Aruba is a Caribbean island that is part of the Dutch Antilles. Its sister islands are called Bonaire and Curaçao (see this article). They are partly Dutch, but not considered a part of the EU and thus no EU roaming rules apply (unlike in the French Caribbean).
Aruba has now only 2 mobile network operators:
Digicel has 2G/GSM on 900 and 1800 MHz, and 3G up to HSPA speed (advertised as "4G") on 2100 MHz.
Setar gives 2G/GSM on 900 MHz, 3G up to HSPA on 850 and 2100 MHz and started real 4G/LTE on 1800 MHz (B3) in 2014.
A third provider called Mio Wireless was shut down by the government in summer 2017.
Most prices are given in Aruba Florin (Afl. or AWG) that is fixed at 1.79 to the US$, some tourist rates are directly quoted in US$ as the dollar is accepted all over the island too. All prices displayed in this article are exclusive of local taxes (BBO - a sales tax of 1.5% and BAZV - a "health tax" of 2%). So add 3.5% for the final sales price.
Use Digicel if you go to the sister islands of Bonaire or Curacao too, as it's considered one network and no roaming fees apply there. Use Setar for better and real 4G/LTE speeds on the island of Aruba.
Digicel operates 2G and 3G networks all over the ABC islands including Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao. Coverage is good, but not that fast: coverage map. Digicel talks a lot about "4G" in their advertising, but in real its not LTE, but only 3G/HSPA up to 7.2 Mbps.
Digicel offers roaming at no extra cost in the two other islands of the ABC group Bonaire and Curacao on their network there, but only for a steep surcharge on other Caribbean Digicel networks. So Digicel should be your better choice, if you going to visit one of the sister islands too.
SIM card and data packages can be obtained at the Queen Beatrix Airport and in their stores (locator) for a Afl. 25. It includes 250 MB, 25 local mins and 25 local SMS for a start. If you choose their standard prepaid line, you may need to make a call to 146 to activate your account.
Top-up cards are available in Afl. 5, 10, 15, 25 and 50, valid for 30 to 90 days. Or use their international top-up site online by credit card. To check the balance of your account, type *142#. To top-up by voucher, enter *141*<voucher PIN>#.
If you don't use the full value of your SIM within this period, you have an additional 60 days in which you can top-up your account. Any remaining credit on the phone will be added to your new top-up amount. However, if you exceed the 60 days, your SIM will be cancelled.
Data feature packages Edit
Default rate without packages is Afl. 1.10 per MB. Overuse rate, after the data quota of a package has been used up is at Afl. 0.45 per MB.
Digicel has discontinued all data-only packages and only sells combo bundles as Quick Pick Plans or All-in-One Plans. The Quick Pick Packs come with unlimited WhatsApp (no VoIP included) and unlimited on-net calls and texts:
- for 1 day with 100 MB: Afl. 6.50
- for 7 days with 700 MB: Afl. 28
- for 30 days with 3 GB: Afl. 60
Activation is online or through their app. Unused data allowances roll over to the next period if plan is renewed.
Digicel also introduced All-in-One Plans with set voice, text and data allowances:
- for 1 day: unlimited on-net calls, 5 on-net SMS, 250 MB: Afl. 7.99
- for 7 days: unlimited on-net calls, 25 on-net SMS, 750 MB: Afl. 29.99
- for 30 days: unlimited on-net calls, 100 on-net SMS, 2 GB: Afl. 79.99
To activate an All-in-One Plan, type *135#.
Caribbean roaming option Edit
While no roaming fees apply in Curacao and Bonaire on the Digicel network, all other Digicel networks in the Caribbean are sold very expensive. For Afl. 10 by pressing *153# you get a "Roam like you're home" plan for 10 days. Data rates will then be discounted to US$ 0.50 per MB in all Digicel roaming networks.
More info Edit
- APN: digicelaruba.com
- Website: http://www.digicelgroup.com/aw/en/mobile.html
Setar operates the islands fastest network running on 2G, so-called "4G" (= 3G/HSPA) and now real 4G/LTE on 1800 MHz (Band 3) with speeds up to 30 Mbps. Additionally, it has own WiFi hotspots too, called WiFi Aruba. But unlike Digicel, there is no free roaming on the neighbouring islands.
Prepaid SIM cards can be obtained at the Queen Beatrix Airport arrivals hall in a shop that is open every day, but closes already at 6pm. Or at some 5 different stores/outlets on the island, that are all closed on Sundays (shops list).
Their SIM cards are pre-cut to all 3 different sizes (triple SIM card). New SIM cards are SIM-locked with PIN code 0000. SIM card with basic services (call + SMS) is a ghastly Afl. 35. A SIM card needs to be activated by *123#.
Top-up cards are called prepaid cards and are available at Afl. 5, 10, 15, 25, 35, 50, valid for 15 to 90 days. You can buy these cards at most supermarkets, bars and restaurants and at all of Setar's shops, at retail stores and gasoline stations. Or you can top-up online using a credit card.
Data feature packages Edit
Data by default is charged at Afl. 2 per MB. Data packages can be bought in different sizes with 4G/LTE speeds up to 30 Mbit/s:
|250 MB||Afl. 5||1 day|
|600 MB||Afl. 10||2 days|
|750 MB||Afl. 12||3 days|
|1 GB||Afl. 19||7 days|
|2 GB||Afl. 32||14 days|
|3 GB||Afl. 49||30 days|
|5 GB||Afl. 79||30 days|
To activate, type *123#, choose 1 for data bundles, then choose one of their bundles and press 1 again to confirm your purchase for which you will receive a SMS.
When your purchased bundle is depleted (and only then), you can purchase a new bundle or, if you allowed internet usage on your phone, you can continue using the default rate of Afl. 2 per MB; which is much more expensive. You can block this default rate and data will be shut off, when used up by *123#, choose 6 for allow/block data charges, choose 2 for blocking and 1 to confirm.
They also offer combo plans with included on-net call minutes, on-net texts and internet data:
- 1 day: 300 mins Setar calls, 25 Setar SMS, 250 MB: Afl. 8
- 7 days: 1200 mins Setar calls, 50 Setar SMS, 750 MB: Afl. 30
- 14 days: 2000 mins Setar calls, 100 Setar SMS, 1 GB: Afl. 45
- 30 days: 3000 mins Setar calls, 200 Setar SMS, 2 GB: Afl. 75
To activate a combo bundle, type *123#, enter 2 for combo bundles, choose a bundle and press 1 to confirm.
Data-only SIM Edit
For tablets and routers Setar offers data-only plans:
- US$ 30: SIM card comes with US$ 5.70 credit, 1 GB data for 1 day
- US$ 55: SIM card comes with US$ 5.70 credit, 4 GB data for 7 days
Prices are for regular SIM cards, micro SIMs are Afl. 3 more. These packages can be added in up to 30 Mbit/s on their 4G/LTE network:
- Afl. 10: 1 GB for 24 hours
- Afl. 35: 3 GB for 7 days
- Afl. 45: 5 GB for 14 days
- Afl. 99: 15 GB for 30 days
WiFi plans Edit
Setar runs a number of about 30 WiFi hotspots (list of locations) called "Wi-Fi Aruba", that can be accessed using special WiFi prepaid cards, sold at Setar shops or at the hotspot locations. Data is unlimited and only time-restriced:
- 60 minutes: US$ 5
- 24 hours: US$ 10
- 7 days: US$ 35
- 30 days: US$ 70
Time is measured continuosly from the first login. More info about connectivity and how to set up your WiFi connection, you can find at: http://www.setar.aw/visitors/wi-fi/
More info Edit
- APN: internet.setar.aw.
- Website: http://setar.aw/
MIO Wireless Edit
MIO Wireless started in 2011 and was the smallest provider in Aruba. It operated on CDMA standard and used EVDO for data, which is not compatible to GSM phones that are used in most other parts of the world.
MIO had its business taken over and then shut down by the Aruban government in July 2017 for non-payment of fees.