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Mobile Phones in South America

Travel Forums Central/South America & The Caribbean Mobile Phones in South America

1. Posted by Hayley99 (Budding Member 14 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

Hi all,

My boyfriend and I are travelling from Australia to South America in Feb next year for 3 months, can anyone help me out with what is the best option for mobile phones?

Is it best to take my Australian mobile phone and sim card (as long as it has international roaming) or purchase a cheap mobile and pre paid sim card in Brazil when we arrive? Does anyone know if that will help make calls cheaper?

We are travelling to Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Peru and want a reliable phone to call hostels etc and also to call home and home call us.

Thanks in advance for your help.


2. Posted by Sam I Am (Admin 5588 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

Taking your phone and sim card from home is convenient, but it will be quite expensive to receive and to make calls. If you buy a local Brazilian sim, you will at least be able to receive calls for free. Making calls locally will also be much much cheaper as you won't be roaming and I dare say calling home will also end up cheaper (although you often pay more per minute for prepaid cards to call abroad, you aren't roaming either).

As you're planning to travel to a few different countries, you'd actually need a sim card for each to really keep costs down, but that means a lot of upfront costs as well as a new number everywhere you go. One option would be a global or region specific phone card. Those are much cheaper than roaming with your home sim, but allow you to keep one number while you are travelling across countries. There's a link to a few different options on the brazil page linked above, but you could find more just doing a search on google. It's a pretty competitive market, so prices end up about the same no matter who you buy it through.

3. Posted by Piecar (Travel Guru 933 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

I'm in Chile now...It seems that you can buy a phone here and pay for the phone out chareges through a purchased card and code...Much the same as Colombia....I gotta guess it is cheaper than carrying a constantly roaming home phone.

4. Posted by Reece Sanford (Travel Guru 1368 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

Alot of tourists i noticed in South America use Skype which is so much cheaper for calling home.
Theres so many internet cafes and phone places that are pretty cheap all over.

As for booking hostels hardly anyone phones up as its so much more easier to use hostel booking websites on the internet.Using a mobile phone from home will cost you a fortune.

5. Posted by Hayley99 (Budding Member 14 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

thank you everyone for you help

6. Posted by pabloBA (Budding Member 6 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

Hi Hayley
I´m from BA, I just read your post. I recommend to you to buy a chep free cell phone available for any company in the world and get the chips in each country. In Argentina for example a free cell phone can cost 150 US dollars an the chip it cost 1,3 UD dollars, so you have your own cell phone available for all the countries no matter the company who provides the service.
About the hostels I can recommend a lot in Argentina, some in Chile and Brasil, depending where you going to.