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Buying Claro/Movistar SIM from the US?

Buying Claro/Movistar SIM from the US?

Old Feb 28, 15, 2:02 pm
  #1  
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Buying Claro/Movistar SIM from the US?

I know some countries allow you to do this, and others don't. I haven't been able to find a specific answer for Peru.

I'd really like to be able to purchase a prepaid SIM card for my trip before we leave, and go ahead and top it up at home. That way I could swap SIMs on the plane, and hit the ground already connected. No messing around trying to find a store, wasting time getting it activated, etc.

Is there anywhere that you can buy a prepaid Claro SIM online at a reasonable price?

If not, does anyone know if the Claro store at LIM (my understanding is that it's near the food court) is in a location I could get to before exiting customs/security? I hate when airports have stores that sell SIMs, but they're not in locations that international arrivals actually have access to.
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Old Feb 28, 15, 2:59 pm
  #2  
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Answering my own question:

I finally found some information that indicates that the food court is actually outside of security. Inconvenient for people making connecting flights, but good for me at this point. I'd still rather have the card before we get there, but if I can't, getting in the airport is the second best option. Besides, I bet the people in that store do know how to register a card to a foreigner - I hear that can be problematic at some of their locations.
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Old Mar 5, 15, 10:24 pm
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I tried buying a Claro card at the food court, but they didn't have the nano simcard I needed (iPhone 5 or 6), only micro. I finally did find one elsewhere, but found it to be near-useless at the Machu Picchu end of the Sacred Valley. I ended up having to use AT&T's roaming plan to get coverage, and manually force it to Movistar, which had EXCELLENT coverage.

Long story short, if visiting Machu Picchu, go Movistar. Even elsewhere in the Sacred Valley Movistar was almost-always the stronger signal.
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Old Apr 13, 16, 5:35 pm
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Does anyone know if there's a Movistar store in LIM airport?
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Old Apr 18, 16, 10:08 am
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Unfortunately there isn't. There may be a couple of people offering you to rent a phone, but that is extremely expensive. However, there's free wifi in case you want to take an Uber, and after that you can find Movistar stores all around the city.
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Old Apr 18, 16, 4:26 pm
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Originally Posted by joseeantonior View Post
Unfortunately there isn't. There may be a couple of people offering you to rent a phone, but that is extremely expensive. However, there's free wifi in case you want to take an Uber, and after that you can find Movistar stores all around the city.
That's a pity. Thanks for the info though. I see from Google Maps that there's a Movistar store not too far from the hotel I plan to stay at in Miraflores so hopefully I'll be able to pick up a SIM and a pre-paid plan there.

On a related note, when I ask for a SIM in some Spanish-Speaking countries I get a blank stare. Should I be calling it a chip instead? Or is there a proper Spanish term for SIM?
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Old Apr 22, 16, 7:23 pm
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Originally Posted by RCyyz View Post
That's a pity. Thanks for the info though. I see from Google Maps that there's a Movistar store not too far from the hotel I plan to stay at in Miraflores so hopefully I'll be able to pick up a SIM and a pre-paid plan there.

On a related note, when I ask for a SIM in some Spanish-Speaking countries I get a blank stare. Should I be calling it a chip instead? Or is there a proper Spanish term for SIM?
So sorry for the late reply! Yes, you should ask for a 'chip prepago'. Some stores accept your passport as an ID, some need a peruvian ID. But 'chip prepago' should get you a prepaid SIM card
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Old Apr 24, 16, 11:25 am
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Originally Posted by joseeantonior View Post
So sorry for the late reply! Yes, you should ask for a 'chip prepago'. Some stores accept your passport as an ID, some need a peruvian ID. But 'chip prepago' should get you a prepaid SIM card
Excellent - thanks! "Chip prepago" now burned into my "useful travel phrases" memory bank.
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Old May 29, 16, 9:21 am
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Greetings from EWR. Just spent a few (very nice!) days in Peru where my Movistar chip prepago worked well everywhere I went.

I purchased the chip at a Movistar store in Miraflores. There was a long process of standing in line at the info section, then being directed to another line where I could order the chip, then standing in another line to pay for the chip, then standing in another line to actually get the chip.

Once I had the chip, it was necessary to go to the grocery store next door (Metro) and add money to it.

And then ... nothing really worked.

So that afternoon, back to the store to stand in the info line, then to another desk where I tried to indicated (via poor Spanish) that I had no data. Eventually we managed to communicate and I was told to go back to the Metro to add more money to the chip.

Anyway, did that and ended up with over S./100 on the chip.

And the next day, still no data.

I had to move on to AQP so at the hotel, the very nice concierge helped me out. Turns out you have to add money to the chip, then dial *515#. You go to this odd numbered menu where you have to reply with the option of your choice. In this case, I chose option 3 to add data to my chip. This essentially changes some of the prepayment I had added at Metro into a data plan. Why the Movistar people couldn't explain this to me is beyond me. Even with our limited communication (my bad Spanish, their bad English) they should have been able to help me out.

Anyway, I was able to convert S./7 into 300MB of data for 5 days. And later on in the trip, I converted another S./7 into another 300MB of data. So I think I left more than S./90 on my chip prepago unused. Oh well ...

To summarize:

1) Buy a chip prepago at the store.
2) Add money at the grocery store. (Or any tienda which advertises "recargo".)
3) Dial *515#
4) Navigate your options. In my case it was "3" then "send" followed by "1" then "send"
5) Surf away!
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Old Aug 12, 16, 2:48 pm
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Originally Posted by RCyyz View Post
Greetings from EWR. Just spent a few (very nice!) days in Peru where my Movistar chip prepago worked well everywhere I went.

I purchased the chip at a Movistar store in Miraflores. There was a long process of standing in line at the info section, then being directed to another line where I could order the chip, then standing in another line to pay for the chip, then standing in another line to actually get the chip.

Once I had the chip, it was necessary to go to the grocery store next door (Metro) and add money to it.

And then ... nothing really worked.

So that afternoon, back to the store to stand in the info line, then to another desk where I tried to indicated (via poor Spanish) that I had no data. Eventually we managed to communicate and I was told to go back to the Metro to add more money to the chip.

Anyway, did that and ended up with over S./100 on the chip.

And the next day, still no data.

I had to move on to AQP so at the hotel, the very nice concierge helped me out. Turns out you have to add money to the chip, then dial *515#. You go to this odd numbered menu where you have to reply with the option of your choice. In this case, I chose option 3 to add data to my chip. This essentially changes some of the prepayment I had added at Metro into a data plan. Why the Movistar people couldn't explain this to me is beyond me. Even with our limited communication (my bad Spanish, their bad English) they should have been able to help me out.

Anyway, I was able to convert S./7 into 300MB of data for 5 days. And later on in the trip, I converted another S./7 into another 300MB of data. So I think I left more than S./90 on my chip prepago unused. Oh well ...

To summarize:

1) Buy a chip prepago at the store.
2) Add money at the grocery store. (Or any tienda which advertises "recargo".)
3) Dial *515#
4) Navigate your options. In my case it was "3" then "send" followed by "1" then "send"
5) Surf away!
That matches my experience with Movistar, except for the eventually getting it to work part. Ultimately I gave them 80 soles and got nothing but a shrug of the shoulders in return. I've used Claro on all of my subsequent trips to Peru, despite Movistar's superior coverage.

Unfortunately, the Claro store at LIM no longer sells prepaid SIMs; they only offer the outrageously priced rentals. (Hello gringo tax!) It's now necessary to spend a couple of hours in line at a Claro "centro de atencion cliente" in order to buy a prepaid SIM, and I don't know if they will sell one without a Peruvian ID. The very limited good news is that they will sell you the SIM and data at the store.
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Old Aug 12, 16, 3:19 pm
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Is it worth the bother if you can get...

Not sure it's worth jumping through all those hoops to save probably not enough money. Keepgo has reduced the price of their 1GB all-over-the-world simcard to just $59. Yes, it includes Peru. If you run out, 1GB is $45, 3GB $99. You can, with some trouble, absolutely find cheaper cards locally. You've just got to figure out how much that trouble is worth. Given that these cards are active for one year, so you can use it on multiple trips, I think this may be the route I go in the future.

I've used their simcards before, when the company had a different name. They were quite a bit more expensive so I moved away from them. At these prices, I think it makes sense for quite a few people who would rather be seeing and doing things instead of figuring out how to buy a simcard and make it work.
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Old Aug 12, 16, 5:55 pm
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Originally Posted by Mike Jacoubowsky View Post
Not sure it's worth jumping through all those hoops to save probably not enough money. Keepgo has reduced the price of their 1GB all-over-the-world simcard to just $59. Yes, it includes Peru. If you run out, 1GB is $45, 3GB $99. You can, with some trouble, absolutely find cheaper cards locally. You've just got to figure out how much that trouble is worth. Given that these cards are active for one year, so you can use it on multiple trips, I think this may be the route I go in the future.

I've used their simcards before, when the company had a different name. They were quite a bit more expensive so I moved away from them. At these prices, I think it makes sense for quite a few people who would rather be seeing and doing things instead of figuring out how to buy a simcard and make it work.
FlexiRoam X claims 30 USD per GB. Will probably give them a try on my next international trip.
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Old Oct 30, 16, 8:59 pm
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Update on Flexiroam

Originally Posted by PlatinumScum View Post
FlexiRoam X claims 30 USD per GB. Will probably give them a try on my next international trip.
Flexiroam works! I ordered it, received it 5 days later (shipped from Malaysia I think?). Easy to install. Make sure you buy the initial 1gig package as it's offered at a lower rate ($20) than subsequent purchases ($30 for 1 gig, $ for 3).

You do need to clear out the APN it installs by default ("Pepper" I think?). And remember that it's a bit unusual in that it installs an "app" in your sim setting that needs to be run when you change from home to flexiroam.

But once you get it set up, it's EASY and so nice to not have to swap cards in and out. Speed is usually 3G with little latency, so it's responsive. Sometimes 4G.

In Singapore, you could not tether, but in Australia, no issue. What I don't know is what would happen if you installed it into a laptop simcard dongle.

It's good for one year, and I believe, if you keep feeding it $10 each year for your membership, it stays active. That's really nice. Multiple trips with one card. I'm very impressed so far.

It doesn't work everywhere though. It does list Peru (I'll be testing that in December) but it won't work in Cambodia (very few roam to Cambodia, and those that do are ridiculously expensive... while local sims are apparently widely available and offer dirt-cheap data).

Thanks for the encouragement to give it a try. Looks like a winner!
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Old Apr 28, 17, 11:03 pm
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Apologies if this sound bit simpleton.

Why not just use Tmobile?
You have free data and SMS even before your plane finish taxing.

I am not associated with Tmobile in anyway (other than a long time user) but with lack of contract, low rates and no roaming fees, it is no brainer to switch to Tmobile
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Old Apr 30, 17, 6:11 pm
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I'm a Fi user so I feel similarly but sometimes a local sim is better for different people. Mostly for people that call more, need a local number or are in contract with another carrier. I have ATT for US and Fi for international service.

Originally Posted by desi View Post
Apologies if this sound bit simpleton.

Why not just use Tmobile?
You have free data and SMS even before your plane finish taxing.

I am not associated with Tmobile in anyway (other than a long time user) but with lack of contract, low rates and no roaming fees, it is no brainer to switch to Tmobile
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