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Making phone calls in Ecuador

Hi,

When settling in Ecuador, one of the priorities is to be able to make phone calls.

How to proceed to get a landline installed in Ecuador?

What are the mobile operators?

What is your average monthly budget?

Thank you in advance for sharing your experience,

Maximilien

Maximilien :

How to proceed to get a landline installed in Ecuador?

What are the mobile operators?

What is your average monthly budget?

I have no landline, just a cellphone .. and many Expats and Ecuadorians here in Quito rely primarily on portable devices for calling.

The primary operators are MoviStar and Claro (which means "clear" or "sure" as in "sure is").

I have no monthly budget.  These two companies have agreements with stores, large and small, all over the city to sell celu minutes .. and those minutes are easy to purchase and get installed instantly in the store. 

You can buy as little as $3 worth of minutes at a time.  A minute typically costs about 10 cents, or 19 cents if you call another cellphone.  Plans are available for active callers.  I bought my current phone here for about $35 earlier this year.

cccmedia in Quito

As for international calling, I do that only from Internet cafés and small call centers that also offer calling cabinas.

The going rate to the U.S. is typically 25 to 35 cents a minute in many parts of Quito.  The exception is in Gringolandia, where calls to the U.S. cost only five to seven cents a minute.  The place to go is within a two or three block radius of the intersection of Avenida Amazonas and Calle Wilson, where there are about half a dozen calling spots at this price level.

To make my U.S. calls, I normally enter the call center .. tell the host what I'm doing .. proceed to an open cabina .. dial 001, the area code and the number .. and make the call.

Usually, there is a small readout in the booth showing the number you are calling and the running count on the call's cost.

cccmedia in Quito

What about SKYPE , I hope I spelled that right... Do they have that ?
Sandra

As long as you have internet access and the app or program on you laptop, you have Skype. You can "call" face to face at no cost, but calling to telephones (landlines, cells) requires you to buy minutes from Skype. Like cccmedia says, calling to phones outside the country is most easily done from cabinas around the city. In Cuenca calls to the US and Canada can be made for as little as 5 to 8 cents a minute. I also use a cell phone for all of my calls within Ecuador and my cell has an extra port for a second chip card if I travel. I even used it in Canada while I was there. Not a bad $35 investment.

Thank you for your reply .
Sandra & Mike

Sandra Gayle :

What about SKYPE , I hope I spelled that right... Do they have that ?
Sandra

Just about everyone I know has a Magic Jack +.  You can plug it into your router and then plug a standard phone into the magic jack.  Skype still has its uses including text messaging and video calls, but Magic Jack is more convenient.

http://www.amazon.com/MagicJack-Plus-Mo … magic+jack

Bring a Dect phone if you have room:

http://www.amazon.com/VTech-CS6114-Cord … 160%2C160_

Thank you for your reply.
Sandra & Mike

I have all of the types previously mentioned: Landline, Cell, Skype and Magic Jack

Landlines are becoming increasingly difficult to acquire, but I can only assume that is because their upkeep might be more costly to CNT (national Ecuadorian telephone company). With that said, there are several different types of landlines available. I have one that connects to CNT via a cable because I live in the country (campos), and when the Internet or electricity goes, I can still make a call. With that said, however, I have never called the US from it. I also have a landline because, where I live in the campos, there is no cell service.

As for my cell, I only use it in town. Once a person gets a cedula, I can't stress how much less expensive local calls can be after purchasing a calling plan.

I bought a Magic Jack account solely to have a US contact number for calls from banks and other entities that might require contacting me via phone. While it is great to have that number, I have found two problems with MJ: First, my MJ USB died within 5 months, and when I contact MJ to replace it, it cost just as much to buy it the second time as it did the first. Second, when my MJ line rings on my cell, but the time I open my phone, the call has usually been dropped.

Finally, I have found that Skype generally has better reception than Magic Jack does. I have no idea why this is true, but if I have an important call to make midday, I am more likely to use Skype than my MJ because the clarity of the call is vastly better. I know that Skype also has a service that allows a person to have a US phone number, and I may be looking that once my MJ contract expires.

Not mentioned is Google Voice. Free and works great if you call from your computer. Just need Internet connection and a Google voice account. My preferred choice.

We use SKPE and FaceTime,however our Majic Jack has been great 24/7 service,and it paid for itself very quickly. We took a 5 year contract for 5 years, the cost was $105 and some change

I use tango as does most airline people. It is another option that is free

This is seriously foolish.  Here I am about to move to Ecuador in 16 days and I do not see how to get a Canada Skype pone number, so that all my family can call me.  I have looked at all Skype support áreas.  I am now going to ask a friend.

Anyone with knowledge of how to get Canadian Skype phone number, please stand up!

HelenPivoine

hELLO

I do not use a home phone, most mobile
But to connect your phone, usually ask CEDULA (passport), last 2 months of payment of utility services at the address of residence and phone the neighbors, after filling out the questionnaire - for about 2 weeks is connected. Private tel home is a month about $ 8 minimum(CNT), and for the company (the company, we must also show your company's tax identification number, company name, owner) - $ 13 per month)(CNT)
Mobile operators - CLARO, Movistar y CNT.
Monthly mobil minimum package Phone + interenet +1 favorite number (Unlimited) 15 dollars a month - enough for me. But there is more than tariffs.( company CLARO)
if you just come to Ecuador and are planning to install telephone and internet - I would recommend to take a package of services - in the same company (internet, TV, telephone) costs about $ 36 in TVCABLE

HelenPivoine :

Anyone with knowledge of how to get Canadian Skype phone number, please stand up!

Per the latest info I've been able to find, no dice for any Skype phone numbers in Canada, as of 23 July 2015:

http://community.skype.com/t5/Subscript … -p/4055375

You could instead use an internet connection and the Skype or Oovoo applications to do video calls.  We use Oovoo several times a week to speak to/see family in Colombia from the US.  We've found Oovoo is better quality than Skype.  Oovoo cost:  Free.

Or you could use something like the Ooma Telo which is a VoIP telephony device, which when connected to the internet allows calls as if you were still where it was originally installed - for instance we can take it down to Colombia, connect it to the internet and have calls to/from any landline-type phone connected to it, just as if we were still physically in the US, with the same phone number.  We just paid an initial amount for the device, and ongoing monthly State and Federal taxes of about $4, other than that the calls are free.

We use Skype International. The cost is $13/month. We also have a "cheap" Ecuador Mobile phone for local calls. Cost less than $5/month.

When you first come to Ecuador, and you want to stay -  let us say, on one of the 13 different visas, it is Not an easy task. Especially, when they hand you the List of Required Documents at the very end of your trial and error experience with the Ministerio in Guayaquil. I was sent away 8 times, to make sure, I had another important document. Once I was finally accepted as a retiree and resident of the country, I made sure to apply for the Cedula I.D. card right away. That took a while as well, and then I was able to have services in my name. I bought a cell phone and just got the Pay As You Go, since I knew so few people here. Now, that I have lived in Ecuador almost 2 years, I have moved to Ambato, and I am very happy about that decision. I went to CNT and got the bundle [Cable TV, Internet and house-phone],  In order to get Internet, I HAD to get the house-phone. I added the Cable TV a few mos. later and I have a few English channels. With tax, it comes to about $45 a month, compared to the $150 I paid in Canada,  I  have SKYPE on my Lap-Top and that is the only time, I actually talk to my adult children in Canada. I have some cousins left in Europe, and I communicate via Facebook and with e-mail. My SKYPE connection is free. A friend helped me get on it.

AmberFenton, are you able to have a regular landline (one that merely plugs into the wall) or is yours coonected with a cable? I was unable to get CNT Internet because I didn't have what is termed a "regular phone line".

We use one of two free apps for calling back to states. If the person I'm calling has an iPhone, I use Facebook Messenger (a free app you can download from Facebook).  Otherwise I use Freetone, another free app.  Both apps allow texting, video or just audio.

One thing that is very important to remember when living in Ecuador is that the use of certain communications can be very limited depending on where a person lives. An app will be great for someone who has cell service in his/her home...as well as services like Skype and Magic Jack. However, for those living in the countryside where Internet service might have much weaker signals or in small towns that have poorer Internet services, other ways of communicating, including satellite phone and cable landlines might be the best options.

Re.   router;   do you need a new one there(EC), or can I use the same one I have here in the US?   thank you.

Based on what we know, we'd only be guessing.

So -- assuming your aparato is small and lightweight -- bring it in your luggage.

If you post on this again, you can tell us where you'll be in Ecuador and details of the router.  Then maybe someone could respond specifically to your situation.

cccmedia in Quito

Since glory881 already asked,
I have been using a Vonage router in the US. The model is VDV23-VD. it has ports for Internet coming in (Cat 5 cable) and out to computer and phone. Vonage claims it will work in Ecuador. Does anyone use such a device/service in Cuenca?

DorothyPeck :

Since glory881 already asked,
I have been using a Vonage router in the US. The model is VDV23-VD. it has ports for Internet coming in (Cat 5 cable) and out to computer and phone. Vonage claims it will work in Ecuador. Does anyone use such a device/service in Cuenca?

Yes, someone I know who has a Vonage router/adapter and it works fine. Looks a lot like the following photo:

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31SMiAjCrNL.jpg

Nards Barley wrote:

Yes, someone I know who has a Vonage router/adapter and it works fine. Looks a lot like the following photo:

Thank you, Nards! That looks exactly like my device.

I Skype for anything outside of Ecuador. I subscribe so it's free. Inside Ecuador too I believe.  But I need wifi. It's an iPhone.
Dickson

Hi, I have a Samsung chromebook and have face-to-face talked with my friend from Canada via "Google Hangouts." There was no cost.  I talk to the US that way also with no problem.  I have also used my Samsung Android based tablet to do the same thing. 

saludos

The important thing to remember when using Internet for Google Hangout, Vonage, Skype and Magic Jack is that that these ONLY work if one is living where the Internet signal is strong. If one wants to live in the countryside, where life is generally more tranquil and secluded, the likelihood of having a strong signal decreases the further one lives from town.

We stayed in Cuenca for 9 weeks this summer and brought our Magic Jack from home (cost $20 a year-which only cost that because we wanted to keep our old phone # we've had for 20 years) then Skype/FaceTime with iPhone. The app everyone uses in Cuenca and I assume Ecuador is what's app. You can call and text from the app for no cost. You just need wifi which is everywhere. If you bring your smartphone just have it unlocked before arriving in Ecuador and they can put in a sim chip. Cable is not necessary when you have Netflix and Hulu. You do have to hide your location to use Hulu. It's easy just google it. We had no problems communicating with people back home and people in Ecuador. In fact I still text/call Ecuador through whatsapp. Hope that helps.

Jenni O

Hi!  I am coming to Ecuador this November.  I have Verizon plan here in the states.  Verizon has an international plan I took for the time I will be in Ecuador about 1 month 12 days.  I just read the post and I am a little confused.  Can you explain the part about unlocking the phone and getting a sims card?  I thought I could just use my smart phone with out doing any thing else using the Verizon plan?  I am not sure who/were to get the sims card and why I need to  unlock the phone?  Not sure I know what unlocking the phone means.  Can some one please explain.  Thank you in advance.  Please note I am a technology dinosaur.  Martha

I have MagicJackGo and find it great.  It costs $59 to purchase and then you can get a 5 year plan for just over $100.  It isn't free but I like it as I can use it from my computer or, as I have at home, run it through the router and it is just like a regular phone.  I believe you can get a Canadian number although I heard it was about $10 or so a year additional for a Canadian number.  You get unlimited local & long distance calling to the U.S., Canada, Puerto Rico & U.S. Virgin Islands
from the number assigned by MagicJack (unfortunately you can't use it to call Ecuador).  It does go over the internet so you do need to have good internet service.

There are essentially 2 frequencies used with cell phones, CDMA for most of the USSA and GSM which is used in Ecuador and most other countries…….
Now Verizon runs CDMA; although there are some phones which are duel band like the I-phones from 4S and newer and some of the Galaxy S-5's….
You need to make sure your phone has GSM capability for it to work here, international plan or not….

Hi thank you for your response.  I gave a Samsung note 4.  I will call Verizon and find out if my phone has it.  They told me it would work & I know it works in Europe.  what about friends in Ecuador that want to call me on it.  Will it be long distance  I will be in Ecuador?  Can you tel me what I need to do so I can receive calls in Ecuador with out my friends having to call long distance?  Also what if any thing do I need to do ref the previous post reference the sims card and the phone being unlocked?  Really do not know what that means.  Thank you in advance for your help.  Martha

Make sure that you bring your own wireless router, because that's NOT provided by CNT (my preferred mobile co) for home service.

If you're going to live in a larger house, BE SURE TO BRING with you WIFI signal extenders.

You must check with Verizon to confirm is your cell phone is GSM. However, you must also unlock your phone in order to use it in Ecuador. Unlocking a phone insures that it can be used with other carriers and at other frequencies. Most US carriers require their phones be locked in order to prevent the phones they sell through their companies to be used with another carrier. The going rate for having it unlocked in Ecuador varies from place to place.

In order to receive call from friends without them accruing LD charges, you can choose to set up a personal number via Magic Jack, Skype or Vonage.

MGLuke, I suggest you research this area a lot before making your move. Cell phones are very expensive in EC, and bringing one with you that is able to be used here will save you a lot of green stuff!

Susan F. :

Cell phones are very expensive in EC, and bringing one with you that is able to be used here will save you a lot of green stuff!

Smart phones are pricey, but not necessarily simple celus.

I bought one this year for $35 plus tax on Avenida Guayaquil, the main drag in Centro Hístórico.

In Vilcabamba and Santorum:  YMMV. ;)

cccmedia in Quito

I stand corrected, ccmedia. I have to stay connected with everyone, all of the time because of doing animal rescue...and I forget that simple cell phones exist. My bad.

I installed the MagicJack Connect app on my smartphone and then applied for a pay as you go to test it out. It cost me $4.99 US ($6.47 CDN).

I then tried to call a government phone number in Canada. It was an 855 number. The call answered but was so garbled that I could not understand the speaker at the other end. And they did not seem to understand what I was saying. It certainly did not sound like a government service answering. It sounded like some residence.

I then called the same number but this time I put a "1" in front of the 855 and I let it ring for about 30 seconds without it answering.

I then tried a completely different 800 number (with a 1 in front). Again this was a Canadian government tax number which normally should always answer. I let it ring for almost a minute. There was no answer.

For all of this I was charged 87 cents (US) (calling via MagicJack from Ecuador).

And I have no idea if the call was correctly routed and there is no way of telling.

I chatted with a MagicJack representative who told me that as soon as they route your call to an endpoint (any endpoint) they start billing you whether the call answers or not.

Great service?   I don't think so!!!   Not to mention the garbled call. I would suggest you give these guys a miss.

MikeGB, when I first arrived I had MJ, but the more I used it, the worse the quality became. So, I let go of MJ, and I bought myself a North American Skype number. The quality is MUCH better than any of the calls I had made via MJ.

Susan F. :

MikeGB, when I first arrived I had MJ, but the more I used it, the worse the quality became. So, I let go of MJ, and I bought myself a North American Skype number. The quality is MUCH better than any of the calls I had made via MJ.

Good to know. Thanks for the post. I was considering them as an option. Do you know if they start billing once the call is answered or do they start billing once it starts ringing?

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