Living in Antigua Guatemala I often see foreign travelers without the gift of the spanish language. A common experience I have is seeing a traveler with a cell phone attempting to ask to have their phone recharged. In Guatemala all celular phones use sim chips and you buy credit on the phone. This is the most common cell phone practice in Guatemala. Kind of a pay as you use system.

Most of the shops in Antigua Guatemala will have a sign outside for one of the three phone companies in Guatemala, Tigo, Movistar or Claro. That means that you can purchase Recargo or credit for your cell phone.

The process is simple you pay for the amount of credit the shop owners takes your cell number and calls in the amount of credit you have purchased. Within a few second you get a text message confirming the credit or Recargo you have purchase.

Easy.

Not so, although Antigua is a tourism destination in Guatemala few of the shop owners speak english the results is the guide I have written for those that suffer the lack of the gift for the spanish language. I decided to write this guide for cell phone use and list of common questions as a result of an experience I had yesterday.

I was getting my cell phone credit when two american women came in attempting to figure out what to do about credit for their cell phone. Both the shop owner and the women had a lot of blank looks and hand movement. I stepped in and asked the women what they needed and then told the shop owner.

Some confusion came forth as the shop owner only had phone cards. You scratch off the number on the back, enter the code in your phone and you have credit. This is also another method of phone credit.

You can in Antigua go to either Movie Star or Claro’s offices and sit in line and wait your turn to buy credit. The shop owner option is the fastest and the best means.

Question to ask about your cell phone English to Spanish.

My cell phone is not working
Mi teléfono celular no está funcionando

My cell phone
mi teléfono celular

Where can I recharge my cell phone
Dónde puedo recargar mi teléfono celular

I need credit for my cell phone
Necesito crédito para mi teléfono móvil

Recharge for my cell phone
de recarga para el móvil

How do i get my voicemail ?
Cómo puedo obtener mi correo de voz?

How much is that cell phone ?
Cuánto es ese celular?

Claro is the largest mobile phone network in the Americas. It is part of the Mexican telecom group América Móvil which is one of the four largest mobile phone network operators in the world, with more than 200 million customers. It serves clients in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico and Uruguay. Claro may mean bright, clear or of course, in both Portuguese and Spanish.

TIGO, Comunicaciones Celulares, S.A. or just COMCEL is a mobile phone service provider company owned by the international mobile phone company Millicom or just MIC. On 2004 COMCEL changed their name to TIGO introducing their GSM Technology, new mobile phone sources, new mobile phones, more coverage, new fresh look and also new plans.

At this time its for not much the number one mobile phone provider in Guatemala. There are also other TIGO’s in Latin America at the Central American countries of El Salvador, Honduras, and also in the South American nations of Colombia, Paraguay,and Bolivia. TIGO Guatemala is the biggest subsidiary of TIGO in Central America with a base of more than 6 million subscribers.

Movistar is a major Spanish mobile phone operator owned by Telefónica Móviles. It operates in Spain and in many Latin American countries. It is the largest carrier in Spain with 22 million customers (cellphone services only) and 41.58% of market share.2 Its principal competitor in Latin America is America Movil. It offers GSM 900/1800 MHz (2G), UMTS 850 & 1900 MHz (3G) and HSDPA (3.5G) services.

The Movistar name has been in use in Spain since the launch of GSM services in 1995. The name became effective worldwide on April 5, 2005 after Telefónica Móviles purchased the BellSouth mobile operations branch in South America.

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. Telefonica has good coverage with their PCMCIA EV-DO cards.

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