I’ll tell you everything about mobile communications and Internet in the Dominican Republic. This topic is not simple. It is almost impossible to figure it out on your own without knowing Spanish. And the logic of Internet packages for local operators is different from ours.
Table of contents:
- Mobile operators in the Dominican Republic
- All about the Internet in the Dominican Republic
- Where to buy a SIM card
- Mobile Internet packages, prices, how to connect, how to renew
- Travel Tips
Mobile operators, communications and Internet in the Dominican Republic
Although we have been living in the 21st century for more than 20 years, today roaming is still expensive. And some mobile operators still do not have a roaming agreement with Dominican operators. This means that your Sim will not work here even for money. An ideal option for any traveler flying to the Dominican Republic:
- Buy an international SIM card
- Connect to one of the local telecom operators
It is important to know:Mobile communication in the Dominican Republic is well developed. There is 4G or LTE coverage throughout the country. There are areas with poor coverage, but they are few: the border along Haiti and the central mountainous part of the country with Pico Duarte.
Mobile communications in the Dominican Republic
You have two options, consider both.
- If you need mostly mobile communication with home and colleagues, and not a lot of Internet on vacation in the Dominican Republic, then DrimSim is the cheapest option.
DrimSim is an international SIM card that works in all countries of the world. This is a single number, a single account and you do not need to buy a new SIM card every time you travel. Rates are low and much cheaper than roaming on your main SIM card. And there is also the ability to connect eSim, which is very convenient. You can read more about Drimsim at the link.
It is important to understand:With an international sim card, you will have internet as soon as the plane touches the runway. You can already call a taxi, and not run around the airport looking for where to buy a local sim. Not every airport sells it yet.
- If you need a lot of Internet, then it will be beneficial to buy a SIM card from a local operator. There are two mobile operators in the Dominican Republic:
It is important to know:Not many packages are available for tourists. But in any package there is Internet traffic and from 100 to 500 minutes to any numbers in the Dominican Republic
By the way, the phone code of the country is the same as that of the USA +1. But, in order to distinguish between Dominican numbers, there are three additional codes:
- +1 (809) – landline numbers
- +1 (829) – Claro mobile operator
- and +1 (849) – Altice
Both operators have the same prices and coverage and the number of subscribers in general. And they divide the market in half. There is no difference where to connect. But recommendations will still continue. Since there are still differences, especially in Internet packages.
All about the Internet of the Dominican Republic
If most of you say that cellular communication is not needed much. Everyone needs the internet today. On vacation in the Dominican Republic there are several options:
- Free Internet.
Today, every hotel and every apartment has free Wi-Fi. If you do not need to be constantly online and just check the news and instant messengers once a day, then this option is for you. It is also ideal for those who are not going to leave the hotel. And he plans to spend his whole vacation lying on the beach and drinking Cuba Libre.
Interesting to know:Following the link, an excellent article about 5-stars hotels in the Dominican Republic, where exactly, throughout the territory there is a stable Internet.
- Conditionally free internet
If you walk or travel around the country and eat in restaurants. Then know that everywhere there is wi-fi. The password is given upon request, you just need to order something. This option is suitable for those who are already far from the hotel, but urgently needed the Internet. Know where to find it.
It is important to know:And in hotels, and restaurants, and apartments, Internet speeds are not fast. It’s enough for a messenger and instagram, but you shouldn’t expect for high-speed Internet. We travel with our laptop, sometimes we need it for work. The speed is rarely more than 10Mbps.
Mobile Internet in the Dominican Republic
The most interesting point. If you need to always be online, or you plan to travel a lot around the country, then the Internet is always needed. Renting a car or just walking in a new city, you always need to look at the opening hours, or find where everything is – so the Internet is required.
There are two mobile operators in the country:
Both have packages for tourists (non-Dominican citizens). Both have 4G networks. And the coverage is about the same. Which operator to choose? At first you need to find mobile communication office.
When buying a SIM card, they give a universal SIM for any phone: both micro SIM and nano SIM
Where to buy a SIM card?
There are two options:
- In any mobile communication office throughout the country
- Small stores run by locals with accessories. Here you can buy a case for your phone, take a photo for your passport, find an adapter for an outlet, exchange money, buy a SIM card and much more.
Follow the link to the article: what sockets are in the Dominican Republic, and a lot of tips on how not to get into an uncomfortable situation.
Author’s tip:It is always better to buy a SIM card in a telecom office. But they are not always available nearby. For example, in the resort area of Bavaro, they are not at all. But there are small locals shops where you can buy a SIM card.
I explain the difference: according to the laws of the Dominican Republic, a SIM card can only be bought with a passport. In any telecom office of any operator, a passport is required. But in small shops, local passports are not asked. They already have registered and activated sim cards. They sell them more expensive than in the office. But if there are no telecom offices nearby, and the sim is really needed, then you need to buy from these guys.
There is only one danger in this case: you do not know who the sim is registered to. And if you top up the balance with a lot of money, then the owner of the SIM card will be able to withdraw all the money from the balance and close the number. As a rule, Dominicans do not do this, but there is a risk.
Their profit is this: they initially sell it to you for a higher price, and when you fly away in two weeks and the activity on the SIM card disappears, they close it and take back those $ 2-3 that can remain on the balance.
Mobile Internet packages, prices, how to connect, how to renew
The hardest part of the article. There is no intuitive understanding here. If you are just planning to come to the Dominican Republic, then save this text, or bookmark this page, it will come in handy later. Believe me.
Next, I will try to structure the logic and prices of local internet packages. There are some peculiarities here.
Very important:If you do not know Spanish, then after buying a SIM card: be sure to ask the employee to activate it, write down the number, top up the balance and connect the required Internet package. And about the language barrier in the Dominican Republic and vocabulary for tourists, read in a separate article. The information there will greatly simplify your life here.
Claro: Mobile Internet in the Dominican Republic
The official website of the mobile operator Claro: check the current prices at the link.
- In the telecom office, a Claro SIM card for a foreigner costs 150 pesos (at the beginning of 2023). It’s a little less than $3.
- Please note that prices may change, but the most important thing is the logic.
- The SIM card is sold empty, after its activation, 30 pesos remain on the balance.
It is important to know:Claro has such a concept of a base rate. If there are no active packages, and data transfer is enabled, then each megabyte costs money in accordance with the base rate. It is very expensive. If you know you don’t have an active package or will run out soon, always disable data transfer. Otherwise, you run the risk of spending all the money left on your balance in no time.
- Procedure: turn off data transfer on the phone, then insert the SIM card into the phone. To activate it, you need to make a call to any Dominican number. An employee of the office should help with this.
- *147# call – will help you find out your phone number to know where to top up.
- Remember that you should have 30 pesos on your balance after activation.
- You can top up the balance in any telecom office, even in cash.
Claro has only three unlimited internet packages. They are conditionally unlimited.
- 1 day – 1 GB – 50 pesos (~1$)
- 3 days – 3 GB – 105 pesos ($1.9)
- 5 days – 5 GB – 140 pesos (just under $3)
- Yes, if you came here for 14 days on vacation, you will need to activate the package 3 times. Not convenient, but the way it is.
Important points:At unlimited speed you are given 1, 3 or 5GB depending on the package. If they run out ahead of time, then the Internet will be, but the speed will drop to 50 kbps. This is a very low speed. You cannot reactivate the package ahead of time, but you can buy another one. 5GB is over, buy 3GB for 3 days. But if the package was enough for you to the end, then all remaining GBs are burned. Do not forget to turn off data transfer before the end of the package!
How to buy an Internet package in the Dominican Republic from Claro
Suppose you bought a SIM card, there is money there and the package is over. You need to activate a new package without searching for a telecom office.
All operations go through the USSD request menu. The menu is in Spanish only. Sometimes they change something there, but I will write down where to look for the activation of a new package. We count that you have money on your balance for the required package: 1, 3 or 5 days:
- Activate a new package:
- *112# – select “Compras” from the menu, it should be under the number 1 – then again 1, you are interested in the item “Paquetes Libras” – and then three packages, under the number 3 is for 5 days and 5GB, choose it – 1 “Si” (this is Yes), a confirmation that you agree to the activate. In total, your path, if the operator has not changed anything, then: *112*1*1*3*1# – for a package for 5 days.
- How to check how much traffic is left and when the package ends. By the way, the package is given exactly for 5 days from the moment of activation. Activated at 11:43, so it will end at 11:43 in 5 days.
- *112# – look for the word “Consulats” in the menu, it should be under the number 2 – then select “Internet individual” under the number 1 – the name of your active package should appear, for example “Libre 5 dias”, which is for 5 days, under the number 1 – choose it and there will be all the information about the package, accurate to the second and megabyte. Total your path: *112*2*1*1#
Altice: Mobile Internet in the Dominican Republic
- Official site: https://www.altice.com.do/personal
I won’t go into so much detail here. The logic of all packages is exactly the same. A SIM card costs 120 pesos (30 after activation remains on the balance). I’ll just list the differences.
- Altice also has three Internet packages for tourists:
- 1 day – 1 GB – 49 pesos (~1$)
- 3 days – 3 GB – 99 pesos ($1.9)
- 5 days – 5 GB – 139 pesos
- You can buy an internet package on your own in menu #110#
Here are the two main advantages of Altice over Claro:
- Altice does not have a base rate. If you have run out of a time package and you have not turned off data transfer, then the money will not be spent. You simply won’t have internet until you buy a new package.
- If your package is still valid, but you used your 3 or 5GB, then the speed will drop not to 50kbps like Claro, but to 256kbps. This is small, of course, but much better than the competitor.
There are no more differences.
Author’s tip:If you have both communication salons nearby, it is probably better to choose Altice. But I personally use Claro myself. In general, there is no difference between them, except for these two points, which are written about three lines above. Therefore, which telecom office was first found, you can buy a SIM card there.
How much does a SIM card cost: total
There remains the last point, which is not always clear to the reader from the previous text.
We will compare the purchase of a SIM card in Claro and in a small shop from locals.
- In Claro you will pay 150 pesos per sim, 30 of which will remain on your balance and top up your balance with 110 pesos to activate a 5GB unlim package for 5 days. Total: 260 pesos, you have internet for 5 days, and zero money on your balance. 260 pesos is almost $5.
- Exactly the same SIM, without a passport, with the same package and zero balance, will cost $10 in a small shop.
- That’s the whole difference. And about the difference and the possible danger in buying a SIM card with and without a passport, there was information at the beginning of the article.
Travel tips about the Internet in the Dominican Republic
- Immediately consider which packages you will buy, how many times they will need to be activated in order to top up the balance with the required amount once when buying a SIM. Because then, when necessary, you will never find this communication salon.
- Please note that on Sunday, after 4pm nothing is open.
- If you are traveling by rental car around the country: a SIM card with the Internet is required. Read about traffic rules and driving culture here.
In conclusion: mobile Internet in the Dominican Republic has good coverage and high speeds. But at the same time, the activation of the package is a bit complicated, and the maximum package is for 5 days, which of course is not enough for many. Well, the cost, but there are countries where it is cheaper. But in general, you will pay $ 10-15 for a two-week vacation. This is the standard amount in many countries around the world. And yes, I completely forgot, the Internet of both operators can be shared (hotspot) without problems.
Have a fast surf and good coverage!
Great article, thank you very much, very informative!
Oleg, thank you.
Thank you very much for the article! A 5-day traffic package is certainly ridiculous. Please, tell me, is there any unlimited internet (except wired) with monthly payment? I am going to the Dominican Republic for 3 months, and I mostly need internet in the apartment, not necessarily mobile. I just need a real unlimited, for work, not conditional. An option is large monthly packages, for example, from 200GB.
Roman, you’re welcome. As for the unlimited internet, it’s best to check with the owner of the property before booking to see if there are any additional charges for internet access. Sometimes, a high-speed internet package may require an additional fee, and the owner may be able to provide a unlimited plan for you.
Thank you for the information. I can provide some additional details about my trip to the Dominican Republic. I bought a SIM card from Altice operator, which cost 100 pesos (with 30 pesos remaining on the balance). The internet packages available were as follows: 1 day – 49 pesos, 3 days – 99 pesos, 5 days – 139 pesos. I recharged the packages twice for 5 days and once for 1 day (the SMS I received confirmed 5 GB for the 5-day package). To recharge, I used the USSD request #100#, then selected – 3.Paqueticos – 1.Compra de Paquetico – 1.Internet Alta Gama – 1.Data Libre – 1.Data Libre – 3.5dias/Data Libre:$139 – 3.Continuar: 5dias/Data Libre:$139.
P.S. For Roman. I received a promotional SMS that said: “Bienvenido a Altice! Recibe GRATIS 30 dias de Internet + 200 min Altice x 5 dias si acumulas 300 pesos o mas dentro de los primeros 3 dias de activacion” – “Welcome to Altice! Receive FREE 30 days of Internet + 200 min Altice x 5 days if you accumulate 300 pesos or more within the first 3 days of activation”
Ildar thank you for the most useful feedback