Traveling to Ecuador? Here’s our guide to finding the best prepaid SIM card

Reduce your roaming rates by using a local telco deal.

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Visiting Ecuador? Or traveling around South America? Either way, using your home phone can work out to be quite expensive. A top tip for keeping down costs is to switch to a local SIM card for cheaper deals, tariffs and plans. Ecuador has some good SIM card deals for South America and you can buy 1GB of data for as little as US$3.30. You can also use their SIM cards in other South American countries which could save you even more money! So, reduce your bills by comparing your SIM card options on finder.com.

Travel Sim Card

Travel Sim Card from SimCorner

SimCorner's prepaid SIM cards let you enjoy local call, text and data rates in dozens of countries around the world.

View details
Updated October 20th, 2019
Name Product Number of countries Data range Shipment time
150+
1GB-7GB
3-7 business days
Attach the Flexiroam X ultra-thin microchip sticker to your current SIM card to access data roaming in over 140 countries.
80+
1GB-Unlimited
1-12 business days
SimCorner's prepaid SIM cards offer local call, text and data rates in dozens of countries around the world. Choose from a range of data packages, including unlimited data in the USA.

Compare up to 4 providers

Prices last updated 5 Jul 2017

Telco providers in Ecuador

There are three main telco providers in Ecuador: Claro, Movistar and CNT. All networks have been tried and tested by both locals and tourists, and can be trusted. According to OpenSignal’s service map, network coverage is exceptionally good around Quito, and the other main towns and cities. Coverage can suffer in the far-flung regions, which is to be expected in some parts of the country and will happen on any phone or network you use there.

About Ecuador’s telco operators

All three operators offer prepaid SIM cards and they can be bought from shops, supermarkets, kiosks, pharmacies, official stores, and at major international airports. There are 2G, 3G and 4G wireless plans available on all networks for unlocked GSM phones. SIM cards can be purchased by showing your passport and giving your hotel address, and your telephone number is already active once you pop in the SIM card. The unique IMEI number on each phone is also being taken and registered, to monitor handsets in the country. To add credit, there are several prepaid SIM card machines around towns and cities, and vouchers are stocked in shops and supermarkets.

About Claro (or Conecel)

Claro (or Conecel as it is also known) is Ecuador’s market leader with the best coverage, especially in the remote areas that can suffer with poor service. It offers 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE services, and SIM cards can be purchased from official stores or approved resellers.

Prepaid SIM card starter packs come in the following options:

1) Voice and data SIM: US$7 that comes with US$3 credit, free WhatsApp (WA) and 90MB data.

2) Mobile Broadband: “Prepaid Banda Ancha Móvil” SIM for US$15 which comes with 500MB data.

Credit can be purchased from official stores, approved resellers or at supermarkets, in the following denominations: US$3, US$5,US$6, US$10, US$20 or US$30. Dial *102# to check your balance.

The following data packs are also available:

US$1Valid for 1 day100MB+ unlimited messages and calls to Claro Phones, Free whatsapp included
US$2Valid for 2 days300MB+ unlimited messages and calls to Claro Phones, Free whatsapp included
US$3Valid for 3 days1GB+ unlimited messages and calls all operators, Free whatsapp included
US$5Valid for 30 days1GB100 minutes to all
US$6Valid for 6 days1GBunlimited messages and calls to all operators, Free whatsapp included
US$10Valid for 30 days3GB200 minutes to all

The standard default data rate is charged at US$0.228 per MB, and overuse is also charged at the same rate. Dial *123# and select the pack you desire. Credit will automatically be taken off your account.

Dial *123# -> Consulta de Saldos -> Saldo Datos -> Internet Móvil to check balance.

Register your SIM card/chip in store to save time and hassle. Another option is to register online through http://www.miclaro.com.ec, or by calling another Claro number in Ecuador.

Claro’s APN: internet.claro.com.ec

Website in Spanish:http://www.claro.com.ec

About Movistar

Movistar is the second largest provider in Ecuador. It offers 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE services, and boasts the fastest speeds in the cities and towns, although it can be a little slow the further out you go.

Prepaid SIM cards are called SuperChip Prepago and can be purchased in official stores or approved resellers. SIMs can be purchased for US$5 as a standard pack that come as a regular voice and data SIM. Credit can also be purchased in the same outlets, or at supermarkets in the following denominations: US$2, US$3, US$6, US$10, US$15 and US$30.

Movistar also offers a useful data and voice add-on called Combo seminal, which comes with 200MB, 20 domain minutes and 20 domain SMS for US$3 per week. You can also add 50MB per day for US$1 and 100MB valid for 3 days for just US$2.

The standard default data rate is US$0.56 per MB. A daily add-on pack can also be purchased to save even more money which gives you 15MB per day for just US$0.50. The following data packs can also be added:

Internet DiarioUS$1100MBValid for 1 day
Internet 2 díasUS$2300MBValid for 2 days
Internet 7 diasUS$71GBValid for 7 days
Internet 30 díasUS$101GBValid for 30 days

As well, Movistar offers visitors a tourist SIM card which comes with 2GB of data. The SIM card also comes with 500MB of data for WhatsApp usage, 50 minutes for domestic calls, 50 minutes for international calls to Spain, US, Colombia, Canada and Peru, and 500 SMS, all for US$25. The SIM card is valid for 30 days and can only be found at the main airports on arrival in the country.

Movistar’s APN: internet.movistar.com.ec, username and password: movistar

Website:http://www.movistar.com.ec

CNT

CNT is Ecuador’s national provider, and has the smallest market share in the country. It offers 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE services but CNT is only compatible with a small number of devices. Make sure you check with the store assistant to make sure your device is compatible before purchasing a SIM card.

SIM cards can be purchased from official stores and approved resellers for US$4.56 which comes with US$4 credit. Credit can be purchased from most retail outlets in the following denominations: US$3, US$6, US$10 or US$15. Credit amounts above US$10 come with free WhatsApp usage.

The following data packages can also be added:

1) 50MB valid for 1 day: US$1.01 – Text “DIA” to 8000

2) 300MB valid for 30 days: US$5.08 – Text “PROMO” to 8000

In addition, CNT offers a tourist SIM card called “Chip Turista” which can be purchased for US$3 and comes with voice and data packs:

  • US$22.80 for 500MB plus US$3 talk time ­­– valid for 30 days
  • US$28.50 for 1GB plus US$3 talk time, free WhatsApp and Facebook – valid for 30 days

CNT’s APN: internet3gsp.alegro.net.ec

Website:http://www.cnt.gob.ec

Some top tips from finder.com staff:

  • Spanish is spoken in Ecuador. If you don’t know the language you may want to download Google Translate onto your phone before you travel. Although some Ecuadorians speak English, many cannot and they like it when foreigners try their language
  • Locals call a SIM card a “SIM” or “chip”.
  • Ask the retailer to set up the SIM for you. This will save you a lot of time and trouble, but it’s also helpful to cover anything you might not understand.
  • Make sure you get to the stores early before the crowds start gathering.

TripAdvisor tips for the best SIM cards and where to buy them

TripAdvisor reviews can help guide you through what SIM cards have been tried and tested in Ecuador. Here are some top tips from TripAdvisor users:

Find a “Recarge Aqui” sign for the phone company you want to do business with: Claro, Movistar or CNT. – and get a cell phone from a cell phone store first of course, then recharge – recarge at the small tiendas/stores that display the signs above

“The building directly across from the airport terminal contains a number of shops, including Claro. I was able to go there for a SIM and credit”

Pros and cons of Ecuador’s top telco providers

All networks require you to have a SIM-unlocked GSM compatible international phone. To double check you have this option, contact your service provider before you set off on your travels.

Pros:

  • Good value for money.
  • Prepaid credit when required.
  • No in-store contract needed.
  • Can be used in other South American countries.
  • SIM cards could be compatible with your current phone.

Cons:

  • No new devices offered with the SIM card plans.
  • Can only be used on SIM-unlocked GSM phones.
  • Poor coverage can be found on all networks in country areas.

A final important question

What do I do if I lose my phone in Ecuador?

Your phone is your lifeline, especially when traveling around South America. Make sure you keep it safe and always make a note of where it is. If you lose your phone, then retrace your steps and ask around. If you still have no luck then cancel any plans or payment methods associated with the phone, report it missing and make a note of the crime number to claim on insurance. Finally, find a cheap replacement to keep in touch with the outside world, and don’t let the new one out of your sight!

Switch to a cell phone plan with international calling

Name Product Data Minutes Texts Can I bring my own phone? Cell phone plans starting at:
Starting at 2 GB
Unlimited
Unlimited
Yes
$25
Get unlimited data, calls and text or a customized plan on a 5G network. Eligible plans come with Hulu, Amazon Prime or Tidal subscriptions.
Starting at 2 GB
Unlimited
Unlimited
Yes
$30
30-day phone plans that allow you to cancel your service at anytime. Choose from five different talk, text and data options with the choice to add international calling for $10/month.
Starting at 500 MB
Starting at 200 minutes
Starting at 500 texts
Yes
$0
Bring your own phone for a free plan with 500MB of data, 200 minutes and 500 texts per month using Sprint's CDMA Network. Prepaid plans with more data, talk and text start at $9.99/month.
Starting at 1 GB
Unlimited
Unlimited
Yes
$20
30-day plans with unlimited talk and text and the option to choose how much data is right for you. Add-on rollover data is available starting at $5/500MB.
Starting at 3 GB
Unlimited
Unlimited
Yes
$35
Choose from several different plan options with no contracts, no fees and coverage on the same networks as AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon.

Compare up to 4 providers

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6 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    TonyJuly 19, 2019

    Hi there
    I will soon be going to Ecuador, I’m in the UK at the moment.
    is there anywhere in the UK where I can purchase a “Claro” sim card for my Huawei P smart 2019 ?
    This phone is unlocked already.

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      fayemanuelJuly 20, 2019Staff

      Hi Tony,

      Thanks for contacting Finder.

      Claro is one of the three main telco providers in Ecuador.I’m afraid I can’t find any shops or store in the UK that sells Claro sim card. The sim card can be bought from shops, supermarkets, kiosks, pharmacies, official stores, and at major international airports.

      I hope the helps.

      Kind Regards,

      Faye

  2. Default Gravatar
    JulietNovember 7, 2018

    I live in Ecuador and I’m looking for back up wifi/internet in case mine goes down when I am teaching English online. Will the claro sim cards work with a portable wifi device? And if so, is there a pay per use option, as I would only need in case of a power outage/internet emergency? Thanks in advance for your help!

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JoshuaNovember 20, 2018Staff

      Hi Juliet,

      Thanks for getting in touch with finder. I hope all is well with you. :)

      Yes, Claro SIM cards would work as well as other SIM cards provided that your wifi device is already been configured to work in Ecuador. If you have bought your wifi device in Ecuador, chances are it is ready for use. They provide data packs as well as standard default data rate which is US$0.228 per MB. So, if you are just using it for emergency purposes, you might want to keep your SIM card loaded with credits. Of course, it is worth noting that data rates are generally more expensive than getting a data pack.

      I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach us out again.

      Have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Joshua

  3. Default Gravatar
    AlanJuly 10, 2018

    Is there a sim card I can get in Ecuador that can receive calls from the US on my existing phone number?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      nikkiangcoJuly 10, 2018Staff

      Hi Alan!

      Thanks for contacting finder.

      Yes, there are sim cards in Ecuador you can use to receive calls from the US. You can get Claro as they are the largest telco provider in Ecuador with the widest coverage or use Movistar as they have the fastest internet speeds in most cities. Do note that sim cards will only work for unlocked phones and poor coverage generally takes place in the countryside.

      Hope this helps!

      Regards,
      Nikki

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