Friday, June 18, 2021

Internet & Communications in Trinidad and Tobago

North AmericaTrinidad and TobagoInternet & Communications in Trinidad and Tobago

The international dialling code for Trinidad is 868 under the North American numbering plan. From the United States and Canada, it is the same as for calls to other states and provinces (1+868), but it costs more. Its top-level domain is . tt and its ITU call sign prefixes are 9Y and 9Z.

The Telecommunications Authority

All telecommunications in Trinidad and Tobago are now under the authority of the Telecommunications Authority of Trinidad and Tobago (TATT). All telecommunications and broadcasting licences and franchises in Trinidad and Tobago are acquired and administered by TATT. Complaints about telecommunications service providers can also be lodged with them.

Landline telephones

Landline telephones are available in larger hotels, but may not be available in the rooms of smaller guesthouses. The telephone company is Telecommunications Services of Trinidad and Tobago [www], jointly owned by the Government of Trinidad and Tobago and Cable and Wireless. There are charges for local calls, but calls within the same area code and telephone exchange are charged a flat rate for the entire call. Hotels may of course charge more if you use their phones. Telephone cafés are located throughout the country. For visitors who want to make international calls, it may be useful to use the call cafes.

Mobile phones

Two mobile operators currently operate in Trinidad and Tobago: bmobile [www] and Digicel [www]. Both operate on the GSM standard, with bmobile using the 1800MHz frequency band and Digicel using the 850MHz and 1900MHz frequency bands. There are roaming agreements with GSM operators such as AT&T (formerly Singular) in the US, but the cost of roaming can be prohibitive and calls within Trinidad may incur international charges. You can buy a prepaid SIM card and GSM phone from Digicel or bmobile shops for as little as TT$100 and use this card in an unlocked GSM phone for the duration of your stay. You can also buy a SIM phone for this price. CDMA phones (Verizon) work in Trinidad and Tobago. They appear to be active only because of the TSTT-EVDO data network, but you can make or receive calls on the CDMA network.

Public telephones

Public telephones are not always easy to find in Trinidad. Some phones may be vandalised, full and in need of maintenance, or simply not working. If you are lucky enough to find a working pay phone, you can use quarters or phone cards with an 800 number to reach them. Some phones also accept prepaid phone cards with a magnetic strip. Insert the card and make the call. Some hotel and airport phones allow the use of foreign phone cards. Calls to local numbers 800, 999 and 990 are free.

Access to the Internet

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Internet cafés offer internet access at public terminals at a price of usually TT$1 to TT$10 per hour.

Dial-up access is available from TSTT [www] and other independent service providers. Monthly plans and pay-as-you-go access are available. Pay-as-you-go service is available through the 619-EASY service for TT$0.75 per minute. Roaming with foreign ISP accounts is available through an agreement between TSTT and IPASS, Inc.

Broadband internet options are available in Trinidad. The two main companies offering these services are TSTT (blink) and FLOW (Columbus Communications).

Wi-Fi access is available in a few places, e.g. Piarco Airport, Movie Towne and some hotels and restaurants. At the moment it is free, but this may change. EVDO and EDGE broadband access is also available, but may require contracts and a service commitment. Some hotels and guesthouses offer free broadband. Always ask if you do not find this offer on the website as it may have been added recently.

Other options include landline, DSL, cable modem (only in a few areas) and satellite, but these are usually not available to tourists for a short stay.

For a good discussion of internet access in Trinidad and Tobago, see the TTCS website. www]

Postal service

The postal service is operated by the Trinidad and Tobago Postal Corporation, TTPost [www]. Postage rates can be found on the TTPost website. Post offices are located in many places near the city centre, and there are red letterboxes in some places. With the restructuring of the postal service, TTPost has become comparable to the postal service in many developed countries and is generally reliable. In addition, other services such as paying US visa fees, paying bills and buying inter-island ferry tickets are available through TTPost.

Radio and TV

Radio

With the liberalisation of the telecommunications market, there are now many radio stations on the FM band. Most stations play music, with Indian music and calypso/soca being very popular.

TV

There are a few local TV channels, the main one being TV6 on channels 6 and 18. Most of them broadcast local programmes, but TV6 also broadcasts American series, sitcoms and soap operas. Some channels are only available on cable, others are low-powered and therefore only available regionally. Gayelle The Channel on channels 23 and 27 is a 100% local television station that can give visitors to Trinidad and Tobago an interesting and entertaining insight into local life and culture. Other local channels include: NCC 4, Synergy TV, Trinity Television and Islamic Channel.

Cable television is also available. Most major US networks are available on cable, including CBS, NBC and ABC. Cable TV is available in hotels and guesthouses.

DirecTV Latin America satellite television is also available, but its service is not as good as cable and it tends to offer more Spanish-language programmes.

Satellite TV with a large antenna is also available.