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The ins and outs of living in Puerto Rico

Cell Phone Companies in Puerto Rico

Cell phone companies in Puerto Rico are the same big companies you see in the U.S. The more popular cell phone companies in Puerto Rico are AT&T, T-Mobile, Claro, Sprint, and Open Mobile. Some companies use the CDMA signal others use the GSM signal. Although it looks like the CDMA signal is being phased out by the different companies, Sprint still holds on to its CDMA signal.

Want to keep you US Cell Phone Number in Puerto Rico? Click here.

I’m going to give you an assessment of the available cell phone companies in Puerto Rico from customer service to signal strength. I will try to be very objective and balanced, and to be fair, I will not say which company I use. I will rate the companies from 1 to 5, 1 being very poor and 5 being excellent in different categories. Also, I will give a few things here and there that you may want to consider regarding this company’s cell phone service in Puerto Rico. They all have good things and bad things, you decide which cell phone company in Puerto Rico would fit you best based on what your needs/wants are.

One thing to note is that many of these factors change based on how close you are to a particular cell tower and how many users of the same company are located at a particular location. For example, during the Central American Games in Mayagüez back in 2010, I saw “portable towers” powered by generators because there were so many users of the same company concentrated in one area that the signal strength decreased significantly. So I will give you an assessment of every day average usage expectation based on my experience.

Scores are from 1 (poor) to 5 (excellent).

Sprint:

Overall Coverage: 4

Signal Strength indoors: 3

Signal Strength outdoors: 4

Customer Service and restrictions: 4

Data Speed: 5

Data Limit: 5

Sprint is the only “true nationwide” company out of them all. I searched for the plans online and
regardless of which zip code I entered as my location (including a Puerto Rico zip code), I always got the same plans and prices. What
happens is that some companies have a “Puerto Rico version” of their plans and prices, not so with Sprint, Sprint in Puerto Rico is
the same as Sprint in the USA. Now, Sprint in Puerto Rico counts with a brand new 4G LTE network that rivals data speeds of the other companies, add to that the truly unlimited data and you have in Sprint a worthy company to look into.

Click here for more details regarding Sprint’s cell phone service in Puerto
Rico. They keep promising and not delivering.

T-Mobile:

Overall Coverage: 3

Signal Strength indoors: 4

Signal Strength outdoors: 4

Customer Service and restrictions: 3

Data Speed: 4

Data Limit: 4

T-Mobile has what I call a “Puerto Rico version of the company”. Which means that they have different
plans and prices from those in the U.S. However, the signal strength is pretty decent, especially indoors it seems as though the concrete
walls do not that much of an effect for the T-Mobile (GSM) signal than it does let’s say the Sprint signal (CDMA). Also, their data
limit is more of you get a certain amount at a certain high-speed and then if you surpass that your speech will go down but you will not
get charged for the extra data usage so they get away with saying that is unlimited and it is technically but after a certain point
your Internet is going to get really slow.

AT&T:

Overall Coverage: 4

Signal Strength indoors: 4

Signal Strength outdoors: 5

Customer Service and restrictions: 2

Data Speed: 5

Data Limit: 3

AT&T is by far the most popular cell phone company in Puerto Rico. The coverage is excellent and you
get a signal pretty much anywhere except for very remote areas. Their signal does well indoors and their speed is one of the fastest
available. However, they are the most expensive and the one with the most restrictions, it almost seems as though they feel it is your
privilege to be their customer as opposed to they being privileged to have you as a customer. They also work the “AT&T Puerto Rico”
thing, so some of the plans and prices may be different between Puerto Rico and the U.S.

Claro:

Overall Coverage: 3

Signal Strength indoors: 3

Signal Strength outdoors: 3

Customer Service: 1

Data Speed: 4

Data Limit: 2

Claro bought Verizon Wireless back in 2007 and it now has arguably the most coverage in the island, they
claim 97% of the island is covered by them. However, the way they are doing it is by having a mixture of signals, some areas get CDMA and
some areas get GSM which then your signal strength depends on the phone you have. They also seem to be everywhere, in every corner you see one of
their stores or kiosks. The customer service horrendous, but they seem to have really nice phones (i.e. Samsung Galaxy S-3 with quad-core
processor, while the rest of the companies have the dual-core processor for that same phone). They
also have a variety of plans which are actually quite confusing, but customizable based on your expected usage, some plans are actually
“without a contract”.

Click here for more details regarding Claro’s cell phone service in Puerto Rico. Only 3Gb of data!? And, No English website!?

Open Mobile:

Overall Coverage: 4

Signal Strength indoors: 4

Signal Strength outdoors: 4

Customer Service and restrictions: 2

Data Speed: 4

Data Limit: 4

Open Mobile is a company that specializes mostly in local coverage and in plans without a 2-year agreement. Therefore, you can expect to pay a bit more for the phones and activation and other fees, but whenever you want, you can cancel without any penalty. They don’t have any real “big time phone (other than the iPhone) and their 4G Coverage although fast (LTE), it is limited to the San Juan Metro area as of now.

Click here for more details on Open Mobile’s cell phone service in Puerto Rico. Wait, Wait, Wait, Ummm I don’t know!

As you can see, Puerto Rico cell phone companies provide a service that is very similar to just about anywhere else. Puerto Rico is often included in the National plans of the big cell phone companies that are sold in the US. More often than not, calling to Puerto Rico will NOT be long distance when using a cell phone, and if you have a national plan, when you come here you should have signal and service just lke you do in the US.

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3 Comments

  1. this is a wonderful and very interesting site, boy, am i glad i read some if not all of your findings on our wireless services in pr, i was able to make the right descicion on what phone and company to call, i have saved this in my favorites so in any case any friends need an advice i will refer them to these articles. thanks and keep up the good work, maybe next time i read on directv and dish etc,, they can be tricky sometimes .thanks

  2. Hello –
    The company I work for holds federal government contracts. We are required by the contract to provide blackberry devices to all of our employees. We currently have a few employees located in Puerto Rico. These employee are using AT&T wireless, however our company has terminated our business with AT&T. We are searching for a wireless company (possible local company) we could use for our employees. Any suggestions are welcomed.

    Company: Human Resources Consulting, Inc.
    Mailing Address: 6066 Leesburg Pike, Suite 900, Falls Church, VA 22041

    Current Wireless Plan on BB device.
    Americas Choice II 600 Shared email and data nights and weekends. Unlimited testing.

    Thanks Victoria

    • Victoria:

      I prefer not to say that one company is better than the other since I like to give people the facts rather than just opinions. What I can tell you is that AT&T seem to have the happiest customers, so if you want good and reliable service, AT&T is the way to go. However since you no longer have a working business with them, that leaves you with either Sprint, Claro, or TMobile since to my knowledge OpenMobile does not have BlackBerry devices.

      Claro has the most complaints of all and the only time I have heard good reviews regarding Claro is when they finally change to another company. Their plans are hard to understand too, plus if you need to call a U.S. number, you need to have “long distance” service in your wireless plan. Oh, good luck getting customer service in English (or Spanish for that matter).

      TMobile seems to have pretty good service and the people I know that has it are happy for the most part, the only thing is that TMobile in the U.S. is not the same as TMobile Puerto Rico. I’m not sure how that works in the business accounts, but I do remember when I came here to visit with my wife years ago before we moved here for good, my wife had TMobile and had a problem with the phone, she called Customer Service and she was told to take it to the nearest store, then they told her that it cannot be in PR because even though it is technically TMobile, it is not TMobile USA, it is Tmobile Puerto Rico and therefore a completely different company that works on the same network.

      Sprint is the only true company that is the same whether in PR or USA. The coverage and overall service is still kind of hit or miss but they recently got their 4G LTE network going and I have heard improved performance. Plus calling to the U.S. is included in the plans. People that I know that use Sprint are generally neither happy nor unhappy with it.

      So if you need complete reciprocity between the U.S. and PR, Sprint might be your best fit. (This is just an opinion, I don’t like to give my opinion but I’m just trying to be helpful.)

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