What Type of Cell Phone Works in Ecuador? (Carriers, Rates, Bands) shares the best travel insights, facts, and photos. When you use our links, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.

Curious about what type of cell phone will work in Ecuador? In this post, you’ll learn about the best type of cell phone, how to unlock, the best carriers, and plans to use in Ecuador.

Cell phones are expensive in Ecuador. As a result, many expats and travelers bring a phone with them.
Not only is it less expensive but you can also have the latest technology. Importation restrictions and bans have limited the availability of reasonably priced phones.

Amazon is a great place to find unlocked cell phones for Ecuador.

If you are planning on bringing a phone, there are a few things you must know.

3 Things Your Phone Must Have in Ecuador

  1. GSM 850 (or 3G 850) frequency. This is important so that the phone can use Ecuador’s cell infrastructure. There are lots of frequencies used worldwide – but to work in Ecuador you just need the 850 frequency. Often the phones will be listed like this: “Unlocked quad-band GSM cell phone compatible with 850/900/1800/1900 frequencies.” In the cities in Ecuador, you can get 3G connections. It seems that phones that work with GSM will also work with 3G. Just make sure that they use the 850 frequency. Phones that will work internationally should be listed something like this: “US/International 3G compatibility via 850/900/1700/1900/2100 UMTS/HSDPA plus GPRS/EDGE capabilities.” Ecuador also uses the EDGE network – it seems that it defaults down if 3G isn’t available in a specific area.
  2. Unlocked: This is pretty important. If it isn’t unlocked you won’t be able to connect to the network in Ecuador. In the US most phones that come with a plan are locked – or blocked. This means that you can only use them with that specific carrier. Unlocked phones are generally sold new as such. Sometimes they can be unlocked by a piece of software.
  3. ecuador-cell-phone-serviceAccept a SIM Card (Mini, Micro or Nano): Without a SIM card (or “chip” as they are known here) your phone won’t work on any of the networks. It is a small postage stamp-sized chip that connects your phone to the wireless network – and assigns your phone number. If you want to change phones (and keep the same number) just switch your SIM card to your new phone and it will work right away. Update: You can use phones that accept micro SIM (and nano SIM) cards here in Ecuador. A friend went into Claro to get a micro SIM card and they actually cut down the standard (mini) one to fit. You can do this yourself. Watch: How to cut your SIM card (Micro SIM, Nano SIM)

Another consideration: Buy an international phone. I don’t think that this is a requirement, but it should give you some peace of mind that it will work. If you are buying on you can search the reviews of a specific product and see if it works overseas. I’ve seen reviews from all over Central and South America on these unlocked phones.

The two main carriers in Ecuador (Claro and Movistar) work on both GSM 850 and 3G 850

Are Cell Phones Really More Expensive in Ecuador? 

A couple of years ago I ordered a Nokia N8 via Club Correos. I paid around $270 plus $12 freight to Ecuador. The week after it arrived I found the same model in Cuenca with an advertised price of $764.00.

I should note that this was before the cell phone importation ban and it arrived without any problem. It was the best phone I ever owned – it had a quality 12 MP camera, GPS, 720p video and HDMI output.

About a month after it arrived some armed thieves thought I would be better off without it. So I was back to my junky $40 phone.

Cell Phone Importation is Banned in Ecuador

Make sure you know the rules before you order your new phone.

First, you cannot ship a phone to Ecuador. It is prohibited. If it comes in by mail, you’ll have to ship it out of the country by mail. Or you could be fined. Or both.

Second, you have limits on what you can bring as personal effects in your carry-on luggage. Although the printed rules seem to differ, here is what is being enforced now: one used phone per person (including children) and one new phone per family group.

When we re-entered Ecuador a few months ago, we had one phone each. We had bought them new a few weeks earlier but because we loaded on music, personal info and inserted the sim card they were “used”.

And we didn’t bring the boxes and labels. It seems that the “one new phone” refers a new-in-box phone that can be resold as new.

While we were tempted to buy a true smartphone, we didn’t want something that could attract the attention of thieves. Instead, we bought the Nokia Asha 302 – it has great reception and a full keyboard.

I don’t think I ever sent a text message before we moved here – now we send them on a daily basis. As you can see in the write-up, it is the international version of an unlocked GSM phone.

We just inserted our sim cards from our old phones and it worked the moment we turned them on when we arrived at the Quito Airport.


Can I “Unlock” My Cell Phone in Ecuador?

Yes, some phones can be unlocked in Ecuador. But this isn’t 100%. I know some travelers who brought their phones only to have them not work. And the cell phone hackers were unable to unlock them.

I think the safest bet is to buy an unlocked phone before you come to Ecuador.

Cell Phone Rates and Plans in Ecuador

There are two ways to use a cell phone in Ecuador. Plan or prepaid. In this post, I’ll give a breakdown of the three main carriers in Ecuador and the costs to use each one.

ecuador-cell-phone-ratesIn Canada, almost everyone we knew had a cell phone plan. It gave lots of talk time, no hassle, and (almost always) a free phone.

Here in Ecuador, the majority of people buy saldo (or minutes) as they are needed. This is good because you don’t need to have a bank account or even monthly payments.

A while back the president issued a law making it illegal for the cell providers to expire saldo after 30 days. Now a recharge of $10 or $20 can last a user for months – depending on usage.

Ecuador’s Prepaid Cell Service or Planes Prepago

The prices below are either per minute or per unit (text message or megabyte of data). Taxes (IVA) are included. Without question, Claro is the largest carrier in the country.

Although their rates appear higher than Movistar, it should be taken into consideration that calls between two Movistar numbers are not that common (because they just don’t have that many users).

In addition to these base rates, each of the providers run a number of regular promotions. The most popular is 2X1 where you get double the saldo that you pay for.

They also offer discounted rates to a single number. And other discounts for your top five numbers. You can also buy packs of text messages that last for a month at a time.

Claro Ecuador

  • Mobile Calls to Claro $0.20
  • Landline (Fijos) $0.20
  • Other networks: $0.20
  • SMS $0.07
  • MMS $0.15
  • MB $0.56

International long distance: The majority of countries (including United States, Canada, Chile, Europe and Japan) costs $0.493/minute.

Movistar Ecuador

  • Mobile Calls to Movistar $0.09
  • Landline (Fijos) $0.26
  • Otros Moviles $0.23
  • SMS $0.067
  • MMS not listed
  • MB not listed

International long distance: The majority of countries costs $0.56/minute.

CNT Ecuador

  • Mobile Calls to Movistar $0.09
  • To CNT Landlines: $0.13
  • Landline (Fijos) $0.25
  • Otros Moviles $0.25
  • SMS not listed
  • MMS not listed
  • MB not listed

International long distance: pricing not noted online.


Ecuador’s Cell Plans or Planes Postpago

Some of these plans include a discounted cell phone. Often they will give a free entry-level phone with a two year commitment. From the pricing, I think it is clear that Claro is the leader, Movistar discounts to try to win business, and CNT is the government-owned option.

Claro Ecuador

Base Plan (Plan Flex 25)
Voice / Data / SMS
$28.00 (24 month contract)
Includes up to 63 minutes of voice, 300 megabytes of data, unlimited social networks and 20 text messages.
Premium Plan (Plan Flex 100)
Voice / Data / SMS
$112.00 (24 month contract)
Includes up to 430 minutes of voice, 1000 megabytes of data, unlimited social networks and 400 text messages.

Movistar Ecuador

Base Plan (Todo Destino 22)
Voice / Data / SMS
$24.63 (24 month contract)
Includes up to 107 minutes of voice, 300 megabytes of data, unlimited social networks and 200 text messages.
Premium Plan (Todo Destino 105)
Voice / Data / SMS
$117.60 (24 month contract)
Includes up to 698 minutes of voice, 5000 megabytes of data, unlimited social networks and 1000 text messages.

CNT Ecuador

Base Plan (Plan Smartphone)
Voice / Data / SMS
$22.38 (18 month contract)
Includes up to 25 minutes of voice, 500 megabytes of data.
Premium Plan (Plan Smartphone)
Voice / Data / SMS
$123.18 (18 month contract)
Includes up to 250 minutes of voice, 500 megabytes of data.

If you are just arriving in Ecuador and don’t have a bank account yet – you don’t have any choice except to use a prepaid cell phone. It’s probably not a bad idea anyway. You can test the service before committing to a specific carrier.

Learn more about each of these providers. And how to buy a phone abroad that will work in Ecuador.

How’s the Cell Phone Service in Ecuador? (3 Carriers)

ecuador-cell-phonesEcuador loves cell phones.

On average, every Ecuadorian has a cell phone. (According to the World Factbook by the CIA, Ecuador has 100 cell phones per 100 citizens.)

But only 15% of Ecuadorians have a land line (in Spanish: telefonía fija or teléfono convencional).

There are three mobile networks in Ecuador and they all (generally) work well.

Each of the three networks offer prepaid and monthly plans for cellular usage. You can also buy internet usb modems and mobile internet packages from all of them. I cover each of the three networks in detail below.

When we first moved to Ecuador we bought phones and sim cards (numbers) from Movistar. At the time, it seemed to be an even tie in popularity between Movistar and Claro (back then Claro was known as Porta). Over the past few years, this has changed.

Loading Minutes (Saldo) in Ecuador

Buying Saldo: If you use a prepaid phone you’ll need to load minutes (as some gringos say) or saldo (as it’s said in Spanish) in order to use your phone.

You can buy saldo at the carriers offices, online through your Ecuadorian bank account or at just about any tienda (small corner store) in the country.

The minimum is usually $3 and you can buy in almost any quantity above that. Some expats put $20 or $30 on their phone so it won’t run out and be unable to make an outgoing call.

How’s the cell phone service in Ecuador? It is surprisingly good. In spite of the mountains and valleys everywhere, we haven’t found many dead areas. Sometimes as you drive up a mountain, the signal will disappear and then return with higher altitude.

It seems that the biggest problem with cell service isn’t the providers but the poor quality phones.

Phones are expensive (and thus frequently stolen). As a result, many people – locals and expats – use cheap phones. For the first few years, I thought that the cell service was not very good – until I traded my $40 junk phone in for one that had decent audio and reception.

Now it’s clear that the weakest part of the system is the cheap phones that most people use. Because of high import duties on technology, the country is a few steps behind what many foreigners are used to – in terms of clear (decipherable) phone conversations.

If you are coming for a visit – or are moving – you should bring a good quality phone with you. According to the current rules, you are allowed to bring one used cell phone with you on each entry.

Ecuador’s 3 Mobile Networks

Ecuador has three options for a cell phone carrier: Claro, Movistar and CNT.

1. Claro Ecuador

claro ecuador logo
Claro is Ecuador’s largest and most popular cell network with nearly 12 million subscribers (Q3 2013).
The company’s name means “clear” or “of course” in Portuguese and Spanish. In Spanish, it is a common expression of acknowledgement.

When we moved to Ecuador, Claro was known as Porta (legally known as Conecel, which is owned by America Movil). In February 2011 Porta changed its name to Claro as part of a re-branding strategy.

Claro in Ecuador is part of Claro Americas – which is owned by America Movil, based in Mexico City, Mexico.

It is the largest company in Mexico by revenue with over $47 billion (larger than the next five largest companies combined). It is also Mexico’s most profitable company with over $5 billion in annual profits (April 2012) – more than the next three most profitable companies combined.

Claro Americas has service in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico and Uruguay.
Visit Claro

2. Movistar Ecuador

Movistar is a distant second place. Although it is the top carrier in Spain with 41%+ market share, in Ecuador it has just under 25% of market share with 4 million users.

For the few years we used Movistar we had good success. We found that every time we left the city (Cuenca) the service quality dropped. Friends with Claro almost always had a signal.

While Claro staff is efficient and friendly, many customer service reps for Movistar seem to lack drive and product knowledge. Although their service offerings and prices are almost identical, Movistar legs behind in coverage and customer service.

Movistar sponsorship is seen at virtually every large event in the country.

At one time, we had three phones and a modem with Movistar. Over time we switched everything to Claro – and we are happier.

Movistar is owned by Telefónica S.A. and operates under the Movistar brand in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Spain, Uruguay, and Venezuela. Under the Vivo brand, Movistar operates in Brazil.

And Czech Republic, Slovakia, Germany, Republic of Ireland, and the United Kingdom all operate under the O2 brand.
Visit Movistar

3. CNT Ecuador

CNT is the commonly used acronym for Ecuador’s National Telecommunications Corporation (La Corporación Nacional de Telecomunicaciones CNT EP).

Created in January 2010 it is responsible for conventional landline telephones, high speed internet, satellite television and national cell phone network.

CNT operates across the country – with the exception of Cuenca. While CNT has offices in Cuenca, you cannot purchase an internet or phone line from them if you live in the city. They have a non-compete arrangement with ETAPA – Cuenca’s municipal company that provides the same services.

While CNT is a good option for internet in many parts of the country, their mobile phone services looks more like a last resort. I’m not sure why anyone would choose their cell service with two much stronger options available. I’ve heard that they use the Movistar towers but I haven’t confirmed this.

Their market share is just a few hundred thousand customers.
Visit CNT

So there you have it – the three options for cell phone service in Ecuador.

Switching Cell Carriers in Ecuador

A few years ago we decided to switch to Claro. Our friends (and almost everyone we met) were all on the Claro network.

The process was very simple. We just went to the Claro office and asked them to transfer our numbers to their system. Aside from the Claro sim card that we had to buy, it was free. And because they are separate networks we lost whatever saldo (prepayment) on the Movistar sim card.

When we left the office, we were on the Claro network. Just like everywhere else, it is cheaper to speak with other users on the same network – so all three of us are now on the Claro network.

Your Turn

What has been your experience with cell phone service in Ecuador? I would love to hear your comments below.

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  1. Fresh off the boat in Ecuador and my cell phone is gone! Not sure if I dropped it or if it was picked. Either way, stuff happens.

    A question came up after reading this post and the comments.

    Could someone tell me if I can (or cannot) have a replacement cell phone shipped to me from the US?

    Thank you all in advance…

  2. I lived in the south of Spain for a while. I met people from many parts of Europe who once retired would have a “saldo” arrangement, in order to never allow Movistar to have their personal banking information ever again.
    Most Spaniards went into the tienda to pay monthly rather than give Movistar their info.
    Just an aside.
    Yes. I did have trouble with Movistar also, and finally stopped trying to reason with them. Last look my monthly local bill was over 1000 euros and escalating. That was only a few months, and I had NOT phoned to alter any information. That situation was not unusual.
    Just saying.

  3. I’m just wondering if an older model LG 3 Stylo smartphone is still attractive to thieves? If yes, any idea what’s a reliable “decoy” phone? Thank you!

  4. I have a question, i sent a cricket canvas coolpad to Ecuador, it connects to the wifi but when a sim card is added it asks for a code. I bought this at Best Buy, and i thought that meant it would be unlocked. My question is, is that phone ever going to be able to work there? please advise thanks.

  5. I may be late to this thread but…
    I just added a MoviStar sim to my Verizon Galaxy S5 at a Movistar store. (I purchased this phone in the US last Nov., 2014, so it was unlocked by default.) It took a while but the counterperson finally got it working. I still figuring it all out, but the biggest help was changing the phone’s language to English!!! Tap Apps, Settings, Language and Input, then choose.
    Unfortunately, MoviStar’s website is in Spanish only, so I’ll need some help to get my minutes and data balances figured out.
    First app added was “Easy Taxi.”

    1. One of the best things I figured out after getting Movistar and trying to set up my account is, Chrome will automatically translate the page that is in Spanish to English. Go in Chrome’s settings and there under Advanced Settings will be an option to do just that. I brought my unlocked 5s iPhone, and it worked the minute I got here using wifi. I used Skype to text to others until I got my Movistar sim card. Another thing that will come in handy, because getting your Movistar phone access doesn’t allow you to call internationally, is calling on Skype. You pay $2.99/month and can make any call you need to as often as you need to. You’ll find that the internet here can quite often be spotty, so take it with a grain of salt, if you know what I mean.

  6. Hola, Bryan —
    You indicated in one of your responses that SIM chips are available for purchase at the Quito airport. I see that there is a mall (Mall del Ciela) attached to the airport, but the names of stores listed on the mall’s map do not indicate that they sell telecommunication-related equipment. Do you know what store sells SIM chips and where that store is located?
    Many thanks,

    1. It’s been six months since I’ve been in the Quito airport, so you’ll do better to wander than rely on my memory. 🙂 You are looking for either a Claro or Movistar logo. It’s possible that there isn’t one there now. You can ask where the nearest Claro or Movistar store is located – they are everywhere.
      Hope this helps!

  7. Can I sell my iPhone in Ecuador while I’m there to help pay for my trip? Looking to make over what I paid in usa is this possible? If so who could I sell to thanks!

    1. No trouble to sell electronics – especially iphones and tablets. I know of some expats who bring their limit back each trip and it pays for their flights. There are some classifieds sites but it would be simpler to sell to someone you meet while there.

      1. Much thanks for the info ! I know there are limits so when I fly there I can only bring 1 cell phone so I might bring an iPhone 6 to sell as far as tablets I’m wandering what would sell good there for markup like a new MacBook air. I wander if I’m allowed to bring a laptop and a tablet? As far as selling goes the thing that worries me is getting robbed or something like if I post an ad how do I know the person isn’t coming to rob me? Is there like a safe place to do a transaction by a police station or in a bank or something? Or could I sell these items to legit business owners there who would then resell themselves? I will only be there a couple weeks so would have to sell these items within that time thanks again for info!

  8. I was looking to help pay expense of my travel is it possible to sell my iPhone 6 in Ecuador while I’m there for profit above what I paid in use to help pay for my trip? If so who could I sell it to ? Much thanks all!

  9. My suggestion is to find a dual-sim phone unlocked. This way you can keep your current carrier and still receive calls without paying roaming and then get a SIM from the local service so that you can make calls locally, again, without incurring intl roaming charges. This is the best and most seamless way to travel and communicate.

  10. We brought 2 iPhone 6 units to Quito (end of June 2015). Language barrier and software-version problems led to us buying prepaid Claro on one, Movistar on the other. They both came up fine for voice/sms. But data is another story. Movistar worked fine–mysteriously, a full 24 hours later, it popped up. When flying from one city to another, I often have to power the phone off/on; airplane mode doesn’t reset sufficiently, but otherwise Movistar’s fine.
    Haven’t had ANY luck getting Claro data working after several days, even with the APN config setting from unlockit. This is going to take more effort than my poco espanol permits when I try to get help at mobile stores.
    My advice: if you want to bring an iPhone here, forget Claro and live with Movistar’s limitations.

  11. My family of six is coming to Ecuador for a month the last half of June and first half of July. We will be mostly in Quito, but also spend some time in Playa Same and Cuenca. My wife & I each have iPhone 6 Plus phones, one son has an iPhone 5s, and a second son has a phone that is not a smart phone. We want to bring the iPhones for camera usage and having the information on them available. Also, for having phone service in Ecuador, I am thinking of getting two other unlocked phones (the Nokia types you mentioned or something else) into which we will insert SIM cards upon arriving. We should be fine bringing those phones, right?
    We also have other electronics we want to bring with us consisting of 2 or 3 laptops and two iPads. Will those cause problems for us?

  12. Hi Bryan. We are coming down in a couple of months for our exploratory trip. We’ll be there 22 days. I am looking to buy an unlocked international GSM-850 phone. A couple of questions. 1) Will the GSM phone frequency work in the US?? 2) Do I still need a SIM card from Ecuador when I get there?? Thanks and I appreciate the time and effort you put into your blog helping folks like me!!!

  13. Enough already about phones. I want to know can I take chocolates and roasted nuts as gifts to the many folks
    we will be visiting in Ecuador. Any restrictions on these items. Thanks.

    I just read your article and it was a great help to me since I plan to buy phone and other items such as computer etc to bring back from USA to ECUADOR in MAY.
    I have some numerous questions concerning bringing in computers and other items from USA to ECUADOR.
    1.I would like to know if you should know do the same recent regulations apply to computers and tablets?
    2.If so does that mean 1 used computer?
    3.Should you then activate computer before bringing computer in and throw packing boxes and purchase receipts?
    4.Are you allowed both1 laptop and 1 tablet or just either one or the other?
    5.I f you dont have that info about computers and tablets then can u refer me to website in English or other site that would have info about any items you want to bring from USA to ECUADOR?
    6.Or maybe a blog or info that this website might have?
    7.7.Should you throw away all boxes and receipts for anything new in your suitcases like shoes socks pants cookware etc or save receipts for tax purposes?
    8.I understand with new aduana regulations in ECUADOR in last month or so that the goverment is now imposing taxes on certain items 3000 that you might bring into the airport from USA.Do you know where or what website in ENGLISH that might have on tax aspect?

  15. Hi Bryan,
    If I understand you correctly, I can bring one used phone in my carry-on luggage. What about another used phone in my checked luggage? I want to bring my smartphone for picture-taking, but have a borrowed international phone that I’ll buy a sim card for phone calls.
    Any suggestions?
    Thanks, Nancy

    1. The limit is per person.
      You will be over the limit with two used phones – even if you don’t plan on using them both. A friend brought back a damaged phone for his son to watch videos on. This phone put him over the limit and he had to export the phone from Ecuador in the same way it arrived – by plane. You might not get caught – but if you do, you’ll have a problem.

  16. Enjoyed the reading. Very helpful. have started visa process with Ecudorian Consulate in Houston, TX. I will probably visit on 90 day visa in March to find place to lease and area I want to reside in. Then I will have to come back to States to finish my residency visa. I am really looking forward to the prospect of a stress free quality lifestyle.
    Again thanks for the comments, specifically about the cell phones.
    Ed Boerst

  17. Thank you for your article.
    I took my Verizon Samsung Galaxy S5 in my last visit to Ecuador in November 2014, I was under the impression that since this is a global phone it ‘ll work in Quito. Nope, I had so much hard time trying to to activate it, I even went to Guayaquil to “la Bahia” hoping that the will “bajar la banda” as they say which is nothing else that unlock it.
    First thing I was told was: Do not take your eyes from your phone or leave it as they ask you to do for a day or two since they will strip everything from the US phone and put cheap Chinese stuff in it. So the phone was not even able to receive e-mails even in WI-Fi places, fortunately some restaurants in downtown Quito have good Internet and I could at least connect through Facebook Messenger.
    I ended up replacing the phone because it became unresponsive when I came back to the states and I think this was a result of the many places I took it looking for a way to unlocked>
    In CNT (Corporación Nacional de Telecomnicaciones) I was told Verizon phones don’t work in Ecuador.

  18. Hello,
    Just wondering if there is movistar or claro at the Quito international airport? Hoping to buy a SIM as soon as I enter the country Thanks

    1. Do you mean to confirm your account? Or to actually use the Twitter account? We’ve used our local numbers to confirm ownership of social accounts. And if your phone has the ability to access Twitter, you’ll just need a plan or WiFi to use the app.

    2. @Bryan Haines,
      Thanks for your information. We want to bring our neighbor in Ecuador a phone and your information was helpful.

  19. I am going to Guayquil for 10 days next month. Is it possible to just buy a disposable phone when I get there to use for 10 days? My smart phone is not a global phone and I cannot get it unlocked through Verizon. I can rent a global phone from them but it is $2.89/min!! Thanks for your help.

  20. Bryan, I have read your postings and understand your not using a smartphone currently. But, I will confess that the ability to have an address book in the phone is something to which we have become addicted. Does your Nokia have an address book that you can sync with your computer? Also, I have read yor wife’s posting that talked about using her iPod. Is the iPod not such an attraction to thieves? Lastly, would a Blackberry be included in your definition of smartphones from the standpoint of interest to thieves?

    1. I’m not sure if it can sync or not. I just manually enter the numbers. Dena uses her iPod at home. There isn’t much need to travel with it. She used it for studying Spanish. A thief is interested in any phone with a resale value. I’ve heard of thieves giving back those cheap $40 phones because they are literally worthless. Aside from that, I think any phone would be a good target.

  21. My 4G Android phone works to my certain knowledge in Quito, Guayaquil, Montañita , Cuenca and in between with the exception of some very remote spots in the Andes.
    The government is promising true 4G service by the end of 2014 but the present service works very well for my needs.

  22. My wife brought her iPhone 4S and I brought my iPhone 5, both Verizon models. We bought MovieStar SIM cards and they work fine. We keep the US SIM cards with our passports, and return to those cards when we hit the Miami airport. Works perfectly at both ends.
    Something went wrong yesterday in Miami and my iPhone 5 refused to connect to Verizon. Half an hour on tech support to Verizon led me to go to an Apple store. They verified the phone had gone bad, and handed me a new iPhone 5 (free due to having Apple Care). I connected it, downloaded the iCloud backup, and was fully back and and running before heading home that night (in San Francisco).

    1. Can anyone tell me the approximate cost of a movistar SIM card? And where do I buy the SIM card from? Somewhere at the airport? I would love to be able to use my iphone5 as well. It’s currently on a Fido plan in Canada. Will be staying in Quito and Otavalo. Thanks!

  23. Just returned from the US. I brought a brand new in the box Samsung Galaxy S5, I also brought a New Blu smart phone $90.00, unlocked, dual SIM cards, slot for memory card 32G, dual cameras, works great here, this is the phone I use for my personal use, bought it on Amazon best phone out there for the money based on my experience. No problems at the airport in Guayaquil, did not even check my phones.

  24. I followed the rules to the letter. I had my used Samsung s3 mini in pocket. And I packed in my carry on bag, within new box, no chip, all the stickers and manual, an INTERNATIONAL unlocked GSM V of exact same phone as mine as a gift for mi amiga. I had no problems. It’s the only way to get a phone into the country. We went to Clara, got her a chip, $4 and Que Bien! Phones in Quito are quite expensive. (So are taxi’s when it rains, but I am digressing.) My phone worked on wifi only while in Quito. Using Whatsapp and facebook to communicate with friends back home.

  25. I may have missed it, but can I bring an Iphone to Ecuador? You mentioned 3G which is a very old version of an Iphone. Can 4G or 5G Iphones or Androids work in Ecuador? Thanks.

    1. They are quite common – although I don’t know what version they are. Everything I’ve seen written about networks here are up to 3G. My phone shows 3.5G sometimes.
      I’m not an expert, but I think the important factor is your frequency – not what generation of technology you use. I believe that your 4G or 5G phone will easily work on a 3G network – it will just be slower.

      1. I came from Ecuador to visit the USA. I have my used cell phone but I would like to take back to Ecuador a refurnished unlocked cell phone. Would I have any problems at airport?? If I can take how would I take it, as a carry on or in my luggage??? Will be waiting for your respond. I would appreciate it if I can get an email, it would be easier to see your respond. I will be going back to Ecuador this Friday, January 20, 2017. Thank you

    2. The iPhone model numbering scheme can sometimes be confused with the mobile network generation numbers but they are not directly related. There is no 5G network deployed anywhere in the world yet. iPhone 3G is an old dog but 3G networks are still common in the US and fast enough for most mobile applications including Netflix streaming. And iPhone 5 works just fine on 3G.

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