Staying connected in the DR

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Phone Home

The Dominican Republic telephone system functions in a manner similar to the one that is utilized in both Canada and the United States. Claro and Orange (France Telecom) are the largest service providers in the country. Competition includes Viva and Tricom (sold to Altice). There are a number of Internet service providers like Wind, OneMax, Orange, Claro and Tricom.

To call to the United States and Canada you just need to dial 1+ the area code and phone number. 1-800 numbers are not reachable from the DR, you will need to dial 1-880 instead of 1-800 and you will be charged an international fee per minute. To call any other country you need to dial 011 (international prefix) + country code + city code + phone number (i.e. If you’re placing a call to London you need to dial 011 44 20 and then the number you want to reach).

[infobox color=”#eef8fe” textcolor=”#555555″ icon=”bullhorn”]See international dialing codes to call outside the Dominican Republic[/infobox]

One popular option these days is to use Skype’s international calling program, it’s a fraction of the cost of traditional options and you can download it directly to your laptop, tablet or smartphone. In cities and tourist areas, calling centers and Internet cafés are typically available between the hours of 8 am and 10 pm.

Calling Inside the Country

There are three area codes in the Dominican Republic: 809, 829, 849 in order of popularity. To call anywhere inside the DR you’ll need to use one of these area codes followed by a seven digit phone number (i.e. 809-XXX-XXXX). To call to a cellphone You’ll need to dial 1 first followed by the area code and then the phone number (i.e. 1-829-XXX-XXXX).

Calling Cards

60 pesos comunicard from Claro
Calling card from Claro

After arriving in the Dominican Republic, it would be a good idea to get a calling card, Claro’s Comunicard and Tricom’s calling card being the most popular.

These cards are easily found in gift shops and supermarkets and come in various denominations (varies depending on the company). They make it cheaper to use a residential or pay-phone for national and international calls.

You can also use these calling cards from your hotel phone but first we recommend finding out if your hotel charges a “connection fee” which can range from $1.75 to a ridiculous $10! Some hotels block the calling cards’ numbers forcing you to place your international calls through their operator.

Mobile Phone Services

Bring Your Own Cellphone

If your private cell phone is compatible with communication systems in Canada and the States (quad-band and tri-band GSM), that phone can probably be used in the Dominican Republic. Roaming charges will vary depending on your phone company.

You can also ask your phone company to unlock your phone (or maybe an old one) and buy a SIM card with prepaid minutes when you arrive. A good option for families or large groups traveling to DR would be to buy cheap cellphones ($30-50) with prepaid minutes from one of the local phone companies, this way you will stay in touch with each other even if you split up at some point during your vacation.

*Phone companies from which you can buy a SIM card when you arrive: Orange, Claro and Viva

Internet Connection Options

wifi signMore and more hotels are making WiFi service a standard amenity. If you are going to need the Internet during your trip you should check with your hotel beforehand, make sure to ask if the wifi network is available from your room since some hotels may list as “wifi available” but it can only be accessed from the lobby.

An easy way to stay communicated is by signing up with a free Internet email service like Yahoo, Hotmail or Google. You can then retrieve messages from external services as long as you utilize a POP3 type account. You will have to configure preference settings before you can access mail from any browser in any part of the world. It would be advisable to test the method out before you take the trip.

Wifi hotspots are widely available in major restaurants, shopping malls and tourist areas even when you don’t see a sign just ask someone who works there if there is an available network and to please provide you with the password.



Ari Guerra

7 thoughts on “Staying connected in the DR

  1. Ellen says:

    I will be moving to the DR in the next 2 to 3 months and need to know if I can transfer my current cellphone number to a carrier there.

    • Ari Guerra says:

      I don’t think this is possible Ellen, since the area code would be different. If it’s just the digits after the area code you might find it still available here in DR but you’d have to make a contract with a local phone company, not transfer your current phone number).

  2. Trevor says:

    If you have a cell phone with Orange and have money on account but don’t use the phone (say go back to Canada), how long until Orange closes the account? If I were to top up account say every two months with 300 pesos but not use phone, would the account/number stay active

    • Ari Guerra says:

      Yes it would stay active as long as you put money into it (I think it needs to be at least every 3 months) and 100 pesos should do it! =)

  3. Paul says:

    i need internet access, phone, and texting in DR. I have Samsung 5 unlocked, and I currently use Verizon. They are creeps. they want to charge me $10 per day to use my service in DR. Who has this in DR for cheaper?

    • Ari Guerra says:

      If your phone’s unlocked then I’d recommend activating a number here with a company like Claro or Altice (previously Orange). It would be a lot cheaper!

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