ETAPA phone service is the only landline telephone service in Cuenca, so if you don't like using cell phones, ETAPA is your communications lifeline.
Unlike what most North Americans are used to, you pay a low monthly fee (very low) and then pay per call (also very low).
For residential use, the stated prices are:
However, there are a few deals that have been in place for several years:
So the most expensive package (if you use fewer than 701 minutes per month) is $4.31 plus a maximum of $3.50 for the local calls, for a total of $7.81 plus tax.
Of course, if you use more than 700 minutes, the price will be higher. But regardless of how much you talk, it's an excellent deal compared to phone bills in North America!
If you have a disability or are over 65, you'll receive a 50% discount of the basic service (not the local calls), which will save you a maximum of $2.40 a month. You need to be a permanent resident to receive the discounts, and you'll need proof of age or disability.
In addition, the installation fee is $90 for residential lines.
If you want to see it all in writing, more details are available at www.etapa.net.ec/Telecomunicaciones/tel_telfij_tar_pro.aspx. This page is all in Spanish, so you may need someone to translate it for you.
As with other countries, long distances charges are separate, although you'll receive them on the same bill.
At the time of writing, calls to the US, Canada and Mexico are $.12 a minute. For the rest of the world, prices range from $.24 per minute to $.30 per minute. Except for Cuba, where the cost is $1.15 per minute.
If you want to see the most current long distance charges, you'll find them at www.etapa.net.ec/Telecomunicaciones/tel_telint_tar_pro.aspx. This page is also all in Spanish, so you may need someone to translate it for you.
If you bank at Banco Bolivariano or Banco de Guayaquil, you can pay your bill online. Otherwise you'll have to pay in person. Here's a list of payment locations for your phone (and water) bill.
You will not receive a bill in the mail. Every month you'll need to remember to take the previous bill (or have your account number written down or stored in your cell phone) to one of the payment offices and pay your bill. They'll print out the new one and take your money.
If you don't do this, you'll likely have a notice sent to you stating that your phone will be cut off in 24-48 hours if the bill isn't paid. Don't delay, as ETAPA does cut off phone service.
Plus you'll discover that you're paying interest (not much) and a delivery charge for the notice (again, not much). But why pay what you don't need to pay?
Regardless of how much you talk, the ETAPA phone service is a great deal, especially if you prefer not to use a cell phone on a regular basis. (We think you should always have one for emergencies here in Ecuador.)
Just pick the plan that's right for you, and start calling. And remember to pay your bill on time.
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I just want to thank you both soooo much for creating this web site. I am originally from Cuenca but moved to New York 11 years ago and have not being back since. My husband and I are planning on visiting Cuenca over the Summer and this web site has helped me a lot.
When I came to the US we still had the "sucre," the bus ride cost 1,000 sucres and a pack of trident gum would cost 3,000 sucres. I am very nervous to go back, but thanks to your web site I now know what to expect.
My husband is American and Captivating Cuenca has taught him a lot about what my great city has to offer, things that I had forgotten about myself! :)
Thank You both so much! I cannot wait to visit Cuenca!!