It’s said that the biggest fear one has it that of public peaking. For me, my biggest fear is not having cellular service, and not being able to connect while on the go.
So, how does one connect while in Argentina
Some quick tips to staying connected while on the go:
Major mobile phone providers include Movistar, Claro, and Personal. Visit one of their many customer service branches in major cities with an unlocked American or European mobile phone and buy a SIM card for about 10 or 20 pesos. The representative will sell you the card and insert it into the phone and register it using your name and passport number, to give you an Argentinian phone number. The next step is to load the phone with crs, which must be purchased at a “Locuritorio,” a common storefront business offering phone booths, internet and more. Present your new phone number and your pesos to purchase time — calls cost around 1 Peso per minute. These pay-as-you go SIM cards work for voice and text message, but not for data. For data you will need a plan and a contract, a much more complicated proposition.
However, wifi is widely available in cafes. Due to steep government duties, iphones and ipads are very rare in Argentina. We spent a bit of time trying to find a SIM for our iPhone 5 because it uses a nano-SIM that is much smaller than the standard. The company Personal was able to help us, with a special punch tool that cuts down the size of the chip to fit into the phone. Receiving calls is usually free, except for international calls, and some cross network / inter-city calls – hence to keep in touch with people abroad it might be best to get a virtual number service. Voice coverage is good but data is pretty patchy and unreliable even in places where it normally works.
OpenSignal provide Argentina coverage maps covering Buenos Aires and all the major cities, these are crowdsourced and impartial and allow to comparison of networks. 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 crs 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 crs, and then the international phone number you want to call.
Using these cards, a one-hour call to Europe will cost about ARS10 (USD3). Don’t call without such cards or even from your hotel – it will be way more expensive. The phone numbering plan in Argentina is hopelessly complicated for foreigners. Do check out the Wikipedia article about it to find out more. Directory Listing (The White Pages): 110 International Operator: 000 National Operator: 19 Collect National Calls: 19 from regular phones, *19 from public phones Mobile phone numbers start with 15 Regional code for Buenos Aires: 11 Other useful phone numbers include: Official Time: 113 Consumer Defence: +54 11 5382-6216/17 All 2 and 3-digit numbers are free, except the official time service (113). All 0800 numbers are toll-free numbers. Long distance calls from Argentina: You may use calling card, 0.18 Peso/min or 5.90 ¢/min for calling from Argentina to USA. Don’t even try using payphones.