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Cell Service in Puerto Rico 

Cell Service in Puerto Rico, coverage and carriers:

I don’t know about you, but when I travel, cell service is always one of the first things I ask about. I mean international travel is challenging enough as it is, so staying in touch with friends and family or simply being able to call home in case of emergency, are very important to me.

In this post, I will tell you about my experience with cell service in Puerto Rico. I will share my findings on carriers and coverage.

Cell Carriers: 

Most often, when I travel to another country, I take an unlocked U.S. phone and buy a local SIM card to put in it. This tends to be the cheapest option overall and allows me stay in touch.

Cell Service in Puerto Rico, however, is a bit different. Since the island is a territory, there is no need for dealing with foreign carriers (although it is an option if you choose) instead you can simply use your existing U.S. cell service provider and phone.

Both Tim and I have AT&T cell phones and we brought them with us on our trip to Puerto Rico. I had some initial concerns about additional or hidden fees but after contacting AT&T, I learned that my worries were unfounded. My U.S. family shared plan simply extended to Puerto Rico. We didn’t have to get an international plan or change anything; we just took our phones and used them.

Other companies that offer cell service in Puerto Rico are: Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, Claro, and Open Mobile (local). Each have different degrees of coverage and customer service.

Cell Coverage: 

This was actually a nice surprise. It turns out that cell coverage in Puerto Rico is quite good. I even decided to bring my Microsoft Surface 2 tablet with me, which has 4G LTE, and it worked great.

In San Juan, the coverage was excellent – this we expected. But the big question was: how is the coverage outside of the main city?

I have to tell you, it was great! We traveled around, up and down the coast of Puerto Rico and we did not find any spots were we had no phone coverage. There are areas where this was not the case, like in the mountains, but we generally did not have problems in towns or near the coast. In fact, the 4G LTE signal for my Surface tablet was equally good, so we used it for navigation.

So, AT&T came through for us in this regard. Here is the AT&T coverage map:

In comparison, Verizon also offers full coverage for voice and messaging in Puerto Rico. However, their 4G and data coverage on the island are poor, you can check out the Verizon coverage map in Puerto Rico.

Overall Impression: 

In my opinion, it is quite convenient to be able to bring my U.S. plan to Puerto Rico and use it anywhere. It is also quite nice that, when we moved here, I was able to keep my existing phone number. What’s not so nice is that the plans tend to have U.S. prices, i.e. are much more expensive than the plans we saw in Costa Rica, Panama, and even Mexico.

I hope you found this post helpful. Do you have any experience with cell service in Puerto Rico? If so, please share, I’d love to hear about it.

You may also like our posts on Cell Phones in Panama and Cell Service in Costa Rica.

Joanna-

 

About Joanna

is a Polish American living in Arizona with her husband Tim. She is a founding partner of JTR Tech and she is proud to be a professional geek. She had dreamt of living abroad for many years. So, she and Tim created AbroadDreams.com to document the process of making their dream of moving abroad come true. They spent 2 years in Puerto Rico and several months in Spain and Poland. Now they are exploring the American Southwest.

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4 comments

  1. I visited PR in March. I have Verizon. For the first few days it worked fine. Then my Iphone would become useless as it picked up other towers I guess. It kept saying it needed to initialize or something like that. I couldn’t even take pictures. When it did start working again I would make sure I put it in airplane mode before it stopped working. That way I could still take pictures. I didn’t like not knowing when my phone would work. I called Verizon (on a friends phone) but they didn’t know quite what to do. They tried a bunch of things that didn’t seem to work. However, the next day it started to work again and continued to work from there. I think it had to do with their system. I never had problems with this Iphone and haven’t since. It all had to do with registering the sim card.

  2. I’m fascinated by your site! My husband and I are in the very beginning stages of doing what you’re doing. I have a comparison shared excel doc put together and your budget doc was very helpful.

    We live in the SF Bay Area and the cost of living is just astronomical here, so we’re weighing other options that don’t involve moving to areas of the US that have snow or dry heat. We both speak Spanish, so we’re only looking at Spanish speaking countries.

    At this point, we’re leaning towards PR because of it’s connection to the US and because we’ve travelled there and really liked it, although, we still need to visit Panama and CR.

    We’re on the 5 year plan too. Might start a blog like you- very good idea.

    Since you’ve more recently visited PR, where are you leaning towards now? My only drawback for PR is medical facilities and care seem to be pretty antiquated from what I read. We don’t have any health concerns now, but we’re in our early/mid forties…

    I also am unable to find a clear answer on taxes for PR (as I’m a remote worker – my company is based in NYC, but I’ve worked from home for 4 years full-time, salaried). I can’t figure out if I’ll receive any sort of a tax break or same taxes. Any ideas or info?

    Thanks!

    • Hi AF,
      Great to hear that there are others like us out there! We don’t speak Spanish (I do a little but not enough :-).
      But we both love the Latin culture and are also looking at Spanish-speaking countries. At this point, PR is our favorite but it is a bit more expensive. There are big advantages tax-wise to moving to and obtaining residency in PR. My understanding is that once you’re a resident you do not pay the federal income tax. We’re still doing research and will post more as we learn more.
      As for the healthcare, I’ve read the same as you in regards to the public hospitals but from what I understand there are also private facilities that are much, much better. More on that as we learn more too.
      Thanks for reading and stay in touch, maybe we can swap info 🙂
      Joanna-