The Dominican Republic has now three providers that run GSM networks:
- Claro (formerly Codetel)
- Altice Dominicana (previously Orange and Tricom merged)
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. Viva is the third network with an even smaller footprint.
Since 2013 Orange and Tricom both belong to the Altice group. In 2017 the national regulator Indotel approved the merger request. Both networks have been merged, Tricom has been absorbed by Orange and the newly merged network rebranded to Altice Dominicana.
Mostly GSM is used but on very different frequencies for the three major providers:
|Claro||850, 1900 MHz||850 MHz||1700 MHz - band 4|
|Altice||1900 (1800, 850, 900) MHz||900 MHz||1800 MHz - band 3|
|Viva||1900 MHz||1900 MHz||1700 MHz - band 4|
There are still CDMA networks in the county. CDMA is not compatible with GSM-phones (for details see United States introduction). Though there is CDMA e.g. in the USA 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 on GSM-based networks started in 2014. Claro has the best coverage in all provincial towns, followed by Altice and Viva that mostly covers the capital, some major towns and tourist areas by 4G/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 and coverage with your device, Viva has the same compatibility, but less coverage. If you carry a device from your home market in overseas, Altice may be much more compatible. Anyway, you should compare bands and make a network scan for coverage, 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 since 2014. Dominicans can do it by phone with their "cedula" (= national ID card). Foreigners must do it in the shops of the operators showing their passport. This is enforced quite 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$ 40|
|250 MB||3 days||RD$ 65|
|350 MB||5 days||RD$ 100|
|100 MB||7 days||RD$ 30|
|300 MB||RD$ 75|
|500 MB||RD$ 150|
|1 GB||15 days||RD$ 250|
|1 GB||30 days||RD$ 400|
|3 GB||RD$ 1125|
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 is 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
Altice Dominicana (formerly Orange and Tricom) Edit
Netherlands based Altice Group purchased Orange the number 2 in the country in 2013 with a market share of 43%, merged it with Tricom (at no. 4) and rebranded it as Altice Dominicana in 2017.
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.
Altice (back as Orange) started with 4G/LTE on 1800 MHz in 2012, but was 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 and tourist areas by 4G/LTE as the merger with Tricom approved in 2017 gives the unified network additional bandwidth.
Two different prepaid SIM cards are sold in their stores (shop locator).
- SIMO Prepago: RD$ 100 (tax incl.) with RD$ 30 credit preloaded valid for 7 days
- SIMO Prepago Data: RD$ 250 (tax icl.) with RD$ 30 credit preloaded valid for 7 days and 250 MB for 30 days
Recharges with Altice cards or e-vouchers available everywhere in the country give you credit and extra validity: top-ups up to RD$ 50 give 3 days, to RD 75 for 6 days, to RD$ 100 for 12 days, to RD$ 150 for 18 days, to RD$ 250 for 24 days and above for 30 days. Altice top-up cards worth RD$ 30, 60, 100, 200 and 300 are sold. Check balance by USSD #131#.
From abroad Altice mentiones these websites for topping up by credit card:www.mobilerecharge.com www.utransto.comwww.etopuponline.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):
- "unlimited" data packages with a high-speed allowance and throttled thereafter:
- for 1 day and 1 GB: RD$ 49
- for 3 days and 3 GB : RD$ 99
- for 5 days and 5 GB: RD$ 139
- for social networks: Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, Snapchat:
- for 2 days: RD$ 59
- for 4 days: RD$ 109
- for more apps: Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, Twitter, WhatsApp, Snapchat, Waze, Uber for 1 day: RD$ 35
To activate type #100# and choose option "paqueticos".
Data-only SIM Edit
To connect to the internet by modem, tablet or router, Altice sells Internet prepaid plans called SIMO Prepago Data. Their data-only SIM comes with 500 MB for 7 days at RD$ 250. This can be added by these monthly plans:
- unlimited plans:
- at max. 1 Mbps: RD$ 799
- at max. 3 Mbps: RD$ 999
- at max. 5 Mbps: RD$ 1499
- at max. 10 Mbps: RD$ 1999
- volume-based plans plus unlimited WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter:
- 5 GB: RD$ 790
- 10 GB: RD$ 999
- 15 GB: RD$ 1199
- 20 GB: RD$ 1499
- 25 GB: RD$ 1799
- 60 GB: RD$ 3989
These packages above don't include taxes, so add 30%.
- APN (for 3G): orangenet.com.do
- APN (for 4G): orangeinternet
- Website in Spanish only: http://www.altice.com.do
Tricom was a triple-player that was also acquired by the Altice group. It used to be on CDMA-only, that is incompatible to GSM-based devices. Later they rolled out 4G/LTE on 1900 MHz. In 2017 the national regulator granted approval to Altice, the owner of both Orange and Tricom, to merge its two networks. From 2017 Altice has been the new common brand (see above). The Tricom brand was abandoned, their network absorbed by Orange, now called Altice and their 1900 MHz LTE license was given back.
Viva Dominicana Edit
Viva used to be considered the 4th player in the country moving into the no. 3 spot after the merger of Orange/Tricom with a meagre 4% market share. It's network is nationwide, with some gaps though. In 2017 finally they added 3G services and 4G/LTE in a limited area: 2G/3G/4G coverage map.
Viva still has the lowest coverage of all three players what 3G/4G is concerned at the lowest prices. Before buying better make a network scan to see if you are covered.
Their SIM card is sold at every Punto Viva outlet (locator) when you show your passport for registration. The current prepaid plan is called Plan Prepago Aperísimo.
Data feature packages Edit
They only offer "unlimited" packages for data with taxes included. They include a high-speed allowance and throttled data at 512 kbps thereafter:
- 1 GB for 1 day: RD$ 45
- 3 GB for 3 days: RD$ 85
- 7 GB for 7 days: RD$ 145
- 14 GB for 14 days: RD$ 290
- 28 GB for 28 days: RD$ 580
To activate one of their packages enter #123#.
More info Edit
- APN: internet.viva.do
- Website in Spanish: http://viva.com.do