Claro services contract versus prepaid

Some of my friends have contracts with Claro and all seem to pay much more than I do for Claro's services. Considering the quality of thier service I wanted to show just how cheap it can be to use Claro without the hassles of a contract.

I use Claro's prepaid internet, and cell service. I have a contract for their cable but only because pre-paid is not offered (the cable has been out since about 2 pm this afternoon by the way).

Cell Phone: I pay 50 Cordobas every ten days. I typically use chat as people cannot understand my Spanish on the phone anyway, but I can make calls if needed because there is typically a bonus offered by Claro when purchasing minutes.

Internet: I pay 25 Cordobas on the days I want to use the internet. I get 12 hours of airtime. Sometimes I reach my data limit before the 12 hours are up, but not usually. I am on the internet maybe 3 days a week.

Cable: I use to pay 200 Cordobas a month, but I requested Claro cancel my cable which they haven't done yet. But lets go with 200 Cordobas a month.

Cell Phone: 50 cords every 10 days ($2 X 3 times a month = $6.00 a month)

Internet: 25 cords x 12 days a month = about $12 dollars a month

Cable 200 cord a month ( about $8.25)

That's a grand total of about $26.25 a month.

Given how cheap it can be and the quality of service Claro has why do people sign a contract with Claro for anything?

Is there a legitimate reason to contract with them? Maybe a business need?

1st Capt. Ron

(Title by Miskito Alan)

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Pre-pago Internet's horrible for heavy usage

Claro prepaid Internet is great if you're a light or casual user -- especially since you can take advantage of the x3/x4/x5 promotions to get a really sweet deal.

But problems arise if you need a consistent, fast connection for heavy usage. If you watch videos, do a lot of Skyping/video-conferencing, download or upload lots of large files, or essentially do any kind of work which requires regular online access, then fixed Internet is a must-have.

I have Claro's 5 Mbps down/1 Mbps up DSL, and that's just barely enough. But I get consistent service, good bandwidth, and no data limits. I tried the prepaid approach first, and it just didn't work.

One of the worst things that would happen was I'd be on a call, I'd start to approach my data limit, and I couldn't re-up my data allotment until my current allotment ran out. Once I hit my limit, I'd get disconnected, have to re-up my account via SMS, and then wait 5-10 minutes before I could reconnect. That's just not acceptable in a business environment.

The prepaid 3G/4G modem also had far more variable connection speeds and higher latency, both of which are bad for online voice and video communication.

how often

do you have service outages? I only ask because it sounds like Claro is working good for you.

1st Capt. Ron

(Title by Miskito Alan)

I've only had one service

I've only had one service outage as far as I know. I've had a couple of times during peak evening hours when speeds dropped off quite a bit, but that's been pretty uncommon and I only need top performance during business hours anyway.

Electrical outages have been a bigger issue for me. In that case, I have a pre-pago modem I use if I need to get something really critical and time sensitive done.

I have a fixed land line with Claro...

that includes Internet and 100 minutes to the USA/Canada for about $35 per month plus costs for extra calls to cellphones. (Which can add-up!)

I decided to skip the cable as most of the channels are the typical junk programming and I have heard it is out of service fairly often.

With VPN and Netflix you can legally download all the movies and TV shows you might actually like to watch, which seems to work fine for me.

For cellphones I have Movistar pre-paid which is okay, especially if you only buy minutes when they are cuad- or quint-uplicating the airtime.

Doors of hope fly open when doors of promise shut. -Thomas D'Arcy McGee

Do You Have

additional VoIP on the internet connection,, like Magic Jack or Vonage ?

I have a couple of 800 numbers that I was going to move down once I got "established" and people in the US had some reason to call me. They are Sprint overlays that can be put on any US or Canadian number.

The 800 numbers only cost me $5/ month and .05 / minute. Everyone has free long distance these days, but there is still something comforting about an 800 number to first time callers. It gives you presence and credibility.

I wish someone would parse all the information that shows up on NicaLiving, for the gems, and put it in one place, like "Retire & Invest in Nicaragua". Less guidebook, more nitty gritty.

I have all of my phone

I have all of my phone numbers pointing to one Google Voice number. All of my US/Canada calls are free, and international calls are cheap ($0.02-$0.03 per minute for major, OECD countries).

I have this little gem: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004LO098O/ref=oh_details_o01_s00_i01 -- which makes it possible to use a real telephone handset with my Google Voice number. The Google Voice number also forwards to my cell phone over its data connection (either wireless or 3G/4G) through the GrooVe IP Android app.

I'm sure Phil could hack together something better using open source Linux goodies and SIP this and VoIP that, but what I have works well enough for me.

Having a Skype Number (a call-in number) also works well. You can set that up so it rings a handset, your cell, and your computer whenever someone calls. Using Skype Numbers, Skype Manager, Skype Connect, and some optional hardware, you can even set up a low-cost international mini-call center.

If you want to do business with the developed world from Nicaragua, I highly recommend you get in touch with an IT consultant who specializes in that. For a few hundred dollars up front, you can save thousands of dollars in the long run. (And no, I don't do IT consulting anymore but used to, and I can speak from experience that the right telecom technology mix makes all the difference in the world.)