Can Someone Please Explain Cell Phones To Me?

EstebanSoderbergh

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Hi, I looked back a few months in the forum and didn't find this info discussed, so apologies if I'm asking something that's been covered.

I'm trying to find out if someone can explain how pre-paid cell phones work here, because so far I have gone to half a dozen stores and spoken with my Arg friends and only wound up with more questions.

Basically what I'm looking for is a cheap phone that can do 3g / wifi (i.e. run Whatsapp), and, for example, the cheapest model that can do this on Movistar's website is about 700 pesos. I've been to four Movistar stores and what most of them are telling me is that they don't have the prepaid phones available right now and they don't know when they will. In the last one I went to I asked if they'd sell me the chip if I bought an unlocked phone and they said no, in order to get a prepaid chip you have to buy a phone too. I talked to some salesmen in electronics stores which sell phones from all the brands and they had no idea if it was like this with other carriers and were uninterested in selling me anything other than a contract.

Is this true for all carriers that I have to buy one of their special phones to use prepaid services? If not, where can I get the SIM and which carriers will it work for? Or would it be possible to buy one of the prepaid phones and put the chip in an unlocked phone?

I don't care what carrier at this point, I've been trying to get a phone for weeks now and it's driving me nuts. Thanks for you help.
 

gordita75

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Hey. All i can do is tell you about my experience, and i as i have been here only three weeks (this time around), i am sure i dont know 1/30949 of what the others know but until they respond, i'm all you got.

I brought my phone from the states. it is a smart phone. i have 'cancelled' my phone number in the states but even though i have cancelled it, i can use the wifi capability, on airplane mode, from any wifi cafe/bar/anything. I don't know if you have something like that or not- the reason i am saying this is that my phone buying experience is not one that involves a phone with wifi, which is what you are wanting.

i went to a little galleria by abasto (you can go anywhere with crappy phones in the window), and i bought a shitty old phone (camera, no wifi, think samsung a la 2001). It is unlocked already, all the shitty phones will be. Mine cost 120, maybe i got fucked, maybe not, i asked at about three different stalls in two gallerias. Included in the price I got the charger and a prepaid sim card. Even thought the phone itself when i turn it on says 'movistar' i am actually on a prepay with Personal. What this means is that i go to kioskos and i ask for prepay sms cards. You can buy the cards that allow you to make calls, this is more expensive, OR you can pay for cards which allow you to receive calls/texts for free but allow you only to send texts. This is what i am doing since i don't really need to make calls and texting is sufficent. For a 25 peso sms card i get 125 or 150 texts- it is not clear whether i get that number of texts to send or whether long texts take up more of the credit. I just add cards when i sense i am gettin low. It is key to do this as if you run out of credit completely, which i did, then you will have to buy another kind of sms card to get you out of the hole before yuo can get just the texting sms cards.

i hope this isn't totally unclear and that it may be semi helpful....
 

henryb

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If you just want a chip, you can buy one at almost any Kiosco or locutorio for $5-10 pesos. Normally they come pre-activated and registered to somebody elses name. Buy a Personal chip, call to *CLAVE (*25283) to set up your password for the voice mail that also works as a password for their website and you are set. 10Mb (yes, this is mega) for $1 peso per day, but probably this is enough for Whatsup application. If you spend 30 pesos per month, you can select another Personal number to call for free.

For Movistar, go to some central office. For example, the one on Santa Fe & Callao. They are supposed to have in stock everything that Movistar sells.

And any official cell phone location will sell you a chip in your name for prepaid service if you show them your passport. I don't know current prices, but I expect it to be less than 50 pesos. I think you are doing it in a wrong sequence. If you ask about a phone first, they are trying to convince you to buy a cell phone from them.
 

French jurist

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Is this true for all carriers that I have to buy one of their special phones to use prepaid services? If not, where can I get the SIM and which carriers will it work for? Or would it be possible to buy one of the prepaid phones and put the chip in an unlocked phone?

No, that's wrong. You can buy a SIM card for 5-20 pesos anywhere (if you are in the centro, go in front of the Retiro train station = plenty of choice). No need for a special phone or whatever.
You can get Personal, Movistar & Claro chips.

You even can bring an used 3G phone from abroad (just check the local network can be used) and it will work fine.
 

Rich One

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Suggest you go to TOPE cell store Av, Santa Fe 2367 ? and buy a Samsung Y Pro, or Ace tactile for $1200 to $1600 unblocked and they will provide a SIM of your choice for free...!! These phones do all you want.
 

PhilipDT

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I went into a Claro store yesterday on corrientes near Montevideo and asked for a prepaid sim, they asked for my passport number and charged me 30pesos for a prepaid chip with 25 pesos in credit.
 

bradlyhale

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PhilipDT, are you using their 1 peso/day data plan? If so, how would you rate it?
 

PhilipDT

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That's the plan, I want to use it for my iPad. Unfortunatly life has been a little crazy recently so I haven't gotten around to cutting it down to nano size and trying it out. I'll post an update tomorrow
 

EstebanSoderbergh

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Thanks for all the info guys, I think I finally have it figured out!

Tomorrow I'm going to buy this model: http://articulo.mercadolibre.com.ar/MLA-450412714-nokia-asha-201-libres-nuevos-facebook-whatsapp-tweeter-_JM

Then head over to Retiro to get a movistar prepaid chip. Does anyone have experience with them? Specifically, how do you activate the internet etc?
 

TomAtAlki

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I have Personel and an iPhone. I just do a soft reset and the internet starts to work. Bought my chip at Personnel on Honduras in Palermo Soto.
 
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