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cellular pylon at South Bay and Pilchard Hole Salina on Salt Cay Communications tower near Pilchard Hole Salina, Salt Cay.

Telephones, Internet and Mobile Phones

Intelsat satellite dish and cell tower at Cockburn Town on Grand Turk
An Intelsat satellite ground station located in Cockburn Town, Grand Turk.

Most phones will work in the Turks and Caicos without difficulty. Depending on your mobile operator, you may need to activate international roaming before you depart. GSM coverage is provided by the two local telecommunications companies (Flow and Digicel), and Flow provides coverage for CDMA (Verizon and Sprint phones).

You have the option to buy a local pre-paid SIM if you're mostly interested in data access and local calls.

Before You Arrive

Decide if you want to roam or buy a local SIM. If you're roaming, contact your provider to set up international roaming. Sometimes it's enabled by default, but not always.

Buying A Local SIM

You'll need an unlocked GSM phone in order to buy a local SIM card. Many new GSM phones are quadband (which means they use all 4 GSM frequencies: 850, 900, 1800, 1900). If you only have a dual band or tri-band phone, choose the appropriate local provider.

You'll need to provide ID in order to purchase a SIM card.

the oceanfront and cell tower at Cockburn Town on Grand Turk
Cell tower on Front Street, Cockburn Town, Grand Turk.

International Dialing

The local area code is +1 (649). Dialling to the Turks and Caicos Islands is the same as dialing to the United States. A local number, such as 946-2801 (the government switchboard) would be dialed as +16499462801. On mobile phones, simply hold the '0' key down to enter a '+'.

Dialling from the Turks and Caicos to a foreign number requires the full international area code.

Internet

Most hotels and villas provide free WiFi wireless internet. Some cafes and restaurants provide free WiFi in addition.

The top-level domain (TLD) for the Turks and Caicos Islands is .tc.

Mobile Internet

Providenciales, Grand Turk, and some areas on the other islands have high-speed 4G coverage. In some less populated and remote areas on the other islands, you'll only be able to access mobile interned via painfully slow EDGE (Enhanced Data rates for GSM Evolution, a 2.5G technology).

Free Facebook Usage

Digicel offers free internet and data for limited Facebook use. If you connect through the app, or by visiting the m.facebook.com site, you'll be presented with an option to connect free (videos and external links are not included). It's recommend that you read and understand the privacy concerns, as certain usage data will be shared with the network (Digicel).

Censorship

There is no censorship of the internet in the Turks and Caicos Islands. The internet censorship programme of the United Kingdom is not implemented in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Local Telecom Companies

Digicel
Digicel is one of the two major provider of mobile phone services in the Turks and Caicos. Their main retail headquarters offers mobile phones and pre-paid and post-paid sims. The store is located at the Graceway Plaza on Leeward Highway in central Providenciales.
Flow
Headquarters of the local Flow telecommunications company, providing fixed line, mobile and internet services. It's predecessor was Cable & Wireless, later renamed Lime, which had a legal 106-year monopoly on telecommunications until 2006.

Cellular Coverage Map

Older Phones, Electronics and Equipment such as Cell-Range Extenders

The GSM standard uses 4 main frequencies: 850 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz and 1900 MHz. New phones are usually quad-band, which means they work on all frequencies. Older phones are typically dual-band or tri-band. Many other types of electronics, such as cell-range extenders, usually only work on two frequencies.

Flow uses the 850 MHz frequency, whilst Digicel uses both 900 MHz and 1800 MHz. If you have an older phone or specialty equipment, make sure you select the right operator if you're buying a local SIM card.

Useful Links