Panama has 4 network GSM operators:
- +móvil (by Cable & Wireless)
All have 2G/GSM and 3G up to HSPA+ on 850 and 1900 MHz. 4G/LTE has started in 2015 on +móvil and Movistar and Claro on 700 MHz (FDD Band 28) and is available in major towns.
There are continual debates over which company provides the best service or coverage. Some areas of the country are so remote, that there is no coverage offered by any company. But in other areas, some work and others don't. Therefore, if you are planning on doing extensive travel to remote areas or live in the countryside, it's recommended that you first talk to some locals and ask which one works best.
Even without MVNOs, the market is highly competitive. On arrival at the international airport of Panama, they try to sell you overpriced SIM cards through self-service machines. Better wait until you are in town. A SIM card costs hardly more than $1 for start-up. (A little note for Claro, you should buy them directly from their stores and costs a bit more than B/. 2)
All prices below are subject to 7% sales tax. Local currency is Balboa (PAB) that is linked 1:1 to the US$.
+móvil (= más móvil, by Cable & Wireless Panama) Edit
Cable & Wireless Panama, a subsidary of Cable & Wireless, now owned by Liberty Media, is a provider of mobile, fixed line, broadband and pay TV services in the country. +movil (spoken: más móvil) is their cellular branch and product.
+movil offers 4G/LTE on their prepaid plans on 700 MHz (band 28): 4G coverage map.
Their starter pack is called "kit +móvil" and sold in their stores and lot of other outlets for a minimal price. Top-up cards of $2-15 are available or top-up online.
Data feature packs Edit
Their standard tariff is called Tarifa ùnica. It has data at $ 0.06 per MB. So better buy packages. These packages for data are available:
|1 day||150 MB||B/. 0.99||*456#|
|2 days||400 MB||B/. 1.99||*456#|
|3 days||650 MB||B./ 2.99||*456#|
|7 days||800 MB||B/. 5||*456#|
|15 days||1.5 GB||B/. 10||*456#|
|30 days||2 GB||B/. 15||*456#|
Max. speed is 20 Mbps, if used beyond the quota, it would be B/. 0.001 per kb
More info Edit
- APN: apn01.cwpanama.com.pa
- Website in Spanish: http://www.cwpanama.com/masmovil/
Claro by América Móvil is another competitor in the country.
Claro has started 4G/LTE on prepaid operating on 700 MHz (band 28). In the beginning, it's was limited to certain parts of the capital city; Chiriqui and Colon only, but now it has been expanded to major regions: 4G coverage map.
SIM Card is available in their stores and outlets: Store locator. Recharges are available for $1-70 giving 2-120 days of credit.
Data feature packsEdit
Default rate is $ 0.025 per MB. These data packs are offered and have 4G/LTE included where available:
|1 day||200 MB||$ 0.99||1|
|2 days||500 MB||$ 1.99||2|
|7 days||800 MB||$ 4.99||7|
|15 days||1 GB||$ 8.99||15|
|30 days||2 GB||$ 14.99||30|
To activate text code to 464. All overuse is charged at $ 0.15 per MB.
- APN: web.claro.com.pa
- Username and password: claroweb
- Website in Spanish: http://www.claro.com.pa
Jamaica-based Digicel is another provider in Panama. Though they advertise with "4G", it's in real only 3G/HSPA+: Digicel coverage map
Their SIM Card is available in stores and outlets: Store locator- Recharges are valid for 365 days sold in their stores and outlets or online on the interatl. Digicel top-up site.
Data feature packsEdit
Their packages for "4G" data:
|1 day||225 MB||$ 0.99|
|2 days||400 MB||$ 1.99|
|3 days||600 MB||$ 2.99|
|7 days||1 GB||$ 4.99|
|15 days||1.5 GB||$ 8.99|
|30 days||3 GB||$ 14.99|
To activate type *111# <call>. Overuse is charged with $ 0.01 per KB. The 1 and 2 day plan includes 150 MB of WhatsApp (no VoIP), the plans of 3 days and more 10 GB of WhatsApp (no VoIP), Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest, Waze, Badoo y Wechat (only chats).
- APN: web.digicelpanama.com
- Website in Spanish: https://www.digicelgroup.com/pa/es/movil.html
Movistar by Spanish Telefónica is the last provider of the quartet: 2G, 3G and 4G coverage map. Movistar Panamá offers LTE on their prepaid offerings. You first need an 4G/LTE SIM (available free of charge from any of their outlets), before you can utilize their LTE, which is available on the 700 Mhz frequency.
SIM card is available in their stores Store locator. Recharge cards are available in $2, $3, $5, $10 or $15. For every top-up, you'll get some bonus minutes and their are many x2, x3, or x5 promotions.
Data feature packsEdit
|Validity||2G/3G Data||4G Data||Price|
|2 days||250 MB||B/. 2|
|4 days||350 MB||175 MB||B/. 3|
|7 days||750 MB||1.5 GB||B/. 5|
|15 days||1 GB||2 GB||B/. 10|
To activate type *888#, choose option 2 and pick a package. You can buy any package anytime. Packages include small allowances of local calls and SMS too. Packages of 4 days and longer include free WhatsApp use during the running time of the pack.
American roaming option Edit
Movistar offer new roaming options called Movistar sin fronteras which can be activated through here:
- in the Movistar networks in Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador and Costa Rica you can roam at the domestic rate without surcharges for up to 30 days
- in Canada, USA (on AT&T and T-Mobile), Colombia, Honduras, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Dominican Republic and South America you can add a roaming package for B./ 5 per day.
- APN: internet.movistar.pa
- Username and Password: movistarpa
- tethering is supported
- Website in Spanish: http://www.movistar.com.pa