Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Argentina: Staying Connected

You can get a prepaid Movistar / Claro / Personal SIM card for a few pesos / free at phone shops, all you pay is about 20 Pesos (about 7 USD) for your initial credits. Inserting the SIM card into your unlocked American mobile phone should work, although to register the SIM you have to enter your passport (or any 9 digit) number - you then have your personal Argentinean phone number, which is very useful to keep in touch with other travelers, either by calling or by writing text messages. Calls cost around 1 Peso per minute.

Receiving calls is usually free, except for international calls, and some cross network / inter-city calls - hence buying a SIM card purely to keep in touch with people overseas may not be worth it.

To reload you can buy small cards with secret numbers at many kiosks. Dialing *444, pressing 2 followed by 1, and entering the secret number does the trick.

Not related to mobile phones, there are similar cards with credits for international calls. You get them at so called 'locutorios', where you can also use the phone booths. You dial a free number to connect to the service, then your secret number for the credits, and then the international phone number you want to call. Using these cards, a one-hour call to USA will cost about 10 Pesos (3 USD). Don't call without such cards or even from your hotel - it will be way more expensive!

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