Monday, July 11, 2011

Yes you can have phone service, No you can't: Getting Connected in Peru

Finding cell phone and home phone/cable/internet service is a daunting task in any country. You would think it would be easier here in Peru since there are basically only three cell phone providers and two companies that have home service.

Since I am in the process of getting my residency card or CE (carnet de extranjería), I can only use my passport to make purchases and open accounts until my residency is approved. It is not a problem to get a prepaid phone which is the small flip phone you see below. Anything more than that is a hassle.
However, I wanted to use my iPhone which was NOT unlocked because it is an iPhone 4. I had to get a special device to use it which took about two weeks to find. That is a story unto itself. The three phone companies are Movistar, Claro and Nextel. 

Movistar is a company from Spain. Claro comes from Mexico. Nextel is the same as Sprint and works on a radio system. The only companies that sell the microchip I needed are Movistar and Claro. After going to four Movistar offices they finally told me I can’t get one without my CE. Claro offered me a “monthly” plan but required a two month deposit and I couldn’t use the deposit money until the third and fourth months. So one company refused service and the other offered a no contract monthly service with a four month commitment. Crazy but I finally got this service.

For home phone/internet/cable service Movistar offered me a special discount. They made my contract and took four copies of my fingerprints and told me they would install in two days.  After four days I went to the office to ask what had happened. Then they told me there was no record of my contract. I then filled out a new contract. The company then called to say they were “oversaturated” in my neighborhood and could not offer service. So then I contracted Claro. After two home visits to review the cables in my apartment they finally installed service. That same day out of nowhere Movistar (the company who said they were “oversaturated”) came to install cable and internet as well. I informed them that they had refused me service. They also had no record of that. Oh well, I guess you gotta laugh. I finally have home phone and internet.
Because of my lack of credit in Peru I was only able to get the 99 Soles ($36) per month plan. Be jealous…from the picture below you can see that I do get 3 Gigs of 3G Internet but only have 39 Soles ($14.18) of talk time and 40 text messages per month.

I am finally connected with home phone, cable & Internet as well as Iphone 3G service. Life is good.

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