, 8.30am-8.30pm, Fridays, 8.30am-8pm, Saturdays, 9am-6pm, Sundays 11am-3pm.
Email: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone RepairsCellular World
Bay Town Plaza, West Bay Road
Tel: (345) 945 2355 or (345) 943 2355
Cellular World can repair and unlock many brands of mobile phone and they can also replace the screens on iPads.
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