I'm heading to BsAs in January and planning to stay 3 - 4 months. I have a T-Mobile Dash (GSM, quad band) that I think I can unlock to use any SIM card. Any suggestions on how to get a local phone number and prepaid SIM? Which companies have the best service, rates, etc?
I've only used movistar which I had luck with or should I say, good service. I moved from BsAs to another city and was able to get a new SIM at one of their main phone offices. Not a sales store, but the office where people go to pay their bills. They were friendly and helpful. Service in english and they didn't charge me for changing chips (on a phone I bought from them).
There are several other big cellphone companies to choose from since cellphones are almost the lifeblood of Argentine (social) life. I would look into something that would let you roam around the country since, let's face it, you'll want to roam at some point.
It's also fairly cheap and easy to buy a "pay as you go" phone as well. Something small that can be taken to a club and easily replaced if it goes missing (as they tend to do). Mine cost about 130 pesos and then you buy time credits.
An important point about phone credits is to add credits every month, even if you haven't run out. With my phone, if you didn't add any credits within 30 days from the last credit, all previous credits on your phone start to disappear.
The easiest way to buy phone credits is through internet shops. They have a computer connection with the phone company and will credit your account to almost any amount. Next best are the phone cards which you can buy anywhere. You scratch the back like a lottery ticket and it has a code, which you punch into your phone after calling a number on the card.
Great info! Thanks Bill.
With pay as you go service, how many pesos per minute do you end up paying?
Also - I want to use my phone as my calendar, address book and if possible, for email & web browsing. With T-Mobile up here, I pay a flat amount for data service. Do you know if Movistar offers data plans under their prepaid service? I tried looking on their site but couldn't tell.
I have a Movistar PAYG chip in an unlocked phone (Nokia N95) I bought with me and use it for email checking when I'm not in front of the computer and occasional web browsing in the line at the supermarket, google maps etc. With two of us using it, we usually put on 30 pesos a month, which gets bumped up to 45 as you get 15 free, and if it's doble dia it's bumped up to 60. I very, very rarely need to put more than this, but we don't make an awful lot of calls on it either. After the month is up, the credit left over is locked until you top up again, but as long as you don't leave it too long you won't lose that credit. If you put less than 30, it lasts less than a month before you have to top up again.