For the previous year before I bought this stick, I was sharing Wi-Fi with the couple that lived directly below me.
Any internet in Belize is EXPENSIVE. You can purchase super slow 128k speed for $49bzd a month (it will take you back to your dial up days…You’ve Got Mail!) to workable 512k speed for $179bzd to faster 4MB for $850bzd. $850bzd!!!!!!!!!!! Holy shit. This is all after a $150 installation fee and two visits from the phone or cable guys.
I want something easier but DEFINITELY cheaper. So I talked to one of the cell phone service providers…Smart.
I bought their USB stick. (But I am repeating myself like CRAZY…all of this was mentioned in my earlier post.)
The actual USB stick costs $185 BZD and is yours to keep. You can use it in up to two computers. The internet time is sold as follows: $30bzd for 1GB (which they tell you is good if you only email, IM and download/upload pictures) up to $90bzd for the 10GB plan (which gives you time to Web browse, play online games, video stream and lots of other options.)
The speed I was told that I would get is 300-400k uploading and 450-550k downloading. About the same as the $180bzd monthly fee that Coral Cable is charging for the same speed.
Results? The speed is always the same but mostly better using the USB Smart stick as compared to the medium speed Wi-Fi I was sharing before. In fact, I just used www.speedtest.net to test out my internet speed right now (6:30am, Monday morning) and it is 1.03MBs downloading speed and 430k uploading speed. (I have tested the download speed a few times since January and it is ranges between 1MB and 1.5MB.
For all of you in other countries, it is not FAST but it’s really not so bad. And guess what? After the initial investment ($185bzd for the stick), this thing is CHEAP!
One more note that is important to MANY: BTL/Digicell blocks Skype usage in Belize. Smart does not! So…if you are a Skype user, this might be your solution!
When I purchased it at the end of January, I bought the $90bzd plan (it expires after 90 days). It lasted 87 days. And I use the internet for at least 3 hours a day.
In April, I paid another $90bzd for my second package. And I’m still using that.
So…for what I consider solid, portable internet…I am paying about $30bzd a month.
Problems/Things I Would Change:
1. To check you balance (MBs you have left), you need to call the Smart office. I wish that there was an easy way to check it online. (Note: If you have a Smart powered cell phone, you can check your balance via text message. I don’t…I am a Digicell gal through and through.)
2. There was a week and a half period in May or June (I don’t remember) where this thing didn’t work. Not at all. They were switching networks…or something. The Smart office was a bit infuriating about the whole thing. Which leads me to…
3. I wish the Smart office was a bit more friendly or helpful. Hey! This is my wish list. I can wish for anything that I want.
Digicell/BTL also sells a similar USB kit with the initial USB stick for $200. They ALSO have a Wi-Fi providing drive (Axesstel MV 110) with high speed. With an inital purchase for the unit of $365bzd, you can pay $79bzd per month and get up to 2MB of speed. THAT sounds very promising.
So what am I saying in a long drawn out boring way? You’ve got options. If you are currently using the internet in San Pedro, it is WELL worth it to take a trip down to BTL to find out what your additional options are. It might be worth it to try one of these mobile devices.
What was I posting about one year? Carole Goudreau, Getting My Hair Done. Pink stripe? WHAT was I thinking?
I know this is not an option for your purposes, but are there relatively cheap internet cafe options on the island?
There are a few…most in town. Cost about $10-15bzd per hour.
I just tested my similar set up here in Angola. I pay US$100 per month. Download speed was 120kbs and upload 50kbs. It is supposed to be broadband…
That is why you don´t see too many photos on my blog and they are all resized to only a couple of hundred kbs.
Sometimes I get someone who sends me a several Mb attachment and it shuts me down for days!
HOLY CRAP. That sounds like 1998. And I thought mine was bad…