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Guatemala

Internet, Comunication

Internet, Comunication


Phone

Guatemala's international calling code is 502. There are no area codes. Phone numbers all have eight digits. On September 18, 2004, the phone system switched from seven to eight digits, and there is a scheme for adding specific digits to the front of seven-digit numbers (WTNG.info description [www]).

The phone system isn't great, but it works. Tourists can call abroad from call centers, where you pay by the minute. It is also easy to purchase a calling card to use at public pay phones. The phones there do not accept money, so to use a public phone on the street you must purchase a telephone card. Typically, the cost is around 8 quetzals for a 10 min call to North America. Cell phones are quite cheap and calling to the US through one can get as low as $0.08 a min. If you are planning to stay for a while and plan to use the phone, you should consider buying a cheap prepaid phone. Wireless nation-wide internet access for laptops is also available as a service from some companies. Telefónica has good coverage with their PCMCIA EV-DO cards.


Post

The postal system is traditionally not reliable, but your post cards usually get through. A stamp for Europe is Q5. There are; however, many other alternative companies to the federal mail system that are reliable, though frequently somewhat pricey.


Internet

Internet access is widely available. Even most of the more remote areas have some type of internet access available. Many larger areas also have WiFi. All of the Camperos chicken/pizza restaurants (which are numerous) offer free WiFi, as well as many other restaurants and cafes. Some hotels may also offer computer banks with internet access. Just ask and you eventually will find some sort of free access.

Mobile (3G/GPRS) internet access

If you have an internet capable mobile phone such as iPhone, Google Android, Nokia N95 etc. or USB dongle for your laptop, you just need a local SIM card (roughly Q25) and can start enjoying the prepaid access plans, which generally come in lots of an hour, a day, or a week.

Anecdotal: when I passed through Guatemala in May 2010 I bought a TIGO Guatemala SIM and automatically received an SMS within a day or two offering me 30 days of free internet access without any need to do anything, which was variable in its reliability but very useful all the same. With a program such as PDANet you can create a mini Wifi network that follows you around as you travel. I asked around and apparently the normal way to activate the internet after putting in the right configuration settings I was supposed to send the SMS message "WAP" to the shortcode 805, but I didn't need to do this. The APN (access point name) was internet.tigo.gt

Here is a table for the settings and activation options for various providers, including approximate costs.

Guatemala prepaid internet mobile providers
ProviderConfiguration detailsActivation instructionsCosts
TIGO GuatemalaAPN: internet.tigo.gtuser: any (or blank) pass: any (or blank)SMS "WAP" to 805~ Q12 a day
ClaroAPN: internet.ideasclaroSMS "7 dias" to 313 for 7 days. SMS "internet basico" to 313, should give you the settingsQTZ 100 for 7 days, see website for other rates: [www] Overall, incredibly easy to setup and use. Speeds are equivalent to 3G in the US.

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