So here’s some more facts about the cell phone culture in Panama
- Unless the Panamanian has money, they will most probably call you & then hang up expecting you to call them back & pay for the call. Rude I know, but given that you know a lot of them are rude, this isn’t surprising.
- Even some of the poorest Panamanians have 2, sometimes 3 different cell phones. They get them as gifts, lose them & then find them, etc. I don’t know the reasoning other than that.
- Most of them are on pre-paid instead of contract. They don’t want to be locked into a contract plus they probably can’t afford to pay some months which would then tarnish their credit rating.
- When you are standing next to them & you exchange phone numbers, they will call your cell phone & hang up giving you a missed call so you can now add it to your phone.
- This is off topic, but I’ve had problems with Cable & Wireless where the texts don’t arrive at the other person’s phone at all, or they arrive hours later when it’s already too late. AND these people are on C&W too LOL
- Twice now I’ve gone to 2 different Cable & Wireless locations & both times they have NOT had $5 phone cards which is what I purchase most often. One location said they ONLY had a $20 phone card, the other said $8.
How a company location CAN’T have their own phone cards is beyond me, but hey, this is how businesses are run in Panama.
- Panamanians often take the phone away from their ear & put it to their mouth when they talk. Often like a walkie talkie.
- Many taxi drivers do NOT answer their cell phones even though they have them on them while driving.
- Yes it’s against the law to drive & talk on the cell phone here & the Panamanians are scared of getting caught, but I have yet to hear of someone being ticketed for that offense & they all do it.
- It’s better to get a cell phone from the stores that ONLY sell cell phones vs. the cell phone carrier stores because they have less selection & just like the phone cards are often low on stock. Plus their prices are higher unless you sign up for contract.
- Cable & Wireless (C&W) is the most popular cell phone carrier, then Movistar, then Claro who has the most reliable Internet when you are using your phone because they have 4G although I think C&W now has 4G, but because they have sooo many people on their network & they don’t care about upgrading or whatever they need to do to make customers happy, they are losing customers.
Claro doesn’t work well outside of Panama City.
- Some stores ONLY sell phones that have access to one cell phone carrier. Like when I first got here & didn’t know what the hell was going on, I went in to buy a cell phone & now I know why the guy said, “All we have is Claro, is that okay?”
Within a month I had to buy a semi smart phone so I could text faster & switch to C&W.