There are four mobile operators in Peru:
- Movistar Peru (by Telefónica)
- Claro Peru (by America Móviles)
- Entel Peru (formely Nextel)
- Bitel (by Viettel)
This will be added by MVNOs like Virgin Mobile which has started in 2016 and the Telefónica subsidiary Tuenti that may not be available to foreigners because of activation procedures.
2G/GSM and 3G/UMTS is on 850 and 1900 MHz on the three major operators Movistar, Claro and Entel. 4G/LTE has started in 2014 in major cities on AWS frequency 1700/2100 MHz on Movistar and Entel and 1900 MHz on Claro and is already open for prepaid. Soon on all three operators the 700 MHz frequency (Band 28) will be added. Bitel has a limited 3G network so far on 900 and 1900 MHz and launched 4G/LTE on 900 MHz.
As in many other countries, the incumbent operator Movistar offers the best coverage, but at higher rates. Claro as challenger has a heavy marketing footprint all over the country, while Movistar is less visible. Despite that, where there is Claro, there is always Movistar too. Either next door (literally) or in the same Claro-colored small shop/street vendor. First MVNOs are expected to start in 2016 with Virgin Mobile on the Movistar network.
In recent years the local regulator Osiptel backed by the Peruvian governement introduced a rigid registration scheme. Since 2015 operators are required to verify the identity of Peruvian citizens showing a local ID called DNI via biometric systems and only activate a line once the user's fingerprint matches that on record at the country's national ID register Reniec. Heavy fines have been imposed in 2015 to the operators for not complying in the past. These measures have been taken as the country has declared a state of emergency because of a crime wave involving undocumented SIM cards for kidnapping, blackmail and gang crime. These rules used to be bypassed by users activating their SIM card on behalf of some other's name. This was a common practice for years.
Visitors may encounter problems as some shops are not aware that foreigners can activate SIM cards through their passports. This is granted in Article 9E of the new law (see decreto), as obviously you don't have your fingerprints stored before in Reniec. You might bring a Spanish copy to a store, as often (now illegal) activations are made on local IDs instead, or shops will tell you that you can't get a SIM at all. The regulator started suspending about 1 million undocumented SIM cards in 2016.
The Peruvian black market Edit
In spite of this, visitors can't help notice there is still a very visible black market on many market streets of Lima, Cusco and other towns for already pre-registered SIM cards called chips. They are sold for as low as S./5 and Claro vendors even sell them for free. The ambulantes (street vendors) can be easliy spotted for their vests with the logos of the providers and some of them even hold up signs (see details in this report in Spanish).
You should be aware that the Peruvian Government attributes anonymous SIM cards to the surge of "extortion crimes" hitting this country right now. In some high profile kidnapping cases, communication was done through anonymous SIM cards. The same gangs are linked to crimes to tourists when visitors were kidnapped to get their credit cards and extort their PIN numbers by torture.
While the vendors are poor chaps making a living of selling SIM cards, their business can't be possible without at least the approval of the operators. Police is also only watching these activites on open streets. That's why so far the Government has had little success in combatting un-authorized SIM cards. This WIKI will not tell you which way you should purchase your SIM card, but to be considerate of what you are doing. Without going the legal way, you risk suspension anytime.
One final word of warning: in the 1st quarter of 2016 alone over half a million phones have been reported stolen in Peru. This will bring the total number for 2016 to around 2.2 million in a country of 30 million inhabitants. So be cautious when flashing your $500+ handset in public.
Movistar Peru Edit
Movistar in Peru, owned by Spanish Telefónica, is the biggest provider and market leader in the country. It has more than 1/2 of all mobile customers and the best coverage (coverage map). But this comes at a price.
4G/LTE has started in 2014 on the AWS frequency of 1700/2100 MHz and added 700 MHz (band 28). It's open to all prepaid tariffs. Movistar guarantees speeds of 5-130 kbps on 2G, 0.4-1 Mbps on 3G and 2-5 Mbps on 4G/LTE.
A SIM card called chip prepago is available for S/.8 in their stores (store locator). Registration at a Movistar office is a little complicated and time-consuming: it takes around 30 minutes for the clerk to fill out all the forms for you and have you pay the cashier at a different counter. For convenience, ask the clerk to write down your phone number (even though it's somewhere on the paper that he will give you).
Movistar stores don't sell credit for whatever reason. Corner convenient stores and many others stores and supermarkets sell prepaid value. A good way is to look for stores that have signs with Movistar logos and recarga hanging outside their storefront. There are two common methods of adding phone credit:
One way is to buy a tarjeta de Movistar – cards with prepaid credit sold in increments of S/.10 and S/.20, etc. To add phone credit using a tarjeta, scratch the metallic covering off to expose the hidden numbers, follow the direction on the back of the card to add credit, and then you’ll receive a SMS to confirm the purchase.
Another way to add phone credit is to do it paper-free at a store checkout by having your phone number and money on hand. Inform the person at checkout that you want to add phone credit: Movistar recarga; tell them the amount; and they’ll take care of processing the phone credit transaction. Similar to adding credit with a prepaid card, you’ll also receive a SMS to confirm that transaction at checkout.
Balance check is by typing *515# or calling 104..
Data feature packages Edit
Default rate outside of packages is the daily rate or Tarífa diaria: For S/.1 you get 10 MB per calendar day. Having used up your 10 MB, you'll be notified and can decide, whether you buy another 10 MB pack for S/.1. So better disable cellular data and don't use any data before buying a data package as the data you may use in the meantime will consume a small amount of your balance and you may not be able to buy the package.
These packages are offered:
|11 MB||1 day||S/. 1|
|33 MB||1 day||S/. 2|
|100 MB||1 day||S/. 3|
|50 MB||2 days||S/. 3|
|100 MB||3 days||S./ 5|
|150 MB||5 days||S/. 7|
|200 MB||5 days||S/. 9|
|500 MB||30 days||S/. 30|
|1 GB||30 days||S/. 60|
|2 GB||30 days||S/. 90|
To buy a package, dial *515# and follow the menu options (first press 3 for "Promos INTERNET" then either choose a package or "4 mas" browsing through the packages with "mas". Their regular weekly packs are hidden behind semanal and monthly behind mensal. The larger data packages are in the monthly section. This means you need to put the SIM card in a phone to get the package you want, before using it with your tablet.
They often offer discounts and promotion on special packages, so check your *515# menu. Unlimited WhatsApp, Twitter and Facebook without VoIP is available at S./1 for 1 day or S./ 6.90 for 7 days.
To check balance and data balance dial *515# -> Consultas -> Consultas de saldo, you will get three sms with balances (sms, data, money).
More info Edit
- APN: movistar.pe
- Username: <blank> or: movistar@datos
- Password: <blank> or: movistar
- Website: http://www.movistar.com.pe
Claro PeruEditClaro is the big rival of Movistar in Peru. It has more than 1/3 of all mobile customers and only a slightly lower coverage (coverage map) at lower prices. 4G/LTE has started in major cities and is available on all prepaid plans. Unlike its competitors, Claro uses the 1900 MHz frequency for it, which is more accessible to many devices from out of the US. In 2016 it added 700 MHz (band 28) in Lima.
Prepaid SIM cards can be purchased from any Claro store (store locator) for S./ 15 or less sold in many promotions. Standard SIMs are freely available, micro and nano SIMs can be found too.
You can recharge it at their stores or many other kiosks or convenience stores throughout the country showing the Claro logo (see Movistar above). Furthermore, you can try their local top-up website, but they may decline your international credit card. Instead, you can also use their international top-up site https://claro.mobilerecharge.com which accepts these cards, but this can lead to very unfavourable exchange rates.
Data feature packs Edit
Default rate for data is the daily rate: For S/.1 you get 10 MB per calendar day. If you have used up your 10 MB, another 10 MB pack for S/.1 will be charged. Better subscribe to one of their data packages:
|Data Volume||Time||Price||Activation Code|
|25 MB||1 hour||S/. 1||1H|
|100 MB||1 day||S/. 3||1D|
|50 MB||3 days||S/. 3||3D|
|100 MB||3 days||S/. 5||5S|
|200 MB||6 days||S/. 10||6D|
|700 MB||10 days||S/. 25||10D|
|1.5 GB||15 days||S/. 45||15D|
|3 GB||30 days||S/. 85||30D|
To activate, text code to 779 or type *779# <call> and choose package. All packages auto-renew. To stop text "SALIR" to 779. You can buy up to four packages but unused data volume will be lost after the time period.
To check your balance send a text with “sal” or “saldo” to 777. You can check your feature pack data usage online on http://www.internetclaro.com.pe/.
More info Edit
- APN: claro.pe
- Username and password: claro
- Website: http://www.claro.com.pe
entel (formely Nextel) Edit
The Chilean market leader Entel bought Peruvian network Nextel in 2013 and changed its name to Entel in 2014. It is still building up its network and lacks the coverage of the big two providers, but can be reasonable if you stick to the cities (2G 3G 4G coverage map).
4G/LTE has started in 2014 in Lima on the 1700 MHz AWS frequency and spread out to more places. According to OpenSignal's country report compiled in spring 2016, it's the best 4G network in the country what coverage and speed are concerned.
Their prepaid SIM card for voice and data is available in their stores (store locator) and is called Súper chip prepago. It is sold for S./ 15 and comes with 50-250 MB data depending on promotion if you top up at least S./ 3.
You can top up in their stores or many supermarkets, pharmacies and service stations where you spot their logo. A top-up up to S./ 39 is valid for 30 days, beyond for 90 days.
Data feature packages Edit
Default rate without a data pack is S/. 0.25 per MB. These data packs called súperbolsas are offered:
|10 MB||1 day||S/. 1|
|50 MB||3 day||S/. 3|
|100 MB||7 days||S/. 5|
|200 MB||7 days||S/. 10|
|500 MB||15 days||S/. 25|
|1 GB||30 days||S/. 50|
You can subscribe to these packages online on your account or by typing *144# <call> option 3 and choose the pack you want. You can buy serveral packs but data volume which is not used within the time period will be lost.
Data-only SIM Edit
As only provider in Peru, Entel offers a data-only SIM without text or voice intended for tablets and modem use. It is called Internet Móvil Prepago and the SIM-only solo chip. It comes in two varieties:
- 100 MB for 15 days on 3G/4G: S/. 15
- 2 GB for 15 days on 3G/4G: S/. 69
Additional data is S/. 0.1187 per MB. For more data, you can buy one of these superbolsas:
- 50 MB for 7 days: S/. 3
- 350 MB for 7 days: S/. 9
- 1 GB for 15 days: S/. 19
- 2 GB for 15 days: S./ 29
More info Edit
- APN: entel.pe
- Authentication: CHAP
- Website: http://www.entel.pe
Bitel is the latest arrival in Peru. They are the Latinamerican branch of Vietnamese state-owned Viettel and started in 2014 with an own network in the country. It's on 3G only in a rather limited area (see coverage map or list). So better check, if you have coverage, before buying a SIM card. It's not so suitable, if you want to travel around the country. They hold licenses for 900 and 1900 MHz. In Dec. 2016 Bitel launched its 4G/LTE network through 1,750 4G base stations, achieving a coverage of 500 population centres. The rather unusal 900 MHz is used for 4G.
Availability and recharges Edit
Their prepaid SIM card is called BiFri and sold for S/. 1 in their stores (list) and outlets (list). You can recharge your chip at Scotiabank and BCP banks, Repsol service stations and Boticas de Salud pharmacies (map). If you top-up S/.3 every month, you will get free Whatsapp for 30 days.
Data feature packages Edit
Data outside of packages is pretty expensive with S/. 0.41 per MB. Alternatively, the DATAMAX plans offer good rates:
|150 MB||24 hours||S/. 3||1 - 3 - 1|
|500 MB||7 days||S/. 10||1 - 4 - 1|
|1 GB||15 days||S/. 20||1 - 5 - 1|
|2 GB||30 days||S/. 30||1 - 6 - 1|
Activation is likewise by typing sequence after dialling *9090#. These packages will NOT renew. All overuse is charged at the default rate of S./ 0.43 per MB.
During the validity period of the DATAMAX packages, the data volume can be increased by sending a text containing "DM1", 'DM3" or "DM10" to 164:
- DM1: 75 MB for S/. 1.00
- DM3: 250 MB for S/. 3.00
- DM10: 1 GB for S/. 10.00
More info Edit
- APN: BITEL
- Authentication: PAP
- Website: http://www.bitel.com.pe/
Tuenti can be considered as the first MVNO in the country. But for legal reasons, it's not a real MVNO but a subsidiary of Telefónica. It resells the network of Movistar in 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE and is aimed at the urban youth.
The starter pack called chip is available for free in all Coolbox stores and where you see their logo. It may depend on the shop assistant if he/she is able or willing to fill in your passport no. in the required DNI (national ID card) field or not. Officially, you need to have a Peruvian DNI, but this is not enforced all the time.
You can top-up at many pharmacies and supermarkets or online by credit card.
Combo packages Edit
First, you have to add one of their four combined packages:
- Combo 5: 100 MB, 10 mins domestic voice, 5 mins VoIP, for 5 days: S/. 5
- Combo 10: 250 MB, 30 mins domestic voice, 15 mins VoIP, for 15 days: S/. 10
- Combo 20: 500 MB, 70 mins domestic voice, 35 mins VoIP, for 30 days: S/. 20
- Combo 30: 750 MB, 100 mins domestic voice, 50 mins VoIP, for 30 days: S/. 30
- Combo 40: 1 GB, 150 mins domestic voice, 75 mins VoIP, for 30 days: S/. 40
- Combo 60: 1.5 GB, 220 mins domestic voice, 110 mins VoIP, for 30 days: S/. 60
All the combos include unlimited WhatsApp and unlimited domestic text. VoIP is made through their own app Tuenti Voz Digital. You can add unlimited Facebook for 24 hours at S./ 1. For more data you can add these two add-ons online on your account:
- S/. 1: 25 MB for 1 day
- S/. 5: 125 MB for 5 days
More info Edit
- APN: mobile.tuenti.pe
- Username and password: internet
- Website: http://www.tuenti.pe/
Virgin mobile Edit
Virgin Mobile has finally launched its service in Peru in July 2016 becoming the country's first real MVNO. All users who pre-registered on the company's website will receive a bundle of free data for their early subscription, with the operator offering a 100% prepay service aimed at young people aged 18-34. It uses the network of Movistar in 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE.
The starter called chip is available for S./ 8 (official sales price) at their sales outlets (locator). Like with Tuenti, it's not clear if the vendor called 'Rock Agent' will be able to register you without a local ID (DNI).
You can top-up S./ 5-200 at many pharmacies and supermarkets or online by credit card. Check balance by *505#.
Data feature packages Edit
Data outside of packages is S/. 0.43 per MB. They offer 2 varieties of packs either monthly combo packs called Antiplanos and short-term data-only packs called Bolsas: These Antiplanes valid for 30 days are available:
- S./ 25: 200 MB, 40 mins, 50 SMS, free unlimited Facebook and WhatsApp
- S./ 30: 300 MB, 60 mins, 50 SMS, free unlimited Facebook and WhatsApp
- S./ 50: 750 MB, 100 mins, 50 SMS, free unlimited Facebook and WhatsApp
These Bolsas are sold:
- S./ 1: 20 MB plus unlimited WhatsApp for 1 day (= 24 hours)
- S./ 5: 125 MB plus unlimited WhatsApp for 5 days
Activate package by *505#. All packages auto-renew. To stop, dial *505#. All allowances are domestic only. Free unlimited WhatsApp includes VoIP calls too, which is rare.
More info Edit
- APN is still unknown
- Internatl. roaming is not included
- Website: http://www.virginmobile.pe