It's not unusual to see people on the St. John Travel forums (TripAdvisor , Virgin-Islands-On-Line , VI Now) asking about cell phone coverage. Generally, for AT&T and Verizon, the advice is 'Good luck!' if you're in Coral Bay with either service. Verizon's OK, but AT&T seems best and its VI usage is not roaming.
However, there's something else.
We met a couple who live near Francis Bay, in a beautiful property with a breathtaking view of the BVI's.
Donna and I were greeted at their front door, then brought onto that great outdoor living area. Our hostess said, "And there's England." She was pointing at the BVIs. Little did we know how right she was!
We all went to dinner at Concordia. While there, I got a text message on my iPhone telling me that my "all-you-can-eat-data-plan" did not include international service and roaming.
I got the same message the next day when we were at Lameshur Bay, watching the pelicans and soaking up some sun. There on the beach, AT&T says, my data plan doesn't include what I'm doing.
So, I figured I'd better solve this. I called AT&T.
Well, turns out, they think that I'd been to the BVIs. My iPhone, absent a clean signal out there, had locked on to a BVI service's cell signal. The only thing I could figure is that when our hostess said, "Welcome to London," she meant it.
So … the moral of the story … I'll be shutting down my phone when I'm on the east end and any further along the north shore than Shipwreck Landing. And I'll pay ayttention to the carrier name on the ioPhone screen, too, to make sure I don't accdientally use BVI cell service.
But wait, there's more. While the AT&T bill says I used the BVI service on Saturday evening, Jan 29, the fact is we weren't on the east end then. We were in Cruz Bay, having a fabulous dinner at La Plancha del Mar. Who knows what really happened but it's still good advice – when you're in sktechy cell phone coverage on the island, be cautious about the iPhone.