RANT: Prepaid Mobile Data Limit In Argentina

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When traveling (means 100% of the time), I have come to rely mobile data a lot. Usually my first step when arriving to a country is to recharge/reactive an old SIM card or to buy a new one.

RANT Mobile Data In Argentina

I don’t usually care too much of the voice more than few minutes max when need to call a cab or hotel but data access is really important. If I know that I am in a country that has sometimes challenging internet connectivity at hotels, I subscribe to an adequate data pack.

This is not possible in Argentina, however. The data packs that are available for prepaid subscribers are extremely limited

There is a list of plans available on Wikia page here of which below is an excerpt:

Claro:

Right now, Claro doesn’t have packages. All data is according to these rates

  • daily (0-24h) flat of 50 MB for $4.40 for Plan prepaguero tripilica
  • daily (0-24h) flat of 50 MB for $3.33 in Plan prepago nacional

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.

Movistar:

They offer two prepaid plans:

  • Plan Prepego Multiplicate: daily data pack at $4.50
  • Plan Prepago Nacional: daily data pack at $3.33

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.

Personal

They have different prepaid plans on offer:

  • Prepago Nacional: data $3.33 per day for 50 MB
  • Personal con Tajeta: data $4.90 per day for 10 MB
  • Plan Digital Tajeta: data $9.99 per day for 100 MB

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.

Note that the price above are in ARS despite the $ sign. 1 USD is roughly 15 ARS.

I have used personal in the past and went to their shop on Buenos Aires. Wanted to buy that 100MB per day plan (yes – I do get that 50MB for $3.33 is cheaper) only to learn that it was no longer available.

Found the old SIM that doesn’t fit my new phone and they were then able to activate that old plan on a new SIM (makes very little sense).

Conclusion

These data prices are not high as 50MB is roughly 22 US cents. But why they cannot sell you a one gigabyte package for $5 (20 X 22 cents) or 2 GBs for $10  I probably would have bought two gigs due to issues with internet at some Argentinean hotels.

As a matter of fact, I had to leave Sheraton Mendoza and move to Park Hyatt because their internet was so unstable (and the Park Hyatt is Hyatt Regency in reality).

Let’s hope that the Argentinean operators would come up with better prepaid data plans with higher data allowances. I would think that when I power up the phone and use few apps the usual daily cap of 30 MBs is gone.

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