Today we’re talking cell phones. One of the most common questions I am asked is which providers work best in St. John and how the service is. I am going to do my best to break it all down today. This is going to be a very long-winded post, so please bear with me. 🙂
The Cell Providers
The best cell provider when visiting St. John, in my opinion, is AT&T. I have had AT&T for more than 10 years, and my service is very good. My friend, Dan the pool guy, uses T-Mobile, and he says it works better now than it ever has. Verizon still comes in last for providers that work well here, although it’s not entirely terrible. I know there are more carriers out there, but these are the main three that people visiting St. John tend to use.
Where Do Cell Phones Work
Cell service works great for all providers in Cruz Bay. Need to get in touch with someone while you’re waiting for the ferry in St. Thomas? No need to worry. Cell service works great in Red Hook too.
For those of you who have AT&T, your cell will work fine in and around Cruz Bay. My cell works great in Contant, Great Cruz Bay, and Chocolate Hole. When I get closer to Rendezvous Bay, my service gets spotty. When I visit friends on Boatman Point, it’s a complete dead zone for me. My AT&T service is spotty as I drive out to Fish Bay, especially when I am passing Rendezvous Bay. It’s a dead zone in Klein Bay completely. It works in parts of Fish Bay, especially the higher neighborhoods like Skytop. It works well at the end of the road near Reef Bay.
“Fish Bay and Rendezvous are spotty,” Dan the pool guy tells me about his T-Mobile service. I am fairly certain these are dead zones for our Verizon friends.
AT&T is spotty in the lower portion of Route 104, but then it works just fine as you get to the middle of Gifft Hill if you are driving up toward Centerline Road (Route 10). AT&T works perfectly along Route 10 from Cruz Bay to Coral Bay. It works well at the Catherineberg ruins, which is just off of Route 10 around mile 3. Once you pass the windmill, you will lose service as you drive toward North Shore Road (Route 20).
T-Mobile works the same in those areas listed above too, with the exception of right near Gifft Hill School. For some reason, T-Mobile does not work around that area.
Speaking of the North Shore, I have pretty good service from Cruz Bay to the Peace Hill parking lot. It gets spotty from there. My cell works great at Salomon, Honeymoon, Hawksnest and Oppenheimer. It also works great at Peace Hill. Service is spotty at most of Trunk Bay, although I do get a little service on the right side of the beach. I do not have service when I am visiting friends in Peter Bay.
The road and parking area at Cinnamon are dead zones. I get service when I stand near the old Danish building in the center of the beach. There is no service at the Cinnamon Bay sugar factory.
If you are standing on Maho and looking at the water, AT&T gets perfect service on the far right side of the beach. The area near the concessions is a dead zone, although there is free wifi at Maho Crossroads.
I get perfect service at Francis Bay. It’s just so-so over near Annaberg. I usually connect to an international tower over there. (More on that below). The drive from Annaberg up to Colombo’s on Centerline Road is like 95 percent a dead zone, but then service is fine at Colombo’s.
Now on to Coral Bay and beyond…
I get good service at Skinny Legs. It’s spotty as I drive out East, but I get perfect service at Saltwell Bottom, which is almost at the end of Centerline Road. The tower is across the water on top of Bordeaux, so you can actually stream on the beach if you wanted to. But you really shouldn’t because you’re on vacation! 🙂 I do not get service when I drive up to Privateer.
My service is ok over near Salty Mongoose and that restaurant/shopping area. I then lose it as I drive out toward Salt Pond and to the end of the road.
For those of you who make the trek to Lameshur, I do get a tiny bit of service at the very end. My phone works a little when I am at the plantation and also when I am at the far right side of Little Lameshur beach. The same goes for T-Mobile in these areas.
If you plan to hike Ram Head, my service is perfect at the top of the hill. I have actually posted live Facebook videos up there.
Everyone gets good service on the top of Bordeaux Mountain when you’re near the cell tower. This is typically when my island tour guests who have Verizon get all of their text messages for the day. 🙂
Connecting to an International Tower
There are numerous places around St. John when you will connect to an international tower over in the British Virgin Islands. This usually happens around Trunk Bay and could happen all the way out to the Annaberg area on the north shore. It may also connect to these towers all over Coral Bay. If you can see Tortola, you can connect to their towers. If this happens, you will get a message from your provider telling you that you have International Day Pass. When this happens, your provider will charge you $10 per day, per line, and you can use your phone as normal. If you do not want to connect to their towers, you can simply put your phone on airplane mode.
In the past, providers would credit you back the $10 a day if you called to explain that you never left the US Virgin Islands. I read a social media post earlier this month that stated this is no longer the case. I haven’t confirmed that myself, but it is something to think about.
The good news is that there is a lot of free wifi around the island. Several spots in Cruz Bay offer free wifi like The Beach Bar, North Shore Deli and 1864, for example.
There is free wifi near the concessions area at Cinnamon Bay. And as I mentioned earlier, there is free wifi at Maho Crossroads at Maho Bay.
Skinny Legs, Salty Mongoose and Miss Lucy’s all have free wifi in Coral Bay. The Windmill Bar has free wifi too.
In a Nutshell
AT&T works best. I’d say a solid third of the island has very good service. There are numerous dead zones, but isn’t it nice to be offline every then and again?
If you have any information you’d like to add to this post, simply add it in the comments or email me at email@example.com. Thanks all!