There are 4 mobile operators in Peru:
- Movistar Peru (by Telefónica)
- Claro Peru (by America Móviles)
- Entel Peru (formely Nextel)
- Bitel (by Viettel)
This is be added by MVNOs like Incacel which has started in 2016 as Virgin Mobile and the Telefónica subsidiary Tuenti that might 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 (Band 8).
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.
In 2017 Peru's 3G mobile coverage surpassed 2G for the first time, with 3G networks available to 77% of the country's population, compared to 2G with 73% and 4G with 42%.
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 suspended around 400,000 undocumented lines in January 2017, which are more than 15% of all prepaid users in the country. In 2017 more than 1 million lines were disconnected in total and at least another million in 2018.
The Peruvian black market
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. Some million undocumented SIMs were already blocked by the providers and the regulator.
One final word of warning: in the 1st quarter of 2016 alone over half a million phones have been reported stolen in Peru. This brings 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. In 2017 more than 1 million blacklisted devices were blocked by the operators.
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 the highest prices. Also, you should keep in mind when you are travelling overland between major cities many hours without any signal are common.
4G/LTE has started in 2014 on the AWS frequency of 1700/2100 MHz (band 4) and added 700 MHz (band 28) which is 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. They use carrier aggregation of both LTE bands in the capital for the highest speeds.
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). It may take up to 24 hours until you new SIM card will connect to the network, other providers do this a bit faster.
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:
|20 MB||1 day||S/. 1|
|100 MB||1 day||S/. 3|
|80 MB||2 days||S/. 3|
|200 MB||5 days||S/. 5|
|300 MB||5 days||S/. 7|
|500 MB||7 days||S/. 10|
|1 GB||15 days||S/. 20|
|2 GB||30 days||S/. 30|
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.
For social media they offer different daily packages at S./1 for each app: Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, Snapchat, Spotify.
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 (band 2) frequency for it, which is more accessible to many devices from out of the US. In 2016/7 it added the 700 MHz (band 28) in Lima and 38 more towns for LTE. In and around Lima they have added support for 2600 MHz (band 7) 4G+ is available using bands 7+28. Their LTE coverage is on par and partly surpasses that of Movistar, if you don't have a device that carries band 4. However, you should keep when you are travelling overland between major cities many hours without any signal are common.
Prepaid SIM cards can be purchased from any Claro store (store locator) for S./ 5. Standard SIMs are freely available, micro and nano SIMs can be found too. Foreigners can purchase a SIM card only through corporate-run stores by bringing a passport. The process will go as follow: take a ticket to speak with an agent, the agent will take a photocopy and fill out paperwork, pay for the SIM at the cashier, then SIM will be activated by the agent. At this point another visit to the cashier will be required to reload the SIM and then the various activation codes can be sent to activate the proper data feature packs. Activation and filling out paperwork takes about 15 minutes which seems a bit swifter than Movistar.
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.
You get as a bonus:
- for a recharge of S./3 - S./4.99: social media for 1 day, 50 MB for 1 day
- for a recharge of S./5 - S./9.99: social media for 3 days, WhatsApp for 30 days, 150 MB for 3 days
- for a recharge of S./10 or more: social media for 30 days, 300 MB for 7 days.
Social media comprises WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter. To check your balance send a text with “sal” or “saldo” to 777.
Data feature packs Edit
Default rate for data is S./ 10 per MB. Better subscribe to one of their data packages all valid for 30 days:
|100 MB||S/. 3||3S|
|200 MB||S/. 5||5S|
|500 MB||S/. 10||10S|
|1 GB||S/. 20||20S|
|3 GB||S/. 30||30S|
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). Please note however coverage is very limited in the Loreto Department (Amazonas region). There is no (zero) siginal when travelling by boat between Yurimaguas and Iquitos.
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 speed is concerned. Coverage however is rather limited and less than the two major networks.
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/. 5 and comes with 50-250 MB data depending on promotion if you top-up at least S/. 3. They do some paperwork in the store and even take a fingerprint of you.
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:
|20 MB||1 day||S/. 1||*144#|
|75 MB||3 day||S/. 3||*144#|
|100 MB||1 day||S/. 3||*144#|
|150 MB||5 days||S/. 5||*144#|
|250 MB||5 days||S/. 5||by app only|
|300 MB||7 days||S/. 10||*144#|
|500 MB||5 days||S/. 10||by app only|
|1 GB||15 days||S/. 30||*144#|
|2 GB||30 days||S/. 50||*144#|
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
Tourist SIM Edit
In 2016 they started to offer a SIM card called Super Chip Turista aimed at tourists in some stores in Lima-Miraflores, Arequipa and Cusco. For the starter price of S/. 69 it contains 20 dom. minutes, 2 GB data and unlimited WhatsApp (VoIP incl.) and Facebook for 15 days. It's only available in a few stores shown here. For more volume you can add:
- S/. 39: 10 dom. mins and 1 GB data
- S/. 69: 20 dom. mins and 2 GB data
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 army-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) on 900 MHz and 1900 MHz. So better check, if you have coverage, before buying a SIM card. In the Loreto dept (Amazonas region) bitel offers good coverage.
In 2016 Bitel launched its 4G/LTE network through 1,750 4G base stations, covering 500 population centres. The rather unusal 900 MHz spectrum (band 8) is used for 3G, maybe added by 1900 MHz (band 2) soon. It has the widest 4G coverage in Peru now, but focuses on rural areas which are not covered by other operators. So it's only recommended if you go to these places.
Availability and recharges Edit
You can recharge your chip at Scotiabank and BCP banks, Repsol service stations, Inkafarma and Boticas de Salud pharmacies (map). You may also try an international credit card on their website, but some of them have been declined.
Credit and SIM validity is for 210 days without a recharge. Check balance by *121#. If you top-up S/. 3 every months, 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|
|300 MB||2 days||S/. 5|
|700 MB||7 days||S/. 10|
|1.5 GB||30 days||S/. 20|
|3 GB||30 days||S/. 30|
|5 GB||30 days||S/. 50|
|10 GB||30 days||S/. 100|
Activation is likewise by typing sequence after dialling *9090#. These packages will NOT renew. All packages of 100 MB are "unlimited" meaning data is throttled ro 128 kbps for overuse. Check data balance by *122#.
During the validity period of the base packages, data volume can be added by sending a text containing package name to 164:
- DM1: 75 MB for S/. 1
- DM3: 250 MB for S/. 3
- DM10: 1 GB for S/. 10
- DM20: 2 GB for S/. 20
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. For doing recharges you get get data bonuses in promotions.
Combo packages Edit
First, you have to add one of their four combined packages:
- Combo 5: 150 MB, 25 mins voice, 25 mins VoIP for 5 days: S/. 5
- Combo 10: 500 MB, 50 mins voice, 50 mins VoIP for 10 days: S/. 10
- Combo 20: 1 GB, 100 mins voice, 100 mins VoIP for 20 days: S/. 20
- Combo 30: 4 GB, unlimited voice, 200 mins VoIP for 30 days: S/. 30
All the combos include unlimited WhatsApp and unlimited domestic text. VoIP calls are made through their own app Tuenti Voz Digital.
For more data, you can add 50 MB for S./1 valid for 24 hours.
More info Edit
- no international roaming available
- APN: mobile.tuenti.pe
- Username and password: internet
- Website: http://www.tuenti.pe/
Inkacel (formerly Virgin mobile) Edit
Inkacel run by a local company is the latest arrival in Peru. It uses the network of Movistar in 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE and is in negotiations with Bitel as second carrier: Coverage checker.
Virgin Mobile Edit
Virgin Mobile launched its service in Peru in 2016 becoming the country's first real MVNO. After only one year and without commercial success Virgin Mobile sold their brand in 2017 to Inkacel and left the Peruvian market again. They were only able to snap 0.16% of the mobile market. Inkacel took over their portfolio pretty unchanged.
Availability EditThe starter pack called chip is available for S/. 13 (official sales price) at their sales outlets (locator) with S/. 5 credit preloaded . Like with Tuenti, it's not clear if the vendorwill be able to register you without a local ID (DNI). You can find them too on the black market.You can top-up S/. 0.50 to 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/. 0.10 per MB. They offer 2 varieties of packs either monthly combo packs called Antiplanos and short-term data-only packs called Bolsas. These Antiplanos valid for 30 days are available:
- S/. 25: 450 MB, 100 mins, 500 SMS, free unlimited Facebook and WhatsApp
- S/. 30: 1GB, 200 mins, 500 SMS, free unlimited Facebook and WhatsApp
- S/. 50: 2.5 GB, 400 mins, 500 SMS, free unlimited Facebook and WhatsApp
- S/. 70: 5 GB, 800 mins, 500 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
- S/. 10: 300 MB plus unlimited WhatsApp for 10 days
- S/. 25: 1 GB plus unlimited WhatsApp for 30 days
Activate package by *505#. All packages auto-renew. To stop, dial *505#. All allowances are domestic only. Unused allowances of the Antioplanos roll over to the next month, if a new package ist bought. Free unlimited WhatsApp includes VoIP calls too, which is rare.
More info Edit
- APN: virginmobile.pe
- internatl. roaming is not included
- Website in Spanish: https://www.inkacel.com/