Questions about SIM cards

Old Dec 1st, 2007, 08:17 PM
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Questions about SIM cards

I'm afraid I don't know much about SIM cards for cell phones, and need help.
We would like to buy a SIM card when we get to Buenos Aires.
Is there a place to buy one at the airport?
I have read they are readily available at kiosks around the city, but wonder if the airport would be better.

Now for the part I really don't know anything about and don't understand....
Do we have to go back to the same place we bought it at the end of our vacation? Or is it ours to keep?

DO we just buy it for a set amount of time?
If they give us a phone number on the SIM, is it never used again? Wouldn't the company go through a huge amount of numbers?

Sorry about the stupid questions, but I don't understand how the process works. ( I undersand how the phone works... )
kodi is offline  
Old Dec 2nd, 2007, 01:42 AM
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kodi, I don't have the answer to your question, but I suggest that, if you don't get a good answer soon, you could research the subject in the Trip Advisor Argentina forum and/or pop the question there.

Have a great time in our country.

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Old Dec 2nd, 2007, 05:20 AM
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Hi kodi!
We bought our phone with Sim card at MusiMundo on Santa Fe near Callao ..
I don't think there is a place at the airport..you will see, this airport is not like the others with lots of shops ..
There are kiosks everywhere, pretty much one on every block..I get my phone cards from them.
If you buy it I imagine that means you keep it.

http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-a-sim-card.htm

I don't really understand how they work either..I am lucky I can figure out how to get my messages lol.
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Old Dec 2nd, 2007, 07:49 AM
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Kodi,

All this is pretty foreign to me too. However, from what I have read you can't just take your Canadian phone and pop in the card unless it is a gsm and more importantly it has been unlocked. I think that the unlocking process is not all that simple and that is why many people just buy cheap phones while they are there.

As Av says, there is a fair amount on the subject on TA. Karmalaw had many informative posts on phones there - as well as others.

Someone I met who had a cell in Bs As mentioned that for him to keep his number, he had to buy new cards within a given period and keep it active. Not sure exactly the time limit. However I assume that if a number is inactive for a set period of time, it goes back into the available list and is recycled. Given that Bs As has 8 digit phone numbers as opposed to our 7 - it at least gives them more to work with.

Good luck.
raquel
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Old Dec 2nd, 2007, 08:35 AM
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Thank you all so much.
I did do a search on TA , but still couldn't really understand it, or get answers to my specific question, about keeping the SIM.
They got a bit testy with someone over there for asking questions about it, so I hesitated to post.

My friend now has a GSM phone. She got it deliberately so we could try it in Argentina. But she's thinking that where ever we buy the SIM, that we have to return to that same place before we come home.
That is why I wonder if we just keep the SIM . We are returning home the day after getting back from Salta, and don't want to muck around looking for a place to take it back.. Are we way off base about this? Do we just buy it and keep it?

Am I making any sense at all?
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Old Dec 2nd, 2007, 09:33 AM
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kodi, I saw that post too. When a poster on a travel forum finds they grow weary answering questions, then the best advice would be to take a break...not to chide someone for asking the questions.

I forget where you are staying..but a lot of apts supply cell phones .. you get the cards for them..not SIM cards but the credits.

I have a friend here in BA who is always patient with people asking questions, I will see if I can find one of his explanations.. ( between you and I... it is all a bit much for me to figure out .. I am having a hard enough time with Spanish )
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Old Dec 2nd, 2007, 10:32 AM
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I don't know if the rules about phones are different in Argentina, but in Belize you can buy SIM cards just about anywhere that cells prepaid phone cars.

The sim cards in Belize expire after 90 days if the phone isn't used. Therefore, people like us who are back and forth several times a year have to find someone in Belize to use our phone at least once every three months. If the sim chip expires, and you have to buy a new one, you'll get a new phone number. Pain in the butt.
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Old Dec 2nd, 2007, 10:33 AM
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Oh good grief! If I had to deal with it in Spanish, I'd really be lost!!!!
Thanks Scarlett, any help would be SO appreciated.

Raquel, you know a whole lot more than me!! I'll make sure my friend knows about the unlocking.
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Old Dec 2nd, 2007, 10:35 AM
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Jean, thank you. That seems really simple. I hope it's the same in Argentina. As long as we have the right phone, we'll be ok. IT's a one time visit, so we won't have to worry about the expiry after 3 months.
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Old Dec 3rd, 2007, 05:13 AM
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kodi-
This article <http://tinyurl.com/2pqqfn> from the New York Times is a pretty good introduction to the subject you are raising.

Do we have to go back to the same place we bought it at the end of our vacation? Or is it ours to keep?

It is yours to keep.

DO we just buy it for a set amount of time?

Yes!

When you return home, just replace your U.S. SIM card with the one you bought in Argentina, and everything is back to normal. Remember, you MUST HAVE an unlocked GSM phone to do this.
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Old Dec 3rd, 2007, 06:11 PM
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Orlando, thank you SO much. Now we know what it's all about!!
The unlocking code is the one thing we did know about.. in fact, we are way ahead of the game and already have the code. At least we had something right!!
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