2012 Internet Access in Ecuador


“I hate to say it, but I just can’t live without the internet.”

A tenant of mine proclaimed this week.

I know, I get it, I am of the same.  Haven’t watched TV in months but its hard to go even a day with connecting to the net.

So how’s the Internet access in Ecuador now in 2012?

It’s a lot better than it was in 2009, just a few short years ago, before they connected the new internet line to Ecuador from the ocean.

On even the cheapest plans costing around $20 a month it is fast enough to watch videos on YouTube without much pausing.

So what are your service provider options? 

Generally speaking, there’s only the big 4 in Ecuador.  CNT (state-run), TV Cable, Claro and Movistar. 

Only CNT, TV Cable and Claro offer land-line internet service to homes.  In the larger cities of Ecuador, all you have to do is visit one of their offices in the malls and solicit service.  Sign a contract, you can do so with just a passport and a copy of a utilities bill, and then they’ll come and install the net in your home in less than a week.

I’d recommend working with Claro, of the 4 I’d say they provide the best customer service.

Prices are relatively the same in all providers, with the cheapest option being unlimited internet access at a speed of 1 MB for $20 a month.  1.5MB costs $27 a month and is usually fast enough for 2 or 3 people to connect and navegate comfortably at the same time.

Is internet available in the countryside and on the coast? 

Yes, and no.

On the coast of Ecuador, where it is more rural, many folks don’t even have telephone lines.  And without a telephone line the ISPs can’t install internet in your house.

The only company of the big 4 that can install a telephone line and land line internet to your home in the rural areas of the coast is CNT, but it could take weeks or months after the solicitation for them to install your phone line.

Ask your neighbors, CNT will ask what the phone numbers are of your most direct neighbors, to see if you qualify for a new phone line.

If a telephone line, and susequently land-line internet service is not an option for you due to your rural location in Ecuador, you could get a HUAWEI internet chip from Movistar or Claro that you plug into your computer and from wherever their is cell phone coverage, which is almost all of the coast, you can get internet access.

Unlimited internet plans for your HUAWEI start around $32 a month but you will often need to be on some type of residency visa to get a monthly plan.

If you are just a tourist in Ecuador, you could pick up a prepaid HUAWEI from one of the 2 cell phone service providers mentions above for around $77, then charge the phone with credit whenever you like.  $18 buys you 500 Mb of navegation which tends to last about a week depending on how much you navegate the net.  Streaming vids will consume much more bandwidth then say reading text online or checking your email, which practically consumes none.

Yes, with these HUAWEI internet chips or USBs you could even plug it into your computer on the beach and surf the net from there.

Another option for foreigners visiting Ecuador is buying internet access minutes for your smart phone.

For your iPhone for instance, Movistar offers 7 day pre-paid navegation packagess for $11.20, 15 day packages for $17 and 30 day packages for $22.40.  They also offer monthly plans with 1000MEGs of navegation, which on a phone could last you the better part of 3 weeks, for $32 plus tax including $12 of minutes.

In the rural areas of Ecuador where phone and internet land-line service are not available, there’s also a few budding entrepreneurs installing mini-towers who will install a dish in your home and from that connect you to their internet signal.  Inquire with your neighbors once on the ground if any of these folks are in your area.

Now you know how to get connected in Ecuador.

And if you’d like to learn how I save big on my internet costs each month sign up for my Weekly Ecuador Insider´s Newsletter, where you’ll learn everything YOU NEED TO KNOW before you invest in Ecuador, you can unsubscribe at any time:

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