(1/6/14) Well, if you haven’t noticed there is another holiday today in the DR. Today is part of the way Dominican celebrate Christmas. While celebrators in the United States give gifts on Christmas Day, Dominican give gifts a week later on “”El día de los tres reyes magos” or “Three Kings Day”. Today you will find many of the larger businesses closed although many of the smaller colmados and tiendas will be open in the morning.

I find it interesting that the  Spanish name of the celebration includes the word “mago” meaning Magician, wizard, conjurer or prestidigitator (or astrologers). Usually this term isn’t used in English translations (more…)

Orange Dominican RepublicOne of the key players in the market for Telephone and internet services in the Dominican Republic has reached an agreement to sell it’s interests in the DR. Orange (based in France)made a deal with Altice (based in Luxembourg) for $1.4 billion.

The Dominican Republic is considered a non-core market for the French based company that has been struggling over the last couple years.

How will the Sale of Orange affect Dominican Subscribers

Over the last couple years Orange has continued to improve its cell-phone and internet services. While still being known for its dropped calls and patchy cell network these issue have been improving with new equipment being added in the outlining areas.

Orange Internet services have continued to improve with some areas reaching much higher download speeds than the comparable Claro internet services at a considerably lower price. About 6 months ago I switched from Claro to Orange and was able to double my bandwidth that I was receiving from Claro (10gig to 20gig) at about 2/3 the price I was paying at Claro. With this same move my download speed went from 1.0meg to a max of 2.5meg with the Claro Internet service to 3.0meg to over 5meg with the cheaper Orange service.

Upload speeds have also increased from about .5meg with Claro to about 1.5meg with Orange. This greatly affects internet services like Skype and Magicjack which benefits from the higher upload speed for images and constant voice transfer.

Altice Caribbean

Orange isn’t the only acquisition that Altice Caribbean is making this year. On October 31, 2013 Altice VII in particular its subsidiary Altice Caribbean S.à made an agreement to acquire (more…)

Claro Dominican Republic offers the choice of two different routers with their internet service. The ZTE MF29 is a small desktop style router and the ZTE MF30 is a portable mobile hotspot router that can be powered by its internal battery or a power adaptor. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, so, which one do you choose?

First, both offer the latest Wi-Fi security. Make sure with if you are using either one you turn this security on. If you don’t you run the risk of someone else connecting to the internet with your internet service and using up your band width, or worse, (more…)

Claro usb modem

Claro usb Modem

When I first got in to the country I spent hours at the Claro Office trying to get the internet working properly in the area I live. While I am very familiar with the internet services in the US, trying to understand what was offered in the Dominican Republic wasn’t always easy. It didn’t help that, although I was in the main Claro office in La Vega, most of the people behind the counter didn’t understand their services either. That was three years ago and I would assume they have gotten a little better, but to get you started I’ll outline the basic services offered and the prices I know. Although the prices are subject to change this should at least give you an idea of the cost.

Internet comes in two basic forms in the DR, wireless (using the cell towers) and hardwired. You can get either of these in a prepaid payment plan or postpaid (like what most of the plans in the US).

Mobile Wireless Internet

This is one of the more convenient internet options (even for long term visitors) and the only one that makes sense if you are only staying here for a couple weeks to a few months. This plan works off the Claro Cell towers and requires the use of a USB modem that is provided by Claro. The modem comes free with the postpaid plans and is free with some of the longer term prepaid plans. (more…)

Apple iPhone 4S

Apple iPhone 4S available in the DR

Good and bad news for Dominican Republic iPhone users! The Good News? Apple has announced that it will be making the new iPhone 4S available in the Dominican Republic as an “unlocked” version. Bad News? As expected not all features will be available in the DR. While both Orange and Claro will have the unlocked version available to their customers they will both have different features available.

According to Apple, for Claro the 4S iPhone will be locked to the carrier, have access to MMS and Claro hotspots in the Dominican Republic but will not offer authorized unlocking or visual voicemail. Orange includes the feature of having authorized unlocking but likewise will not offer the “Visual Voicemail” service.

Some of the more interesting features of the new iPhone 4S includes: (more…)

Just a quick note. If you or someone you know has a Claro phone in the Dominican Republic, Claro will give an extra 44% on any minute buys over 100 pesos. This is a pretty good deal so if you have family or friends in the DR this is a good time to Gift them some minutes.

Claro says that is will be offering this free minutes deal between Sept 1 and Sept 16

While in the Dominican Republic, you are likely to want to change your phone over to one of the local providers. The Main Providers are Claro and Orange.

We have friends using Claro, Orange and several of the other prepaid phone companies. So far Claro seems to be the Clear winner in our area. Orange cuts out frequently, and often when you try to call someone who has Orange their phone is not in operation.

Orange on the other hand seems to have the upper hand in ease of buying refill cards. If you are in any larger town you will see guys walking around with orange vests on selling Orange cards. They’re pretty hard to miss. Either way, many of the comados sell both Orange and Claro refill card so they are pretty easy to come by.

Claro often gives bonus minutes when you buy over 150 pesos at one time. While that may seem like a lot, 150 pesos is a little over $4.00 USD. To ask for them you can just say “tiene tarjeta (tar-yet-a) de Claro?” or “tiene tarjeta de Orange?”, if they say yes say your amount i.e. ciento cincuenta pesos (150 pesos).

Minutes as a gift

If you are planning to stay in the Dominican Republic for a while you will likely want to get your own internet service. While you will find internet cafes in almost every little town in the country, you will likely find the cafe to be small, crowded, noisy and everyone sharing an about 1-2 meg download speed. Probably fine if you are planning to pick up your mail, but not real good if you need to spend much time for work, Skype or even internet research.

Like in the States, you have two main options, wired or wireless (mobile data plan). I’ve not seen a cable service here offering internet, so likely if you plan on getting a wired service than it will be DSL. This is normally cheaper, and faster than wireless internet and also have the advantage of not having a download cap or limit. However this is only available if you live in the middle of one of the larger towns. If you have opted to stay out on the outskirts of town where it is quieter, you may not have this option.

The option I choose is a wireless data plan. This runs off the same cell towers as the cell phones do, so coverage is pretty good throughout the country. While there are a few wireless internet providers in the country, I choose Claro Mobile due to their greater coverage. (more…)

The Good news: Yes you can have Internet connection in the Dominican Republic and you can expect to get a pretty good speed. The DR has some of the most state of the art 3G equipment in the world and it covers a good share of the island.

The Bad news: They seem to have some issues getting it configured properly. Hopefully that will improve in the future.

There are a variety of ways to get an Internet connection. Which one you choose will depend on the speed you need, how long you wish to have it, and how much you are willing to pay.

Hotels: If you’re just staying for a couple weeks it is best to choose a hotel with WiFi. Many of the hotels and “All Inclusive Resorts” offer this to their guests. You can ask before booking your hotel to see if they offer this, but it is unlikely they will be able to tell you how fast it will be. The Internet is pretty new here and not many people seem to understand bandwidth.

There are other options….. (more…)

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