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. And Conekto offers Internet service to some of the more rural areas in Antioquia near Medellín.
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. And in 2019, the number of Internet users in Colombia has increased to an estimated 32 million.
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 recently moved to a casa (house) in Sabaneta and installed triple-play service from Claro with 30 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.
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 121,900 pesos ($36) per month in estrato 4, which includes:
- 10 Mbps Internet
- 100 regular TV channels + 60 HD channels
- Fixed line (fijo) telephone service with unlimited calls to fixed line phones
This promotion price is for the first year and then increases the following year. Claro offers Internet speed of up to 300 Mbps and triple-play service with this higher speed costs 422,900 pesos ($125) per month in estrato 4, which includes:
- 300 Mbps Internet
- 100 regular TV channels + 60 HD channels
- Fixed line (fijo) telephone service with unlimited calls to fixed line phones
In estrato 6, these prices from Claro increase to 161,900 pesos ($48) per month for triple-play with 10 Mbps Internet and 454,900 pesos ($135) per month for triple-play with 300 Mbps Internet.
Claro offers Internet speeds of 10 Mbps, 20 Mbps, 30 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 The Blacklist, NCIS, Criminal Minds, CSI and Law & Order Special Victims Unit.
We currently have Claro’s triple-play service with 30 Mbps Internet, two TV decoders for HD TVs and fijo phone services and we are very happy with it. Also, the Internet service from Claro over the past several years has been more reliable than my Verizon FiOS service was in the United States.
My Experience Signing Up with Claro as a Foreigner
In previous places we lived in Medellín our triple-play service from Claro was in my Colombian wife’s name. But when we moved in early 2019, we decided to establish service in my name.
I went to the Claro store in Mayorca mall. And it took less than an hour to wait in line and sign up for service. I needed my cedula and they ran a quick credit check and asked some questions.
Note that since I did this the Claro store in Mayorca no longer provides services, it only offers sales and the ability to pay Claro bills. So, to sign up for service you would need to go to the Claro store in another location such as Premium Plaza mall or Los Molinos mall.
Also, before I signed up I found that Claro offers a discount for triple-play service if you have a post-paid cell phone contract with Claro, which I do.
So, I was able to sign up for Claro’s triple-play service with 30 Mbps Internet, two TV decoders for two HD TVs and phone services for a total of 119,586 pesos ($37) monthly in estrato 3. Claro upgraded from 20 Mbps to 30 Mbps Internet speed for no additional cost and included a discount since I have a post-paid cell phone contract with Claro.
I went to the Claro office on a Saturday and the installation was scheduled for the following Tuesday. Claro showed up when they were scheduled and the installation took two hours, as they had to install new cables in the house.
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 133,435 pesos ($40) per month in estrato 4, which includes:
- 25 Mbps Internet
- 125 regular TV channels + 25 HD channels
- Fixed line (fijo) telephone service
Tigo-UNE offers Internet speed of up to 150 Mbps and triple-play service with this higher speed costs 359,976 pesos ($107) per month in estrato 4, which includes:
- 150 Mbps Internet
- 126 regular TV channels + 67 HD channels
- Fixed line (fijo) telephone service
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 for extra charges like HBO-MAX or FOX Premium.
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 in Medellín, as it uses ADSL technology that is limited to 15 Mbps and VDSL that is limited to 40 Mbps in Medellín. In some other cities in Colombia, Movistar offers higher speed due to having fiber optics.
Here is the price of Movistar’s triple-play services in Medellín with 10 Mbps Internet, TV with 80 channels and fixed line (fijo) telephone service in estrato 4 for 136,900 pesos ($41) per month
Movistar offers Internet speeds of 5 Mbps, 10 Mbps, 20 Mbps and 40 Mbps in Medellín. 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.
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 79 regular TV channels, 44 HD channels and 44 audio channels and the cost is only 55,000 pesos ($16) per month for one decoder. 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 with prices ranging from 101,800 to 282,600 pesos per month depending on the package and number of decoders. Here are the three DirectTV pospago plans:
- Access – with 79 regular TV channels, 40 audio channels and 45 HD channels.
- Silver HD – with 105 regular TV channels, 40 audio channels and 61 HD channels.
- Gold HD – with 125 regular TV channels, 40 audio channels and 72 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 155,900 pesos.
One drawback with DirectTV is the need to install a satellite dish, which may not be possible in some locations.
5. Avantel Home Internet
Avantel is a mobile operator in Colombia that offers home Internet via its 4G wireless network. This service installs a Wi-Fi router in a home, which has a SIM and connects to Avantel’s 4G network. In addition, the router must be located near a window for a better connection to the 4G network. If you live in an area without 4G services this isn’t an option.
Avantel offers three different speeds with its home Internet service:
- 3 Mbps – 90,000 pesos per month
- 4 Mbps – 120,000 pesos per month
- 5 Mbps – 150,000 pesos per month
The Aventel Internet services for the home is relatively expensive for slow speeds. But it provides an option for places that are not cabled with Claro, Tigo-UNE or Movistar service.
6. Conekto Internet Options in Antioquia
Conekto is a company that offers Internet services in rural and suburban areas on Antioquia. With Conekto you can get Internet at speeds of up to 10 Mbps. But their services are currently limited to the following areas:
- North of Medellín: Copacabana, Girardota, Barbosa and El Hatillo.
- East of Medellín: Guarne, Santa Elena, Marinilla, Rionegro and La Ceja.
- Southwest Antioquia: Caldas, Amagá, Titiribí, Tarso, Peñalisa, Puente Iglesias, Palermo, Thames, La Pintada, Damascus, Santa Barbara, Fredonia, Venice, Bolombolo and some other nearby towns.
Conekto uses microwave radio technology for its Internet services. And the installation includes an antenna and Wi-Fi router. Also, Conekto has no installation charge for homes but charges for installation for fincas and businesses. In addition, Conekto’s Internet service is month-to-month postpaid (pospago) but with no contract.
Conekto’s Internet is available in four speeds with the following monthly charges:
- 2 Mbps – 75,000 pesos for homes, 105,000 pesos for fincas and 157,500 pesos for businesses.
- 4 Mbps – 95,000 pesos for homes, 130,000 pesos for fincas and 195,000 pesos for businesses.
- 6 Mbps – 115,000 pesos for homes, 155,000 pesos for fincas and 232,500 pesos for businesses.
- 10 Mbps – 160,000 pesos for homes, 190,000 pesos for fincas and 285,000 pesos for businesses.
However, the microwave radio technology used by Conekto can be adversely affected by weather conditions and terrain. And the density and height of nearby trees can also affect reception.
7. 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 ($55) per month in Estrato 4, 5 or 6
- 30 Mbps download with 3 Mbps upload – 234,900 pesos ($70) per month in Estrato 4, 5 or 6
- 40 Mbps download with 4 Mbps upload – 288,500 pesos ($85) 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 may be 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 covered how to establish credit in Colombia in a separate article.
Also, the three main 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 over eight years ago, 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 much 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 just for Internet services in the U.S.
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).
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Editors note: completely updated this article originally published in January 2019 on May 24, 2019 with current pricing information, added my recent experience signing up for Claro triple-play service and added Conekto, which offers Internet services in rural areas of Antioquia.
Editors note: updated on May 31, 2019 with information that the Claro store in Mayorca mall no longer offers services, only sales.
Editors note: updated on September 9, 2019 to add Avantel’s home Internet option.