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Daryl Ries of Keller Williams Panama, associate – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
WhatsApp graphic – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingMany people here in Panama have a roaming service.  MagicJack is very popular as well. I use Vonage, which is a service in the States. When I get a call on my home number in New York City, it will be sent to me as an email. I just tell my family, friends and associates anywhere, just call my home number in New York and I will get the email message. I prefer it that way.
 
But WhatsApp is the best. Anybody who has WhatsApp on their smartphone can use this service for free internationally. This type of great technical innovation is just blossoming over time, making communication easier.  With Vonage, I can also use my phone as if I were in New York City and I pay only  $20 a month. A lot of people also use Skype and you can make free Skype to Skype calls.  Technology is on our side forever.  
 
(WhatsApp graphic, pictured.)
Jackie Lange of Panama Relocation Tours – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Expat in Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingFor a short visit use WHATSAPP -- it is a free download.  You will be able to call, text and send voice messages internationally for free - including Panama.  Make sure your friends and family also have WhatsApp on their phone, too.   All Panamanians use WhatApp.
 
Once you move to Panama, you'll want to get a Panama cell phone.  There are several different cell phone providers.  I prefer Movistar.  I get 5 gig data and 500 minutes of talk time for $30 a month. This is not a long term contract - only month-to-month. If you don't need that much talk time, they also have $15 a month plans or you can just buy minutes as you need them. 
 
For international calls, you can use WhatsApp or Skype. It's even possible to get your current phone number ported over to Skype so your friends and family will call the same number to reach you. Then it is not an international call for them to call you.  In addition to having Skype on your computer, you'll want to download the app to your Panama smartphone so your can make or receive calls anywhere. 
 
(Expat in Panama, pictured.)
David Whittington of Tucan Golf Club and Resort – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Panama City, Panama at night – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingMost people use Magic Jack or something similar to call home. Not many people here have landlines in their home. The only reason we have a landline is that it came bundled with our Internet / cable / TV package.  We don’t use the landline at all.
 
Here in Panama we just use our cellphone.  You can from landline to landline with no charge or cellphone to cellphone with no charge. But for some reason, if you crossover, they charge you.
 
One of the benefits of living in Panama is that the whole country of Panama is one area code, and for the entirety of Panama (it could be a 400 or 500 miles distance), there’s no long distance charge.
 
Mostly I use Skype calling home.  Skype to Skype is free and Skype to a US phone number is free.
 
(Panama City, Panama at night, pictured.)
Terry Bradford of Origen Real Estate Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account

Phone line Cell phone Calling Service provider Panama Cable & Wireless Building – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingWe use our landline only for local calls. We have a Magicjack, which most people use to call overseas. It costs US $29 and allows you to call the US, Canada and Puerto Rico at no charge. It has incoming and outgoing calls, call waiting, and call forwarding. It also takes messages and forwards the messages to your email so you can listen to them. The other calling service that is well known here is Skype, which is used a lot for international calls.

Karen Walter of Local Travel Excursions – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
 
Move to Panama Use Regular phone line Cell Phone Skype Magicjack – Best Places In The World To Retire – International Living
Cell, Skype or Magicjack in Panama?  Yes.  They are all useful and serve different purposes.  I originally brought my "unlocked" AT&T iPhone and purchased a sim card.  It was great and easy to get connected.  A local cell phone is a must for affordable service once you are here in Panama for a significant period of time.  Skype is terrific for face-to-face contact and for those who need to communicate for business.   A landline is also nice to have, but it certainly is not a necessity.  You need to think about who you will be communicating with.  What do they use? If family at home uses Face Time or Google Hangouts, will Skype be your best option?  Do you shy away from "computer techie stuff" or are you able to keep up with advancements?  The good news is that there is no reason to be tied down to any one option.  Try them out.  Use them all.  Determine what will make the most sense for you in your situation before you arrive.  Get used to the different platforms before you plan to use them.  Remember, it's also always good to have a backup plan. 
Ray Miller – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Our first trip here to Panama in 2011 we purchased a sim for our iPad2 (with cellular data service available on it), and pre-paid a data plan which allowed us to travel all over Panama using online map services (Google maps, etc). We also purchased a cheapy Panama cell phone and purchased pre-paid (pre-pago) minutes on it. Monthly accounts can be activated if desired like the US but we use pre-pay.
 
Used same again in 2012 when arriving in Panama for 3 1/2 months. And when returning full time to Panama in June 2013, I bought a sim for my iPhone 4S, using a pre-paid phone service, and a monthly data plan. With the hotspot feature on it we can create our own WiFi network' and connect our iPad2 to it, for maps and lookups, or use same on the iPhone wherever we are. My wife still uses the original Panama cell phone. Guess I'm the techy one!
 
The data plans are pretty similar across the provider companies.....about $15 per month....don't remember the actual download capacity monthly, but we've never exceeded it. However the coverage areas do vary by company....some stronger in certain areas than others.
 
We have 'FaceTime' on our Apple devices which gives us video phone contact with most of our family for free over internet... and/or cell service which we have never needed to do. 
 
We also use Skype to make phone calls to the US, like business offices, non-family, etc. at 2 or 3 cents a minute. Free in some cases if the call receiver has a Skype account.
 
Be aware if bringing a cell phone from the US here to Panama for use.  The system does not work with CDMA systems (Verizon), but GSM like AT&T. Some of the really new US phones may have dual system usage, but be sure to check. The AT&T phone will accept a Panama sim card which will work for phone service, and if the data plan active will give online availability either thru WiFi or cell service depending on network connections available.
 
We are in the Boquete area. We used Claro nationwide for maps the first trip with no issues. We have used Digicel for our original Panama phone. And I have service from +Movil now for the data plan & pre-paid phone on the iPhone. It is best to have a local office available for service unless you're fluent in Spanish on a phone.  However, most companies offer online payments to 'recharge' (recarga) your phone minutes, and stores offer cards in various values to add minutes to a phone for most companies. And there is another (actually several) online companies which offer 'outsider' online payments to cell phone companies. We use... www.ezetop.com ...which recharges phones all over the Carribean and maybe more. Verify use for your selected phone service provider before using. 
 
Another convenient and helpful map data service choice for Panama is WAZE.com (Ways). Its available in the US, and works in Panama as well. Its maps are pretty current as local users can provide road changes, traffic reports, police camera locations, accidents, slow traffic areas, etc. Free program with many options. If new to Panama, just know street signs are virtually non-existant. There are realistically NO ADDRESSES, as there is no postal delivery service in most or all of the country. So navigation can be important, especially to 'newbies'. (Please don't think of driving in Panama City...use a driver/taxi).
 
In short, you WILL want a cell phone, and probably will not need a land line. Its much easier if you might change residence location.
Keila Mulero  of Savvy Link – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Cell phone vs MagicJack communication in Panama...

For a short stay I would recommend any of the following options: 

   1. Buy an inexpensive, traditional device (not smartphone) from a local supplier to add minutes with an international plan. You will need to buy a SIM Card as well. The best area to find most of the providers is at the Multiplaza Mall. 

   2. Bring a spare/old phone from home, but you will need to unblock it. Buy a SIM card and add minutes with an international plan. The cost to unblock the device average $30 and takes up to 24 hours. The best area to unblock the device is at El Dorado Mall. You can take a taxi from the city. Don’t forget you still need to buy a SIM card and add minutes to it. 

I personally like DIGICEL’s minutes plan. But +Movil (Cable and Wireless) has better coverage. Avoid CLARO. 

You can always buy a pocket modem as well and connect to the Internet and use a MAGIC JACK. But Magic Jack works only for outbound calls to US and Puerto Rico. 

 

Lourdes Townshend of Multimodal  & Logistic Transports Magazine – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Panamá offers the most modern technological products and platforms in the region and choosing the right products your particular needs is a challenge, due the many alternatives available.
 
Most visitors buy a local "chip" for their cellular phones upon their arrival, in order to have local coverage all the time.
 
If you are here  as a resident, there are many companies available that offer home lines, as well as cellular service, and through the computer.  The main ones are: Cable & Wireless, Movistar, Claro, ClaroCom, and Digicel.  All of them offer the basic plan and luxury plans as well.
 
Sometimes residents use a home line phone based on minutes, with prices starting at $10 ($7 with the senior discount) per month only to receive calls, while they use their cell phones at other times, specially if they are away from home.  The prepaid cards for cell phones are available everywhere and it is very easy to get them.  Sometimes reception in certain parts of the country is little difficult.  Stores offers cards from $2 for cell phones, to the most sophisticated ones.
 
ClaroCom offers a line that can be used to call to/from some countries free of charge, including the United States of America.  Even though it works with the computer, you do not need the computer at the time...only internet availability.
 
Magicjack can also be used, but you need the computer.  Of course, there is always Skype, which is wonderful, and free of charge.
 
Surprisingly, Panamanians use more cell phones than any other country in the region. 
Alan Stone – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account

When you move to Panama, should you use a regular phone line, a cell phone, Skype, Magicjack, or something else? Well, we've tried them all and have to say that it's great being able to pick up the phone and dial the states free of charge with our Magicjack. Also, Skype keeps you face to face with friends and family so it's also a must.

As far as a cell phone, it's so cheap and easy to purchase we don't go anywhere without one. We purchase the TANK phone that carries 2 sim cards to cover both Claro and Moviestar (local cell phone carriers) areas because there are times when one may drop reception.

A fixed phone line or landline is also very affordable but I feel like I save more by using my cell.

Bill Hamilton of Bill Hamilton – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Telephone systems are the same as anywhere else but somewhat cheaper. Your choice of any. I have a fixed telephone and a mobile telephone. I also use Skype which is very clear. You can get, as a pensionado. a discount on your fixed telephone too!

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