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Juan Hernandez
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I've recently relocated to Quito

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Americas > Ecuador > Useful Info
Submitted on Oct 12, 2020 Useful Info

How to get prepaid sim cards in Ecuador, A guide to find the best prepaid sim card

  • Ecuador has 3 telco service providers
  1. Claro
  2. Movistar
  3. CNT
  • There are also several resellers such as Tuenti and Virgin mobile. They have a few offers and packages and aren’t the best options for tourists.

How to Purchase sim cards in Ecuador

  • Officially you have to be an Ecuadorian citizen for you to purchase a sim card though this isn’t what happens. Most stores activate the sim card in someone's else name then transfers it to you a few days later. You still need to provide your passport details.
  • Ecuador uses US dollars as their currency. All price quotations and payment is therefore in dollars.

Claro

  • Claro is the market leader in Ecuador followed by Movistar. Claro has the best network coverage in remote areas and began rolling out 4G/ LTE in several regions including Quito, Guayaquil, and Cumbayá.
  • Claro prepaid sim card costs $4.48 and comes with 30 all-net minutes and SMS, free WhatsApp, and 300 MB. If your sim card is not fully activated, call another Claro number or register on their website.
  • Dial *123# to purchase Claro prepaid packs.

Movistar

  • Movistar has lower rates compared to Claro but has lower network coverage. It’s 4G/ LTE network only works well in major cities.
  • Movistar has a desk at the airport. It’s best to buy your sim card at the airport if you barely understand any Spanish. At most stores outside Quito and Guayaquil store representatives hardly understand any English.
  • Movistar's prepaid sim card Super chip prepago costs $5 and comes as a regular data and voice sim card.
  • Movistar also has a tourist sim card that comes with 2GB data, 500Mbs for Whatsapp, 50 domestic minutes, and 50 international minutes. This sim card costs $25 is only valid for 30 days.
  • Finding this tourist sim card outside the airports can be a real hustle. It’s only available at Quito and Guayaquil airports. At Quito airport, the Movistar kiosk is in the building opposite the terminal building. You can’t miss it, it’s the same building that has cafes, banks, and pharmacies. Movistar kiosk is on the same floor as the arrivals terminal. Clark airport store is also on the same floor.
  • Scam to watch out for: You may be approached by people who want to sell tourist sim cards to you in the airport terminal. Don’t buy from them, they sell it at double or triple the price and they may not be original.

CNT

  • CNT is the public telco service provider. They mainly offer ADSL and landline services but recently have started to offer mobile telco services. Its network is very limited though.
  • CNT has 3 sim cards:
  1. Prepaid sim card- Prepago plus
  2. Data only sim card- Banda avancha móvil prepago
  3. Tourist sim card- Chip turista.
  • CNT's prepaid sim card costs $5 and comes with $4 worth of airtime and 100Mb data.
  • Chip Turista costs $28 inclusive of 1 GB of data valid for 30 days.
  • CNT sim cards are compatible with very few devices, confirm with the shop attendant if your sim card is compatible before purchasing one.