Bolivia has many remarkable cultural sights. If you are not into that, you can find flamingos in Uyuni Salt Flat or Laguna Colorada, or see ancient ruins in Isla del Sol. If you are into cycling or mountain biking, you should try the adventurous North Yungas Road. Bolivia is an amazing travel destination in South America.
What may not be amazing, however, is receiving a high roaming bill after you have been roaming with your provider. Roaming can be expensive in many cases, which is why many travelers buy a local SIM card in Bolivia so that they can enjoy domestic rates. In this article, I will go over everything you need to know about Bolivian SIM cards. Let's do this.
Telecom providers in Bolivia
Bolivia has 3 telecom providers: Entel, Tigo Bolivia, and Viva. Entel is the largest-provider in Bolivia with more than 5 million subscribers, followed by Tigo Bolivia by Millicom, and Viva by Nuevatel. Viva should not be confused with VIVA (all in caps). VIVA was a company operating in Bahrain and Kuwait and has been rebranded in STC Bahrain and STC Kuwait.
All operators have 2G, 3G, and 4G/LTE networks. All prepaid customers can use 4G/LTE without a surcharge.
What SIM card should you buy when visiting Bolivia? If you want to buy a SIM card in Bolivia, I would recommend going with Entel because they have the best coverage and speeds. Viva would be the budget option if staying near the bigger cities and towns because their coverage is not as extensive as Entel.
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Coverage and speeds vary widely depending on where you are, but they are decent in the cities. Speeds in Bolivia are slower than the South American average, but you can browse the web fine with all the providers.
Just like most countries in South America, you have to register your SIM card upon purchase. As a result, you should bring your passport with you when buying your SIM card. Besides that, getting a SIM is quite straightforward and easy in Bolivia.
With that out of the way, let’s see what the three providers have to offer to us.
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Entel is a state-owned company with the most subscribers in Bolivia. They also have the best coverage throughout the country, even in rural Bolivia. 4G/LTE has been developed in the big cities and is slowly being expended to the countryside.
Entel SIM cards are officially sold for 10 BOB ($1.45). However, some resellers may charge you a bit more if they are short o SIM cards. Make sure not to spend more than 30 BOB. Otherwise, you are getting ripped off.
Top-up vouchers are sold from 10 BOB to 100 BOB.
The following Entel data packs can be added:
- 2 BOB: 120 MB until midnight
- 4 BOB: 240 MB until midnight
- 9 BOB: 180 MB for 30 days
- 15 BOB: 920 MB until midnight
- 20 BOB: 500 MB for 30 days
- 40 BOB: 1 GB for 30 days
- 50 BOB: 2 GB for 30 days
- 140 BOB: 6 GB for 30 days
- 198 BOB: 10 GB for 30 days
- 230 BOB: 14 GB for 30 days
- 288 BOB: 20 GB for 30 days
Tigo Bolivia, just Tigo, is the second provider in Bolivia with more than 3 million subscribers. Tigo has a large presence in the Americas and Africa and has a good reputation in this region. 4G/LTE can be found in at least one city of Bolivia’s 11 departments. However, 4G/LTE is still being expended to this date.
Tigo SIM cards are sold for 10 BOB in Tigo stores and kiosks. Recharge cards are from 10 BOB to 100 BOB. The following data packs can be added:
- 4 BOB: 110 MB until 6 AM the next morning
- 4 BOB: 100 MB for 2 days
- 5 BOB: 220 MB until 6 AM the next morning
- 10 BOB: 500 MB until 6 AM the next morning
- 20 BOB: 1050 MB for 24 hours
- 25 BOB: 800 MB for 7 days
- 35 BOB: 1.2 GB for 7 days
- 55 BOB: 1 GB for 30 days
- 120 BOB: 4 GB for 30 days
- 189 BOB: 6.2 GB for 30 days
- 200 BOB: 8 GB for 30 days
Viva is the smallest, but cheapest, provider in Bolivia with more than 2 million customers. It has gained traction by offering low rates for its services. However, their coverage is limited, meaning that Viva should only be considered if they have coverage in the place you are staying at. Viva was the last operator to build its 4G/LTE network, meaning that it cannot be found in many places yet.
Viva SIM cards are sold for 15 BOB and come with 10 BOB in credit. Recharge cards are sold from 10 BOB to 80 BOB. The following data packs can be added:
- 5 BOB: 230 MB until 1 AM the next day
- 10 BOB: 525 MB until 1 AM the next day
- 15 BOB: 300 MB for 7 days
- 20 BOB: 1.1 GB until 1 AM the next day
- 30 BOB: 1 GB for 7 days
- 50 BOB: 750 MB for 30 days
- 100 BOB: 2.5 GB for 30 days:
- 200 BOB: 8.1 GB for 30 days
- 300 BOB: 18 GB for 30 days
Other Ways to Stay Connected When Traveling in Bolivia
The Preferred Way to Stay Connected When Traveling in Bolivia
Getting a SIM card from Entel would do you well when considering a Bolivian SIM card.
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