Is there a chance I can buy a cheap phone (and put some money on it) in Peru, so it will work in other countries such as Bolivia and Argentina? I'm not talking about technical issues, but about carrier issues? What phone carriers are in these countries and is there a "shared" carrier in these countries?

1 Answer 1


No each of these countries has a different set of carriers. Even where the name is similar such as Claro Peru and Claro Argentina the SIM chips do not work on each others networks.

However the solution is simple. Just buy a cheap unlocked phone here (most phones in South America that I have seen have been unlocked) and buy a new pre-paid SIM chip in each country. They usually cost a few dollars for the chip plus whatever phone credit you want for the chip. You might need to have your passport or national ID card with you when you buy a chip or have a local friend buy it for you. This wasn't required in Peru or Bolivia but was when I was in Brazil and might be in Argentina.

Personally I got a quad band phone that it could work in any country in the world but if you want to save on the phone you could get a dual band (GSM Frequencies: 850/1900) one that would in in South America and maybe a few other places. Nextel phones only work on their network.


  • Peru: Claro, Movistar, Nextel.
  • Bolivia: Entel, Tigo, and Viva.
  • Argentina: Claro, Movistar, Nextel, Personal.

You can find info on cell phone companies and bands in other North and South American countries here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_mobile_network_operators_of_the_Americas

  • Unlocked cellphones in peru are cheaper than in Argentina or Bolivia :D
    – Washu
    Commented Jun 12, 2013 at 20:26
  • I found cell phones to be similar price in Bolivia as to Peru, at least in the unofficial electronic flea markets in La Paz. Argentina is more expensive for most items, but especially electronics which are imported. The Peso exchange rate right now is also crazy with the official rate being twice the black market rate. I added some more carrier and band details to my answer above. Commented Jun 13, 2013 at 4:27
  • FWIW, I had to present a passport to get a chip in Peru (in 2015). Also to note, though hopefully it's not the same in other countries, but my Chile-purchased phone, which was "unlocked for all carriers" (required by law for all new phones since 2012) was actually only unlocked for all national/Chilean carriers. Peruvian chips weren't recognized, and I had to pay for an unlocking code to use it internationally. Commented Apr 1, 2016 at 21:29

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