Belize has only two mobile telecommunication operators:
- DigiCell (by BTL) - GSM-based
- Smart! - (limited 3G and 4G/LTE-only)
GSM users don't have much choice as the only GSM-based operator in the country used to be DigiCell. 2G/EDGE is on 1900 MHz and 3G/HSPA which is still marketed as "4G" is on 850 MHz. Real 4G/LTE has started in 2016 on DigiCell and Smart! on the 700 (B13) and 1900 (B2) MHz bands. Smart! has becoms an alternative soon as it's moved from CDMA to 3G on 850 MHz.
Because of the almost monopoly situation of BTL, don't expect a good coverage at high speeds compared with other Central American countries in Belize. Meanwhile, prices remain pretty high. Of course, for heavy data use there is still WiFi available, run by - take a guess - BTL again.
Belize used to be one of the few countries that blocked all VoIP calls like Skype until recently. After a long debate in 2013 all VoIP has been unblocked and is today usable like in the rest of America.
In 2013 Belize's government introduced a mandatory registration scheme for mobile users. All unregistered lines have been discontinued. So expect to show an ID while purchasing a SIM card. This is now only possible at authorized dealers.
All prices given in this article are in Belize $ (BZD), not US$. 1 US$ is linked to 1.97 Belize $ (BZD).
The Belizean government formally applied a 12.5% general sales tax (GST) on internet and data services as of 1 April 2018. The decision prompted a local outcry when it was outlined in the government’s budget presentation for fiscal year 2018/2019, but subsequent protests fell on deaf ears, and the taxation measure was implemented as planned. Both operators already include this tax in their prices.
DigiCell (by BTL) Edit
DigiCell is run by Belize Telemedia Limited (BTL), the leading state-owned telco in the country, that was re-nationalized in 2009. If you are holding a GSM device, you won't have another choice in this country.
Note, that BTL used to market its 3G/HSPA+ network as "4G". Real 4G/LTE started in 2016 nationwide on 700 MHz (band 17) and 1900 MHz (band 2). For their 4G/LTE access you'll need to get a new uSIM which can be swapped for free against an old SIM in one of their offices.
DigiCell sells their prepaid SIM Pack which includes an activated SIM card, phone number and $10 prepaid voucher in any BTL Customer Services Center, at authorized dealers and agents countrywide (list) at $20.
To activate insert your SIM into your phone, turn it on and DigiCell will appear on your screen. Load the value from your $10 card onto your account. You can make and receive calls immediately.
Data feature packages Edit
You have the choice of these packages for data on 2G, "4G" (= 3G) and 4G/LTE:
|225 MB||24 hours||$ 2.25||Data S|
|400 MB||3 days||$ 4.50||Data M|
|1 GB||7 days||$ 11.25||Data L|
|2.4 GB||30 days||$ 33.75||Data XL|
|5 GB||30 days||$ 45||Data XXL|
Taxes are included. For activation text code to 400. Activated prepaid data plans will expire either once data allowances are fully consumed or time allotted depletes. Customers are then able to purchase another plan. Notifications will be sent via SMS and email indicating data consumed at 80% and 100%.
More info Edit
- APN: digicellbroadband
- Website: http://www.digicell.bz
The only alternative is Smart! by SpeedNet Communications. They used to run a GSM-incompatible CDMA and EVDO network.
Smart launched the first LTE network in Belize in December 2015 over the B13 (700 MHz) band. Recognising the eventual deprecation of CDMA based networks and after years of delays, the company launched its 3G UMTS network in June 2017 over the B5 (850 MHz) band. 4G/LTE is on Band 13 / 700 MHz.
The 3G coverage enables them to accept and program phones that only use SIM cards to their network. However, they are still in the early stages of development and coverage is currently limited to all major highways and towns with expanded coverage in Belize City, San Pedro, San Ignacio, and Santa Elena.
SIM cards and reloads are available in their stores. The cost of a SIM card is $15. Each SIM comes with 1 GB of data and $10 credit.
Reloads are for $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100. To top-up up dial 120. All top-ups of less than $30 are valid for 30 days, of more then $30 for 90 days.
Data plans Edit
These prepaid packages are given out. Astonishingly they sell slightly different packs for 3G and 4G/LTE:
|3G Data Packages||4G/LTE Data Packages|
|160 MB||24 hours||$ 1||160 MB||24 hours||$ 1.25|
|625 MB||5 days||$ 6||650 MB||5 days||$ 7|
|1.2 GB||15 days||$ 12||1.2 GB||15 days||$ 14|
|2.8 GB||40 days||$ 35||2.8 GB||40 days||$ 39|
|6.2 GB||40 days||$ 50||6.5 GB||40 days||$ 59|
|14 GB||40 days||$ 105||15 GB||40 days||$ 109|
|29 GB||40 days||$ 150||30 GB||40 days||$ 159|
Taxes are included. For activation of MB-bundles call 638 and GB-bundles 3282.
More info Edit
- APN: smart.com.bz
- Website: http://smart-bz.com/