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Telephone

  • To use street phones, you’ll pay with regular coins or tarjetas telefónicas (magnetic phone cards available at many kiosks). You’ll only be able to speak for a limited time before you get cut off, so carry enough credit.
  • Toll-free numbers begin with 0800; these calls can only be made within Argentina. Numbers that start with 0810 are charged at a local rate only, no matter where (in Argentina) you are calling from.
  • The cheapest way to make an international call is to use an online service (such as Skype or Google Voice) or use a phone card. International calls can be made at locutorios, but they’re more expensive this way. When dialing abroad, dial 00, followed by the code of the country you’re calling, then the area code and number.

Directory Assistance110
Fire100
Medical Emergency107
Police911 in some larger cities, 101
Tourist Police (Buenos Aires)011-4346-5748, 0800-999-5000

Mobile Phones

It’s best to bring your own unlocked tri- or quad-band GSM cell phone to Argentina, then buy an inexpensive SIM chip (you’ll get a local number) and credits (or carga virtual) as needed.

SIM Cards

  • All SIM cards now must be registered to users before they can be activated. In theory, a foreigner can activate a SIM card with identification, but in our experience, knowing a local willing to register the phone under their own name, address and DNI made the process possible.
  • Both SIM chips and credits can be bought at many kiosks or locutorios; look for ‘recarga facil’ or 'saldo virtual' signs. Phone unlocking services are available; ask around. You can also buy cell phones that use SIM chips; these usually include some credits for your first batch of calls.
  • Be careful renting phones as they’re not usually a better deal than outright buying a cell phone.
  • If you plan not to use a local SIM card, purchase an international plan to avoid being hit with a huge bill for roaming costs.

Phonecards

  • Telephone calling cards sold at kiosks make domestic and international calls far cheaper than calling direct. However, they must be used from a fixed line such as a home or hotel telephone (provided you can dial outside the hotel).
  • When purchasing one, tell the clerk the country you will call so they give you the right card.

Phone Codes

To call a number in Argentina from another country, dial your international exit code, then the country code for Argentina, then the area code (without the zero) and number. For example, if you’re calling a Buenos Aires landline number from the United States, you’d dial:

  • 011-54-11-xxxx-xxxx
  • 011 is the United States’ international exit code
  • 54 is Argentina’s country code
  • 11 is Buenos Aires’ city code without the beginning zero
  • xxxx-xxxx is your local Buenos Aires phone number, usually eight digits

When dialing an Argentine cell phone from another country, dial your international exit code, then 54, then 9, then the area code without the 0, then the number – leaving out the 15 (which most Argentine cell phone numbers start with). For example, if you’re calling a Buenos Aires cell phone number from the United States, you’d dial:

  • 011-54-9-11-xxxx-xxxx

Cell-phone dialing is a bit more complicated in Argentina than in other countries. Cell-phone numbers in Argentina are always preceded by ‘15.’ If you’re calling a cell phone number from a landline, you’ll have to dial '15' first (add the area code before the '15' as necessary). However, if you’re calling a cell phone from another cell phone, you don’t need to dial '15.' You also don't need to dial '15' to send text messages.

WhatsApp is a popular way of sending free texts and voice messages.

Locutorios & Internet Cafes

  • Most common in more remote places where internet and phone services are poor, a locutorio is a small telephone office with private calling cabins.
  • When making international calls from locutorios ask about off-peak discount hours, which generally apply after 10pm and on weekends. Making international calls over the internet using Skype is a cheap option; many internet cafes have this system in place.