The Dominican Republic has four network providers that run a GSM and incompatible CDMA system simultaneously:
- Claro (formerly Codetel)
Claro is the clear market leader in the country with the best coverage. Orange is at number 2, with a smaller coverage and lower speeds, but the only nationwide alternative. Tricom is a triple-play provider who has a much more limited mobile coverage and Viva doesn't offer 3G or 4G data so far.
Not only CDMA and GSM are used at the same time, but very different frequencies for the GSM-based networks too by the 4 providers:
|4G LTE||1700 (AWS)
CDMA is not compatible with GSM-phones (for details see United States introduction)! Though there is CDMA e.g. in the US on providers like Verizon and Sprint, they don't offer any CDMA roaming in the Dominican Republic. As a CDMA user you need to have a dual CDMA/GSM world phone to work here.
4G/LTE started in 2014. Claro has the best coverage in all provincial towns, while Orange and Tricom mostly cover the capital, some major towns and tourist areas only by LTE so far.
To cut a long story short: If you come from a GSM provider in the US (like AT&T or T-Mobile USA), Claro has the best compatibility with your device. If you carry a device from your home market in overseas, Orange will be much more compatible. Anyway, you should compare bands and make a network scan, before you buy a SIM card.
According to a new law and because of frequent misuse of the emergency services 911, all mobile phone lines must be registered by 2014. Dominicans can do it by phone with their "cedula" (= national ID card). Foreigners must do it in the shops of the operators with their passport. This is enforced strictly, so no more unregistered SIM are to be bought on the streets. These unregistered lines can be terminated without warning.
Claro RD (formerly Codetel)EditClaro, run by Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim and his América Móviles company, is the market leader in the DR with the best coverage and more 55% of the national subscribers: coverage map. Claro has started in 2014 with 4G/LTE, however on the 1700/2100 (= AWS, band 4) frequency, only covered by US cellphones or some iPhones.
SIM cards for the standard voice plan with registration of ID are given out for free or up to RD$ 150 in their shops (shop locator). You will be given RD$ 60 for a start as bonus and RD$ 150 for the first top-up. Standard plan is Prepago Regular. Don't use Mi Primer Prepago aimed at kids without data options.
Top-ups done by PIN code scratch cards are available all over the country. Reloads of up to RD$ 75 give you 1 week, up to RD$ 100 3 weeks, up to RD$ 150 1 month and from RD$ 250 2 months of validity. Be aware that the whole SIM card will be terminated when expired, including the running data package.
To check the validity of the SIM, dial *111*2*4*2#. You can buy extra validity by dialing *111*2*4*1# and choose among options of RD$ 15 for 2 days, RD$ 25 for a week and RD$ 50 for three weeks. To extend, it must be 7 days or less from the date of expiration.
You can also recharge online. Claro states these online services on their website clarorecargas ding or llamarepublicadominicana. Note when you are using 3rd party websites of commercial agencies for top-up, you will always be charged more. On location, better use vouchers instead.
To check your prepaid balance dial *122#, to check remaining data balance dial *112*2*5#. If you want to check balance and validity from abroad, you should activate the roaming option by calling *111*2*6*2*1*1*1# before you leave the Dominican Claro network.
Data feature packagesEdit
Default rate is RD$ 4 per MB. These packages are offered (with taxes included):
|10 MB||1 hour||RD$ 10|
|40 MB||3 hours||RD$ 20|
|100 MB||7 hours||RD$ 30|
|10 MB||1 day||RD$ 25|
|100 MB||RD$ 40|
|150 MB||RD$ 50|
|250 MB||3 days||RD$ 65|
|350 MB||5 days||RD$ 100|
|500 MB||7 days||RD$ 150|
|1 GB||30 days||RD$ 400|
To activate one of the data packages you need to dial *111*2*4*1*1# or through MiClaro app or through https://miclaro.claro.com.do/. When prompted, enter the plan you want to activate. Packages won't renew automatically, but the daily packages will. Once you've used your data, you can simply book another data package. Tethering is possible.
For social media like WhatsApp (no VoIP calls included), Twitter, Instagram and Facebook use only, these social media packages are sold (tax incl.):
- 150 MB for 1 day: RD$ 40
- 300 MB for 3 days: RD$ 75
- 1 GB for 7 days: RD$ 250
Activation by *111*2*4*1*3#
- APN for smartphones: internet.ideasclaro.com.do
- APN for modems and routers: ba.amx
- Website in Spanish: http://www.claro.com.do
Orange DREditOrange, owned by Netherlands based Altice Group, is the number 2 in the country with a market share of 43%. It has a good coverage in 2G and 3G countrywide: rough 3G coverage map and gives better compatibility with devices from overseas (see Basics) on 3G and 4G.
Orange has started with 4G/LTE on 1800 MHz in 2012 but is still limited to the capital area of Santo Domingo and Santiago and a few other areas (LTE coverage map, click on cobertura). For 2017 it plans to cover 90% by 3G and all major towns by 4G/LTE.
Two different prepaid SIM cards are sold in their stores (shop locator).
- Orange Prepago SIMO: RD$ 100 (tax incl.) with RD$ 30 credit preloaded valid for 7 days
- Orange Prepago SIMO Data: RD$ 250 (tax icl.) with RD$ 30 credit preloaded valid for 7 days and 250 MB for 30 days
Recharges with Orange cards or e-vouchers available everywhere in the country give you credit and extra validity: top-ups up to RD$ 49 give 3 days, to RD$ 99 for 10 days, to RD$ 149 for 30 days, to RD$ for 199 60 days, to RD$ 249 for 70 days and above for 90 days. Orange top-up cards worth RD$ 30, 60, 100, 200 and 300 are sold. Check balance by USSD #131#.
From abroad Orange mentiones these websites for topping up by credit card: www.ding.com www.utransto.comwww.etopuponline.comwww.mobilerecharge.com ,in Italy from Sisal pay points, through PayPal on www.paypal-recargacelular.com/ , through Moneygram on www.moneygram.transferto.com or by Bitcoins on www.bitrefill.com/. These top-up agencies charge a surcharge for their service.
In the country better use vouchers, e-vouchers or direct top-up in stores.
Data feature packagesEdit
The prepaid SIM doesn't come with default data, only access to a restricted Orange site. For internet, you have to add packages they call "paqueticos" (all taxes included):
|10 MB||1 day||RD$ 29|
|100 MB||RD$ 49|
|250 MB||3 days||RD$ 69|
|300 MB||5 days||RD$ 109|
|500 MB||7 days||RD$ 149|
|1 GB||RD$ 249|
|500 MB||30 days||RD$ 275|
|1 GB||RD$ 399|
To activate type #100# and choose option "paqueticos".
Data-only SIM Edit
To connect to the internet by modem, tablet or router, Orange sells Internet Prepaid Plans called Internet Orange Prepago. Their data-only SIM comes with 500 MB for 7 days at RD$ 250. This can be added by:
- 500 MB for 1 day: RD$ 99 (tax incl.)
- 1 GB for 7 days, RD$ 299 (tax incl.)
- 2 GB for 15 days, RD$ 599 (tax incl.)
- 3 GB for 30 days, RD$ 799 (tax incl.)
- APN: orangenet.com.do LTE APN: orangeinternet
- Website in Spanish only: https://www.orange.com.do
Tricom is a triple-player that has also been acquired by the Altice group. It used to be on CDMA-only for mobile coverage, that is incompatible for GSM-based devices. Nowadays, they roll out 4G/LTE on 1900 MHz. 4G/LTE is available in Santo Domingo, Santiago and other places like San Cristóbal, Juan Dolio, Casa de Campo y Punta Cana: coverage map. Note, that on a GSM phone you will have only coverage in the bright blue 4G/LTE area.
It's coverage is much lower than Claro's and Orange's and they can't be recommended for travelling in the country, but can be an option for stationary use, when you have coverage. That's why they used to focus on home internet through LTE, but recently they started to give out prepaid SIM cards for GSM-based phones too. On a GSM-phone it can be used for 4G-data only, as 3G is on CDMA-based EVDO, but for CDMA users from the US it can be an option.
Their prepaid SIM card is available in their stores (list). You should go to their Lopez de Vega central office to get full service. Reload cards can be found in their outlets too ranging from RD$ 60 for 10 days to RD$ 460 for 90 days. Call *855 to top-up After 120 days without recharge, service will be terminated.
Data feature packages Edit
For 4G/LTE data, they sell these packages:
- 500 MB for 1 day: RD$ 100
- 1 GB for 7 days: RD$ 300
- 2 GB for 15 days: RD$ 600
- 3 GB for 30 days: RD$ 800
Activate by calling *33 or *44.
More info Edit
- APN for LTE: lte.tricom.net
- Website in Spanish: http://www.tricom.net
Viva Dominicana Edit
Viva can be considered the 4th player in the country. It's network is nationwide, with some gaps, but so far on 2G/GSM only. There is no 3G and 4G/LTE yet: 2G coverage map.
In 2017 they announced a 4G/LTE roll out skipping 3G, but this hasn't happened so far. With data only up to EDGE speed (@ max 200 kbps), it can't be recommended for data use, and possibly only messenger use so far.
Data feature packages Edit
These are their unlimited packages up to 2G/EDGE speed:
- for 1 day: RD$ 40
- for 3 days: RD$ 60
- for 7 days: RD$ 145
Add 30% taxes to the prices above. To activate enter #123#.
More info Edit
- APN: edge.viva.net.do
- Website in Spanish: http://viva.com.do