While the Dominican Republic may seem a little behind in many aspects (water and power quickly come to mind), communication is not one of them. The DR sports an up-to-date 3g network for it’s phone and computer data. And although many people struggle to make enough for their daily needs one thing I’ve found that they don’t skimp on is their phones.

While you do see a lot of cheap cell phones, Blackberries, Iphones and other high end texting phones abound in this country. Probably one reason is the ease they do text messaging. Most Dominicans use a prepaid phones although there are monthly phone plans available. Sending a sms text message costs about 2-3 pesos here, which is a lot cheaper than using up your minutes on a voice call, so texting is extremely popular here.

If you looking for a gift for a Dominican friend or family member, a cell phone designed for texting is a great gift. These phone make texting easier in one of two methods either a touch screen that allows you to touch the letter you want added or a phone with a small alpha keyboard that has keys for each individual letter. While standard numeric keypad phones work fine, they are a lot more work to send a message.

If you are planning on buying a phone as a gift for someone in the DR, it’s good to know that all phones are not meant to be used internationally. Many Blackberry phones, iPhones and other phones have locks in them to prevent them from being used by phone carriers outside of the country it was purchased. In most cases these lockouts can be bypassed and there are “jailbreak” programs for iPhones to allow you to use other carriers like Claro, Orange and Viva.

If you purchase a phone over eBay, you can often find these phones new that are already unlocked. This helps assure that your gift actually works when the person you are buying it for receives it.

Both Orange and Claro sell Blackberries as thier main high end phone. You can find a number of different models available here like:

  • BlackBerry Bold 9700
  • BlackBerry Bold 9000
  • BlackBerry Curve 8310
  • BlackBerry Curve 8520
  • BlackBerry Curve 8900
  • BlackBerry Pearl 8100
  • BlackBerry Pearl 8120
  • Blackberry Pearl 9100
  • BlackBerry Pearl Flip 8220
  • BlackBerry Storm 9500
  • 3g 9300

You can find iPhone 4 and iPhone 3g in both Claro and Orange shops in the DR, These are set at the factory to already work in the Dominican Republic

Some of the other Text messaging phone you will find in the DR are:

  • ZTE X990
  • Motorola Quench MB 501
  • Sony Ericsson X10

Next comes the texting language. Texters have a language all their own! It’s partially made of abbreviations of normal words, but it also contains abbreviations of small phrases. The whole abbreviation may only be a couple or few letters long, this is quite an advantage while texting. It allows you to convey thoughts while only pressing a few keys, but like any language it takes a little effort to learn. One thing that will likely help is an online texting abbreviations dictionary. While there are a few of these dictionaries on line AAR8.com is one of the better ones, it pretty much sticks to just the abbreviations that are used in texting. If you’re a parent it might even help you to know what your kids are texting to others and even to you!

Texting also comes with its hazards. A new variety of texting – sexting or sending sex related text messages is becoming more and more popular, a trend that is strongly catching on with kids in the Dominican Republic. If you are a parent considering giving a text message optimized phone to one of your kids, you are likely concerned with who he or she is going to text. This article on text messaging and text messaging etiquette will probably be helpful.