Buying a Prepaid SIM Card in Paraguay Guide

Paraguay is full of stunning landmarks, such as Monday's Falls, the National Pantheon of the Heroes, and its beautiful nature. Asunción, Ciudad del Este, and Encarnacion are destinations you have to see!

What you may not want to do, however, is to roam with your provider. Roaming can be expensive in many cases, which is why many travelers want to buy a Paraguayan SIM card when exploring the country because rates are so low in Paraguay. In this article, I will go over everything you need to know about buying a SIM card in Paraguay. Let's do this.

Telecom Providers in Paraguay

Paraguay has 4 telecom providers: Tigo Paraguay, Personal Paraguay, Claro Paraguay, and VOX. A few years ago, Tigo Paraguay was the largest telecom provider in Paraguay. However, these numbers are old, so this could have changed already. Either way, all providers have 2G, 3G, and 4G/LTE networks.

What SIM card should you buy when visiting Paraguay? If you want to buy a SIM card in Paraguay, I would recommend going with Personal. Their coverage is almost as good as Tigo, who has the best network, but at lower rates. If you are staying in the big cities, then Claro could be the cheapest option. If you just want the best of the best, then Tigo is the way to go.

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Do note that, for some reason, Paraguayan SIM cards do not allow you to make international calls. You can, however, receive international calls. You can use VoIP apps like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, or Skype to call overseas.

Just like most countries in South America, you have to show your passport when buying a SIM card in Paraguay. Additionally, you need to fill in a form for Conatel, the Paraguayan communications regulator, and hand over a scan of your fingerprint.

With that said, let’s see what Paraguay has to offer to us.

Tip: Looking for cheap flights? Book with AirWander and add stopovers! Not in a hurry yet? Set up flight alerts with Airfarewatchdog and get notified when ticket prices for your preferred route(s) drop!

Tigo Paraguay

Tigo Logo

Tigo Paraguay, just Tigo, has the best coverage in Paraguay. However, it has the highest rates. Tigo is a well-known brand in South America and Africa, including Paraguay. Tigo’s 4G/LTE network can be found in more than half of the districts in Paraguay. Tigo SIM cards are sold for 5000 PYG ($0.80) in Tigo stores. Topping up can be done online with a credit card or in Tigo stores.

You can add Tigo data packs starting from 7000 PYG that all come with unlimited WhatsApp usage:

  • 7000 PYG: 800 MB for 2 days
  • 10000 PYG: 1.5 GB for 3 days
  • 12 000 PYG: 1.5 GB and 30 minutes for 3 days
  • 15 000 PYG: 2 GB and 100 minutes for 5 days

Personal Paraguay

Personal Logo

Personal Paraguay, just Personal, is another provider operating in Paraguay. Their coverage is almost as good as Tigo’s but with lower rates. However, their SIM cards cost double at 10 000 PYG but come with 40 000 PYG in credit for 7 days. Recharging can be done in Personal stores or online with a credit card.

The following Personal data packs can be added:

  • 1000 PYG: 50 MB for 24 hours
  • 1500 PYG: 100 MB for 24 hours
  • 2000 PYG: 150 MB for 24 hours
  • 3000 PYG: 250 MB for 24 hours
  • 3000 PYG: Unlimited internet between 12 AM and 6 AM, one-time use
  • 5000 PYG: 400 MB for 48 hours
  • 7000 PYG: 700 MB for 72 hours
  • 10000 PYG: 1 GB for 48 hours

Claro Paraguay

Claro Logo

Claro Paraguay, just Claro, is another operator that has a large presence in South America. It has the “worst” nationwide coverage in Claro. However, their rates are lower than those of both Tigo and Personal. If you are staying in populated areas, Claro could be a good fit.

Claro SIM cards can be bought in many Claro stores around the country. Bonuses are given for topping up at least 5000 PYG in the form of free MB (up to 300 MB for 72 hours).  The following data packs can be added:

  • 2000 PYG: 200 MB for 1 day
  • 5000 PYG: 500 MB for 1 day
  • 6000 PYG: 1 GB for 1 day
  • 8000 PYG: 1 GB for 5 days
  • 10000 PYG: 1 GB for 7 days
  • 12000 PYG: 2 GB for 3 days
  • 15000 PYG: 2 GB for 7 days
  • 20000 PYG: 2 GB for 10 days
  • 30000 PYG: 3 GB for 15 days

You can also get the Carlo data-only SIM that allows you to use 500 MB for 5000 PYG per day. After you have gone over your allowance, you can browse the web without the limit at 128 kbps, which is annoyingly slow. You would be better off buying a new package.

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VOX

VOX Logo

VOX is the smallest provider in Paraguay. They are only active in the capital area. If you are planning on staying in the capital, then VOX could be an option. However, their data packs are the most expensive of them all.

Anyway, VOX SIM cards are sold for 5000 PYG. They come with 1 GB and 20 on-net minutes for 7 days. Topping up can be done in VOX stores or online. The following monthly (30 days) data packs are available:

  • 49000 PYG for 1 GB
  • 69000 PYG for 2 GB
  • 89000 PYG for 4 GB

Other Ways to Stay Connected When Traveling in Paraguay

So far, you have been informed about the SIM card options in Paraguay. However, that is not the only way to be online in Paraguay I have already briefly mentioned that you can roam with your provider, although it can be expensive in most cases. Besides that, you can use free WIFI connections, mobile hotspots, or international SIM cards.

Roaming in Paraguay with Your Provider

Roaming is a term used in wireless telecommunication that indicates a mobile device is outside the range of its home network and has connected to a different, available cell network. Let’s say your provider is Entel from Bolivia, then you would be roaming with Entel in Paraguay.

You may have read horror stories of people coming back from a lovely holiday, only to be confronted with a roaming bill in the thousands. This can still be the case if you do not review your roaming options before going on a holiday. Luckily for you, I have written about the roaming options you have with various providers around the world, which you can read here.

Some operators offer roaming plans. Others allow you to roam for free in Paraguay, while several operators let you use your plan’s allowance for a daily fee. As you can see, roaming does not have to be a horrific experience. If your provider is generous and lets you roam for free in Paraguay, then you do not even need a local SIM card (although I would still recommend doing so, as your connection speed will be much slower as a roamer than someone who is a customer of the network).

No idea how roaming works? I made this comprehensive guide about what roaming is and how it works. It is worth the read – promised!

Pay As You Go roaming should be avoided, as that is how travelers get high roaming bills. One provider charges you about 1000 USD per GB in certain destinations, which is insane. If you really want to roam, check whether your provider has attractive roaming plans. Else, you will be better off with buying a local SIM card.

Using Free WIFI connections in Paraguay

This does not require a lot of explanation, but using free WIFI connections is the cheapest way to connect to the internet because you do not have to pay anything. Nothing beats free stuff, right? Well, not so fast.

First, you need to find hotspots in Paraguay. In some countries of cities, you will find so many hotspots that you can try them out one by one and find the one with the fastest speeds. In other places, however, WIFI connections do not seem to exist.

In the case of Paraguay, you can find some hotspots. If you manage to find one, it will most likely be slow.

Additionally, public WIFI hotspots are unsecure. They are a prime target for hackers to steal your data and use it for illicit purposes. That is I use, and would recommend you to start using, a Virtual Private Network (VPN) if you connect to a public hotspot. What a VPN does is creating an encrypted tunnel between your device and the hotspot so that your data will stay private. I use NordVPN, and you can get up to 70% off when you get a NordVPN subscription. Get your subscription now or learn more about NordVPN.

Using a Pocket WIFI (Mobile Hotspot) in Paraguay

Pocket WIFI is a portable, battery-powered wireless router that allows you to connect your phone, laptop, or tablet without needing multiple SIM cards for those devices to be connected to the internet. They are compact and lightweight so that you take them along with you whenever you need internet access on the go.

Many companies have created mobile hotspots (just have a quick search on Amazon, for example, you will find many). Skyroam and Vision Global Wireless are reputable pocket WIFI providers I know. You can get a discount if you rent a router through Skyroam by using coupon code PHONETRAVELWIZ. Cellular access with Skyroam starts at $8 a day while using a Vision Global device starts at $2 a day. Both services cover more than 130 destinations around the world.

I often recommend mobile hotspots to those who are traveling in groups or with families. They can save groups a lot of money if they are visiting destinations where buying multiple SIM cards would become an expensive endeavor.

I recently wrote an article analyzing the 7 Best Mobile Hotspots for Travelers like yourself, which should be an interesting read if pocket WIFI is something you are considering. I do reviews of individual devices every now and then, so check out my mobile hotspot category to stay up to date.

Getting an International SIM card for Traveling in Paraguay

International SIM cards are, as the name implies, SIM cards for international use. Well, that does not explain anything. Although most providers allow you to use your card abroad, some actually restrict this possibility. An international SIM card lets you go abroad without having to change SIM cards when visiting multiple destinations. They have been made with the traveler in mind.

All of this sounds lovely, but international SIM cards are much more expensive than local SIM cards in Paraguay. Not only that, some offer poor service as well for high rates. Some reputable companies I know are OneSimCard, SimOptions, BNESIM, and Surfroam.

International SIM cards are appealing to those who travel frequently or are visiting multiple destinations in one trip. Many countries in South America require you to register before you can use a SIM card, which can be a hassle for some. Additionally, the language barrier may be off-putting to some travelers, which is why an international SIM card can be handy. You order it before you depart and can use it in various destinations.

My recommendation, however, is to get a local SIM card if you are only visiting one destination. If you are visiting multiple ones, an international SIM card could be handy. If you want to learn more about international SIM cards, check out my international SIM card comparison article, where I analyze 10 international SIM card providers so that you do not have to.

The Best Way to Stay Connected When Traveling in Paraguay

Getting a SIM card from Personal would do you well when considering a Paraguayan SIM card. Be sure to explore the roaming options your provider offers you, as they may offer free or cheap roaming bundles.

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You could also consider getting an international SIM card or using a portable hotspot. International SIM cards are attractive for those visiting multiple destinations at once or within a year. Portable hotspots will be useful when traveling with multiple people so that not each individual has to get a SIM card but can use the hotspot.

Visiting other countries in South America? Check out my South America SIM card buying guide, covering other South American countries, such as Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Peru, Suriname, and Uruguay. Going to other places around the world? Then you should also check out my sim card buying guides for other destinations around the world.

What is next?

Looking for the best companies and gadgets to enhance your travel experience? Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you travel! Save money on plane tickets, bus rides, cruises, and accommodation. Besides that, I also list services and items I use to make my life easier – and I believe they will help you too!

Book Your Flight for Paraguay

It is time to book your flight. Find cheap flights with AirWander so that you can add free or cheap stopovers in destinations you have not considered yet before going to Paraguay. If you are not ready to take off yet, set up flight alerts with Airfarewatchdog, and they will notify you once ticket prices to Paraguay drop.

Book Your Accommodation for Paraguay

I am a huge fan of Airbnb because it allows me to live with a local or get a local place for myself. Staying in someone’s house or apartment feels much different than being in a ho(s)tel, especially in Paraguay. At least, that is how I see it. Moreover, Airbnb can often be much cheaper than staying in a Paraguayan hotel.

Get Your Travel Insurance for Paraguay

You will regret not having travel insurance once you actually need it and “forgot” to get it. Nowadays, travel insurance is cheap and comprehensive unlike back in the days. World Nomads is by far the best travel insurance for adventurous travelers like yourself. You can even get insured WHILE already traveling in Paraguay, which is not something many insurance companies allow you to do.

Get a Travel Debit Card

Travel Cheques are outdated. Paying with your credit card or debit card can be expensive because of all the exchange commissions banks charge you. TransferWise allows you to convert your main currency to the currency of your destination for a small fee (up to 8 times less than with your bank!) Getting a Transferwise Borderless account is FREE, so you will get an instant return on your investment.

Enjoy your trip!

Ernest Adu

Ernest Adu, going by just Adu, is the founder and editor at Phone Travel Wiz. He has been a traveler for 6 years. Although from Europe, the Netherlands, Adu's favorite region in Asia, in particular, East and Southeast Asia. He currently lives in Tainan, Taiwan due to the current pandemic and does not have any travel plans for after his stay in Taiwan.

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