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There are a couple of options for mobile Internet service in Ecuador.

If you’re here just a few weeks or months and not permanently setting up house somewhere, I’d recommend the USB dongle for wireless service from Movistar, the country’s main cell phone provider. I haven’t tried Claro’s service, but many say the cellphone service is better than Movistar’s, so my guess is their wireless Internet service can’t be too bad.

I had my first experience with it just a few weeks ago on our trip to the beach. It’ll get reception anywhere there’s cell phone service. We even carry the dongle in the car now when going and coming from Quito. Stuck in traffic and you need to work-especially handy when someone else is driving. Pull out the laptop and work away!

You can pick one up at just about any of the Movistar or Claro stores throughout Quito and the country. They are not hard to find. Service is pretty efficient.

Paid $69 for the 3.5G modem-they also have 4G for $110, which is even faster and has 500 MB thrown in free at the start, but the 3.5G was more than adequate for my needs and worked great for email and general web surfing. I think it’s $3 for 1 GB of downloading, and you can fill up your assigned cell number for the SIM card at just about any pharmacy, grocery store, or mom and pop shop in under a minute.

Without a plan, your download limit of 1 GB is good for 30 days, if I understood correctly. So you can refill for just $3, and 1GB can easily last several days or weeks if you only login when needed. I later realized I could have bought the $30 modem online-but here they won’t sell you just the SIM card for the modem as far as I know, so there’s no cheaper alternative but to pay the one time fee and buy the Movistar or Claro branded USB modem.

They tell you the software preinstalled on the modem only works on a Mac pre-Lion, suggesting that the dongle won’t work on a newer Mac. This much is true-the software does not work on a Mac. But I plugged the modem into my MacBook Pro, opened up Network Preferences and added a new service using the “default” configuration, it recognized the modem and I was good to go. On a late 2006 white Macbook, it would not recognize the modem and it woudn’t work.

Later on we’ll discuss fixed line Internet services in Ecuador for home or office-CNT, the national phone company’s service, and TV Cable, the cable company’s internet service.

Welcome to Destination Ecuador!

Welcome to Destination Ecuador! My family and I have been living in Ecuador for the last four and a half years. We’ve dealt with the worst kinds of red-tape, searched out or ended up making hard-to-find ingredients ourselves, imported equipment for making chocolate confections, learned the import-export business...Continue >>


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