Besides its lovely cuisine, going to the beaches in Montevideo is something you have to do. You can also find a lovely beach in Punta del Este called Mansa Beach. Go to Cabo Polonio if you want to find sea lions. As you can see, there are plenty of things to do in Uruguay.
What you may not want to do, however, is to roam with your provider in Uruguay. Roaming can be expensive depending on the conditions of your provider, which is why many travelers who tour around South America like to buy South American local SIM cards, including one in Uruguay. In this article, I will go over everything you need to know about buying a SIM card in Uruguay. Let's go.
Telecom Providers in Uruguay
Uruguay has 3 telecom providers: Antel, Movistar Uruguay, and Claro Uruguay. Antel is stated-owned and is the largest provider with the best coverage, followed by Movistar Uruguay and Claro Uruguay.
All operators have 2G, 3G, and 4G/LTE networks. 4G/LTE can mainly be found in Montevideo and other cities and towns.
What SIM card should you buy when visiting Uruguay? If you want to buy a SIM card in Uruguay, I would recommend going with Antel because they have the best coverage in the country. If you are on a budget and staying near the bigger cities and towns, then Claro Uruguay could be a cheaper option.
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Just like many countries in South America, you have to show your passport when buying a SIM card. In the past, your phone had to be declared to customs, but that is no longer the case. The same counts for giving your local address. Nowadays, buying a SIM card in Uruguay is straightforward and easy, especially if you speak Spanish.
With that out of the way, let’s see what Uruguay has to offer to us.
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Video Guide for Buying a SIM Card in Uruguay
Antel is a state-owned company with around 3 million subscribers. The company also has the best coverage in Uruguay, and customers can use their 4G/LTE network without a surcharge. Antel’s 3G network covers more than 90% of the population, while its 4G/LTE is still being expended.
Antel’s SIM card is called Chip Prepago, costs 65 UYU ($1.75), and comes with 200 UYU in credit. The SIM cards can be bought at Montevideo International Airport, Antel shops, or from authorized dealers. Top-up vouchers can be bought from many shops around the country, and each top up comes with benefits as listed below:
- 50 UYU: 3 GB for 24 hours
- 140 UYU: 700 MB for 30 days
- 165 UYU: 3 GB for 7 days
- 165 UYU: 1 GB for 30 days
- 200 UYU: 1 GB for 60 days
- 300 UYU: 1.5 GB for 90 days
- 500 UYU: 2.5 GB for 120 days
You can also buy an Antel tourist SIM card at the airport or in Antel shops. The following options are available:
- 150 UYU: 1 GB for 1 day
- 1000 UYU: 40 GB for 7 days
Finally, you can also buy a 4G/LTE router. I do not remember how much data you get, but the price was around 3000 UYU for 40 GB or 50 GB.
Movistar Uruguay, just Movistar, is owned by a Spanish company called Telefonica. Telefónica has a large presence in the Americas. In Uruguay, Movistar is the second-largest operator with more than 1.7 million subscribers. Their coverage is decent, meaning that you will be fine with Movistar when staying in the bigger cities.
Movistar Prepago SIM cards are sold for 60 UYU in Movistar shops and from authorized dealers. Recharge cards are sold from 20 UYU to 1000 UYU. The following packs can be added:
45 UYU: 3 GB and 100 on-net minutes for 1 day 105 UYU: 3 GB and 100 on-net minutes for 5 day 149 UYU: 5 GB daytime data and 12 GB nighttime data for 7 days 175 UYU: 3 GB and 100 on-net minutes for 10 day 215 UYU: 3 GB, unlimited on-net calls and SMS, 25 domestic minutes, and 100 domestic SMS for 7 days 215 UYU: 3 GB and 100 on-net minutes for 15 day 250 UYU: 15 GB daytime data and 30 GB nighttime data for 7 days 315 UYU: 4 GB, unlimited on-net calls and SMS, 40 domestic minutes, and 150 domestic SMS for 7 days
UPDATE 2020: Movistar recently changed their data packages. Instead, you have the following options called Paquetes de Compra Puntual:
- 120 UYU: 3 GB and 100 on-net minutes for 5 days
- 190 UYU: 3 GB and 100 on-net minutes for 10 days
- 230 UYU: 3 GB and 100 on-net minutes for 15 days
- 300 UYU: 3 GB and 100 on-net minutes for 20 days
If you need more data, consider one of these combo plans:
- 169 UYU: 6 GB daytime, 12 GB nighttime, and 50 on-net minutes, all for 7 days (Dúo Semanal)
- 179 UYU: 6 GB daytime, and 12 GB nighttime for 7 days
- 235 UYU: 3 GB, unlimited on-net minutes, 25 off-net minutes, unlimited on-net SMS, 100 off-net SMS, all for 7 days (Preplan Super)*
- 280 UYU: 12 GB daytime and 30 GB nighttime for 7 days
- 335 UYU: 4 GB, unlimited on-net minutes, 40 off-net minutes, unlimited on-net SMS, 150 off-net SMS, all for 7 days (Preplan Ultra)
Claro Uruguay, just Claro, is Uruguay’s smallest operator with less than 1 million customers. Their coverage is not as extensive as Antel or Movistar, which is why they may not be suitable for travelers. They are, however, the cheapest operator in Uruguay.
Claro SIM cards are called Chip Claro Tajetero and are sold for 40 UYU. They can be bought in many Claro stores or kiosks. Top-up vouchers are sold from 20 UYU to 300 UYU. If you top up with more than 200 UYU, you get 400 MB for free for 15 days. More data can be added with the packs listed below:
- 40 UYU: 1 GB for 1 day
- 90 UYU: 2 GB for 5 days
- 100 UYU: 1 GB for 7 days
- 110 UYU: 3 GB for 3 days
- 120 UYU: 2 GB for 7 days
- 150 UYU: 3 GB for 7 days
- 190 UYU: 3 GB for 10 days
- 220 UYU: 3 GB for 20 days
Other Ways to Stay Connected When Traveling in Uruguay
The Best Way to Stay Connected When Traveling in Uruguay
Getting a SIM card from Antel would do you well when considering an Uruguayan SIM card.
Local Prepaid SIM Cards in Other South American Countries
Planning on visiting other countries in South America? Check out my South America SIM card buying guide covering other South American destinations, such as:
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