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Travelling to Dominican Republic? Here’s our guide to finding the best prepaid SIM card
Reduce your roaming rates by using a local telco deal.
Using your own phone in the Dominican Republic could be expensive. A top tip for saving money and reducing roaming rates is to switch to a local SIM card. Cheaper deals, plans and tariffs could save you surprising amounts of Dominican pesos. Dominican Republic has some of the best SIM card deals in the Caribbean and you can get 1GB of data for as little as DOP249 (CAD$6.65). So, get help with cutting down your costs by comparing SIM card options on finder.com/ca.Prices last updated 25 Jun 2017
There are four main telco providers in the Dominican Republic: Claro, Orange, Tricom and Viva. All networks are tried and tested, and they are trusted by both locals and tourists. According to OpenSignal’s global state of mobile networks report, the Dominican Republic is in the bottom half of the worldwide overall speed list, at 5.75Mbps. Network coverage is good in Santo Domingo, but coverage can become weaker in other far-flung areas.
All four operators offer prepaid SIM cards and they can be bought from shops, supermarkets, kiosks, pharmacies, official stores, and at Punta Cana international airport. There are 2G, 3G and 4G wireless plans available for unlocked GSM phones. SIM cards can be purchased by showing your passport. To add credit, there are several prepaid SIM card machines around towns and cities, and vouchers are stocked in shops and supermarkets. Please note there can sometimes be a 30% tax added on top of listed prices, depending on store and pricing plans.
Claro is the market leader on this Caribbean island. Claro network has the best coverage and some of the best deals. It offers 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE services, however the latter has some limited frequency ranges, so check to make sure your handset is compatible before purchasing the card. SIM cards must be registered using your passport, and they can be purchased for DOP150 from official stores or approved resellers, and come with that amount of credit and a DOP60 starter bonus.
Credit can be purchased online or at most stores across the country. Scratch cards are the main way of uploading credit to your plan and they come in the following denominations:
- DOP75 – valid for 1 week
- DOP100 – valid for 3 weeks
- DOP150 – valid for 1 month
- DOP250 – valid for 2 months
SIM cards will be cancelled once you reach the end of a plan so make sure you keep your credit updated if you intend to stay longer. Dial *111*2*4*2# to check the SIM’s validity. You can also purchase additional time:
- DOP15 – valid for 2 days
- DOP25 – valid for 1 week
- DOP50 – valid for 3 weeks
Dial *111*2*4*1# to add this extra time. Dial *122# to check balance and *112*2*5# for data validity checks.
Claro also offers some great data packs which can be added to the above-mentioned SIM cards:
|10MB||Valid for 1 hour||DOP10|
|40MB||Valid for 3 hours||DOP20|
|100MB||Valid for 7 hours||DOP30|
|10MB||Valid for 1 day||DOP10|
|100MB||Valid for 1 day||DOP40|
|200MB||Valid for 3 days||DOP60|
|300MB||Valid for 5 days||DOP100|
|500MB||Valid for 7 days||DOP150|
|750MB||Valid for 15 days||DOP300|
|1GB||Valid for 30 days||DOP400|
Dial *111*2*4*1*1# to activate, and select the plan you wish to purchase.
Social media packs can also be added:
- 150MB for 1 day – DOP40
- 300MB for 3 days – DOP75
- 1GB for 7 days – DOP250
|50MB||Valid for 1 hour||DOP20 (plus 30% tax)|
|100MB||Valid for 3 hours||DOP30 (plus 30% tax)|
|200MB||Valid for 7 hours||DOP40 (plus 30% tax)|
|150MB||Valid for 1 day||DOP50 (plus 30% tax)|
|350MB||Valid for 3 days||DOP115 (plus 30% tax)|
|1.5GB||Valid for 7 days||DOP550 (plus 30% tax)|
|3GB||Valid for 30 days||DOP1,125 (plus 30% tax)|
|5GB||Valid for 60 days||DOP1,800 (plus 30% tax)|
Claro’s APN for smartphones: internet.ideasclaro.com.do
Claro’s APN for routers and modems: ba.amx, and website:http://www.claro.com.do
Orange is the second largest provider in the Dominican Republic and offers great 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE wireless services. SIM cards can be purchased from official stores or approved resellers and credit can be purchased from almost everywhere. Prepaid SIM cards can be purchased for DOP150 which includes a DOP60 bonus. Credit purchases of DOP100 come with a DOP100 bonus, if uploaded within the first three days only.
Orange e-voucher top-ups are also available:
- Up to DOP49 – 3 days
- Up to DOP99 – 10 days
- Up to DOP149 – 30 days
- Up to DOP199 – 60 days
- Up to DOP249 – 70 days
- DOP250 and above – 90 days.
Top-up cards can also be purchased in the following denominations: DOP30, DOP60, DOP100, DOP200 and DOP300. Dial #131# to check balance.
SIM cards do not come with data allocation, so for any data required the following “paqueticos” packs can be purchased:
|10MB||Valid for 1 day||DOP29|
|150MB||Valid for 1 day||DOP59|
|150MB||Valid for 7 days||DOP75|
|250MB||Valid for 7 days||DOP99|
|500MB||Valid for 7 days||DOP149|
|1GB||Valid for 7 days||DOP249|
|500MB||Valid for 30 days||DOP275|
|1GB||Valid for 30 days||DOP399|
Orange also offers data-only packs called Internet Orange Prepago, which can be purchased for DOP250 and come with 500MB valid for 7 days. The following add-ons can also be purchased:
- 500MB valid for 1 day – DOP100
- 1GB valid for 7 days– DOP300
- 2GB valid for 15 days – DOP600
- 3GB valid for 30 days – DOP800
Orange’s APN: orangenet.com.do, and website:https://www.orange.com.do
Tricom offers a 3G platform for CDMA users and a good 4G/LTE service for GSM compatible devices. Prepaid SIM cards can be purchased from only a few stores in the country, so it’s better to pick up a card from the Tricom flagship store in Lope de Vega to make sure your device is compatible. Reload vouchers can be purchased in several denominations between DOP60 and DOP460, valid for between 10 and 90 days depending on amount purchased. Dial *855 to add credit. If no purchase is made within 120 days then the SIM card will be cancelled.
The following data packs can be added to the 4G/LTE SIM cards:
- 500MB valid for 1 day – DOP100
- 1GB valid for 7 days – DOP300
- 2GB valid for 15 days – DOP600
- 3GB valid for 30 days – DOP800
Dial *33 or *44 and select a relevant pack to activate it.
Tricom’s APN for 4G/LTE: lte.tricom.net, and website:http://www.tricom.net
Viva is the smallest provider in the country and only offers a 2G platform. The services can be limited so check to make sure your device is compatible. Although Viva prices are low, we highly recommend that you choose another provider if you intend to use calls and SMS most of the time. Viva have announced that they will launch a 4G/LTE services at the end of 2017 which will rival speeds of Orange and Claro.
The good thing about Viva is that they offer some of the best data packs on the island:
- Unlimited data for 1 day – DOP20
- Unlimited data for 3 days – DOP45
- Unlimited data for 7 days – DOP80
Viva’s APN: edge.viva.net.do, and website:http://viva.com.do
Some top tips fromfinder.com/ca staff:
- Spanish is the main language in the Dominican Republic. If you don’t know the language then you may want to download Google Translate onto your phone before you travel. However, English is also widely spoken.
- Locals call a SIM card a “SIM” or “chip”.
- Ask the retailer to set up the SIM card for you, to save time and to help with anything you don’t understand.
- Make sure you get to the stores early before it gets busy.
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 Dominican Republic. Here are some top tips from TripAdvisor users:
- “We took along an unlocked cell phone and picked up an Orange SIM card locally… It worked great for the two weeks we were there and was super cheap too.”
- “I picked up a SIM data card at the airport when I arrived, quite cheap and gave good coverage in Samana. I think it cost me $25 for the week I was there.”
- “Check the going rates of each service provider for every chosen plan on their website, like Orange, Claro or Tricom, as the rates are of course different for each provider and at each given day of the year.”
- “A better option is the official Orange outlet at Plaza San Juan. Most of the reps have a good level of English and are happy to help out.”
Pros and cons of Dominican Republic’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.
- No new devices offered with the SIM card plans.
- Poor coverage can be found on some networks in country areas.
- Viva only offers 2G services to GSM compatible devices.
Do you have another question about finding the best SIM card?
Q: What do I do if I lose my phone in Dominican Republic?
A: Dominican Republic has a high rate of thefts, so be vigilant. Your phone is your lifeline, especially when traveling around the Caribbean. Make sure you keep it safe and always make a note of where it is. If you lose your phone, retrace your steps and ask around. If you still have no luck then cancel any plans or payment methods associated with the device, report it missing and make a note of the crime number to claim back 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!
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