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Top Ecuador

Ecuador Phones

Ecuador Country Code: +593

Emergency Numbers:
Emergency: 911, Fire Department: 102, Police: 101

It is easy to keep in touch by phone in Ecuador, thanks to the spread of cellular phone and internet technology. Visitors have a number of options for calling Ecuador, calling home from Ecuador and placing calls within the country. If you do not have your own fixed (land) line or cellular phone, then drop by a locutorio or centro de llamadas (call center) and use a booth there.

Ecuador Cell Phones

It seems wherever you go in Ecuador, mobile phone use is rampant, and those travelers who will be in the country for more than a few days may want to join in. Three companies provide service in Ecuador: Claro, Alegro and Movistar. All three offer monthly plans as well as pre-paid services.

For most travelers in Ecuador, pre-paid plans make the most sense; phones can be purchased at retailers throughout the country, and phone shops will also sell SIM cards that will give you a local phone number and allow you to place and receive calls. After that, all you have to do is buy phone credits to load onto your phone (recargar); this usually comes in the form of scratch cards which contain a secret code you enter into your phone. The cards are sold in convenience stores and shops throughout the country. Alternatively, they ask for your cellphone number so that they can add credit to it electronically.

Movistar credit is usually the easiest to find in Quito, while Claro is typically the easiest to find in the provinces and Alegro, the most difficult. Also note that in Ecuador, phone calls within cell networks (for example, Claro to Claro) are considerably cheaper than calls between networks (as in, Movistar to Claro).

It may be possible to use your cell phone from home while traveling. Ecuador's cell carriers operate on GSM networks; Claro and Movistar use the 850 MHz band and Alegro uses the 1900 band. That means that dual-band phones from Europe, Africa, Asia and Oceania will not work, but GSM-enabled phones from the North or South America likely will. All quad-band, and most tri-band, phones will work in the country. Remember that phones from outside the western hemisphere will need a plug adapter and 120-volt converter in order to charge safely. Some foreign phone carriers will allow you to use your existing phone plan while in Ecuador, while incurring hefty foreign roaming charges. Others may allow you to unlock your phone and use a local SIM card (from Claro, Movistar or Alegro) while you are in the country. You should contact your phone carrier to check.

Cell coverage in Ecuador is relatively good. The main cities, like Quito and Guayaquil, have blanket coverage. In the Andes, valleys often have very spotty coverage, while a signal can usually be found on top of hills and ridges. The main coastal resort areas are well-served, while smaller communities may have weak or no coverage. Remote parts of the Amazon basin do not, generally, have coverage. As companies build more cell towers, expect coverage across the country to improve.

Note: On September 30, 2012, all cellular phone numbers are 10 digits. Existing numbers add a “9” after the initial “0.” For example: if calling from within Ecuador, the number 0-8-9272-700 would be 0-98-9272-700; or if calling to Ecuador from overseas: 593-8-9272-700 would be 593-98-9272-700

This change affects not only cellular phones, but also mobile devices (like smart phones and tablets) that use an internet connection via cellular number.

Calling Ecuador

The country code for Ecuador is 593. To call Ecuador from overseas, follow these directions:

Calling Ecuador from the USA and Canada:

Dial 011 + 593 + The One-Digit Province Code (see below) + The Seven-Digit Phone Number

Calling Ecuador from the UK, Western Europe, New Zeland, Peru, Bolivia and most of Latin America:

Dial 00 + 593 + The One-Digit Province Code + The Seven-Digit Phone Number

Calling Ecuador from Australia:

Dial 0011 + 593 + The One-Digit Province Code + The Seven-Digit Phone Number

Calling Ecuador from Colombia:

Dial 009 + 593 + The One-Digit Province Code + The Seven-Digit Phone Number

To make cheap calls to Ecuador, you can either use a voice-over-internet system like Skype, or buy a phone card. In North America, phone cards with cheap rates to Ecuador are widely available in Hispanic grocery stores; otherwise, they can be found online.

Calling Within Ecuador

The procedure for making domestic calls in Ecuador depends on the location of you and the person you are calling, as well as whether the phones are on fixed (land) lines or cellular lines. For calls from one land line to another within a single province, all you have to do is dial the seven-digit phone number.

Calling to or from a cellular number, or across provinces, requires the phone number to be preceded by 0 and the provincial code.

Ecuador Provincial Phone Codes:

Pichincha (including Quito) and Santo Domingo de los Tsáchilas – 2

Bolívar, Chimborazo, Cotopaxi, Pastaza and Tungurahua – 3

Guayas (including Guayaquil) and Santa Elena – 4

Galápagos, Los Ríos and Manabí – 5

Carchi, Esmeraldas, Imbabura, Napo, Orellana and Sucumbíos – 6

Azuay, Cañar, El Oro, Loja, Morona Santiago and Zamora – 7

For example: To call the Guayaquil number 232-7100 from Quito, you would dial 04-232-7100. A mobile number must always be dialed with 098 or 099, then the seven-digit phone number.

Calling Home from Ecuador

To make an international call from Ecuador, you must dial 00, then the country code for the nation you are calling, then area code for the city, and finally the phone number.

To Call the US or Canada from Ecuador:

Dial 00 + 1 + Area Code + Phone Number

To Call the UK from Ecuador:

Dial 00 + 44 + Area Code + Phone Number

To Call Australia from Ecuador:

Dial 00 + 61 + Area Code + Phone Number

To Call Peru from Ecuador:

Dial 00 + 51 + Area Code + Phone Number

To Call Colombia from Ecuador:

Dial 00 + 57 + Area Code + Phone Number

The telephone directory (guĂ­a telefĂłnica) lists the codes for most countries and their major cities.

International rates on landlines and cell phones in Ecuador tend to be quite high. One cheaper option is to call over the internet, either by using a service like Skype or by making a call from a cabina (phone center) Expect to pay $0.10-0.25 per minute to the US or UK; rates are higher to other parts of the world. Porta, Movistar and Andinatel also have phone booths from which you can make calls using a pre-paid phone card, but the rates tend to be significantly higher than on internet calls.

Here are some related tips to help plan your trip to Ecuador: Ecuador Mail, Shipping and Customs and Ecuador Internet Access, WiFi and Internet Cafes.

16 Apr 2013

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