The Dominican Republic has 4 physical network providers and run a GSM and incompatible CDMA system simultaneously.
- Claro (formerly Codetel, by América Móvil)
- Orange (by Altice Group)
Claro is market leader with the best coverage followed by Orange. Viva and Tricom have much lower coverage and are mostly on a GSM-incompatible CDMA system. That's why they are not mentioned any further.
Not only CDMA and GSM are used at the same time, but very different frequencies for GSM too by the different providers:
|2G||850, 1900||1900 (1800, 850)||1900||800, 1900|
*CDMA is not compatible with GSM-phones (for details see United States introduction)!
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 probably the better compatibility with your device. If you carry a device from your home market in Europe or Asia, Orange will be more compatible. Anyway, you should make a network scan, before you buy a SIM card.
As Viva doesn't offer 3G data for GSM-systems and Tricom centers on Triple-Play-markets in a small area up to now, only the two major providers Claro and Orange are shown in detail.
According to a new law and because of frequent misuse of the emergency services 911, all mobile phone lines must be registered by 12/6/2014. Dominicans can do it by phone with their "cedula" (= national ID card). Foreigners must do it in the shops of the operator with their passport. This is enforced strictly, so no more unregistered SIM are to be bought on the streets. These unregistered lines will 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. For a rough coverage map scroll down and click on an area. Claro has started with 4G/LTE, however on the rare 1700/2100 (= AWS) frequency and is available for prepaid without surcharges.
SIM cards for the standard voice plan with registration of ID are given out for free in their shops (shop locator). However, you need to make a reload for credit and thus buy activation time.
This is done by PIN codes 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 websitehttp://www.clarorecargas.com http://www.ding.com or http://www.llamarepublicadominicana.comNote when you are using 3rd party websites of commercial agencies for top up, you will always be charged a surcharge. 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 Claro network.
Data feature packagesEdit
Default rate is RD$ 4 per MB. For short-time users these hourly packages are offered (tax incl.):
- 10 MB for 1 hour: RD$ 10
- 40 MB for 3 hours: RD$ 20
- 100 MB for 7 hours: RD$ 30
For more data or longer you have to buy an add-on called Internet por días available in these denominations:
|Data Volume||Time||Price (tax incl.)|
|10 MB||1 day||RD$ 10|
|100 MB||1 day||RD$ 40|
|200 MB||3 days||RD$ 60|
|300 MB||5 days||RD$ 100|
|500 MB||7 days||RD$ 150|
|750 MB||15 days||RD$ 300|
|1 GB||30 days||RD$ 400|
|3 GB||30 days||RD$ 800|
To activate one of the data packages you need to dial *111*2*4*1*1#. When prompted, enter the plan you want to activate. Package will not renew automatically, but the daily packages. Once you've used your data, you can simply book another data package. Tethering is possible.
For social media like WhatsApp (no calls), Twitter, Instagram and Facebook use only, these packages are sold (tax incl.):
- 150 MB for 1 day: RD$ 30
- 300 MB for 3 days: RD$ 70
- 1 GB for 7 days: RD$ 200
- 2 GB for 30 days: RD$ 300
Activation by *111*2*4*1*3#
Internet móvil Edit
For tablets, modems and routers, Claro offers these monthly data-only prepaid plans:
|Data Volume||Time||Price (+ 30% taxes)|
|50 MB||1 hour||RD$ 20|
|100 MB||3 hours||RD$ 30|
|200 MB||7 hours||RD$ 40|
|150 MB||1 day||RD$ 50|
|350 MB||3 days||RD$ 115|
|1.5 GB||7 days||RD$ 550|
|3 GB||30 days||RD$ 1125|
|5 GB||60 days||RD$ 1800|
Note, that these prices are without taxes, for final price add 30%.
- APN for smartphones: internet.ideasclaro.com.do
- APN for modems and routers: ba.amx
- Website in Spanish only: 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. It gives better compatibility with devices from Europe, Asia or Australia (see Basics) on 3G. It 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 places (LTE coverage map, click on cobertura). 4G/LTE is available for prepaid without surcharges. For 2016 it plans to cover 90% by 3G and all major towns by 4G/LTE.
Orange prepaid SIM cards are available for RD$ 100 RD including RD$ 60 RD and 10 days of vailidity in their stores (shop locator).
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 10 days, to RD$ 149 30 days, to RD$ 199 60 days, to RD$ 249 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. Traditionally, the internatl. Orange top-up site https://topup.orange.com offers very good rates for Orange networks too. In RD 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" (tax incl.):
|Data volume||Time||Price (tax incl.)|
|100 MB||1 day||RD$ 50|
|150 MB||7 days||RD$ 75|
|250 MB||7 days||RD$ 100|
|500 MB||7 days||RD$ 150|
|1 GB||7 days||RD$ 250|
|500 MB||30 days||RD$ 250|
|1 GB||30 days||RD$ 400|
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. The data-only SIM comes with 7 days validity and 1 GB for 350 RD$. This can be added by:
- 500 MB for 1 day: RD$ 100 (tax incl.)
- 1 GB for 7 days, RD$ 300 (tax incl.)
- 2 GB for 15 days, RD$ 600 (tax incl.)
- 3 GB for 30 days, RD$ 800 (tax incl.)
- APN: orangenet.com.do
- Website in Spanish only: https://www.orange.com.do