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Medellin Phone & Communications

 
infophone

Phone/Internet FAQ

  • Will my cell phone work in Medellin Colombia?
  •  
  • What technology does Colombia use?
  •  
  • What phone companies are in Medellin?
  •  
  • Can I get internet access in Medellin?

 

Colombia uses GSM bands, 850 and 1900. If your phone has these bands it should work, providing it has been unlocked. CDMA phones such as Verizon and Sprint will not work, unless they are specifically marketed as “global phones” by those carriers, which are CDMA phones that have GSM capability added.

 

If you have an unlocked GSM phone, check to see which bands it uses. “Quad-Band” GSM phones will have all four major GSM bands, which will include everything you would need for any carrier in Colombia. If it is NOT a Quad-Band phone, check to see which bands it has and match those to an appropriate network.

 

Major carriers in Medellin (and their bands)

 

Comcel (now Claro) is the “best” network, but Tigo is cheaper. There have been issues with Tigo and iPhones, creating battery issues and network data usage that is unreasonable. Tigo also has more issues with Verizon and Sprint phones even when they are “global”, but usually only when you’re trying to use a data plan. Comcel merged with TelMex to create one of the largest networks in all of Latin America. Most people still say “Comcel”, but the company is actually Claro now.

 

For travelers the best option is buying a Pre-Paid SIM and “charging” it with minutes. The SIMs generally cost between 5.000COP and 10.000COP, and minutes are available on cards that range from 5.000COP to 100.000COP.

 

The SIM and the minutes are available all over town in stores and kiosks, and stands on the side of the street. For your first time, the venders are usually happy to charge your minutes for you on the spot, showing you how to do it for future reference.

 

Locals generally have a monthly plan, with either voice only, and paying for texts, or voice and data. Data plans are usually either unlimited or “social” which consist of BlackBerry Messenger, and Facebook access, and a few other messenger services, but not full internet access.

 

These plans are popular because unlimited data plans often cost 50.000COP – 70.000COP per month, which is an enormous amount of money. Social plans are less than half that.

 

Calling from phone to phone in Medellin

Calling into Colombia, the country code is 57, for cell phones, dial +57 and the 10 digit cell phone number, for landlines dial +57 034 and the 7 digit number.

 

Cell to Cell, just dial the 10 digit number.

 

Cell to Landline (called a fijo), add 034 and then the 7 digit number.

 

Landline (fijo) to Cell, dial 03 and then the 10 digit number.

 

Landline to Landline (in same city), just dial the 7 digit number.

 

Dialing different cities…National Dialing Prefix (NDD)

  • 03 (Mobile Phones)
  • 05 (Orbitel)
  • 07 (ETB)
  • 09 (Telecom)

 

Dial 05, 07, or 09 depending upon your telephone company and then the city code (Bogota is 1, Cali 2, Medellin 4, Cartagena/Santa Marta 5, Armenia/Pereira 6, Bucaramanga 7).

 

Example: 05 1 275 2000 is how you call the US Embassy in Bogota from an Orbitel phone.

 

Calling the US…International Dialing Prefix (IDD)

  • 005 (Orbitel)
  • 007 (ETB)
  • 009 (Telecom)
  • #555 (Bellsouth)
  • #999 (Claro)

 

Dial 005 or 009 (depending on the company, 005 is more common) and then 1 and the 10 digit US number. Example: 005 1 212 867 5309 is how you call Jenny in New York.

 

Internet

High-speed internet is readily available in Medellin. Almost all major hotels, and most apartment rentals catering to foreigners will offer it although it maybe WiFi and not hard wired.

 

At times there are connection issues with the WiFi because construction in Medellin favors concrete and brick walls in most places.  The most modern hotels have construction more along the lines we’re used to. But be sure to ask your host about the availability and connectivity for your stay.

 

The internet can be flaky and has been known to go down for several hours in many locations throughout Medellin. This is just a fact of life in South America. Many public places, like the major malls, Exito, most big restaurants in Parque Lleras, and large chains like Juan Valdez and Crepes & Waffles offer WiFi hotspots.

 

VOIP services like Skype and Magic Jack work well in Medellin depending on your location’s connection speed, but system wide they are in common use and work fine.

Category: Info

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