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:
- UTS (Chippie)
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 on UTS/Chippie in 2015 and Digicel in 2017. Both operators have already called their 3G-based network "4G" before starting LTE.
Unlike the French West Indies, Bonaire and Curaçao are not part of the EU and therefore 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 UTS (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 used to call "4G" on both islands. In 2017 Digicel began offering real 4G/LTE services for their customers on Band 3 (1800 MHz). See here for more information.
Network quality is generally pretty good. Only some beaches in the nortwestern part of Curacao are usually not covered by the 4G/LTE 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
Digicel is market leader with a 55% market share in Curacao and around 75% in Bonaire.
Purchase a SIM card from one of the Digicel retailer and stores (stores in Curacao- store in Bonaire). The price for a prepaid SIM card currently is 25 NAF and includes 20 NAF credit. Note that you will need to show a government issued ID or your passport at the point of purchase.
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 or debit card.
Data feature packsEdit
Default data outside of packages is 1 NAF per MB, overuse is at 0.45 NAF per MB. These prepaid plans include 4G/LTE:
|Time||Data||Price in Curacao|
|1 day||75 MB||Fl. 3|
|150 MB||Fl. 5|
|3 days||350 MB||Fl. 10|
|7 days||750 MB||Fl. 15|
|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|
|5 GB||Fl. 80|
|8 GB||Fl. 100|
All plans must be activated by entering *123#. Prices in Fl. or NAF apply to Curacao only, in Bonaire the US$ equivalents 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#.
They now offer three so-called "quick-pick bundles" with all-in data, and unlimited WhatsApp (no VoIP included) and unlmited on-net voice and text:
- for 1 day: 100 MB: Fl. 5 - $ 4
- for 7 days: 700 MB (in promotion up to 3.5 GB): Fl. 26.25 - $ 24.50
- for 30 days: 3 GB (in promotion up to 15 GB): Fl. 90 - $ 69
These packages can be a better deal for data, if the promotion is still on. Check locally. Purchase is only online or through the Digicel app. Overuse fee is Fl. 0.66/MB or $ 0.36. Unused minutes and data of the Quick Pick Bundles roll over once you allow the plans to auto-renew or if you activate the same or another plan before expiry.
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 in the Caribbean you can buy a Roam like you're Home roaming pass by pressing *153# for Fl. 10 or $ 6 valid for 10 days. 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
UTS (Chippie)EditUTS (for United Telecom Services) also known as Chippie before offers prepaid service in Curacao and Bonaire and some other Caribbean islands formerly called Chippieland.
UTS has a slightly better coverage on Curacao and Bonaire than Digicel. Like them, UTS called its UMTS-based 3G network "4G". Real 4G/LTE started in 2015 around Willemsted in the central part of Curacao on 1800 MHz (Band 3) and covers now most of the islands.
Their "4G+ Basic"-SIM is sold in their UTS stores at 50 ANG with around 25 ANG credit. Top-up vouchers are available for 5, 10 and 25 ANG, some give 5-15% bonus credit.
Check your balance by #191#. If your SIM is not recharged within 150 calendar days after the last date of recharge of your account, it will expire.
Data feature packs Edit
Their default data rate called Surf Pay as you go is at Fl. 0.69 per MB in Curacao 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 4G/LTE in Curacao and Bonaire too:
|Plan||Data|| Price in
| Price in
|daily||70 MB||Fl. 2.49||surfd70|
|100 MB||$ 1.49||surfd100|
|150 MB||Fl. 4.99||surfd150|
|3 days||1.2 GB||Fl. 9.99||3d|
|7 days||1 GB||$ 12||Fl. 22||surfw1000|
|30 days||750 MB||$ 18||Fl. 32||surfm750|
|3 GB||$ 31||Fl. 56||surfm3000|
|6 GB||$ 52||Fl. 94||surfm6000|
Prices in US$ are for Bonaire and in ANG/Fl. 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. Data rolls over from your previous data balance with re-activation of a bundle within 24 hours of expiry of your previous bundle.
Tourist SIM Edit
In 2017 they've introduced their Smart Tourist SIM on the island of Curacao. It's available in all UTS stores and comes in 2 varieties:
- 1 GB, 10 local mins, 10 local SMS for 30 days: Fl. 53.70
- 2 GB, 20 local mins, 20 local SMS for 30 days: Fl. 98.44
Note that the Smart Tourist SIM has a validity of 30 days and will be blocked after this period. It's not possible to activate a data bundle once the data quota has been used. A new SIM must be purchased for more data. Generally, they don't seem such a good deal compared to the local SIM.
Roaming options Edit
An UTS 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 used to call "Chippieland".