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Phones and Internet in Colombia

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Keeping in touch with friends and family is a top concern no matter where you are living. In order to stay in contact while abroad, you’ll likely want a local phone and internet connection. Expats living in Colombia have many options for high-quality phone plans and internet coverage.

Keeping in touch

Colombia telecommunications providers often bundle their services, making it easy to get cable television, an internet connection, and landline phone service all in one bill. Claro, TigoUNE, and Movistar are the primary providers who offer these bundles. Your neighborhood may dictate which provider is available to you, as not all companies cover all areas.

Claro currently is the largest Colombian provider and costs will vary depending on provider, package, and location. Most providers require only an address and passport information to set up service and bills may be paid in person or online.

 Important:

Expats without an intermediate level of Spanish should enlist a Spanish speaker to help with setting up service and reading contracts.

Internet Service

Expats living in Colombia’s bigger cities will have no problem securing fast and reliable internet service. Additionally, cities have ample free Wi-Fi in public places. While still available in rural areas, there are fewer carrier options and internet connections will be less reliable. Expats may want to use one of the providers listed above to save money by bundling services.

Making Phone Calls

The international country code for Colombia is 57. In addition, each city has its own area code, which you’ll need when dialing a cell phone from a land line. It’s also important to note that the cost of phone calls is more expensive when calling from a cell phone to a land line.

  • To call a Colombian cell phone from a Colombian landline dial: 03 cell phone number
  • To call a Colombian landline from a Colombian cell phone, you must add the city’s area code:03 area code of city landline number
  • Colombia’s international country code is 57

 Good to know:

Signs advertising minutos (minutes) are on almost every street corner and are Colombia’s version of the pay phone. These carts will have a cell phone for public use, simply pay by the minute.

Cell Phones

Getting a cell phone and setting up service in Colombia is easy. Claro, Movistar, Tigo, Avantel, and VirginMobile are the principal cell phone carriers in Colombia. Cell phones can be purchased in department or electronics stores or directly from one of the service providers.

There are two types of cell phone coverage available: prepaid (prepago) and postpaid (postpago). Postpaid coverage is a traditional contract where the user pays a set fee for a package of data and minutes. Prepaid plans allow you to pay as you go and can be topped-up in any grocery store. A resident ID (cedula) and local bank account are required for a postpaid plan. If purchasing a prepaid SIM card, you’ll need to provide your passport.

 Good to know:

Cell phones have a high import tax and are expensive in Colombia. If possible, bring an unlocked cell phone with you instead of buying one in the country. Any mobile carrier will then provide a local SIM card and configure your phone.

Post Office Services

Colombia’s public postal service is called 4-72. The postal system isn’t widely used and has a reputation for being very unreliable. Instead, businesses in most cities employ individuals to deliver bills. It’s recommended that expats who want to send a letter or parcel from Colombia choose a private courier service such as DHL, FedEx or Servientrega.

 Important:

Colombia doesn’t use a post code system.

 Useful Links:

(Spanish Only)

Claro
Movistar
TigoUNE
Avantel
VirginMobile

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