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There are three network operators in the Central American state of Guatemala:

  • Tigo Guatemala
  • Claro Guatemala
  • Movistar Guatemala

Tigo is market leader with the best coverage, followed by Claro and Movistar. In 2017 the first MVNO started with tuenti on the Movistar network.

Mobile networks are on different frequency bands according to provider. Tigo is on 850 MHz only, Claro is on 900 and 1900 MHz for 2G/GSM and 1900 MHz for 3G, while Movistar is on 1900 MHz for 2G and 3G only with a lower coverage, but higher speeds.

4G/LTE started in 2014/5 on all three networks and is so far limited to Guatemala City and a few other towns. Tigo’s LTE is on 850 MHz (band 5), Claro and Movistar on its 1900 MHz (band 2). 4G/LTE is open to prepaid, wherever available.

Officially, an ID or passport is required by law to purchase a SIM card for registration purposes. SIM cards called chips are available in the official stores of the providers and larger convenience stores. All mobile lines should be registered by now. More than two million Guatemalan mobile users have failed to register their SIM cards ahead of the 2016 deadline stipulated by the Superintendence of Telecommunications. It 's believed that the unregistered lines will be temporarily suspended, rather than cancelled altogether.

The operators compete heavily and give out many promotions like “triple days” when they will triple your recharges in value. Top-ups can be made online or at any small convenience store in the country. Look for the signs of the operators. In stores recharges are often done via intermediate cards. Therefore you need to give your phone number. If you don’t know numbers in Spanish, write it down before.

Tigo Edit

Tigo

Tigo, owned by multinational Millenium Group, is the clear market leader in the country with more of 50% of the nation’s customers. It has the best coverage at the highest prices in Guatemala. 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE are all on 850 MHz (band 5). So better check your device before, if it’s capable.

Tigo has launched LTE services in 2015 in the capital Guatemala City and the municipalities of Santa Catarina Pinula, Villa Nueva, San Miguel Petapa, Villa Canales, Amatitlan Fraijanes and San Jose Pinula. 4G services are available at no extra cost to subscribers on any of Tigo’s mobile data plans.

Availability Edit

SIM cards are sold for Q50 in their branded and other stores with Q25 credit and 200 MB. You don’t have to subscribe to a plan for data. Recharge vouchers are available at Q10-100 everywhere.

Data feature packages Edit

For data you have to add packages called paquetigos:

Time Data Price Extras
1 day 100 MB Q 5 WA
500 MB Q 10 WA
2 days 300 MB Q 10 WA
3 days 500 MB Q 15 WA
7 days 800 MB Q 30 WA, FB
30 days 2 GB Q 99 WA, FB
4 GB Q 199 WA, FB
20 GB Q 499 WA, FB

For subscription type *123# <call> and choose the bundle. Alternatively use their app or go online to your personal account. All bundles have free WhatsApp (WA) chat included, all weekly packages or more Facebook (FB) too.

More information Edit

Claro Edit

Claro

Claro owned by Mexican América Móvil is the 2nd operator caring for 30% of the mobile users. Its coverage is only slightly less than Tigo’s and their 900 and 1900 MHz frequency is more accessible for devices from overseas. It only has started recently with 4G/LTE on 1900 MHz in Guatemala City only: (4G coverage map).

Availability Edit

Their starter pack is sold for Q25 in their branded and other stores (locator) with 150 MB, 30 domestic SMS and Q30 credit. When you top up for the 1st time Q10 or more, top-up credit will be quadrupled.

Top-ups are available in many stores and online Q5-200 valid for 1-30 days depending on amount. SIM plan will stay valid for up to 90 days without a top-up.

Data feature packages Edit

These superpacks are offered for data:

Time Data Price Extras
1 day 100 MB Q 5 WA
2 days 300 MB Q 10 WA
3 days 500 MB Q 15 WA
7 days 1 GB Q 30 WA, FB
15 days 2 GB Q 60 WA, FB, IG
30 days 3 GB Q 100 WA, FB, IG
30 days 6 GB Q 200 WA, FB, IG, TW

To activate, type *555# and <call>. All packages include free WhatsApp (WA) and some Facebook (FB). For other social media they offer daily packages at Q 5 by *555# option 5.

More information Edit

Movistar Edit

Movistar

Movistar, by Spanish Telefónica, is the close 3rd provider with almost 30% of the national user's share. It has the lowest prices in the country, but also a slightly weaker coverage. It has the most aggressive pricing and offers the best roaming rates for Central America.

In 2014 it switched on its 1900 MHz 4G/LTE network in the capital city, provincial capitals and some tourist sites. By the end of 2015 Guatemala City is mostly covered by LTE: 4G coverage map (click on cobertura)

SIM cards can be obtained at many shops and Movistar branded stores (locator). The prepaid chip contains Q30 credit, 20 mins to the US and 250 MB data for a start.

Top-ups are at least doubled in value, in promotions on certain days given 3 times, 4 times or even 6 times its face value. This bonus credit can be used for calls, texts and data. Check balance by texing ‘SALDO’ to 777. Text 'INFO' to 700 for internet balance. Top-ups are made through scratch cards of Q5, Q10, Q15, Q27, Q50 or Q100, electronic recharges at banks, supermarkets and service stations or online through credit cards.

Data featured packages Edit

For data you can add one of these packages:

Time Volume 4G Bonus Price Activation
1 day 150 MB 150 MB Q 5 INTERNET5
2 days 400 MB 400 MB Q 10 INTERNET10
5 days 700 MB 700 MB Q 20 INTERNET20
7 days 1 GB 1 GB Q 30 INTERNET30
30 days 3 GB 3 GB Q 100 INTERNET100

All packages include a general data share and an additional bonus exclusively for 4G/LTE. To activate, type *123# <call> and choose package or text activation code to 700. Apps are not debited and include Whatsapp (WA), Snapchat (SC) and Instagram (IG).

Roaming options Edit

In 2015 Movistar started its "sin fronteras" (= without borders) option for regional roaming in America. You can use data, voice and texts on the Movistar networks of Mexico, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama for the domestic Guatemalan rate. To activate, type *123# and choose option 4.

For a Q40 surcharge per day, you can also use data at the domestic Guatemalan rate in the US, Canada, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Uruguay, Venezuela and Brazil. To activate, dial *123# and choose option 4.

More information Edit

Tuenti (on Movistar) Edit

Tuenti.gt

In 2017 the first major MVNO officially launched in Guatemala with Tuenti. It uses the network of its parent company Movistar in 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE (for coverage see above).

A few days into operation Guatemala's regulator has filed a complaint accusing Telefónica of launching its youth-focused Tuenti MVNO without an proper operator licence and infringing legislation by marketing SIM cards without authorisation.

Availability Edit

Their SIM card called chip is for free at their sales points (locator) when you subscribe a bundle. You need to register online.

Top-ups from Q5 are sold by credit card online or offline in pharmacies, supermarkets and gas stations where you spot their logo. To check your credit dial *777# and choose option 3.

Data feature packages Edit

You have the choice of one of three combo packs, including a domestic voice allowance, unlimited calls between Tuenti users, data, free WhatsApp use (no VoIP) and Voz Digital (the VoIP app of tuenti) for 30 days:

  • 1.5 GB, 75 mins: Q 50
  • 3 GB, 100 mins: Q 75
  • 5 GB, 125 mins: Q 100

These data packages can be added for extra data:

  • 250 MB for 3 days: Q 8
  • 500 MB for 5 days: Q 15
  • 1 GB for 10 days: Q 25

Combos and packages can be chosen by app or *777# option 2.

More information Edit