Cell phones are ubiquitous companions. I don’t like having one but the convenience and utility are undeniable.
Living in two countries presents a challenge because cell phone contracts tend to restrict our options. We have discovered an optimal solution for those who spend time in Ecuador and the United States.
Terminate Your Expensive U.S. Cell Phone Contract
With documented proof of your move to Ecuador most U.S. cell phone companies will terminate your contract without any fees. You will need to provide any of the following documents:
- Ecuadorian Driver License
- Cedula (National ID Card)
- Real Estate Lease Agreement
- Utility Bill
- Property Deed
Activate a Pre-Pay Plan in the United States
Let’s look at Verizon as an example. If you already have a Verizon phone you can activate the pre-pay option without a connection fee (just ask to have the fee waived). You must add $15 per month to keep the phone activated. If you don’t use the phone you are not charged and your balance only expires if you fail to add funds each month.
Charges are as follows:
Purchase a Cell Phone in Ecuador
You can purchase a pre-pay cell phone in Ecuador. Phones start at $50 and pre-pay cards are sold just about everywhere. If you are away from Ecuador for more than 3 to 4 months your number MAY expire. If this happens you will need to pay an activation fee of about $5.
Bring Your Cell Phone to Ecuador
U.S. cell phones are most likely blocked meaning that you cannot simply buy a new SIM card in Ecuador. I recently brought a Cingular phone from the United States and replaced the SIM card with one from Claro. The phone was “blocked” and the Claro card did not work.
The cell phone companies in Ecuador will not unblock your phone. You need to find a small electronics store that sells cell phones and accessories. Look for the logos Claro or Movistar in the window. They will typically charge less than $20 to unblock your phone and install a local SIM card with several dollars of minutes ready to go.