Panama has 4 network operators on GSM:
- +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 in Panama City on 700 MHz (FDD Band 28). Claro has started on 700 MHz (28) and 1900 MHz (2).
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, then 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. All prices below are subject to 7% sales tax.
+móvil (= más móvil, by Cable & Wireless Panama) Edit
Cable & Wireless Panama, a subsidary of the British multinational telecommunications company 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 LTE on their prepaid plans on 700 MHz.
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.
Default data rate Edit
Their standard tariff is called Tarifa ùnica. It has data at $ 0.06 per MB. So better buy packages.
Data feature packs Edit
These packages for data are available:
|1 day||150 MB||B/. 0.99|
|2 days||400 MB||B/. 1.99|
|3 days||650 MB||B./ 2.99|
|7 days||500 MB||B/. 5|
|15 days||800 MB||B/. 10|
|30 days||1 GB||B/. 14.99|
To activate, type *456# and choose 2 for all devices. Max. speed is 1 Mbps, if used beyond the quota, it will be throttled to 128 kbps.
More info Edit
- APN: apn01.cwpanama.com.pa
Claro by América Móvil is another competitor in the country. Claro has started 4G/LTE on prepaid operating on 1900 MHz and 700 MHz. At the moment, it's currently limited to certain parts of the capital city; Chiriqui and Colon only, but will be expanded.
SIM Card is available in their stores and outlets Store locator. Recharges are available for $1-70 giving 2-120 days of credit.
Data feature packsEdit
These data packs are offered and have 4G/LTE included where available:
|1 day||100 MB||$ 0.99||1|
|2 days||250 MB||$ 1.99||2|
|7 days||700 MB||$ 4.99||7|
|15 days||1 GB||$ 8.99||15|
|30 days||2 GB||$ 14.99||30|
To activate text code to 528. Speed will be throttled to 128 kbps when data is used up.
- APN: web.claro.com.pa
- Username and password: claroweb
Digicel is another provider in Panama. Though they advertise with "4G", it's in real only 3G/HSPA+: Digicel coverage map
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||2 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
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 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.
Data feature packsEdit
|1 day||100 MB||B./ 1.25|
|2 days||250 MB||B/. 2|
|4 days||525 MB||B/. 3|
|7 days||1.1 GB||B/. 5|
|15 days||1.5 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
In May 2015 Movistar started its "sin fronteras" (without borders) option for regional roaming in Central America. By typing *888#, you can surf on the Movistar networks of Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador and Costa Rica for the domestic Panama data rate.
In 2016 they added the US, Canada and Colombia, where you can roam on Panama packages for a B/. 5 per day surcharge up to a max. of 30 days. In the US and Canada you can use all available networks, and in Colombia Movistar.
- APN: internet.movistar.pa
- Username and Password: movistarpa
- tethering is supported