Argentina has three national operators:
- Claro (by América Móvil)
- Movistar (by Telefónica)
- Personal (by Telecom Argentina)
The coverage of all three providers are quite similar. 2G and 3G is on 850 and 1900 MHz, so users from Europe and Asia need a "US-band" device. 4G/LTE is on AWS (1700/2100) MHz. Avaliable for prepaid on Claro and Movistar.
Generally data is pretty slow and 3G coverage variable. In Argentina WiFi is much more popular and available almost everywhere. That's why all operators only offer small amounts and no big data packs. The first MVNOs started with Nuestro and Quam, now renamed in Tuenti móvil, but don't offer good data choices for visitors so far.
Availability and rechargesEdit
All three operators offer prepaid SIM cards (called 'chips' in Argentina) and can be bought in hundreds of shops around the city. They sell the chips at around $30-50.
Once the number is activated, which is instantly, you can charge your new chip/sim using prepaid cards or at any automated vending machines around the city. You will see signs with a legend like "Carga virtual", or look out for the orange vending machines in kiosk shops. You will be asked to enter your number, then you feed in bills up to the amount you want, and then click confirm. A small receipt is printed and you credit is added nearly instantly. You should receive an SMS confirmation with your new credit. Most will only accept cash. If you want to use a credit card go to a branded store or use the online option at the official website for the carrier.
All prices quoted in $ are in Argentine Peso (AR$), not US$. A special tax of 1% called ENARD (Ente Nacional de Alto Rendimiento Deportivo) must be added to all prices.
ClaroEditClaro is the market leader in Argentina with more than 20 million customers.
You can buy starter packs (chips) and recharge cards at Claro Customer Care Centres (shop locator), kiosks, pharmacies, service stations, supermarkets, any outlets or shops where you can see the logo of Claro. For 4G/LTE you'll need an Usim card, available only at Claro Customer Care Centres (see above).
They sell different chips for smartphones, tablets and computers (modems). Start-up price for the SIM card is around $50.
Default data ratesEdit
Right now, Claro doesn't have packages. All data is according to these rates:
- for smartphones:
- daily (0-24h) flat of 50 MB for $4 for Plan prepaguero tripilica
- daily (0-24h) flat of 50 MB for $3.15 in Plan prepago nacional
- for tablets: daily (0-24h) flat of 80 MB for $5.
- for modems: daily (0-24h) flat of 250 MB for $10
Once the quota is reached, speed will be reduced to 128 kbps. You can restart high speed volume up to 3 times a day by texting TURBO to 252. For this, the same amount will be deducted.
Data feature packs Edit
You can add the pack Internet 7 dias for 7 days and 50 MB per day at $23. Activation by *989# and option 2 or texting 'PACK7D' to 454.
- APN: igprs.claro.com.ar
- Username: clarogprs
- Password: clarogprs999
Chips and recharges are sold in their shops and outlets. They are also often available from kiosks for around $30 peso (though these are often re-used old number so you may have pre-exisited premium sms subscriptions. Register on the movistar site so you can check you are not losing credit). For recharges you are awarded bonuses: For $50-80 you get $30 and $100-180 you get $80 bonus.
Default data ratesEdit
They offer two prepaid plans:
- Plan Prepego Multiplicate: daily data pack at $3.90
- Plan Prepago Nacional: daily data pack at $3
Like Claro, Movistar has daily (0-24h) "flat" rates for prepaid called Internet día plus with 50 MB block that lasts untill midnight. If you exceed the 50 MB, you will recieve an automatic SMS to send back to 772 the word 'SI' for another 50 MB untill the 00:00. Once you have hit 50 MB in a single day, you will not be automatically billed any additional blocks. If you don't add further blocks then you still have internet access for the remainder of the day, but at a reduced speed of 32 kbps only.
Data feature packsEdit
They offer only one pack. For $19.90 per week you get 15 MB per day for 7 days. For overuse you can switch to the daily pack (see above). Activation by texting Internet to 2345.
- APN: wap.gprs.unifon.com.ar
- Password and Username: wap
Chips and recharges are sold in their shops and outlets (shop locator) and come with $10 credit after activation.
Default data ratesEdit
They have different prepaid plans on offer:
- Prepago Nacional: data $3.15 per day for 50 MB
- Personal con Tajeta: data $3.90 per day for 10 MB
- Plan Digital Tajeta: data $7.90 per day for 100 MB, renewal at $5.90
On all three plans they sell you packs for a calendar day until midnight. When used up, you can buy another daily pack or will be throttled to 32 kbps.
Data feature packsEdit
You can add the "Pack Simple" for "unlimited" internet within 7 days for $19.90 by texting ACT SIMPLE to 152 or the "unlimited" internet for 30 days for $59.90 by ACT INTERNET30 to 152. Speed will be reduced to 64 kbps when using more than 10 MB per day.
- APN: gprs.personal.com
- Username and Password: gprs
Tuenti móvil (formerly Quam) Edit
Tuenti móvil (formerly called Quam) is the biggest MVNO in Argentina, started at the end of 2013 as a subsidiary by Telefónica. It targets primarily young people and uses the network of Movistar. But foreigners should stay away from it (see below).
As a foreigner without a valid Argentinian ID (DNI) number, you will not be able to activate your SIM card. For activation a Argentinian DNI number is essential. So tuenti móvil is not recommended at this time.
Availablility Edit SIM cards are available online for free to be sent to an Argentinian postal address or at kiosks showing their logo for around $15. There, they sell recharges too. The chip can be activated online or by calling *999.
Data feature packs Edit Quam only offers two packages including data, domestic texts and domestic voice
Combo Semana: 7 days, 350 MB data, 3000 SMS, 25 minutes voice: $30
Combo Mes: 30 days, 1.5 GB data, 5000 SMS, 100 minutes voice: $90 Data speed is up to 384 kbps.
Technical Settings Edit
- APN: internet.movil
- Username and Password: internet
Nuestro was the first MVNO in the country at all. It uses the network of Personal (see above). SIM cards can be obtained in their shops (list). That's where you find their recharge vouchers of $20 or $30 too.
They have different plans called Hablemos Más or Tuyo. But they don't include data. In fact, they don't even sell data packages and data stays on all plans at a default rate of $0.005 per 5 KB.
- APN: gprs.nuestro.com
- Username: gprs
- Password: adgj