Ecuador has three network operators:
The first existing MVNO is called Tuenti on Movistar and Virgin Mobile was announced to launch in 2017, but this hasn't happend.
Claro and Movistar have 2G/3G on 850 MHz and CNT on 1900 MHz. CNT has started 4G/LTE on 700 MHz (Band 28) and 1700/2100 MHz (AWS Band 4), Movistar on 1900 MHz (Band 2) in Quito only and Claro on 1700 MHz (AWS Band 4).
By law you have to be an Ecuadorian citizen to buy a SIM card. In practice it's easy to find a store that will activate it in someone else’s name, and then transfer it to you a few days later. The store will still want identification, however, so bring your passport.
Prices in Ecuador are quoted in US$ and a 12% VAT applies.
Claro (aka Conecel)Edit
Claro (Conecel) by América Móvil is the market leader in Ecuador with 2/3 of all mobile customers. It has the best coverage especially in remote areas. 4G/LTE has started in 2015 in Guayaquil, Quito, Cumbayá and Sangoloquí and is rolled out in other regions available for prepaid: coverage checker.
Their prepaid SIM card is available in their stores (store locator) in triple size. Starter packs come as for $ 4.48. When you text 'CLARO' to 5000, you will get 30 all-net mins, 30 all-net SMS, 300 MB and free WhatsApp.
If your chip isn't activated (e.g. you try to register on http://www.miclaro.com.ec and if it tells you the number isn't activated), you should call another person on the claro network from your phone. This will activate the chip.
Top-up there or at many supermarkets and pharmacies for $3, 5, 6, 10, 20, 30. To check balance dial *102#. Also, the site https://claro.mobilerecharge.com can be used. Top-up $1 you will get free WhatsApp and on-net SMS for 1 day, $2 free for 4 days and $3+ free for 6 days.
Data feature packsEdit
These packages can be loaded on all SIM cards:
|$ 1||1 day||50 MB||unlimited on-net mins and SMS|
|$ 2||2 days||200 MB||unlimited on-net mins and SMS|
|$ 3||3 days||300 MB||unlimited all-net mins and SMS|
|$ 5||15 days||1 GB||100 all-net mins|
|$ 6||6 days||600 MB||unlimited all-net mins and SMS|
|$ 10||30 days||2 GB||200 all-net mins|
Additional data is $ 0.228 per MB. You can order any of the packs by dialing *123#. You can buy as much packets as you like, one by one, packages will be combined. Extra volumes are for WhatsApp (WA) and Facebook (RB) use.
For social media, they have issued two packages:
- Facebook and WhatsApp for 1 day: $ 1
- YouTube and WhatsApp for 1 day: $ 2
To check data balance dial *123# -> Consulta Saldos -> Saldo Internet Móvil.
- APN: internet.claro.com.ec
- Website in Spanish: http://www.claro.com.ec
Movistar is the 2nd network in the country, giving even better speeds in the cities, but a lower coverage: coverage checker outside. 4G/LTE is open for prepaid and available in Guayaquil, Salinas Quito, Cuenca, Azogues, Ambato and Tonsupa in 2016.
Their prepaid SIM card called SuperChip Prepago is available in their stores (store finder) . Top-up there or at many supermarkets for $2, 3, 6, 10, 15, 30. Starter packs comes as regular voice and data SIM for $5 free WhatsApp and
Data feature packsEdit
Data outside of packages are $0.05 per MB. Movistar markets its Preplan combo packages as base plans:
|$ 3||7 days||300 MB||20 all-net mins|
|$ 5||7 days||650 MB||100 MB||40 all-net mins, unlimited on-net mins|
|$ 10||30 days||2 GB||100 MB||100 all-net mins|
|$ 15||30 days||2.5 GB||100 MB||150 all-net mins|
All preplans come with free WhatsApp and auto-renew. For more data you can add one of two bonos:
- 50 MB for 2 days: $ 1
- 100 MB for 5 days: $ 5
Activation is by *100#.
Tourist SIM Edit
Movistar sells a special SIM with 2 GB of data aimed at tourists visiting the country. In addition to data, the SIM comes with 500 MB of WhatsApp data, 50 minutes of domestic calls, 50 minutes of international calls to the US, Canada, Spain, Colombia and Peru, as well as 500 SMS to all national destinations for $ 25 (plus 14% taxes). All for a duration of 30 days. It's available at Quito and Guayaquil airports only.
- APN: internet.movistar.com.ec
- Username and password: movistar
- Website in Spanish: http://www.movistar.com.ec
CNT for Corporación Nacional de Telecomunicaciones is the public provider in Ecuador. They focus mainly on ADSL and landline phone connections. It has a mobile network too, but this is rather limited in coverage. So check before: coverage map. 4G/LTE is open for prepaid and gives the best speeds in cities of all operators in the country.
Their prepaid SIM card called Prepago Plus is available at their stores (store locator) for $4 or $4.48 (tax incl.) with $4 credit. It comes with 100 MB data for a start.
Top-ups can be made there or other outlets like gas stations or supermarkets for $ 3, 6, 10 or 15. Top-ups of at least $10 receive free WhatsApp use.
Data feature package Edit
These packages can be activated on the SIM (prices with tax incl.) for 30 days:
|$ 1||1 day||50 MB||15 all-net mins|
|$ 1||1 day||100 MB|
|$ 2||5 days||200 MB|
|$ 3||5 days||200 MB||50 all-net mins|
|$ 3||10 days||300 MB|
|$ 5||15 days||750 MB|
Data-only SIM Edit
They sell a SIM called Banda Ancha Móvil Prepago for prepaid mobile broadband. It comes with 1.2 GB and 240 preloaded at $ 5 ($ 5.60 tax incl.) for one month. It has text and data only, no voice. It can be reloaded with the same package for the next month. Overuse is charged at 2.4c per MB.
Tourist Offer Edit
They offer an exclusive "Chip Turista" with preactivated SIM card on 2G/3G and 4G/LTE including $3 airtime valid for 30 days. This plan is only for foreigners and they must present a foreign passport or ID.
- $ 20 ($ 22.40 tax incl.): 500 MB for 30 days plus $ 3 talktime
- $ 25 ($ 28 tax incl.): 1 GB for 30 days plus $ 3 talktime, free Facebook and WhatsApp
More information Edit
- APN: internet3gsp.alegro.net.ec
- APN: internet.cnt.net.ec
- Website in Spanish: http://www.cnt.gob.ec
Tuenti is the first MVNO in Ecuador and started in 2015 on the Movistar network (for coverage see above). They focus mainly on the urban youth. In 2016 4G/LTE was opened to all their plans. You should combine it with their Tuenti app for free VoIP calls and SIM management.
SIM cards and top-ups are available nationwide on supermarkets, drugstores, gas stations. The starter kit called chip tuenti costs $ 5 (tax included) in supermarkets and service stations. It includes 750 MB, WhatsApp use, 15 min domestic voice, 50 dom. SMS, 15 mins of VozDigital (VoIP). If you have problems registering on a foreign passport, contact them via Facebook or Twitter. For activation call *777.
Top-up cards are sold for $5, $10, and $15 in their outlets, by app or online. Check balance by *777#.
Arriving on Quito you can buy a SIM card just as you exit the airport terminal across the street at Quito Airport Center, the airport's shopping mall. The kiosk is called SIM Store and they sell at the official price, although only the higher-tier combo is available. They will take care of registration and topping up.
Combo Plans Edit
Default rate outside packages is $ 0.20 per MB (plus taxes). These combo plans are offered for 30 days:
|$ 5||750 MB||15 mins||15 mins||50|
|$ 10||2 GB||50 mins||50 mins||50|
|$ 15||3 GB||100 mins||100 mins||50|
|$ 20||4 GB||100 mins||100 mins||50|
Minutes and SMS can be used to call or text to Ecuador, USA, Canada, Mexico, Colombia, Peru, Italy and Spain. All combos include unlimited WhatsApp (no VoIP calls included) not debited from your data balance and unlimited on-net Tuenti calls. For more data you can add:
- 30 MB for 1 day: $ 0.50
- 200 MB for 30 days: $ 2
- 400 MB for 30 days: $ 4
- 3 hours of Netflix and YouTube: $ 1
Activation is made online on your account or through the app.
More Information Edit
- APN: internet.tuenti.ec
- Website in Spanish: http://www.tuenti.ec