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2000px-Flag of El Salvador.svg

Basics Edit

There are 4 network operators in the Central American state of El Salvador:

  • Tigo
  • Claro
  • Movistar
  • Digicel

2G and 3G is on 850 and 1900 MHz, except on Digicel which is on 900 MHz only. 4G/LTE has started in 2016 on 850 and 1900 MHz (bands 2 and 5) by Movistar and Tigo, followed by Claro. While Digicel's "4G" nework is still 3G/HSPA+ based, but expected to be soon on 4G/LTE too.

For purchase, the operators have offices in every town. Bring your passport. Your SIM will be activated in the store (don’t leave until it is) and they will accept cash or any international credit card. You can top-up in convenience stores, pharmacies, supermarkets, ATMs (Citibank, HSBC, and Scotiabank), and gas stations all over the country. However, credit cards won’t be accepted at small shops in rural areas.

The Legislative Assembly of El Salvador approved the introduction of a 5% tax on telecommunications services in 2015. From 2016 on you need to add a tax called CESC of 5% on the prices (mentioned below) for the final price now.

Since 2011 the US$ is the official currency in El Salvador and given prices have taxes included.

TigoEdit

Tigo

Tigo is owned by Millicom International Cellular (MIC). It's the biggest provider with 32% market share in 2016. It has the best coverage at the highest rates in the country: 3G/4G coverage map. A 4G/LTE expansion project to cover 70% of population by end-2018 is under way. Tigo's LTE is on 850 MHz (band 5).

Availability Edit

Their prepaid SIM card is sold for $1 to $1.50 depending on promotion. It's sold as mini-SIM and micro-SIM in their shops (Shop locator). It contains 75 MB for 2 days or the double amount.

Prepaid vouchers are sold starting at $1.05 because of the 5% tax or top-up by app.

Data feature packsEdit

These packages for data called paquetigos are sold:

Price Volume Validity
$ 1 100 MB 1 day
$ 1.50 300 MB 2 days
$ 2 500 MB 3 days
$ 4 1 GB 7 days
$ 7 1.5 GB 14 days

Unlimited WhatApp chat (no VoIP) is added for free. Subscription is by typing *123# and choosing the package, or online on your Tigo account or app. All packages auto-renew.

More info Edit

ClaroEdit

ClaroLogo
Claro by Mexican América Móvil is the second provider with a 27% market share in 2014. It has a similar coverage to Tigo, but offers cheaper calls abroad. Claro's 4G/LTE is on 1900 MHz (band 5): 4G coverage map.

AvailabilityEdit

Their SIM card is sold at $3-5 depending on promotion in mini and micro size in their stores (list). It comes with 350 MB data preloaded, valid for 5 days.

Recharges are sold in many shops and stay valid for 90 days.

Data feature packsEdit

Default or overuse rate is $0.05 per MB. These packages called superpacks are offered for smartphones:

Price Volume Validity Extras
$ 1 150 MB 1 day Free WA, FB, $1 airtime
$ 1.50 250 MB 2 days Free WA
$ 2 200 MB 4 days Free WA, FB, $4 airtime
$ 2.50 350 MB 5 days Free WA, FB
$ 3.50 400 MB 7 days Free WA, FB, $6 airtime
$ 3.50 500 MB 7 days Free WA, FB
$ 5 1.5 GB 10 days Free WA, FB
$ 6 800 MB 15 days Free WA, FB, TW, $12 airtime
$ 10 1.2 GB 30 days Free WA, FB, TW, $20 airtime
$ 10 3 GB 30 days Free WA, FB, TW

Overuse data will be on the default rate. To activate package type *555# <call> and choose package or go online. All packages auto-renew. To cancel text 'FIN' to 4777 free of charge. To check data allowance, text 'CONSUMO' to 4777.

Data-only SIM Edit

For modems and tables these packages are offered valid for one month:

Price Volume Validity
$ 2 1 GB 1 day
$ 3 2 GB 2 days
$ 5 3 GB 7 days
$ 15 5 GB 15 days
$ 10 10 GB 30 days

All data packages come with unlimited Facebook and have roaming included in Claro networks in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama.

More info Edit

MovistarEdit

Movistar
Movistar by Spanish Telefónica is the 3rd provider with a market share of 24% in 2015. It has a slightly lower coverage (coverage map), but its data allowance can be used in some neighbouring countries too through their sin fronteras plan. In 2016 4G/LTE started on 1900 MHz (band 2) in the capital.

AvailabilityEdit

Their SIM cards are sold at $1-3 (depending on promotion) in their stores (locator) and come with a $2 credit valid for three days.

You can top-up online by credit card or using vouchers sold all over the country.

Data feature packsEdit

These data packages are offered:

Price Validity Data Extras
$ 0.60 2 days 100 MB
$ 1 2 days 200 MB
$ 2 5 days 600 MB Free WA, FB, 50 mins on-net, 10 mins off-net
$ 4 7 days 1 GB Free WA, FB, 100 mins on-net, 10 mins off-net
$ 10 15 days 3 GB Free WA, FB, unlimited on-net, 20 mins off-net

Activation is by typing *700#. Overuse is charged at $1.49 per MB.

American roaming option Edit

In 2015 Movistar started its "sin fronteras" (without borders) option for regional roaming in Central America. Now you can surf, talk and text on the Movistar networks of Mexico, Guatemala, Panama and Costa Rica for the domestic El Salvador rate.

In 2016 they added the US, Canada, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela where you can roam on El Salvador packages for a US$ 5 US surcharge per day. You can use up to 300 MB per calendar day until speed will be throttled to 128 kbps. Activation is by *131#.

More info Edit

Digicel El SalvadorEdit

Digicel
Digicel is the smallest provider with a 12.4% market share in 2012. Their acquisition by Claro was rejected twice by the regulator in 2012. It has the lowest coverage by 3G, now available only in parts of all 14 departments and full coverage of Greater San Salvador area: Coverage Map. But it gives out data at the lowest rate, if you have coverage.

Note that its 3G/HSPA is still marketed as "4G". All of its 2G and 3G ("4G") is on 900 MHz so far. They have announced in 2017 to invest US$ 450 million in the deployment of a 4G/LTE network across the country over the next five years. So here too, 4G/LTE can be expected soon.

Availability Edit

The chip is sold at $1-3 depending on promotion with a $3 balance preloaded in their stores (store locator). Top-ups can be made at many points across the country: (top-up points).

Data feature packsEdit

Default rate is $ 0.04793 per MB. These daily or weekly bundles are offered for data:

Price Volume Validity Extras
$ 0.50 50 MB 1 day Free WA, 5 mins airtime
$ 0.50 100 MB Free WA
$ 1 300 MB (*) 2 days Free WA, unlimited on-net calls
$ 0.50 50 MB 7 days Free WA
$ 1 150 MB Free WA, 10 mins airtime
$ 1 200 MB Free WA
$ 3 500 MB Free WA, FB, TW, IG
$ 3 1 GB (*) Free WA, unlimited on-net calls
$ 5 1.5 GB Free WA, FB, TW, IG
$ 5 2 GB (*) 14 days Free WA, unlimited on-net calls
$ 10 4 GB (*) 30 days Free WA, unlimited on-net calls

Activation is by typing *444#, in shops or through their app. All plans don't auto-renew. Check data balance: *120*131#.

(*) = these plans have unlimited night surfing 11pm-5am included

More infoEdit

  • APN: wap.digicelsv.com