Phones forum

General discussion

Cell phone service in Costa Rica

by hh / January 5, 2005 5:15 AM PST

Here is an odd one! Does anyone have any idea what type of service works in Costa Rica? CDMA, TDMA or GSM?
Can one get prepaid minutes for cell phones in Costa Rica?
Thanks in advance.

Discussion is locked
You are posting a reply to: Cell phone service in Costa Rica
The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Please refer to our CNET Forums policies for details. All submitted content is subject to our Terms of Use.
Track this discussion and email me when there are updates

If you're asking for technical help, please be sure to include all your system info, including operating system, model number, and any other specifics related to the problem. Also please exercise your best judgment when posting in the forums--revealing personal information such as your e-mail address, telephone number, and address is not recommended.

You are reporting the following post: Cell phone service in Costa Rica
This post has been flagged and will be reviewed by our staff. Thank you for helping us maintain CNET's great community.
Sorry, there was a problem flagging this post. Please try again now or at a later time.
If you believe this post is offensive or violates the CNET Forums' Usage policies, you can report it below (this will not automatically remove the post). Once reported, our moderators will be notified and the post will be reviewed.
Collapse -
Cell phone service in Costa Rica
by nipegegi / January 10, 2005 3:17 AM PST

I'm looking for the same informaion. I want to buy two cellphones and use prepaid cards with them, like I do in Mexico with TelCel. Is this possible in Costa Rica?

Collapse -
by nickXrider / February 11, 2005 1:27 AM PST

I live here in Costa Rica. Cell phones are a strange breed here. I can tell you we do not have any pay as you go systems in place. The only way you can get a phone is by signing up for a line. The problem is they just ran out of GSM lines and are not expecting to have more for 3 years. The other lines are still available and on a positive note the monthly cost of cell phones here is minimal. I use my phone all the time to call over seas, canada, usa and my bill last month with over 100 min of long distance was $150. Compared with the USA or Canada that is really low.

GSM (sim) based is used mainly in San Jose (the capital city) and has the strongest signal here. In various beach locations GSM phones will also work but coverage is minimal and signal is weak.

TDMA is used mainly outside of San Jose. It will work best for travel around Costa Rica and has coverage in many more locations outside of San Jose then GSM.

Needless to say most people have both types of lines here.

Hope that helps


Collapse -
Cell Phones
by mervyn_s / April 12, 2005 12:58 PM PDT
In reply to: GSM / TDMA

Thanks for the tip on cell phones in Costa Rica. My wife and I are taking a trip there soon and I almost expected to just buy a new SIM card there locally, insert it in my GSM phone and load it with pre-paid minutes. I guess that's not the case.

However, I heard that the use of pre-paid phone cards for use on local public phones is a customary practice. It seems it might be the only alternative if they do not have "pay-as-you-go" systems. Is this an accurate assesment?



Collapse -
cingular international service
by / April 17, 2005 3:46 AM PDT
In reply to: GSM / TDMA

you can get cingular international service, if you travel to mexico also I suggest cingular North america plan, with this plan you can make calls from Mexico to US it would be a local call.
you can go to this link and see the rates for cingular international plan.
I suggest a unlock quad band phone like motorola V600
from .
good luck

Collapse -
Cingular international service
by gata268 / April 27, 2005 8:49 AM PDT

I have cingular, and I upgraded my phone prior to my trip to Costa Rica. The first phone I got was a Motorola V180 but that was not the right frequency for Costa Rica. So cingular switched my phone to a Motorola V220, a quad GSM, and it did not work anywhere in Costa Rica. Not even in San Jose, not even right in the ICE parking lot right under the cell phone tower.

Looks like an impossible situation?

Collapse -
Costa Rica
by birdmantd Forum moderator / April 27, 2005 10:17 AM PDT

The problem is the phone you were given. The Motorola V220 is not a quad band phone. The network in Costa Rica is 1800 mhz, the phone only operates on 850, 900 and 1900 mhz. The Motorola V551 is quad band. Sorry to have to let you know now.

Collapse -
Costa Rica
by gata268 / April 27, 2005 3:43 PM PDT
In reply to: Costa Rica

Thank you for the information! Isn't it odd that the friendly folks at Cingular don't know that? (After two phones.......)

Collapse -
by Opopanax / September 4, 2005 6:47 AM PDT
In reply to: Costa Rica

Actually, we do know that. All of the newer Moto phones are quadband, except for the v180s sold to ATT customers PRIOR to the merger.

V220 is definitely a quadband worldphone. Did you have the right features? Central America is also known for poor service, they may have had a disruption when you were there. For future reference, if you have any trouble overseas, call +19168434685 ofr International Wireless Care.

Collapse -
Costa Rica
by birdmantd Forum moderator / April 27, 2005 8:37 PM PDT
In reply to: Costa Rica

I am so sorry that the store gave you wrong info. If the representative had simply checked the available material at the store, they would have known the device was not compatible. Not trying to make an excuse, just trying to explain the obvious.

Collapse -
Questions about Cingular Service in CR
by blondiecls / May 10, 2005 12:55 PM PDT
In reply to: Costa Rica

I am moving to CR next month and must have my cel # in order to do business. I currently have Verizon. When I called Cingular they told me they do not have any coverage in Costa Rica. Will a Motorola V551 work both in the states and CR? Can I set up a Cingular plan here that would work there? Can I get internet access from my phone?

Collapse -
Your best bet might be.....
by hh / May 10, 2005 10:54 PM PDT

To rent a satelite phone for Costa Rica. You may have to pay more but you will have service. Do a Google search for cell phone service in Costa Rica and you will get more info.

Collapse -
Satellite or GSM
by blondiecls / May 11, 2005 10:34 AM PDT

Are Satellite phones the same as GSM?

Collapse -
by hh / May 11, 2005 1:07 PM PDT
In reply to: Satellite or GSM

The satellite phones work off satelites, and you can get service pretty much anywhere in the world in open space. I understand the rental of these phones are very popular for those traveling in the Saudi Arabian desert, in the Amazon, in African Safaris and in countries where the cell service is very poor.

Collapse -
satellite phones
by pearberrey / May 12, 2005 8:01 AM PDT
In reply to: Nope

with the satellite phones though i believe you have to be outside connected to a satellite to make a call and then if you want to recieve one you have to be somewhere connected to a satellite pretty much waiting for the call so they aren't to convienient.

Collapse -
by Opopanax / September 4, 2005 6:48 AM PDT
In reply to: satellite phones

Plus you pay about $9 a minute on a sat phone.

Collapse -
Cell Phone Rentals
by robertreis19 / February 19, 2006 11:20 PM PST
In reply to: Satellite or GSM

HI i was reading some discusions about Costa Rica,You dont have to rent a satellite We have service in Costa Rica with a north American numbers,Im sure you dont want to be relaxing on the beach and have to carry a satellite phone on you.You will stand out.See us

Collapse -
by pearberrey / May 11, 2005 7:11 AM PDT
In reply to: GSM / TDMA

I'm traveling to costa rica leaving the 22nd of may and staying for at least two months maybe three. I have been searching around looking to rent a cell phone all day and have seen many different and heard many different things about GSM and TDMA. One carrier or web group hasn't even ever heard of tdma and all have heard nothing about gsm not having any lines available. I'm now scared I'm going to end up with a phone and not be able to use it where i am. i'm going to mostly be in jaco and am looking for a somewhat cheap plan. My question is why don't these websites know about the gsm and which is the best group to rent from? Has anyone ever heard about cellulare telephone rentals? They are based in San Jose and have a great deal but i've heard they've only been around since august and it almost seems like the deal is to good to be true. if someone who knows about this stuff could let me know about the gsm thing and then check out and let me know what they think of the offer i would appreciate it. thank you!


Collapse -
followup on cellulare
by mikloslos / July 4, 2005 2:13 AM PDT
In reply to: GSM/TDMA

did you use this in CR and did it work as advertized. It does seem to be the best from the web page.

Collapse -
I did use this service in Costa Rica
by mikloslos / September 4, 2005 10:55 PM PDT
In reply to: followup on cellulare

I was in CR for 2 weeks in August. I used this service, and they delivered at the airport, everything worked as advertized and they picked it up from my hotel as I left the country. Best deal I am aware of.

Popular Forums
Computer Newbies 10,686 discussions
Computer Help 54,365 discussions
Laptops 21,181 discussions
Networking & Wireless 16,313 discussions
Phones 17,137 discussions
Security 31,287 discussions
TVs & Home Theaters 22,101 discussions
Windows 7 8,164 discussions
Windows 10 2,657 discussions


Help, my PC with Windows 10 won't shut down properly

Since upgrading to Windows 10 my computer won't shut down properly. I use the menu button shutdown and the screen goes blank, but the system does not fully shut down. The only way to get it to shut down is to hold the physical power button down till it shuts down. Any suggestions?