(8/19/14) If you are one of the many people using services like EPS to have things shipped to the Dominican Republic you have no doubt been watching with interest the news about the new tax that is suppose to be applied to all online-line purchases.  Well, the good news for now is that the Superior Administrative Tribunal (TSA) has accepted an appeal against the Customs Department (DGA) which has at least for now stopped the tax from being applied.

My biggest worry about this on-line purchase tax was that it would be another reason for customs to open packages and apply random import taxes. At times these import taxes can cost more that what the package is actually worth. While I don’t (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…)

Huawei E355 Modem from Dominican

Huawei E355 Modem from Dominican Orange

Got the chance to try out a different internet provider over the last month or so. The Dominican internet provider Orange has wireless internet plans at less than half the price of Claro although then have a reputation of having a much more limited coverage. Equipped with the Huawei E355 modem that is offered by Orange I decided to give it a try.

Dominican Orange Upload and Download Speed

When he service is working well (as in low traffic times), there is a much higher cap with Dominican Orange than there is with Claro. My Claro plan said that I should get up to 3.5 meg downloads, during the 4 years I have used Claro I never got more than 2.5 meg. Whoever during my tests with Dominican Orange I very frequently get 5 to even 6 meg downloads with a consistent upload of over 2 meg instead of the .5meg cap that I have always received from Claro.

Remember though, the actual Upload and download speed that you get will vary depending on how close you are to the internet service tower and how many people are trying to access the internet in your area at the same time. If possible it is always a good idea to find someone with the service and try it out in the area that you plan on using it the most before you lock yourself into a 1.5 year plan.

MagicJack on Dominican Orange Internet

One thing that is definitely nicer about using the Dominican Orange internet service over the Claro service is the way MagicJack reacts. Claro caps your upload at a much lower rate, usually about .5 meg while I often get as high as 2.0 meg upload with Dominican Orange. Magicjack seems to like (more…)

With it’s 34% of the Dominican Cellular and internet market-share it looks like Orange is looking into leaving the Dominican Republic. While it is no likely to be bought by Claro who already holds a little over 50% of the Dominican market it will likely be bought by another company like competitors Viva and Tricom, so services should continue even after the change.

Higher Prices for Foreigners

Internet is always a delema for me in the DR. When I first started my plan with Claro I didn’t have my cedula yet so I had to use my passport. When you do this Internet companies here charge you considerably more of the service. For example the current price for 10g of internet per month is 1995 pesos per month on the Claro website, I pay 3500 pesos per month because my plan was started without a cedula. I have to now start a new plan (more…)

While this isn’t really a Dominican Republic topic, it is of concern for those living in the DR want to be able to use the internet while in the States. I thought it might be good to describe my experience with Virgin Mobile and their pre-paid wireless internet plan while I was visiting the United States.

My goal was to have a temporary modem style internet connection during my recent visit to the US. Not wanting to get tired to a 18 month plan when I only plan on being in the States for a couple months I started checking online for pre-paid internet plans. There are actually several available but Virgin Mobile seemed to have the best plan for the best price. You can check things out at www.virginmobileusa.com.

U600 USB Modem or Overdrive WiFi

My plans were to stay in the California Bay Area for about a month before heading up north. Virgin Mobile has an online chat so I started a conversation with one of their representatives. The Bay Area has a 4G network so I opted for one of Virgins 2 4G modems the U600 USB modem or the Overdrive Wifi modem.

First question I had for the representative is whether the U600 will work with Windows 8, their website only mentions comparability with up to Windows 7. The representative assured me that it would work with Windows 8, to be sure asked again if she was sure of that, the answer was yes, it had been tested. GREA! the U600 was about half the price to buy in comparison with the Overdrive modem. The following questions were about the 4G coverage.

The 4G coverage is important because with the Virgin Mobile plan you get 2gig of download with 3G but if you can receive 4G you get unlimited downloads for the same $35 per month. The First 10gig is at the highest speed which then drops down to 2 meg downloads for the rest of the month.

So, I purchased the modem and had it delivered to where I would be staying in the States. Once I got to the States I would then activate the modem.

Virgin Mobile Tech Support

I should have figured that things were going too smoothly. (more…)

The Viettel Group is courting the Dominican Republic in an effort to be one more internet and cellular provider in the DR. Viettel was founded in Hanoi Vietnam in 2004 and has operations in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Mozambique and also in Haiti under the name Natcom. As of 2012 Viettel has over 60 million subscribers using 2g BTS and 3G Node B. One thing that will make this interesting for the Dominican Government is Viettels willingness to offer free internet to the schools here.

Under the name Natcom, (more…)

Magicjack continues to explode in popularity. The ease and cost effectiveness of using Magicjack to make long distance phone calls into the United States has turned this into a must have product for people living (or traveling) abroad and wanting to call friends and relatives in the states cheaply. Unfortunately some only hear about Magicjack once they get to the Dominican Republic. That can be a bit of a problem when buying and mailing items is a little problematic in the DR.

A while back Magicjack was emailing looking for distributers in the DR. While it doesn’t seem that too many Dominican companies decided to start selling them (I would have thought La Sirena would have been a good choice). One of Magic Jacks first distributers does have them available here. You can find Magic Jacks at the Santo Domingo Radio Shack. (more…)

First let’s point out that my experience with Viva’s internet is only 7 days. So you can’t call this a long term review of their services. How ever during the 7 days I have been in Jarabacoa there have been internet outages with Viva 3 of the seven days.

The first day we got here (on a Monday) Viva was having problems so there was no internet service for the first half of the day. Once that cleared we received Internet (using their MiFi 2200) at a rate of about 1mbs for the rest of the week. My computer is setting right next to the Wifi so I was getting excellent reception, likewise the MiFi 2200 appeared to be getting pretty good reception. (more…)

Viva MiFi 2200

Viva MiFi 2200

The Dominican Republic Viva’s solution to wireless uses the MiFi 2200 wireless mobile hotspot modem/router from Novatel using their “Freedom My Way” service. This modem/router can be connected directly into your computer using a 2.0 USB port or can be easily configured for wireless connections. Below are the main features:

  • Internal battery that can provide up to 4 hours of connection without being plugged into power.
  • Simultaneously connect up to 5 wireless computers
  • Wifi 802.11 b/g
  • AC charger
  • Security Type – WPA-TKIP

Checking Status

There are two ways to check the status of the MiFi 2200 remotely and physically.

When physically checking the status of the MiFi 2200 you have two lights on the unit, a rectangular led on the edge of the unit (Service Status Indicator LES) and a round circle on the top (Power Button and LED indicator). (more…)

The smallest of the Dominican internet providers Tricom, has concluded a deal with China based Huawei to upgrade their services to the new 4G LTE (Long Term Evolution). LTE is a trademark of ETSI

This announcement follows the announcement on June 6th that Telecom is planning to invest more than $125 million USD in upgrades tho ther fiber optic coverage with about $40 million USD to be invested in the next year. This would move the network up to a bandwith capacity of 1GH (Gigahertz).

So far the major emphisis is in the usual larger markets of the National District, Santo Domingo East and West, San Pedro de Macoris and La Romana. Future services upgrades are planned for Santiago, La Vega, Bonao and the San Francisco area.

The upgrades are part of the new product push called “Internet Max” that takes advantage of internet speed up to 100MB using an infrastructure of hybrid fiber optic network (HFC)

Here is a look at the Current Tricom plans as per www.tricom.net. (more…)

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