3.4 Ecuador Telecommunications

Telecommunications in Ecuador include telephone, radio, television, and the internet. Arcotel is the telecom sector regulator, which is part of the Telecommunications Ministry (MINTEL). Ecuador had an 80% internet penetration rate by June, 2019. The country features a sophisticated 4G LTE ultra-broadband network. Much of the country’s fixed-line structure is influenced by topographical challenges.


In December 2020, there were about 2.37 million fixed-line internet subscriptions in Ecuador, up from about 472 thousand the same month ten years earlier. In total, there were 11.92 million internet subscriptions, both mobile and fixed.


Ecuador has 10.17 million Internet users, that is, 57% of the population uses this service. In relation to January 2020 there was a growth of 1.5%, which is equal to 147 thousand new users. Internet penetration has been increasing throughout the years in Ecuador. In 2017, almost 57.3 percent of the country's population accessed the internet, up from around 29 percent in 2010. In 2019, approximately 45.5 percent of Ecuadorian households had access to the internet, up from 22.5 percent in 2012. Only 16% of rural households have internet and free signals in public places have been a solution to the digital divide in the country. Over 70 percent of the total web traffic in Ecuador was generated using laptops and desktops.

Mobile Connections

There were 13.82 million mobile connections in January 2021. The number of mobile connections in Ecuador decreased by 1.6 million (-10%) between January 2020 and January 2021. The number of mobile connections in Ecuador in January 2021 is equivalent to 77.8% of the total population.

Telephone System

General assessment: fixed-line service and sophisticated 4G LTE ultra-broadband network; much of the country's fixed-line structure is influenced by topographical challenges associated with the Andes Mountains; Ecuador has a small telecom market with a dominant mobile sector;  the state-owned incumbent CNT dominates the fixed-line market, and therefore  the DSL broadband market as well.

Fixed telephone subscriptions (per 100 people) in Ecuador was reported at 12.64 per 100 people in 2019, according to the World Bank collection of development indicators, compiled from officially recognized sources. Ecuador - Telephone lines (per 100 people) - actual values, historical data, forecasts and projections were sourced from the World Bank on July of 2021.

In 2019, fixed telephone lines for Ecuador was 2.2 million. Fixed telephone lines of Ecuador increased from 1.22 million in 2000 to 2.2 million in 2019 growing at an average annual rate of 3.20%. In 2019, fixed telephone lines per 100 inhabitants for Ecuador was 12.6 number per 100 inhabitants. Fixed telephone lines per 100 inhabitants of Ecuador increased from 9.7 number per 100 inhabitants in 2000 to 12.6 number per 100 inhabitants in 2019 growing at an average annual rate of 1.50%.

For more information on telecoms contacts, please see the following link: 4.11 Additional Services Contact List.

Telephone Services

Is there an existing landline telephone network?


Does it allow international calls?


Number and Length of Downtime Periods (on average)


Mobile Phone Providers

Claro, CNT, Movistar

Approximate Percentage of National Coverage


Ecuador land line telephone providers

Ecuador mobile phone carriers


Fixed-line services with digital networks provided by multiple telecommunications operators; fixed-line teledensity stands at about 15 per 100 persons; mobile-cellular use has surged and subscribership has reached 85 per 100 persons 


Country code - 593; landing points for the PAN-AM and South America-1 submarine cables that provide links to the west coast of South America, Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, and extending onward to Aruba and the US Virgin Islands in the Caribbean; in 2017, Alcatel completed a 6000km, submarine-cable system from Sarasota, Florida to Manta, Ecuador; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)


International Links

There are two fiber optic cables connecting Ecuador to some other countries in America: Panamerican cable (PAN-AM)Is a submarine telecommunications cable system connecting the west coast of South America and the Caribbean, crossing the continent through Panama. It has landing points in:Arica, Arica Province, Arica y Parinacota Region, Chile; Lurin, Lima Region, Peru; Punta Carnero, Guayas Province, Ecuador; Battery Pratt, Colón Province, Panama; Barranquilla, Atlántico Department, Colombia; Punto Fijo, Falcón State, Venezuela; Baby Beach, Aruba; St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands


Is an optical submarine communications cable. It started operations in 2000, connecting the United States, Puerto Rico, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Peru and Guatemala. In 2007, SAm-1 was extended to reach Ecuador and Colombia. 

Telecommunications Regulations

Regulatory Bodies

The regulatory entities of Ecuador are organized according to the figure with each entity in charge of various functions in the field of telecommunications.


Agency for the Regulation and Control of Telecommunications ARCOTEL

The Agency for the Regulation and Control of Telecommunications (ARCOTEL) is the entity in charge of the administration, regulation and control of telecommunications and the radioelectric spectrum and its management, as well as the technical aspects of the management of social communication media that use frequencies of the radioelectric spectrum or that they install and operate networks.

As of 2015, the ARCOTEL Telecommunications Regulation and Control Agency was created, this body being the rector in telecommunications matters, replacing SUPERTEL, SENATEL and the National Telecommunications Council CONATEL in functions.


ARCOTEL Quito Headquarters

Av. Diego de Almagro N31-95 entre Whymper y Alpallana, Quito  Ph.: (593-02) 2 946 400


Riobamba Coordinación Zonal 3 – Riobamba: Estación de Comprobación Técnica Vía Chambo Km 2, sector La Inmaculada  Phone.: 03 262 2020 /21 /22

Portoviejo Coordinación Zonal 4 – Portoviejo: Ciudadela California, calle Chone s/n, entre Junín y Santa Ana Ph.: 05 293 1286 / 448 / 274

Guayaquil Coordinación Zonal 5 – Guayaquil: Cdla. IETEL, Mz 28 lote 1, junto al Colegio de Ingenieros Civiles del Guayas  Ph.: 04 262 6400

Cuenca Coordinación Zonal 6 – Cuenca: Calle Luis Cordero 16-50 y Av. Héroes de Verdeloma 

Ph.: 072820860

Galàpagos  Oficina Técnica – Galápagos: Calles Cucuve y Floreana, esquina, barrio Las Acacias, Santa Cruz Ph.: 05 252 4769

Loja Oficina Técnica – Loja: Av. Benjamín Carrión y Los Olivos, sector Daniel Álvarez Burneo

Ph.: 07 282 0860 ext. 4202

Lago Agrio  Oficina Técnica – Lago Agrio: Av. Circunvalación y Av. Río Aguarico Ph.: 06 299 1909 ext. 1120 y 1121

Regulations on Usage and Import

Regulations in Place?

Regulating Authority




HF Radio



UHF/VHF/HF Radio: Handheld, Base and Mobile



UHF/VHF Repeaters









Individual Network Operator Licenses Required


Frequency Licenses Required


Foreign Thuraya, Began, sat phones and sat modems, and two way radios VHF, UHF and HF, wireless telephones for landline service. e.g. CDMA 450 or Wimax phones need to be homologated. Also, equipment that allow direct access to the Internet wirelessly. e.g. Access point.

Foreign computers, laptops, printers, audio and video consoles, or other equipment that connect indirectly and wirelessly to the Internet are excepted.  

Existing Humanitarian Telecoms Systems

In Ecuador the United Nations system has some shared telecommunications infrastructure. This equipment is located along the Ecuadorian territory. This equipment includes VHF repeaters, VSAT stations and other telecommunication devices. A summary of this equipment is detailed in the below table:

Existing UN Telecommunication Systems




VHF Frequencies



HF Frequencies



Locations of Repeaters

 Quito (2)




Internet Service Providers (ISPs)

The Internet is widely available in Ecuador, and home connections and corporate connections are relatively easy to set up. There are quite a few service providers, all of whom who offer a bewildering array of plans and prices. The main Internet service providers in Ecuador are Telconet, TV Cable, CNT and PuntoNet while Claro and Movistar offer thumb drive or ‘dongle’ connections.


Quito and Guayaquil offer the widest range of options for going online outside your home. Apart from the hundreds of Internet cafes, WiFi is available at large malls and airports as well as some restaurant chains and big hotels. 

Mobile Internet in Ecuador

Choosing a monthly mobile package from any of the main providers will probably get you get a certain amount of mobile data included. A pay-as-you-go SIM from any of the major networks should also enable you to get online, providing your phone has Internet capabilities.

Internet Service Providers

Are there ISPs available?


If yes, are they privately or government owned?


Dial-up only?


Approximate Rates (local currency and USD - $)




$2 USD/mbps (residential);

$40 USD/mbps (corporate)

Max Leasable ‘Dedicated’ Bandwidth

100 mbps

Ecuador Internet Speed Test    https//

Mobile Network Operators (MNOs)

There are three main MNO in Ecuador: Claro (Telcel), Movistar, and CNT. 

CNT (Corporación Nacional de Telecomunicaciones) is the public telecommunications company in Ecuador that offers fixed telephony services local, regional and international, Internet Access (Dial-Up, DSL, mobile Internet), satellite television and mobile telephony in Ecuadorian territory. After its 2010 merger with mobile phone company Alegro, CNT was able to enhance the product portfolio, focusing efforts in the packaging business and converged services technology.

For information on MNOs please visit the GSM Association website.


Number of Agent Outlets by Area

Network Strength by Area

Contracted for Humanitarian or Government Cash Transfer Programmes?

Services Offered (i.e. Merchant Payment, Bulk Disbursement, Receive & Make Payment)




Yes, for users,  public payments, money transfer,  disbursements etc.




Yes, for users,  public payments, money transfer,  disbursements etc.

CNT Ecuador




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