Being excellent trip-planners, we preemptively paid AT&T $60 for 30 days of “International Calling”. Naively, we thought this would allow us to make phone calls and use data while in Ecuador.
Unfortunately, AT&T cell coverage is very spotty in Ecuador, and almost non-existent in the Galapagos.
To add to the difficulty, Ecuador has two different types of phone numbers. The Country Code for Ecuador is +593 which is the prefix you’d expect to dial before calling any number.
However, if you’re calling another mobile phone number, you don’t dial the +593, but rather use 0x and the last 7 digits you’re calling. e.g.: (0x) xxx-xxxx
A number in Quito likely starts with (09) whereas a number in Pichincha would begin with (02).
Here’s a handy reference chart:
|Ecuador Country Code: +593|
|International Call Prefix: 00|
|Emergency Numbers: Emergency: 911, Fire Department: 102, Police: 101|
|Toll-Free Prefix: 1-800|
|International Access: 011|
We did notice however that there seem to be a plentiful amount of pay phones scattered around Ecuador. So it’s likely easier to forego paying AT&T an exorbitant amount of money and simply pay-as-you-go while you’re there.
During our entire 17 day trip, we successfully completed 2 phone calls and wasted well over an hour trying numerous times. Needless to say, we did not get our $60 worth from AT&T.