With 17.3 million active mobiles (that’s more than one per person), demand for mobile contracts far outstrips that of fixed lines. This makes the market more competitive and brings costs down.
You can pick up an Ecuadorian SIM card just about anywhere. Kiosks, mobile phone shops and many cabinas telefonicas sell them. You should also be able to recharge your credit at the same shop and in theory, providing your phone is unlocked, get started with a network as soon as you arrive.
CNT offer a $0.10/min rate to any number in Ecuador, Colombia, Peru, the US or Canada; while Claro allow you to choose five frequently called numbers for a special rate. Movistar offer calls to other Movistar mobiles for $0.09/min.
All of the above operators offer post-pay plans, and each has an array of different options when it comes to minutes and data allowances. Some plans might be worthwhile if you call home frequently as you can get free minutes or reduced rates. Check out the companies’ websites to get a better idea of their plans, though deals can often be negotiated if you go in person to their shops.