SMS, Cellphones, Networks
Ecuador's cellular phone usage is growing rapidly with some 7.44 million subscribers as of April 2006. Cellular phone services are used more than landlines throughout Ecuador.
Cellular phones are a convenient and easy way to keep in contact. Ecuador's three cellular network operators are Tlefonica MoviStar, Alegro and Porta. Porta is the most popular, followed by MoviStar. Each of Ecuador's cellular operators offer pre-paid and contract plans. Rates vary from $0.10 to $0.50 per minute when calling another cellular phone and double that when calling landlines. SMS's in Ecuador cost between 1 cent and 6 cents per message.
Cellular coverage is generally good throughout Ecuador. It is possible to use your cellular phone even in remote areas in the Amazon jungle and Galapagos Islands. Areas that may be inaccessible are the highlands and mangroves. Ecuador’s GSM cellular phone networks do not have agreements with international network operators for roaming. Non-GSM phones do not work in Ecuador. Cellular phones can be rented at stores in the airport or other cellular shops. Cellular cabins are located at gas stations, airports, malls and restaurants, operating with phone cards.
SMS or Short Message Service is one of the most popular cellular phone facilities. By means of SMS you can send brief messages quickly and conveniently to the recipient. Should the recipient’s cellular phone be off or out of range, the message will be stored on the network until it is able to go through. Many online companies offer free SMS to Ecuador or from Ecuador. They usually include advertising at the end of your message. Another convenient service is sending an SMS from Ecuador via e-mail. This way you can reach people throughout the world.