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cell phone bought in Panama won't work???????

Miami
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228 posts
38 reviews
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cell phone bought in Panama won't work???????

I know cell phone questions are asked so often and I have looked at many past answers, but I am confused.

I was in Panama in September and bought a cheap Nokia. It is obviously unlocked since I would just go to any store and buy a SIM card and it worked.

Now I'm going to Costa Rica and I figured I could use the same Nokia and just buy a SIM card at the airport in San Jose. But I was told that my inexpensive cell phones from Panama and from the US will not work in CR because of some government monopoly???? And that I should rent a phone in CR instead.

I don't understand. I had planned on taking my US phone, after signing up for international roaming, as a back up and also taking the cheap Nokia I got in Panama (not really all that cheap - i think it was $20) and putting a CR SIM card in the Panamanian Nokia to use for all of my calls while in CR.

Why won't my Panamanian Nokia work with a CR SIM card?? Is this true??

Winnipeg, Canada
Destination Expert
for Costa Rica
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7,415 posts
30 reviews
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1. Re: cell phone bought in Panama won't work???????

Hi Morel,

This all depends on the model and features of your phone.

USA and Panama (according to this chart

allworldcellphones.com/gsm-frequencies-list.…

use 850 frequency. (US also uses 1900.)

Costa Rica uses 1800.

If the phone was made for the Panama market and is very basic and is not a triband or quad band that includes the 1800 frequency it will not support 1800 which is used in Costa Rica. So the phone won't work.

On the other hand - I bought a very cheap phone is France and it is a 900/1800 for Europe. Once it was unlocked it worked perfectly in CR but was useless in Canada.

This is why it is recommended that if you plan to travel alot and use a cell phone ,to invest in a quad band. That way anywhere you go you are covered and the local SIM should work

pura vida

raquel

San Jose, Costa Rica
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47,187 posts
35 reviews
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2. Re: cell phone bought in Panama won't work???????

We have had lived with that great monopoly for many years...as long as me...I love ICE...but anyway...you can bring your cheap disposable phone and try it and see if works...according to a new resolution all those phones of course the unblocked ones...will work in our country!

Panama is Panama and Costa Rica is Costa Rica...different systems...sorry!

roadadvisor

Dallas, Texas
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290 posts
7 reviews
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3. Re: cell phone bought in Panama won't work???????

I made sure that the phone that I bought was a quad band phone that way we would be covered. Like others have said, it may not support the correct frequency. Easiest thing to do is look up the model # online and see what it supports.

Miami
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228 posts
38 reviews
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4. Re: cell phone bought in Panama won't work???????

Thank you all for your responses. I looked it up online and looked at the info booklet that came with the phone and it seems to say that it will support 900 / 1800 mHz, so I'm going to take it with me, but a cheap SIM car, and just try it out.

If it doesn't work, can I rent a cell phone at the airport?

Miami
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228 posts
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5. Re: cell phone bought in Panama won't work???????

oops - meant I'm going to buy a cheap SIM card, not "but a cheap SIM car"

Dallas, Texas
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290 posts
7 reviews
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6. Re: cell phone bought in Panama won't work???????

I know that the car rental places offer phone rental, but I am sure you have to be renting a car as well. I do not think that there is a place in the airport that rents just a phone, but I am sure that there are places in San Jose that do. Hopefully somebody can chime in with some more info.

7. Re: cell phone bought in Panama won't work???????

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