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El Salvador

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Basics Edit

There are 4 network operators in the Centralamerican 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 by Movistar and Tigo while Digicel's "4G" is 3G/HSPA.

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. Although iPhones are sold in El Salvador, nano SIMs are not; you’ll have to trim down a regular or micro SIM to make it fit.

The Legislative Assembly of El Salvador approved the introduction of a 5% tax on telecommunications services to finance government security plans 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.

TigoEdit

Tigo

Tigo is owned by Millicom International Cellular (MIC). It is 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.

Availability Edit

Their prepaid SIM card is sold for $1-5 depending on promotion. It's sold as mini-SIM and micro-SIM in their shops (Shop locator).

It contains $9 credit, 350 internatl. SMS and 350 MB data, all valid for 5 days.

Data feature packsEdit

These packages for data for smartphones called pacetigos are sold:

Package Price Volume Validity Activation
2 Horas $ 0.25 25 MB 2 hours DOSHORAS
1 Día Lite $ 0.50 50 MB 1 day DIALITE
1 día $ 0.99 250 MB 1 day 1MUSIC
2 días $ 1.50 200 MB 2 days DOBLE
3 días $ 1.99 300 MB 3 days TRIPLE
3 días $ 2.50 400 MB 3 days 3MUSIC
1 Semana $ 3.50 600 MB 1 week SEMANA
2 Semanas $ 5.99 900 MB 2 weeks 2SEMANAS
1 Mes Lite $14.99 1 GB 1 month MES
1 Mes $18.99 1.5 GB 1 month 30MUSIC

Subscription is by typing *123# and choosing the package, by texting the code from the table to 404 or online on your Tigo account. All packages auto-renew. To stop, text 'CANCELAR' to 404.

For modems and tablets these packages are offered:

Data package Price Volume Validity
6 HORAS $ 1.99 500 MB 6 hours
1 DIA $ 2.99 1024 MB 24 hours
2 DIAS $ 3.99 1536 MB 48 hours
3 DIAS $ 5.99 2048 MB 72 hours
1 SEMANA $ 9.99 3072 MB 168 hours
1 MES LITE $ 29.99 3072 MB 720 hours
1 MES PREMIUM $ 34.99 10240 MB 720 hours

Activation is by typing *611# or through a special website. Unlike the smartphone packages, these packages will not renew automatically.

More info Edit

ClaroEdit

ClaroLogo
Claro by Mexican América Móvil is the 2nd provider with 27% market share in 2014. It has a similar coverage to Tigo, but offers cheaper calls abroad.

AvailabilityEdit

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

Data feature packsEdit

Default or overuse rate is $0.10 per MB. These packages called superpacks are offered for smartphones:

Price Volume Validity Max. Speed Renewal
$ 0.50 50 MB 1 day 128 kbps auto
$ 1 150 MB 1 day 1.5 Mbps auto
$ 2 350 MB 3 days 1.5 Mbps auto
$ 3.50 500 MB 7 days 1.5 Mbps auto
$ 8 900 MB 15 days 1.5 Mbps no
$ 15 1 GB 30 days 1.5 Mbps no
$ 25 3 GB 30 days 1.5 Mbps no

Overuse data will be on the default rate. To activate package type *555# <call> and choose package or go online. All packages include free WhatsApp, those from 150 MB include additionally free Facebook.

For modems and tables these superpacks are offered:

Price Volume Validity max. Speed Activation
$ 2 1 GB 1 day 1.5 Mbps 1
$ 3 2 GB 2 days 1.5 Mbp/s 2
$ 5 3 GB 7 days 1.5 Mbp/s 5
$ 9 4 GB 7 days 1.5 Mbp/s 7
$ 15 5 GB 15 days 1.5 Mbp/s 15
$ 22 3 GB 30 days 5 Mbp/s mes 3
$ 26 5 GB 30 days 5 Mbp/s mes 5
$ 28 8 GB 30 days 5 Mbp/s 30

To activate, text code to 4777. All packages include free Facebook and won't auto-renew.

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 neighboring countries too through their sin fronteras plan. In 2016 4G/LTE started on 1900 MHz 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
$ 0.60 2 days 80 MB
$ 1.00 2 days 150 MB
$ 1.25 2 days 250 MB
$ 2.00 4 days 350 MB
$ 2.50 4 days 525 MB
$ 5.00 10 days 1 GB
$ 6.25 10 days 1.5 GB
$ 10.00 20 days 2 GB
$ 12.50 20 days 3 GB

Activation is by typing *700# and option 4. Overuse is charged at $1.49 per MB.

American roaming option Edit

In May 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 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

DigicelEdit

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.

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

The give out "unlimited" packages valid for three days. But "unlimited" has a limit or FUP of 3 GB:

  • $ 2.10 (tax incl.): "unlimited" voice and data
  • $ 3.15 (tax incl.): "unlimited" voice, text and data

Calls and texts are domestic only, Whatsapp is not debited on data volume. To activate type *444#.

These bundles are offered which are acumulable meaning unused data rolls over to the next period:

Price (tax incl.) Volume Validity
$ 0.55 75 MB 1 day
$ 0.80 200 MB
$ 1.05 275 MB
$ 2.10 300 MB 3 days
$ 3.65 600 MB 7 days
$ 5.25 1 GB
$ 10.50 2 GB 30 days
$ 21.00 8 GB

Activation is by typing *444#, in shops or through their app. All plans auto-renew. Check data balance: *120*131#. Default rate for out of bundle use is at $0.105 (tax incl.) per MB, overuse rate is at $0.50 per MB.

More infoEdit

  • APN: wap.digicelsv.com

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