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Old 05-10-2014, 12:00 PM   #1
Mousemom
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Using cell phones in Key West

Probably a really silly question but I am wondering about using phones and e-mail in Key West. I know that while at sea we will be charged internationally but when we port at Key West for the day can we use our phones and be charged for calling within the United States? It would be nice to check in at home one last time before heading to the Bahamas.

Last edited by Mousemom; 05-10-2014 at 12:01 PM. Reason: added a couple words to make more clear
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Old 05-10-2014, 12:12 PM   #2
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Hi Mousemom! Love your name.

Yes, since Key West is a US port you will have regular cell service while there. You can double check on your phone when you turn it on. It should show your carrier rather than the Cellular at Sea or international carriers you will see at other times.
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Old 05-10-2014, 01:26 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Mousemom View Post
Probably a really silly question but I am wondering about using phones and e-mail in Key West. I know that while at sea we will be charged internationally but when we port at Key West for the day can we use our phones and be charged for calling within the United States? It would be nice to check in at home one last time before heading to the Bahamas.
I would check with your cell phone provider. Some of the cutrate plans may not have service in Key West. Virgin and Sprint come to mind. If you have AT&T, you should be just fine.
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Old 05-10-2014, 02:14 PM   #4
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I would check with your cell phone provider. Some of the cutrate plans may not have service in Key West. Virgin and Sprint come to mind. If you have AT&T, you should be just fine.
Since Key West is part of Florida I believe that even the cutrate plans will work. Islands like St. Thomas/St. John could be a different story, but Key West is actually part of a state so there should be no issues.
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Old 05-10-2014, 03:07 PM   #5
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No, you won't be able to use your phone in Key West. Unfortunately due to the proximity to the island of Cuba all cellphone coverage in Key West is provided by the Cuban Government. Because of the embargo it is illegal for you to conduct any financial transactions with the Cuban government. It is impossible for ordinary tourists to pay the Cuban Government for their services without breaking the monetary transaction rule. (Although you can work around this by buying counterfeit Cuban cellphones from shady street vendors.) Beware that you will not be able to bring the Cuban cellphone back into the continental U.S. (just throw it overboard when you are done with it). Also, if you attempt to place a call while in Key West with your U.S. cellphone it will be confiscated by U.S. authorities and returned to you at the end of your trip. *Please allow 2-3 weeks for delivery.

Last edited by snchpnz; 05-10-2014 at 03:13 PM. Reason: added shipping times
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Old 05-10-2014, 03:46 PM   #6
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No, you won't be able to use your phone in Key West. Unfortunately due to the proximity to the island of Cuba all cellphone coverage in Key West is provided by the Cuban Government. Because of the embargo it is illegal for you to conduct any financial transactions with the Cuban government. It is impossible for ordinary tourists to pay the Cuban Government for their services without breaking the monetary transaction rule. (Although you can work around this by buying counterfeit Cuban cellphones from shady street vendors.) Beware that you will not be able to bring the Cuban cellphone back into the continental U.S. (just throw it overboard when you are done with it). Also, if you attempt to place a call while in Key West with your U.S. cellphone it will be confiscated by U.S. authorities and returned to you at the end of your trip. *Please allow 2-3 weeks for delivery.
This is simply not true. We had regular AT&T reception in Key West and used our phones with no issues.
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Old 05-10-2014, 04:29 PM   #7
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This is simply not true. We had regular AT&T reception in Key West and used our phones with no issues.
They were kidding.
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Old 05-10-2014, 10:12 PM   #8
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No, you won't be able to use your phone in Key West. Unfortunately due to the proximity to the island of Cuba all cellphone coverage in Key West is provided by the Cuban Government. Because of the embargo it is illegal for you to conduct any financial transactions with the Cuban government. It is impossible for ordinary tourists to pay the Cuban Government for their services without breaking the monetary transaction rule. (Although you can work around this by buying counterfeit Cuban cellphones from shady street vendors.) Beware that you will not be able to bring the Cuban cellphone back into the continental U.S. (just throw it overboard when you are done with it). Also, if you attempt to place a call while in Key West with your U.S. cellphone it will be confiscated by U.S. authorities and returned to you at the end of your trip. *Please allow 2-3 weeks for delivery.
: rotfl:
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Old 05-10-2014, 11:09 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by snchpnz View Post
No, you won't be able to use your phone in Key West. Unfortunately due to the proximity to the island of Cuba all cellphone coverage in Key West is provided by the Cuban Government. Because of the embargo it is illegal for you to conduct any financial transactions with the Cuban government. It is impossible for ordinary tourists to pay the Cuban Government for their services without breaking the monetary transaction rule. (Although you can work around this by buying counterfeit Cuban cellphones from shady street vendors.) Beware that you will not be able to bring the Cuban cellphone back into the continental U.S. (just throw it overboard when you are done with it). Also, if you attempt to place a call while in Key West with your U.S. cellphone it will be confiscated by U.S. authorities and returned to you at the end of your trip. *Please allow 2-3 weeks for delivery.
You are actually incorrect.

If you talk on the phone with your back facing Cuba (just ask around, people will tell you which direction it is), the cell signal will reverb off a US tower and co-synchronize with your US carrier causing a loss of Cuban signal dissonance. That creates a zone of inequity which allows calls to be made that bypasses the monetary transaction rule.

I wish I had known about this, I threw my cell phone overboard and a gust of wind blew it back towards the ship where in dented one of the lifeboats. I was charged a "lifeboard restoration fee, Cuban enhanced" (there is a tax by the Cuban government whenever one of their cell phones damages a life boat).

You have been warned.

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Old 05-11-2014, 11:22 PM   #10
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You are actually incorrect.

If you talk on the phone with your back facing Cuba (just ask around, people will tell you which direction it is), the cell signal will reverb off a US tower and co-synchronize with your US carrier causing a loss of Cuban signal dissonance. That creates a zone of inequity which allows calls to be made that bypasses the monetary transaction rule.

I wish I had known about this, I threw my cell phone overboard and a gust of wind blew it back towards the ship where in dented one of the lifeboats. I was charged a "lifeboard restoration fee, Cuban enhanced" (there is a tax by the Cuban government whenever one of their cell phones damages a life boat).

You have been warned.

For those that may be unclear... this too, was a joke.

DISboards cannot be held responsible for any water damage caused to cell phones as a result of taking the above post seriously. Any reverbage, restoration fees, or zones of inequity that may occur on your cruise are purely coincidental. Prices and participation may vary.
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Old 05-10-2014, 03:34 PM   #11
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I would check with your cell phone provider. Some of the cutrate plans may not have service in Key West. Virgin and Sprint come to mind. If you have AT&T, you should be just fine.
Too bad AT&T service sucks in Atlanta, GA. I have Verizon now but I'd go with the "cutrate" of Sprint and Virgin before I'd go back to AT&T.

OP- I'm not aware of any cell phone plan that won't work in the state of Florida. FWIW, I have called home each time I've been in Key West.

Here are links to coverage maps:

Looks like you're good to go with Sprint, Verizon, Virgin Mobile, T-Mobile, etc.:

http://coverage.sprint.com/IMPACT.jsp?

http://www.verizonwireless.com/wcms/...er/4g-lte.html

http://www.virginmobileusa.com/check...phone-coverage

http://www.t-mobile.com/coverage.html
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Old 05-10-2014, 01:31 PM   #12
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Your phone should work. I have sprint and was able to use my phone without extra charges in St.Thomas and PR. key West should be like the rest of her US
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Old 05-10-2014, 01:41 PM   #13
JanyJan
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We have AT&T and used our cell phones in Key West last year with no problems.
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Old 05-10-2014, 11:39 PM   #14
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Thank you for the Sat night entertainment This was awesome!!!!!

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Old 05-11-2014, 12:04 AM   #15
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We are sailing from Port Canaveral and our first port is Key West. Since we will be sailing down the coast will our cell phones still use land towers or the one on the ship or is it the luck of the draw?
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