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Guatemala

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

  • Tigo
  • Claro
  • Movistar

Tigo is market leader with the best coverage, followed by Claro and Movistar. No MVNOs yet.

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, Claro and Movistar on its 1900 MHz band. 4G/LTE is open to prepaid without surcharges on all providers, where 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. But more than two million Guatemalan mobile users have failed to register their SIM cards ahead of the October 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. 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 paceticos:

Time Volume Price Activation
1 day 20 MB Q 3 n/a
50 MB Q 5 DIA
100 MB Q 8 DIA SMART
3 days 250 MB Q 15 3DIAS SMART
7 days 500 MB Q 30 SEMANA
30 days 1.5 GB Q 99 MES SOCIAL
2.5 GB Q 149 MES PLUS

For subscription type *123# <call> and choose the bundle. Alternatively, text code to 805. All bundles of 100 MB or more have free WhatsApp chat included.

Data-only SIM Edit

On their data-only SIM for modems they include these packages for data:

Time Volume Price Activation
1 hour 200 MB Q 10 HORA
1 day 500 MB Q 15 DIA
3 days 1.5 GB Q 35 3DIAS
7 days 1.5 GB Q 65 SEMANA
30 days 750 MB Q 99 NAVEGA
1.5 GB Q 149 BASICO
3 GB Q 199 AVANZADO
5 GB Q 249 PROFESIONAL
8 GB Q 299 PREMIUM
15 GB Q 499 DESCARGAS

Activation is made online or by texting activation code to 404.

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 2600 MHz in Guatemala City: (4G coverage map).

Availability Edit

Their starter pack is sold for Q30 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 Volume Price
2 hours 30 MB Q 2
1 day 50 MB Q 5
100 MB Q 8
3 days 250 MB Q 15
7 days 400 MB Q 25
15 days 800 MB Q 50
30 days 1.5 GB Q 90

To activate, type *555# and <call>. For social media, they offer daily packs: up to 20 MB for Whatsapp at Q2 and up to 50 MB on Facebook at Q5.

Data-only SIM Edit

For modems and tablets their data-only Internet Móvil SIM is sold. For prepaid it has two tariff lines according to the maximum speed:

  • up to 2 Mbps:
    • 1 day, 1 GB, Q 15
    • 7 days, 3 GB, Q 75
    • 15 days, 5 GB, Q 150
  • up to 5 Mbps:
    • 1 days, 1 GB, Q 25
    • 7 days, 3 GB, Q 100
    • 30 days, 8 GB, Q 299
    • 3 months, 3 GB, Q 199
    • 5 months, 5 GB, Q 249

Activation is through their mobile internet portal.

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 Long Term Evolution (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. Top-ups are made by 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 in up to 4G/LTE where available:

Time Volume SMS Apps Price Activation
1 day 20 MB 0 WA, SC Q 3 REDES
75 MB 20 Q 5 UNDIA
2 days 120 MB 50 Q 8 DOBLE
3 days 250 MB Q 15 TRIPLE
7 days 500 MB WA, SC, IG Q 25 MSEMANA
30 days 1.5 GB 100 Q 90 MMES
3 GB Q 150 MMESPRO
10 GB Q 300 VUELAPRO
20 GB Q 500 FULLMES

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). SMS allowance is domestic only.

American roaming option Edit

In 2015 Movistar started its "sin fronteras" (without borders) option for regional roaming in Central America. Without further activation, you can use data, voice and texts on the Movistar networks of Mexico, El Salvador, Costa Rica and Panama for the domestic Guatemalan rate.

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

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