This article refers to the islands of Curaçao and Bonaire in the Carribean where the same operators are active and form a common network. Both islands are independent and yet belong to the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Together with Aruba, they used to form the ABC islands group.
On Curaçao and Bonaire two operators are on the air:
- Chippie (by UTS)
2G is on the European frequencies of 900 and 1800 MHz, 3G on 2100 MHz (and on Chippie/UTS additionally on 850 MHz). It covers most of the islands. 4G/LTE has started only with Chippie on 1800 MHz in 2015. Both operators already have called their 3G-based network "4G".
Unlike the French West Indies, Bonaire and Curaçao are not part of the EU and EU roaming regulations don't apply. Your home provider may charge calls and data use very high.
While both networks roam free between Bonaire and Curaçao, Digicel offers roaming at no extra cost on the 3rd island of the ABC group Aruba on its own network there, but on no other Caribbean Digicel network. Meanwhile Chippie gives free roaming in "Chippieland" namely St. Maarten / St. Martin (on both sides), Saba, St. Barth's, St. Kitts and Nevis, and Statia, but not on Aruba.
Digicel EditDigicel has a 2G and 3G network that it calls "4G" on both islands. Network quality is generally pretty good for 3G. Only some beaches in the nortwestern part of the Curacao usually are not covered by the 3G network (if at all). On clear days the network can even be received on Klein Curaçao (which is about 11 km off the coast of Curacao): coverage map of Bonaire coverage map of Curacao
Note that Digicel heavily advertises its network as "4G", but it's 3G/HSPA in reality, and not real LTE like Chippie. Nevertheless Digicel is market leader with a 55% share in Curacao and 75% in Bonaire.
Purchase a SIM card from one of the Digicel retailer and stores (stores in Curacaostore in Bonaire). The price for a prepaid SIM card currently is 25 NAF (includes 20 NAF credit). Note that you will need a government issued ID or your passport.
Mini SIMs and micro SIMs are available. Nano SIMs may not be available but a micro SIM can be cut down to nano size.
Top-up credit can be bought in almost every store or supermarket around the island. Many of them have a Digicel logo in their window. Or do it online on their international site, using a credit card.
Data feature packsEdit
Default data outside of packages is 1 NAF per MB, overuse 0.45 NAF per MB.
|Time||Data||Price in Curacao|
|1 day||75 MB||Fl. 3|
|150 MB||Fl. 5|
|300 MB||Fl. 9|
|3 days||350 MB||Fl. 10|
|7 days||750 MB||Fl. 15|
|1 GB||Fl. 29|
|1.5 GB||Fl. 25|
|14 days||3 GB||Fl. 39|
|30 days||750 MB||Fl. 30|
|1.5 GB||Fl. 45|
|3 GB||Fl. 54|
|4 GB||Fl. 69|
|5 GB||Fl. 80|
|8 GB||Fl. 99|
|10 GB||Fl. 149|
All plans must be booked by typing *123# <call>. Prices in Fl. or NAF apply to Curacao only, in Bonaire US$ are charged for the same packages. To get the US$ price divide by 1.77, the official exchange rate between both currencies. After exceeding your quota you'll receive an SMS informing you about this. To prevent any further billing to your credit deactivate mobile data as soon as possible or buy a new package. Check data balances by *142*9#.
Roaming options Edit
Digicel offers data roaming without surcharges on all three major islands of the Dutch Antilles (ABC-islands): Aruba, Curacao and Bonaire. That means you pay the same domestic rate (in Aruban Florin) like in Curacao (in NAF) or Bonaire (in US$).
However, this is not valid for the other networks of Digicel in the Caribbean, only Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao are seen as one common network. To roam elsewhere on Digicel networks you can buy a Roam like you're Home roaming pass by pressing *153# for NAF 10. This reduces the data rate to still high US$ 0.50 per MB.
- APN: web.digicelcuracao.com
- Website for Curacao: http://www.digicelgroup.com/cw/en/mobile.html
- Website for Bonaire: http://www.digicelgroup.com/an/en/mobile.html
Chippie (by UTS)EditUTS (for United Telecom Services) offers prepaid service under the Chippie brand in Curacao and Bonaire and some other Caribbean islands.
UTS has a slightly better coverage on Curacao and Bonaire than Digicel. Like them, Chippie called its UMTS-based 3G network "4G" with speeds up to 7.2 Mbps. Real 4G/LTE started in 2015 around Willemsted in the central part of Curacao: LTE coverage map on 1800 MHz.
Their "4G+ Basic"-SIM is sold at their UTS stores and costs 50 ANG with around 25 ANG credit. Top-up vouchers are for 5, 10 and 25 ANG, some giving 5-15% bonus credit. Check your balance by #191#. If your Chippie SIM is not recharged within 150 calendar days after the last date of recharge of your Chippie account, it will expire.
Data feature packs Edit
Their default data rate called Surf Pay as you go is at 0.69 ANG per MB in Curacau and $0.38 per MB in Bonaire. To activate, text 'SURF ON' to 3434, to stop data, text 'SURF STOP' to 3434. These bundles called Smart Surf Bundles are sold and are on up to 3G and 7.2 Mbps and the largest bundle on 4G/LTE in Curacao too:
|Plan||Data|| Price in
|daily||40 MB||n./a.||ANG 1.99||SURFD40||auto-renewing|
|daily||75 MB||$ 1.09||n./a.||SURFD75||auto-renewing|
|1 day||100 MB||n./a.||ANG 3.00||SURFD100|
|7 days||500 MB||$ 14.00||ANG 24.00||SURFW500|
|30 days||500 MB||$ 19.00||ANG 39.00||SURFM500||4G/LTE-enabled|
|30 days||2.5 GB||$ 29.00||ANG 54.00||SURFM2500||4G/LTE-enabled|
|30 days||5 GB||$ 49.00||ANG 94.00||SURFM5000||4G/LTE-enabled|
Prices in US$ are for Bonaire and in ANG for Curacao. For activation, text code to 3434. Data credit can be checked by texting 'SURF VAL' to 3434. To stop the renewing daily bundle, text 'SURF STOP' to 3434.
Roaming options Edit
A Chippie data plan activated in Curacao or Bonaire works at no extra cost in St. Maarten / St. Martin (both French and Dutch parts), Saba, St. Eustatius and St. Kitts & Nevis, what they call "Chippieland".