How (not) to get a data SIM from Personal Argentina

While planning our holiday we looked into getting a local SIM for internet access. It looked like Personal had a good deal for tourists with their package of 3GB data plus some SMS’s and calling time for 500 pesos (€12.50) valid for 30 days.

We got the SIM in Buenos Aires but couldn’t put money on it in the shop, we needed to go to “kiosko” to do that. The first one had a broken machine so we tried to find another shop. After asking a few locals finally a friendly police man walked us to a shop where topped up the card.

We then had to send a text message to buy the data bundle but that didn’t work either. Before we went back to our B&B we went back to the Personal shop where we were told it may take up to 24 hours for the card to work but we could call a short number to activate it the next day. Of course this didn’t work either. Today we went to the Personalshop in Ushuaia where, with a lot of problems we got it working. It seemed the number was not activated and after that was fixed we found out that the tourist bundle can not be had. Fortunately the lady at the shop was able to offer a similar bundle but without phone calls. After activating that the mobile hotspot connected to 3G and we finally got internet working.

Maybe it would be good idea to sell these SIM cards preloaded and activate them in the shop that sells them instead of the way it works now.

Workflow at the shop in Buenos Aires:

  • Register when entering the shop
  • Wait for your name to be called
  • Go to a desk, do the paperwork
  • Take paper to the cashier
  • Get a 0 pesos invoice
  • Take invoice to service desk to get SIM
  • Walk a few blocks to a “kiosko” to buy credit
  • Send text message to activate bundle

If by then it doesn’t work, though luck.