There are three major Internet and cable TV providers in Medellín, which offer triple-play Internet, TV and phone services: Claro, Tigo-UNE and Movistar.

Also, for TV services there is the option of DirecTV, which includes Internet in some metropolitan areas in Colombia. In addition, HughesNet offers satellite Internet services in Colombia.

In Colombia in 2017, there reportedly were over 28.5 million Internet users in a country with a population of nearly 50 million. The majority of these Internet users in Colombia are mobile with less than 8 million in Colombia with broadband connections in 2017.

In my first apartment in Colombia over eight years ago, I had triple-play service from UNE, which is now named Tigo-UNE after a merger. Claro or Movistar weren’t available in that building.

However, the service from UNE was unreliable and made it difficult to work from home. So, when I moved I switched to Claro, which has much more reliable service in my experience.

We currently have triple-play service from Claro with 10 Mbps Internet, TV service for two TVs with several HD channels, and fijo (fixed-line) phone service.

Several Medellin Guru readers asked about Internet and Cable TV providers in Medellín. So, this is our up-to-date guide to Internet and Cable TV providers in Medellín and how to sign up.

The Claro store on the third floor in Los Molinos

The Claro store on the third floor in Los Molinos

1. Claro’s Triple-Play Service – Medellín Internet and Cable TV Providers

Claro is the brand used by Mexico-based América Móvil in Colombia and many other countries in Latin America. In addition, Claro is the largest telecommunications provider in Colombia.

In addition, Claro has the highest market share in Colombia for fixed broadband Internet with a market share of about 33 percent.

Claro currently has a promotion for triple-play service for 117,900 pesos ($38) per month in estrato 4, which includes:

  • 10 Mbps Internet
  • 99 regular TV channels + 50 HD channels
  • Fixed line (fijo) telephone service with unlimited calls to fixed line phones

Claro offers Internet speed of up to 300 Mbps and triple-play service with this higher speed costs 418,900 pesos ($134) per month in estrato 4, which includes:

  • 300 Mbps Internet
  • 99 regular TV channels + 50 HD channels
  • Fixed line (fijo) telephone service with unlimited calls to fixed line phones

In estrato 6, these prices from Claro increase to 155,900 pesos ($50) per month for triple-play with 10 Mbps Internet and 450,900 pesos ($144) per month for triple-play with 300 Mbps Internet.

Claro offers Internet speeds of 10 Mbps, 20 Mbps, 40 Mbps, 100 Mbps, 150 Mbps, 200 Mbps and 300 Mbps, with all speeds offered in all estratos.

Also, Claro also has additional TV channel packages available for additional costs.

Claro’s basic TV channel package includes several movie channels and program channels with English language options and several news channels in English are available. I regularly watch several popular series from the U.S. including NCIS, Criminal Minds, CSI and Law & Order Special Victims Unit.

We currently have Claro’s triple-play service with 10 Mbps Internet, 2 TV decoders and phone services and we are very happy with it. Also, this Internet service from Claro over the past several years has been more reliable than my Verizon FiOS service was in the United States.

Tigo-UNE store in Florida Parque mall

Tigo-UNE store in Florida Parque mall

2. Tigo-UNE’s Triple-Play Service – Medellín Internet and Cable TV Providers

Tigo is the local brand of Sweden-based Millicom and merged with UNE in 2014. So, the company now uses the Tigo-UNE brand in Colombia.

In addition, Tigo-UNE is the second largest broadband Internet provider in Colombia with a market share of about 24 percent.

Tigo-UNE currently has a promotion for triple-play service for 124,504 pesos ($40) per month in estrato 4, which includes:

  • 10 Mbps Internet
  • 90 regular TV channels + 17 HD channels
  • Fixed line (fijo) telephone service with unlimited calls to fixed line phones

Tigo-UNE offers Internet speed of up to 150 Mbps and triple-play service with this higher speed costs 359,976 pesos ($115) per month in estrato 4, which includes:

  • 150 Mbps Internet
  • 134 regular TV channels + 74 HD channels
  • Fixed line (fijo) telephone service with unlimited calls to fixed line phones

Tigo-UNE offers Internet speeds of 5 Mbps, 10 Mbps, 25 Mbps, 50 Mbps and 150 Mbps.

Also, Tigo-UNE has additional TV packages available like HBO/MAX for 31,307 pesos or FOX Premium for 31,307 pesos in estrato 4.

The Movistar store in Premium Plaza Mall

The Movistar store in Premium Plaza Mall

3. Movistar’s Triple-Play Service – Medellín Internet and Cable TV Providers

Movistar is the brand used by Spain-based Telefónica in Colombia and many other countries in Latin America.

In addition, Movistar is the third largest broadband Internet provider in Colombia with a market share of about 19 percent.

Movistar offers triple-play services. But Movistar offers slower Internet speeds, as it uses ADSL technology that is limited to 15 Mbps and VDSL that is limited to 40 Mbps.

Here are the prices of Movistar triple-play services with Internet, TV with 54 channels and fixed line (fijo) telephone service with unlimited calls to fixed line phones in estrato 4:

  • 10 Mbps Internet triple-play – 129,900 pesos ($42) per month
  • 20 Mbps Internet triple-play – 146,900 pesos ($47) per month
  • 40 Mbps Internet triple-play – 174,900 pesos ($56) per month

Movistar offers Internet speeds of 5 Mbps, 10 Mbps, 20 Mbps and 40 Mbps. But 5 Mbps is only offered in estrato 1 or 2. And 10 Mbps, 20 Mbps and 40 Mbps are only offered in estratos 3 to 6.

Also, Movistar currently has a special where if you buy 5 Mbps you get 12 Mbps and if you buy 10 Mbps you get 15 Mbps.

DirecTV stand in Mayorca mall

DirecTV stand in Mayorca mall

4. DirecTV Options in Colombia

DirectTV offers satellite TV services and in some parts of Colombia offers satellite TV services along with Internet services. DirecTV uses third party Internet service providers to offer its Internet services in Colombia.

Unfortunately, per their website, DirecTV doesn’t look to offer Internet services in Medellín. But where DirecTV has Internet available in Colombia, they offer Internet speeds of 2 Mbps, 4 Mbps, 6 Mbps, 10 Mbps and 20 Mbps.

DirectTV offers prepago (pay in advance) and pospago plans in Colombia.

DirectTV’s prepago plan includes access to 71 regular TV channels, 39 HD channels and 40 audio channels and the cost is only 49,900 pesos per month. Also, there are add-on prepago packages including a kid’s package with 6 channels for 7,000 pesos per month and a sports package with 5 channels for 7,000 pesos per month.

DirectTV’s pospago plan in Colombia has several packages available, including:

  • Access – with 75 regular TV channels, 40 audio channels and 40 HD channels.
  • Silver HD – with 97 regular TV channels, 40 audio channels and 57 HD channels.
  • Gold HD – with 119 regular TV channels, 40 audio channels and 64 HD channels.

In addition, DirectTV has several add-on packages, including:

  • HBO Max with 9 channels for 33,900 pesos per month.
  • FOX Premium with 12 channels for 33,900 pesos per month.
  • TV Globo from Brazil with 1 channel for 30,500 pesos per month
  • Zee TV from India with 1 channel for 29,600 pesos per month.
  • NHK from Japan with 1 channel for 32,900 pesos per month.
  • NBA League Pass with 2 channels for 294,000 pesos.
  • MLB Extra Innings with 3 channels for 151,900 pesos.

One drawback with DirectTV is the need to install a satellite dish, which may not be possible in some locations.

HughesNet satellite Internet dish, photo by Tony Webster

HughesNet satellite Internet dish, photo by Tony Webster

5. HughesNet Internet Options in Colombia

HughesNet offers satellite Internet in Colombia. Since HughesNet uses satellites it is available in both urban and remote areas of Colombia.

HughesNet options in Colombia include:

  • 20 Mbps download with 2 Mbps upload – 181,400 pesos ($58) per month in Estrato 4, 5 or 6
  • 30 Mbps download with 3 Mbps upload – 234,900 pesos ($75) per month in Estrato 4, 5 or 6
  • 40 Mbps download with 4 Mbps upload – 288,500 pesos ($92) per month in Estrato 4, 5 or 6

Note that these HughesNet plans have monthly data limits, which are 10 GB for 20 Mbps, 20 GB for 30 Mbps and 30 GB from 40 Mbps. If you exceed the data limit in a month, your Internet speed is reduced by 1 to 2 Mbps. Also, you get a bonus of 50 GB of data each month to be used between 2 am and 8 am.

A major benefit of HughesNet is that it works in remote areas of Colombia where Claro, Tigo-UNE and Movistar don’t offer service.

However, one downside of Internet via satellite is that it suffers from latency since it takes extra time for data to get from your computer to the satellite and to the destination and back. So, certain types of activities (like serious gaming) are off the table with a satellite connection.

Also, another downside of Internet via satellite is that heavy thunderstorms may result in intermittent connectivity or a temporary loss of connection. And similar to DirectTV, HughesNet requires the installation of a satellite dish, which may not be possible in some locations.

How to Sign Up for Internet and Cable TV Services in Medellín

Tigo-UNE is available in most apartments and casas (houses) in the Medellín metro area. And Claro and Movistar are not available in every building. If you want to use Claro, make sure it is available in your apartment or home.

Claro, Tigo-UNE and Movistar have stores in most of the malls in Medellín where you can sign up for services. DirecTV also has booths or stands in some malls.

All the providers frequently run promotions to sign up new customers. The discounted promotion rates are typically for a year and then increase to the regular rate. And when you move you can sign up with a new discounted rate as if you are a new customer.

When you sign up for triple-play services or just Internet services, the provider will schedule an installation time. And when they come out for the installation they will run cables where needed. But there is normally a separate installation charge.

To sign up for Internet and cable TV services in Colombia with most providers requires a cedula. I asked Claro, Tigo-UNE and Movistar and none of them will accept passports to sign up for service. In addition, you also need some credit established in Colombia with your cedula. We plan to cover establishing credit in a separate article.

Also, these three providers (Claro, Tigo-UNE and Movistar) will not accept a deposit for establishing service. However, you can get DirecTV service without a cedula.

When I first started living in Medellín, I didn’t have a visa or cedula. So, to establish Internet and cable TV services with UNE, I had to get a Colombia friend do this in his name.

Watching TV on the Internet in Colombia

Some expats I know in Colombia just get Internet services and watch TV on the Internet. These expats use streaming TV options like Amazon Prime, Apple TV, Netflix or Sling TV, which require a high-speed Internet connection.

However, some of these streaming options may require setting up a VPN to give you an IP address in the U.S. to fool sites that are blocked or censored if you have an IP address in Colombia.

Internet and Triple-Play in Other Cities in Colombia

Claro, Tigo-UNE and Movistar all offer Internet and triple-play services in many cities in Colombia.

However, some other cities have other providers. For example, Cali has EMCALI, which offers Internet speeds of up to 100 Mbps. And Bogotá has ETB, which offers Internet speeds of up to 150 Mbps. Also, Bucaramanga has Telebucaramanga with reportedly Internet speeds of up to 20 Mbps.

The Bottom Line: Internet and Cable TV Providers in Medellín

With competition between the top Internet and Cable TV providers in Colombia, Claro, Tigo-UNE and Movistar frequently have promotions for triple-play services.

Prices in Colombia for Internet and cable TV and triple-play services are lower than in the U.S. For example, I am playing less in Colombia for triple-play services (Internet + TV + phone) than what I was paying in the U.S. for only Internet services.

Most important for me is reliable high-speed Internet. And I have found that Claro is very reliable. Also, we also use our fijo fixed-line telephone frequently to call for taxis and for home delivery (domicilio).

In addition, we previously provided a comprehensive guide to buying and using cell phones in Colombia. And we looked at the 20 best mobile apps to use in Medellín and how to make international calls.

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