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Flag of Curaçao.svg

Flag of Curaçao

Basics Edit

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.

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Flag of Bonaire

On Curaçao and Bonaire two operators are on the air:

  • Digicel
  • 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.

Roaming Edit

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 Edit

Digicel
Digicel 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. Below are the prices given in NAF or Fl. for Curacao as most travellers will access Bonaire through Curacao. Slightly different prices in US$ apply to Bonaire.

Availability Edit

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 Fl. 0.66 per MB in Curacao or $ 0.36 in Bonaire. These prepaid plans include 4G/LTE. Here are the prices for Curacao:

Time Data Price
1 day 75 MB Fl. 2.50
150 MB Fl. 4
3 days 500 MB Fl. 10
7 days 1 GB Fl. 20
30 days 3.5 GB Fl. 55

All plans must be activated by entering *123#. All plans include unlimited WhatsApp not debited from the data allowance (except for voice or video calls).

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 LTE combo plans with all-in data, and unlimited WhatsApp (no VoIP included) and unlimited on-net voice and text:

Time Data Price
1 day 300 MB Fl. 5.50
3 days 700 MB Fl. 12
7 days 1.5 GB Fl. 25
30 days 4 GB Fl. 65
30 days 6 GB* Fl. 95

(*) = the 6 GB is upgraded to 18 GB when you purchase it via their MyDigicel app

These packages can be a better deal for data. 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.

More infoEdit

UTS (Chippie)Edit

UTS

new logo

UTS (for United Telecom Services) - also known as Chippie before - offers prepaid service in Curacao and Bonaire and some other Caribbean islands formerly called Chippieland.
Chippie

old logo

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.

Availability Edit

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

Bonaire

Price in

Curacao

Activation
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".

More info Edit