There are 4 mobile operators in Peru:
- Movistar Peru (by Telefónica)
- Claro Peru (by America Móviles)
- Entel Peru (formely Nextel)
- Bitel (by Viettel)
This is be added by MVNOs like Incacel which has started in 2016 can Cuy Móvil in 2019.
2G/GSM and 3G/UMTS are on 850 and 1900 MHz on the three major operators Movistar, Claro and Entel. 4G/LTE has started in 2014 in major cities on AWS frequency 1700/2100 MHz on Movistar and Entel and 1900 MHz on Claro and is already open for prepaid. Soon on all three operators the 700 MHz frequency (Band 28) will be added. Bitel has a limited 3G network so far on 900 and 1900 MHz and launched 4G/LTE on 900 MHz (Band 8).
As in many other countries, the incumbent operator Movistar offers the best coverage, but at higher rates. Claro as challenger has a heavy marketing footprint all over the country, while Movistar is less visible. Despite that, where there is Claro, there is always Movistar too. Either next door (literally) or in the same Claro-colored small shop/street vendor.
According to OpenSignal in 2019, average 4G coverage is 80-85% and download speeds of 14-18 Mbps on a national level.
In recent years the local regulator Osiptel backed by the Peruvian governement introduced a rigid registration scheme. Since 2015 operators are required to verify the identity of Peruvian citizens showing a local ID called DNI via biometric systems and only activate a line once the user's fingerprint matches that on record at the country's national ID register Reniec. Heavy fines have been imposed in 2015 to the operators for not complying in the past. These measures have been taken as the country has declared a state of emergency because of a crime wave involving undocumented SIM cards for kidnapping, blackmail and gang crime. These rules used to be bypassed by users activating their SIM card on behalf of some other's name. This was a common practice for years.
Visitors may encounter problems as some shops are not aware that foreigners can activate SIM cards through their passports. This is granted in Article 9E of the new law (see decreto), as obviously you don't have your fingerprints stored before in Reniec. You might bring a Spanish copy to a store, as often (now illegal) activations are made on local IDs instead, or shops will tell you that you can't get a SIM at all. The regulator suspended around 400,000 undocumented lines in January 2017, which are more than 15% of all prepaid users in the country. In 2017 more than 1 million lines were disconnected in total and at least another million in 2018.
The Peruvian black market
In spite of this, visitors can't help notice there is still a very visible black market on many market streets of Lima, Cusco and other towns for already pre-registered SIM cards called chips. They are sold for as low as S./5 and Claro vendors even sell them for free. The ambulantes (street vendors) can be easliy spotted for their vests with the logos of the providers and some of them even hold up signs (see details in this report in Spanish).
You should be aware that the Peruvian Government attributes anonymous SIM cards to the surge of "extortion crimes" hitting this country right now. In some high profile kidnapping cases, communication was done through anonymous SIM cards. The same gangs are linked to crimes to tourists when visitors were kidnapped to get their credit cards and extort their PIN numbers by torture.
While the vendors are poor chaps making a living of selling SIM cards, their business can't be possible without at least the approval of the operators. Police is also only watching these activites on open streets. That's why so far the Government has had little success in combatting un-authorized SIM cards. This WIKI will not tell you which way you should purchase your SIM card, but to be considerate of what you are doing. Without going the legal way, you risk suspension anytime. Some million undocumented SIMs were already blocked by the providers and the regulator.
One final word of warning: in the 1st quarter of 2016 alone over half a million phones have been reported stolen in Peru. This brings the total number for 2016 to around 2.2 million in a country of 30 million inhabitants. So be cautious when flashing your $500+ handset in public. In 2017 more than 1 million blacklisted devices were blocked by the operators.
The countries of the Comunidad Andina (CAN) Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru have agreed to implement a "roam like at home" scheme similar to the EU. From January 2022 operators must not charge additional fees for roaming between the bloc’s member states, and must apply the same tariff conditions that apply in the user’s home state for local outgoing calls, SMS and data.
Movistar in Peru, owned by Spanish Telefónica, is the biggest provider and market leader in the country. It has more than 1/2 of all mobile customers and the best coverage (coverage map). But this comes at the highest prices. Also, you should keep in mind when you are travelling overland between major cities many hours without any signal are common.
4G/LTE has started in 2014 on the AWS frequency of 1700/2100 MHz (band 4) and added 700 MHz (band 28) which is open to all prepaid tariffs. Movistar guarantees speeds of 5-130 kbps on 2G, 0.4-1 Mbps on 3G and 2-5 Mbps on 4G/LTE. They use carrier aggregation of both LTE bands in the capital for the highest speeds.
A SIM card called chip prepago is available for S/. 5 in their stores (store locator). Registration at a Movistar office is a little complicated and time-consuming: it takes around 30 minutes for the clerk to fill out all the forms for you and have you pay the cashier at a different counter. For convenience, ask the clerk to write down your phone number (even though it's somewhere on the paper that he will give you). It may take up to 24 hours until you new SIM card will connect to the network, other providers do this a bit faster.
Movistar stores don't sell credit for whatever reason. Corner convenient stores and many others stores and supermarkets sell prepaid value. A good way is to look for stores that have signs with Movistar logos and recarga hanging outside their storefront. There are two common methods of adding phone credit:
One way is to buy a tarjeta de Movistar – cards with prepaid credit sold in increments of S/.10 and S/.20 etc. To add phone credit using a tarjeta, scratch the metallic covering off to expose the hidden numbers, follow the direction on the back of the card to add credit, and then you’ll receive a SMS to confirm the purchase.
Another way to add phone credit is to do it paper-free at a store checkout by having your phone number and money on hand. Inform the person at checkout that you want to add phone credit: Movistar recarga; tell them the amount; and they’ll take care of processing the phone credit transaction. Similar to adding credit with a prepaid card, you’ll also receive a SMS to confirm that transaction at checkout.
Balance check is by typing *515# or calling 104.
Data feature packages
Default rate outside of packages is the daily rate or Tarífa diaria: For S/.1 you get 10 MB per calendar day. Having used up your 10 MB, you'll be notified and can decide, whether you buy another 10 MB pack for S/.1. So better disable cellular data and don't use any data before buying a data package as the data you may use in the meantime will consume a small amount of your balance and you may not be able to buy the package. International top-up agencies can do the transaction as well for a surcharge.
Movistar heavily advertises its Preplanes. That are combo packs with unlimited domestic voice and text and free unlimited use of Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, Waze, Instagram plus a data quota:
|500 MB||5 days||S/ 5|
|600 MB||6 days||S/ 6|
|700 MB||7 days||S/ 7|
|800 MB||8 days||S/ 8|
|1 GB||10 days||S/ 10|
|1.5 GB||15 days||S/ 15|
|2 GB||20 days||S/ 20|
|2.5 GB||25 days||S/ 25|
To activate a Preplan, dial *515# and choose option 2. To check balances enter *515# option 1. For more data you can add one of the data packages below. All Preplans auto-renew. Unused allowances roll over to the next period, if a new Preplan is added up to the volume of the last Preplan.
With or without a Preplan these data packages are offered:
|25 MB||1 day||S/ 1|
|200 MB||2 days||S/ 3||free WhatsApp|
|600 MB||4 days||S/ 5||free WhatsApp|
|1 GB||7 days||S/ 7|
|1.5 GB||7 days||S/ 10|
|2 GB||15 days||S/ 20|
|3 GB||30 days||S/ 30|
|unlimited||24 hours||S/ 5|
To buy a package, dial *515# and follow the menu options (first press 3 for "Promos INTERNET" then either choose a package or "4 mas" browsing through the packages with "mas". Their regular weekly packs are hidden behind semanal and monthly behind mensal. The larger data packages are in the monthly section. This means you need to put the SIM card in a phone to get the package you want, before using it with your tablet. All packages of 2 days and more contain free WhatsApp.
For social media they offer different daily packages at S./1 for each app: Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, Snapchat and Spotify.
- APN: movistar.pe
- Username: <blank> or: movistar@datos
- Password: <blank> or: movistar
- Website: http://www.movistar.com.pe
Claro is the big rival of Movistar in Peru. It has more than 1/3 of all mobile customers and only a slightly lower coverage (coverage map) at lower prices.
4G/LTE has started in major cities and is available on all prepaid plans. Unlike its competitors, Claro uses the 1900 MHz (band 2) frequency for it, which is more accessible to many devices from out of the US. In 2016/7 it added the 700 MHz (band 28) in Lima and 38 more towns for LTE. In and around Lima they have added support for 2600 MHz (band 7) 4G+ is available using both bands.
Their LTE coverage is on par and partly surpasses that of Movistar, if you don't have a device that carries band 4. However, you should keep in mind when you are travelling overland between major cities many hours without any signal are common.
Prepaid SIM cards can be purchased from any Claro store (store locator) for S./ 5. Standard SIMs are freely available, micro and nano SIMs can be found too. Foreigners can purchase a SIM card only through corporate-run stores by bringing a passport. The process will go as follow: take a ticket to speak with an agent, the agent will take a photocopy and fill out paperwork, pay for the SIM at the cashier, then SIM will be activated by the agent. At this point another visit to the cashier will be required to reload the SIM and then the various activation codes can be sent to activate the proper data feature packs. Activation and filling out paperwork takes about 15 minutes which seems a bit swifter than Movistar.
You can recharge it at their stores or many other kiosks or convenience stores throughout the country showing the Claro logo (see Movistar above). Furthermore, you can try their local top-up website if recharging or purchasing package for 20 soles or more, but they may still decline your international credit card. Instead, you can also use one of third party top-up sites such as clarorecargas.com which accepts these cards, but this can lead to very unfavourable exchange rates.
You get as a bonus:
- for a recharge of S/ 5: 3 hours of YouTube and Snapchat, 200 MB for 3 days
- for a recharge of S/ 10 or S/ 15 : 500 MB for the rest of the day, 300 MB for 7 day
To check your balance type *777# or send a text with “sal” or “saldo” to 777.
Data feature packs 
Default rate for data is S/ 1 every 20 MB, and expires at the end of day. Better subscribe to one of their data packages:
|unlimited||S/ 6||until midnight|
|200 MB||S/ 3||2 days||3S|
|650 MB||S/ 5||5 days||5S|
|1.5 GB||S/ 10||10 days||10S|
|2 GB||S/ 20||20 days||20S|
|3 GB||S/ 30||30 days||30S|
|14 GB||S/ 100||30 days||14G|
|40 GB||S/ 200||30 days||40G|
To activate, text code to 779 or type *779# <call> and choose package. All packages auto-renew. To stop text "SALIR" to 779. You can buy up to four packages but unused data volume will be lost after the time period.
Claro Peru users can use above data packs in other Claro networks in 16 Latin American countries without any additional roaming charge at the domestic Peruvian price called Sin Fronteras (without borders). That includes Mexico where Claro is marketed as Telcel, but excludes Bolivia where Claro does not operate. As Peru has lower date rate than neighbouring countries such as Brasil and Chile, it may make sense for travelers to keep using their Peruvian SIM there. This doesn't apply to voice and no other voice, combined, promotional or bonus package will apply while roaming.
To check your balance type *777# or send a text with “sal” or “saldo” to 777. You can check your feature pack data usage online on http://www.internetclaro.com.pe/.
- APN: claro.pe
- Username and password: claro
- Website: http://www.claro.com.pe
- Claro prepaid line roaming service only activated in 17 latin countries plus Canada and Italy. It can not be roaming in others countries at all.
entel (formely Nextel)
The Chilean market leader Entel bought Peruvian network Nextel in 2013 and changed its name to Entel in 2014. It's still building up its network and lacks the coverage of the big two providers, but can be reasonable if you stick to the cities (2G 3G 4G coverage map). Please note however coverage is very limited in the Loreto Department (Amazonas region). There is no (zero) siginal when travelling by boat between Yurimaguas and Iquitos.
4G/LTE has started in 2014 in Lima on the 1700 MHz AWS (B4) frequency and spread out to more places. According to OpenSignal's country report compiled in 2019, it's the best 4G/LTE network in the country what speed is concerned and matches Movistar's coverage of 85% covered by 4G networks.
Their prepaid SIM card for voice and data is available in their stores (store locator) and is called Prepago Power. It is sold for S/. 5 and comes with 150 MB data if you top-up at least S/. 3. They do some paperwork in the store and even take a fingerprint of you.
You can top-up in their stores or many supermarkets, pharmacies and service stations where you spot their logo. A top-up up to S./ 39 is valid for 30 days, beyond for 90 days.
For recharges they offer high bonuses:
- for a recharge of S/ 3: social apps + 50 MB for 1 day
- for a recharge of S/ 5: social apps + 150 MB for 3 days
- for a recharge of S/ 7: social apps + 200 MB for 4 days
- for a recharge of S/10: social apps + 300 MB for 7 days
- for a recharge of S/15: social apps + 500 MB for 7 days
Social apps are Instagram, SMS, Spotify, Facebook,Waze and WhatsApp
Data feature packages
Default rate without a data pack is S/ 0.25 per MB. These data packs called súperbolsas are offered:
|Unlimited||1 day||S/ 6|
|-||1 day||S/ 1||free Spotify, WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram|
|150 MB||1 day||S/ 3||free Spotify, WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram|
|1 GB||1 day||S/ 5|
|350 MB||2 days||S/ 5||free Spotify, WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram|
|650 MB||5 days||S/ 5|
|800 MB||5 days||S/ 10||free Spotify, WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram|
|1 GB||7 days||S/ 10|
|1.8 GB||12 days||S/ 20||free Spotify, WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram|
|3 GB||20 days||S/ 30||free Spotify, WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram|
|3 GB||30 days||S/ 30|
You can subscribe to these packages online on your account or by typing *144# <call> option 3 and choose the pack you want. You can buy several packs but data volume which is not used within the time period will be lost. For social media they offer:
- 1 hour for YouTube within 3 days: S/ 5
- Facebook for 3 days: S/ 5
- Netflix for 2 hours: S/ 5
- YouTube for 4 hours: S/ 5
In 2016 they started to offer a SIM card called Plan Turista aimed at tourists in some stores in Lima-Miraflores, Arequipa and Cusco. It's only available in a few stores shown here and comes in two sizes:
- 5 GB data and unlimited calls to the US, Canada, Chile and Peru for 7 days: S/ 67
- 10 GB data and unlimited calls to the US, Canada, Chile and Peru for 15 days: S/ 133
Beyond the quota, speed will be throttled to 256 kbps. You can restart the same package for the same price or you can add:
- 20 internatl. mins and 1.5 GB for 3 days: S/ 20
- 40 internatl. mins and 2 GB for 5 days: S/ 34
- APN: entel.pe
- Authentication: CHAP
- Website: http://www.entel.pe
Bitel is the latest arrival in Peru. They are the Latin American branch of Vietnamese army-owned Viettel and started in 2014 with an own network in the country. It's in a rather limited area (see coverage map) on 900 MHz and 1900 MHz. The rather unusal 900 MHz spectrum is used for 3G, added by 1900 MHz. In 2016 Bitel launched its 4G/LTE network through 1,750 4G base stations, covering 500 population centres on the rather unusual band 8 (900 MHz). It has a wide 4G coverage in Peru now, but focuses on rural areas which are not covered by other operators. So it's only recommended if you go to these places. In an OpenSignal test in 2019 speeds were much lower than on the other three networks.
Availability and recharges
Their prepaid SIM card is called BiFri and sold for S/ 1 in their stores (list) and outlets (list). Their base plan is called Sencillo. For activation you get S/ 5 for 210 and 30 days of free WhatsApp (no VoIP).
You can recharge your chip at Scotiabank and BCP banks, Repsol service stations, Inkafarma and Boticas de Salud pharmacies (map). You may also try an international credit card on their website, but some of them have been declined.
Credit and SIM validity is for 210 days without a recharge. Check balance by *121#. If you top-up S/. 3 every months, you will get free WhatsApp for 30 days.
Data feature packages
Data outside of packages is at S/ 0.005 per MB. Alternatively, the DataMax plans offer good rates:
|300 MB||2 days||S/ 2||5-1-1-1|
|500 MB||3 days||S/ 3||5-1-1-2|
|700 MB||4 days||S/ 4||5-1-1-3|
|1 GB||5 days||S/ 5||5-1-1-4|
|2 GB||10 days||S/ 10||5-1-1-5|
|4 GB||20 days||S/ 20||5-1-1-6|
|6 GB||30 days||S/ 30||5-1-1-7|
|10 GB||30 days||S/ 50||5-1-1-8|
|30 GB||30 days||S/ 100||5-1-1-9|
Activation is likewise by typing sequence after dialling *9090#. Check data balance by *122#.
During the validity period of the base packages, data volume can be added by sending a text containing package name to 164:
- DM1: 150 MB for S/ 1
- DM3: 512 MB for S/ 3
- DM5: 1 GB for S/ 5
- DM10: 2.5 GB for S/ 10
- DM20: 5 GB for S/ 20
In 2019 they also started a Tourist Plan. It comes in two sizes:
- US$ 10 or S/ 34: unlimited local calls, unlimited local SMS, 200 mins to USA, Canada or China, 4 GB data, free WhatsApp, Line, Facebook, Instagram for 30 days
- US$ 20 or S/ 68: unlimited local calls, unlimited local SMS, 200 mins to USA, Canada or China, 10 GB data, free WhatsApp, Line, Facebook, Instagram for 30 days
All overuse data are at S/ 0.10 per MB
- APN: BITEL
- Authentication: PAP
- Website: http://www.bitel.com.pe/
Inkacel (formerly Virgin mobile)
Inkacel run by a local company is the latest arrival in Peru. It uses the network of Movistar in 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE and is in negotiations with Bitel as second carrier: Coverage checker.
Virgin Mobile launched its service in Peru in 2016 becoming the country's first real MVNO. After only one year and without commercial success Virgin Mobile sold their brand in 2017 to Inkacel and left the Peruvian market again. They were only able to snap 0.16% of the mobile market. Inkacel took over their portfolio pretty unchanged.
The starter pack called chip is available for S/ 5 (official sales price) at their sales outlets (locator). It's not clear if a vendor will be able to register you without a local ID (DNI). You can find them too on the black market.
You can top-up S/ 0.50 to 200 at many pharmacies and supermarkets or online by credit card. Check balance by *505#.
Data feature packages
Data outside of packages is S/ 0.10 per MB. They offer 2 varieties of packs either combo packs called Inkaplan and short-term data-only packs called Bolsas. These Inkaplans are available and come with free WhatsApp and FB Messenger:
|20 MB||3 mins||3 days||S/ 1|
|120 MB||8 mins||7 days||S/ 3|
|300 MB||10 mins||10 days||S/ 5|
|700 MB||20 mins||30 days||S/ 9.90|
|1.5 GB||100 mins||30 days||S/ 19.90|
|3.5 GB||unlimited||30 days||S/ 29.90|
To activate, dial *503# and option 3. Messengers are without VoIP use. All plans auto-renew. All talk time is to all domestic networks. These Bolsas are sold:
- S/ 1: 50 MB for 3 days
- S/ 3: 300 MB for 7 days
- S/ 5: 450 MB for 10 days
- S/ 9.90: 1 GB for 30 days
- S/ 15: 1.5 GB for 30 days
Activate package by *505# and option 3. All packages auto-renew. To stop, dial *505#. All allowances are domestic only. Unused allowances of the Antioplanos roll over to the next month, if a new package ist bought.
- APN: virginmobile.pe
- internatl. roaming is not included
- Website in Spanish: https://www.inkacel.com/
Cuy Móvil (and PeruSIM)
Cuy Movil launched in 2019 over the Claro Peru network in 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE as a MVNO. The youth-orientated operator received a licence from the Ministry of Transport and Communications (MTC). It expects to sign up 40,000 customers within its first year of operation filling the gap that tuenti has left.
Note that Cuy Móvil is not real prepaid, but needs to be linked to a credit card, but can be discontinued at any time. It's managed through their app available in App and Play Store.
SIM cards called chips are available through the internet. But foreigners may face problems registering them without a local ID by app. It's better to go to one of their customer centers in Lima and a few other towns (locator).
Without any recharge the SIM will be maintained for 4 months before deactivated. Recharges are available by credit card from S/10.
Note that no international roaming is supported so far and Cuy Móvil only works in Peru.
Data feature packages
These monthly data packs are offered and include unlimited Facebook and WhatsApp use:
- 1 GB: S/ 12.80
- 5 GB: S/ 27.80
- 10 GB: S/ 47.80
- 20 GB: S/ 84.90
For S/ 2.90 more you get 100 domestic minutes and for S/10 unlimited domestic voice instead. All plans auto-renew and can be activated, changed, checked and cancelled by their app.
PeruSIM is a sub-brand of Cuy Móvil on Claro network dedicated for tourists visiting Peru. Instead of purchasing it the usual way, PeruSIM can be ordered online through their website before arriving to Peru payable by PayPal.
Once in Peru, travelers may just go and pick up their SIM card from a Cuy Store in cental Miraflores district of Lima or can arrange for their SIM card to be delivered to their hotel for an extra fee. You may also find their SIM cards in a few hostels and hotels around Lima where you can directly purchase and activate your SIM card. Top-ups can be made through the PeruSIM app payed with a debit or credit card.
Note that they charge about 2.5 times as much for their extra service compared to regular SIM cards:
- 2 GB: US$ 9.95
- 5 GB: US$ 19.95
- 10 GB: US$ 34.95
All of the plans include unlimited local calls and text. They also include free apps: Facebook photos, Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. The free apps don't consume data from your data plan and last for 30 days from the day of activation.