Getting a Bolivian SIM Card With 500MB of Data for ~$4
Update: Turns out all these packages are only good until 6am next day, blame my broken Spanish. Just load up with 30-50bs and order 55mb a day for 2bs. Before bed, turn off the data and when you wake up, re-order. If you don’t turn off, not end of the world but data gets eaten up quickly when you’re not on a plan.
The wifi everywhere I’ve been in Bolivia is quite weak to say the least so I decided to take matters into my own phone, so to speak. We’re going to discuss how you can get a SIM card and data plan with 500MB for under $4US. It took me a bit of charades and figuring it out as my Spanish is decent for basics but this was a bit of an odd request.
The SIM card from TIGO will cost you 5BS and if you have a new smart phone aka one that takes a micro chip you’ll need to get that sorted. I found a shop that turned the regular card into a micro one for 10BS; they used a file and it was totally worth it. I tried doing this procedure numerous times while in Tanzania with a kitchen knife with disastrous results.
So now you have your SIM card and it’s in your phone all for 15BS.
This is the odd part, you need to register your SIM card but supposedly a passport is no good. The lady at the store asked if I had any ID or passport to which I replied “no”. Turns out I did have my passport so when I remembered I told her and she said it didn’t matter as you need a national id or a military id and no option for a passport. She then said she’d just enter her info and just like that, registered.
I suggest you ask and good chance they’ll do the same for you and figure out a way to get you going.
Buy a 10BS top up voucher and follow the instructions; now dial *222# and follow the instructions for “packages”.
There is a package for 500MB at 10BS which is perfect. This isn’t necessary for all of you but for those of us who rely on data it’s a bit of a necessity. I’m pleased to say that the data on the 3G network comes through way faster than wifi and whenever you’re looking for accommodation; wifi, no wifi or slow wifi makes no difference to you and opens up your opportunities, yes?
The total cost was 25BS which is $3.62US for a convenience that is priceless.
When I arrived in Argentina I tried the first day in Buenos Aires to get a SIM but the gent said I needed a contract. It’s possible he just misunderstood me as my Spanish was even more primitive at that time. Regardless, I kinda forgot about the benefits of a SIM card. Seriously, the benefits are endless and being connected is a smart safe thing to do regardless if you work online or not. Also the data networks are often faster than some internet connection spliced to dozens of guests with that one random one downloading a torrent or something…
This is about getting setup in Bolivia but applies to anywhere; whatever country you’re in, you’ll be glad you got a data plan.
I trust this helps.