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Phones and internet in Guatemala

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Guatemala enjoys extensive and modern telecommunications networks, encompassing cellular and land lines, broadband internet and cable TV. Still, because of the difficulty to roll out fixed-line infrastructure in remote rural areas, mobile phones have been the fastest-growing market segment and remain to this day more common than landlines.

Mobile phones in Guatemala

The GSM (Global Systems for Mobiles) standard prevails in Guatemala, and you can use any tri-band GSM foreign cell phone in Guatemala with a local SIM card, provided the device is unlocked.

Several mobile service providers compete on the Guatemalan market, the major ones being:

  • Claro (a subsidiary of national telephone company Telgua)
  • Movistar (backed by international firm Telefonica)
  • Tigo (within Millicom Group)

All three operators offer good quality service in urban areas. As for remote rural areas, coverage tends to vary, and one provider can offer significantly better signal at a given spot than others. Just test and learn!

Communication credit comes in subscription-based packages as well as prepaid cards, which are available from any convenience store in denominations ranging from GTQ 10 to 200, and offering minutes, SMS and even mobile data.

Mobile communication packages can also include the provision of a mobile device, paid in several installments.

 Good to know:

As it is forbidden to place phone antennas in national parks, there is no signal there.

 Important:

Mobile networks charge an activation fee of around GTQ 50.

Internet and landlines in Guatemala

The same players are also the key providers of fixed telephony and internet. The leading provider, Telgua, boasting 2m subscribers, is followed by Tigo and Telefonica Moviles. Smaller operators on the Guatemalan fixed phone and internet market include Cablenet, Universal Telecommunications, A-Tel Communications or Vivophone Guatemala.

Plans including unlimited broadband internet and local voice calls start from GTQ 225 approximately.

Although minor problems can arise at times of peak demand, connexions are generally stable and fast enough to allow you to work or browse the internet.

Pay phones have become quite rare in Guatemalan streets, and, until recently, only the most sophisticated venues and shops offered their patrons Wi-Fi hot spots. Things are rapidly changing in major cities, however.

International calls to the US cost about USD 0.1 a minute, and other long distance calls are a little more expensive. Alternatively, Voice-over Internet protocol services such as Skype, Vonage or Magic Jack will let you make free international calls.

 Good to know:

Fixed communication packages are sometimes included in the rents in Guatemala.

 Useful links:

Claro
Movistar
Tigo

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.
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