This article is about the US territories or Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands in the Caribbean. It's not about the British Virgin Islands where different providers operate. It needs to be read in conjunction with the base article about the United States as most major operators from mainland are on the air here too and US rules are applied.
Three operators from the US provide mobile services:
- AT&T USA
- T-Mobile USA
Two more operators cover Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands that don't have any own network on the US mainland:
- Claro Puerto Rico
- Open Mobile
The fourth and biggest national US provider Verizon doesn't have an own network in the Caribbean. It roams in Puerto Rico on Open Mobile instead.
For the US operators from the mainland check our United States site for frequencies and compatibility. Claro in Puerto Rico is a GSM-based operator with 2G and 3G on 850 and 1900 MHz and 4G/LTE on 700 (B17) and 1700 MHz (B4). Open Mobile is a CDMA-based operator not compatible to GSM phones in 2G and 3G, but has adopted 4G/LTE on 700 MHz (B13).
Coming from the US Edit
Coming from the mainland of the US, you don't need a new SIM card or plan for these territories as your US operator already covers it at domestic US rates. So you can just bring it along and use it. US providers can be topped up like in the 50 states and their refill cards are sold in Puerto Rico too.
This page focuses on the two local networks as the US carriers are already covered in by the United States articles. In Puerto Rico US carriers offer the same product portfolio like on the mainland added by local promotions sometimes. All US providers regard their coverage in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands as a domestic network where regular domestic and not international rates for roaming apply.
As Claro is much more accessible for GSM-based users, it will be displayed in detail, while Open mobile and its mobile prepaid brand Ola is only shown for its 4G/LTE capabilities and as a roaming network for Verizon users.
Update 2017 Edit
Note that in September 2017 two devastating hurricans called Irma and Maria wrecked the island with severe impacts to the whole infrastructure, the power grid as well as the cellular phone system. US regulator FCC confirmed that on the US Virgin Islands 61% of cell sites are down and in Puerto Rico up to 93%. The FCC has now granted US$ 77 million to restore telecommunications which will require several months and last until 2018.
AT&T USA Edit
see this chapter for details
T-Mobile USA Edit
see this chapter for details
see this chapter for details
Claro in Puerto Rico is owned by Mexican América Móviles. In the US mainland they are only virtual using other networks, in Puerto Rico they have an own network. Verizon sold its shares of Telecomunicaciones de Puerto Rico (TELPRI) to América Móviles in 2006. By 2013 all their business in Puerto Rico was rebranded to their Claro brand. Claro is second out of 5 operators in the Puerto Rican market with a quarter of all users trailing only AT&T with roughly 1/3.
As of 2014 the former Verizon CDMA network has been shut down and Verizon roaming discontinued, with Claro now using GSM-based technology exclusively. 2G/GSM and 3G/UMTS are on US frequencies of 850 and 1900 MHz. 4G/LTE was started in 2012 and covers all of the island(s). In some centers it uses LTE-A with speeds up to 100 Mbps by aggregating 700 (B17) and 1700 (AWS, B4) MHz bands for 4G/LTE: 3G/4G coverage map.
All their voice plans offer roaming on GSM networks in the US mainland, preferably T-Mobile, without surcharges for domestic rates. All their prepaid plans include 4G/LTE use without surcharges.
Claro offers a broad variety of 'prepago' (= prepaid) or "sin contrato" (= without contract) plans:
- prepaid plans without a monthly base rate where unlike in the US data packages can be added
- prepaid plans with a monthly base combo package with data like in the US
- prepaid mobile broadband (called Banda Ancha) data plans without voice for tablets and routers.
Claro doesn't sell you SIM cards officially. You have to bring your own device (called BYOP or BYOD) or buy a new one and 'activate' it on the Claro network. This dates back to old CDMA days, when phones needed to be activated on their network. Now they simply check if your phone is capable and unlocked and put in a new SIM card for 'activation'. They might charge a few $ for this 'service' in their stores and you have to choose your plan.
Top-ups are available all over by refill cards of $ 10, 15, 20 or 30 or electronic top-ups. They don't follow US rules where the recharge stays valid as long as your plan, but have (like in Latinamerica) a very limited validity depending on reloaded amount of 15 to 60 days.
Check balance and validity by entering *611#.
Por minutos Edit
Por minutos or by minutes is their default plan. Unlike US plans, it doesn't have a base rate, but all consumption is debited with a flat 10¢ per minute or SMS. Any customer receives $2.50 for activation and another $2.50 if you top-up at least $10 in the first three months. For data you need to add one of these packages:
|150 MB||7 days||$ 9.99||DATA150|
|300 MB||14 days||$ 14.99||DATA300|
|1 GB||30 days||$ 19.99||DATA 1|
|3 GB||30 days||$ 24.99||DATA 3|
|5 GB||30 days||$ 34.99||DATA 5|
Data allowance is valid in Puerto Rico and in roaming all over the US mainland too. For activation text code to 2527.
Prepaid combo plans - Planes nacionales Edit
Their prepaid combo plans all have an included voicetime, SMS and data valid for one month. Planes nacionales - national plans contain unlimited PR calls, unlimited SMS to PR, USA and most internatl. countries, 100 long-distance minutes, unlimited calls to the US and US roaming calls and a data quota which is hard-capped and valid in PR and the US:
- 500 MB: $ 20
- 5 GB: $ 30
- 10 GB: $ 40
- 15 GB: $ 50
- unlimited: $ 60
Plan hast to be activated online, in the store or over the phone. Check data balance by *125#. The same plans can be linked to a credit card for auto-pay. They are called 'sin contrato' = without contract. They have the same rate, but need to be suspended at the end which can happen after every month.
Data-only SIMs Edit
Their data-only plans otherwise called Mobile Broadband plans or Banda Ancha are intended for tablets and modems. They don't have voice, but SMS. Here too data are valid in PR and all over the US in roaming, valid for 30 days:
- 300 MB: $ 9.99
- 1 GB: $ 14.99
- 3 GB: $ 29.99
- 5 GB: $ 39.99
- 10 GB: $ 59.99
- 15 GB: $ 69.99 (only on 4G/LTE)
- 20 GB: $ 79.99 (only on 4G/LTE)
- 30 GB: $ 99.99 (only on 4G/LTE)
Users with a 3G and 4G device can add additional packages by SMS code to 2527 valid for the rest of the running time of the monthly base plan:
- 250 MB: $ 4.99 - activation: ADD250
- 1 GB: $ 9.99 - activation: ADD1GB
- 3 GB: $ 19.99 - activation: ADD3GB
- 5 GB: $ 24.99 - activation: ADD5GB
More info Edit
- APN: internet.claropr.com // if LTE doesn't work, use: LTE.claropr.com
- Website in Spanish: http://www.claropr.com
Open Mobile Edit
Open Mobile is the 5th and smallest network operator in Puerto Rico. The company was established in 2007, as a relaunch of NewComm (previously Movistar). Their network is based on CDMA and EVDO for 3G which are not compatible to GSM networks. For 4G they use LTE on 700 MHz (B13) that can be compatible. They have a reasonable coverage on the island: coverage map.
Open Mobile's business model is based on prepaid and unlimited local call services, but because of their CDMA network, it won't attract overseas customers, but might be of interest to Verizon users from the US.
Verizon roaming Edit
In 2014 Verizon Wireless signed a 2G/3G roaming agreement with Open Mobile to allow Verizon customers to use Open Mobile's network without charge. This agreement came when Claro shut down the former Verizon CDMA network in Puerto Rico in favour of GSM, UMTS and LTE. Their roaming agreement was later extended to 4G/LTE too.
Ola (Spanish for wave or hi) is the name of their prepaid brand. As it's CDMA/EVDO-based for 2G and 3G, GSM-only users can't use it. For more info check this site.
4G/LTE plans Edit
Open Mobile sells 4G plans for their LTE network on 700 MHz (B13) that can be used by some GSM device holders which can cope with this frequency like iPhones or certain Android phones. They don't seem to be so rigid like US CDMA operators of which phones are accepted to their network. All their prepaid plans can be topped up online , by refill cards or in their stores.
They offer these monthly plans for 4G/LTE:
- 3 GB: $ 30
- 5 GB: $ 40
- 10 GB: $ 60
- 20 GB: $ 80
Unused data can be rolled over to the next month what they call data 'roll open' up to twice the amount of your plan. When all data is used, speed will be severely throttled. Add-ons are sold at $10 for 1 GB, $ 25 for 3 GB or $35 for 5 GB are sold.
For plan activation go to one of their stores (list). They charge a one-time activation fee of $35 for it. Take care that these plans are valid for Puerto Rico only and don't include roaming in the United States like Claro.
More info Edit
- APN for 4G/LTE: sp.openmobilepr.com
- Website: http://www.openmobilepr.com/