So here’s some more facts about the cell phone culture in Panama

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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
  6. 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.

  7. Panamanians often take the phone away from their ear & put it to their mouth when they talk. Often like a walkie talkie.
  8. Many taxi drivers do NOT answer their cell phones even though they have them on them while driving.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.

  12. 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.

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