We’ve spent two months in Ecuador and that has given me plenty of time to gauge Claro’s 3G performance. I bought a Claro sim-card when I got to Ecuador in March 2012. We had to go to the Claro retailer in Quito to get a micro sim for my iPhone 4S. They got it ready and it took 24 hours to get activated. I paid $7 for the sim card.
Claro has a few 3G packages but no one at customer service will be able to explain them to you properly. They basically have a 100meg/week package or a 500meg/month package. You cannot renew these packages so once you’re out of 500 megs, you have to wait until your anniversary billing date to get more data. No one at Claro is likely to explain this to you. We didn’t know this and once I burned through my 500megs, they had to replace my sim card (thankfully, they did it for free – but I had to make 3 trips to their support center).
However, with all these problems, Claro’s 3G service actually works quite well. Once you do get yourself a sim card with a 500 meg plan on it (US $16.95/month – auto renewing at the end of the month or $20.95 without auto renew), you can actually use it pretty much all over Ecuador. I had 3G internet access in Quito, Banyos, Puyo, Latacunga, Cuenca, and Guayaquil. The only places where there was only edge connectivity were the Galapagos Islands and Montanita. So reasonably sized cities will definitely have 3G internet available.
The speed test results in Guayaquil were:
Download – 1.65 Mbps
Upload – 0.34 Mbps
Nothing stellar but definitely very usable!
As long as you’re aware of the terms and conditions of the 3G package, you’re good to go. Just make sure you ask the Claro rep exactly what you’re getting.
A good bonus is that calls to the US are really cheap from Claro and calls to most other places are at a flat rate of 49 cents/minute which is quite reasonable.