Anyone visiting Chile will notice immediately that communication and media in Chile has a strong presence. Whether you are traveling to Chile for personal or business reasons and thinking about relocating to Chile, this information should give you a helpful start.
Information on Placing Phone Calls in Chile
Chile’s telephone system is efficient. You can find public telephone booths in every city, and they all work for national and international calls. However, public phones located on streets are very likely to be tampered or vandalized, so it’s better to use a phone located inside a place of business or a station. There are also special stores that offer private telephone booths, internet access and selling of telephone cards for public phones or cellphones.
Mobile phones are very common and there is a variety of ‘plans’ to choose from, including ‘Pay As You Go’ services.
Prepaid cards for mobile phones and landlines are sold at most newspaper kiosks, supermarkets, gas stations, pharmacies and phone dealers.
Mobile GSM networks are ubiquitous in all major cities and most of the territory of central and southern Chile.
A basic prepaid cellular phone usually costs about 15,000 pesos ($30 USD), most frequently charged with 10,000 pesos ($20 USD) worth of prepaid minutes. No identification is required to buy a prepaid phone.
The main phone carriers are ENTEL, Movistar and Claro. GSM SIM cards are usually available for 5,000 pesos ($10 USD), but without credit, so you’ll need to buy some prepaid minutes to be able to call.
Money can be charged into a cellphone from almost any ATM, using a credit or debit card, also, one can charge money directly into the phone by using a credit card through an automated service operator, with directions in Spanish or English.
If you chose to bring your own cell phone from home, Chile has international roaming coverage and you should be able to make international calls from your cell phone in most areas. But only places in the Americas have the same GSM frequency as Chile. Chile’s GSM frequency is 1900. Canada, much of the U.S. and most of the Caribbean and Latin America use GSM 1900. Be sure to check with your cell phone provider before you bring your phone to Chile. Coverage is good in large cities but can be limited in rural areas. Your service provider will be able to advise you on call rates.
NOTE: Petty theft of cell phones is not uncommon, so take care in big cities, especially at night.
How to Make Calls Inside and Outside of Chile
-International Calls to Chile from Another Country
Chile’s Country Code = 56
Chile’s Exit Code = 00
U.S. Exit Code = 011
Chile Area Codes = consists of 1 & 2 digit codes
Santiago Area Code = (0)2
(See more Area Codes below)
Phone numbers usually contain 6 to 7 digit numbers – not including country code, country exit code and area code.
If you are calling a landline in Chile, simply dial the Exit Code + Country Code + Area code + Telephone Number.
-For example (USA to Chile): 011 + 56 + 2 + Telephone Number.
If you are calling a cell phone in Chile, you will need to replace the Area Code with a 6, 7, 8 or 9 Prefix.
For example: 011 + 56 + 9 + Telephone Number; or 011 + 56 + 7 + Telephone Number.
How to Make Calls Within Chile
Landline to Landline Calls in Chile
To make a local call from a landline, dial the Area code + Telephone Number.
-For example, living in Santiago and calling someone local in Santiago, simply dial: 2 + Telephone Number.
(If you have a landline in your home, it is usually better to have a long distance and/or international phone call plan. You can probably make long distance and international phone calls without contracting a plan, but prices will be much higher.)
Cell Phone to Cell Phone Calls In Chile
All cell phones use the prefixes 6, 7, 8 or 9. If you want to make a call to a local cell phone from a local cell phone, all you need to do is dial the Prefix + Telephone Number.
-For example: 9 + Telephone Number.
Cell Phone to Landline in Chile
To call a landline from a local cell phone you need to dial: 0 + Area Code + Telephone Number.
-For example: a call to Santiago would be 0 + 2 + Telephone Number.
How to Make International Calls from Chile to Another Country
When making an overseas phone call from Chile you must dial Chile’s Exit Code + Country Code (the destination you are calling) + Area Code + Telephone Number.
-For example (a call to the US): 00 + 1 + Area Code + Telephone Number.
Operator codes are three-digit numbers and the most widely used are: Entel (123), Movistar (181),Telefonica (188), VTR (111), Globus (120), Manquehue (122), Bellsouth (181), AT&T (155).
Area Codes in Chile
La Serena 51
Los Andes 34
Los Angeles 43
Puerto Montt 65
Punta Arenas 61
San Antonio 35
Santa Cruz 72
Most towns and cities have ‘Centros de Llamadas’ (Call Centers) and Internet cafés, which you can use for local and international telephone calls. Here you can make calls from a private booth or in some cases make VoIP (voice over IP) calls, for example via Skype. The cost of international calls depends on the destination and is calculated by the minute. Expect to pay around $0.40 USD per minute to call the U.S. from Chile.
A phone number with a “600? in the front is charged the same as a local phone call; it can be used form fixed phones and some mobiles.
A phone number with an “800? in the front is a free call from a fixed line.
Phone Books in Chile
• ChilNet – business directory
• Paginas Blancas – Official Chile White Pages, in Spanish
• Paginas Amarillas – Yellow Pages and other people and business related searches (Spanish only)
Internet In Chile
Broadband in Chile is called ‘banda ancha’.
Mobile Broadband is called ‘banda ancha mobil’ or ‘BAM’
Internet service in Chile is quite good but expensive. The cost is more than double what you would pay in Northern America or Europe for roughly the same bandwidth (appx $80). Chile is one of the few countries that now operates on 4G which still isn’t available in the US or Europe.
Some level of service is available in most places but given the country’s geography, coverage may vary, especially in remote and rural areas. Most providers offer a choice of USB or Ethernet modems (including with Wifi).
Major Internet Service Providers (ISP’s) include:
Wifi hotspots are commonly found in many parts of Chile, though people have increasingly figured out they should secure them.
Internet cafes are widespread, particularly in the big cities.
Some libraries offer free computers and internet access (they may be very sensitive if you plug in your camera or something like that).
TV, Cable & Satellite in Chile
Chile is an online country. Cable TV is widely available and the phone service is a prime example of the joys of privatization. Internet service is quite good but expensive.
A ‘triple pack’ of extensive cable TV, phone line with free local calls and 2MB internet service costs around US$100/month. It is highly recommended that you use VOIP for phone calls (eg Skype or Vonage) to make long distance and international calls as the costs are dramatically lower.
TV and Satellite companies include Cable Central, DIRECTV Chile Ltda., PACIFICO CABLE S.A., Telefónica del Sur , Telefónica Multimedia, Claro, TU VES S.A. and VTR which is Chile’s state-owned channel. There is plenty of diversity in the choice of programs and language. HBO, Cinemax, Sony, CNN International, BBC, MGM, Starz, FX (just to name a few).
Some of the more popular Spanish TV channels include:
Canal 13 Cable (culture) (owned by Canal 13)
CNN Chile, 24-hour news channel (owned by Time Warner)
TV Senado (Chamber of Congress TV signal)
TVN 24 Horas (24-hour news channel) (owned by TVN)
Via X, (MTV-like music channel)
Vive! Deportes (local amateur sports)
Vive! HD (HD content)
Zona Latina (Latin music)
Newspapers In Chile
The most widely circulated newspapers in Chile are published by El Mercurio and Copesa
Some of the most popular newspapers available in Santiago are..
-Las Últimas Noticias
Radio In Chile
One of Chile’s only ALL English radio stations is ‘Santiago Radio’ – The The Pulse of the Capital. Check it out at www.santiagoradio.cl
Here is a list of the many of the radio stations in Chile (most are in Spanish):
21 FM – 99.5 FM – Los Andes
Armonia FM – FM – Santiago
Canal 95Fm – 95.1fm FM – Antofagasta
Carolina – 99.3 FM – Santiago
Duna FM – 89.7 FM – Santiago
El Conquistador – 91.3 MHz FM – Santiago
FM Tiempo – 95.9 FM – Santiago
Festival 99 – 99 FM – Vina Del Mar
Horizonte FM – FM – Santiago
Primordial FM – 97.9 FM – Rancagua
Radio Beethoven – 95.6 FM – Santiago
Radio Bio Bio CC62 – 620 AM – Concepción
Radio Bio-Bio – FM – Santiago
Radio Carolina – 99.3 FM – Santiago Chile
Radio Chilelindo – Online – Rio Rancho
Radio Concierto – 101.7 FM – Santiago
Radio Conquistador FM – 93.1 FM – Santiago
Radio Cooperativa de Chile – 93.3 FM – Santiago
Radio Infinita – FM – Santiago
Radio Integral – FM – Santiago (University of Chile)
Radio Manquehue FM – 105.7 FM – Santiago
Radio Monumental – AM – Santiago
Radio PORTALES – AM – Santiago
Radio Pudahuel – FM – Santiago
Radio Sol – 97.7 FM – Antofagasta (Universidad Catolica Del Norte)
Radio Tiempo FM – 95.9 FM – Santiago
Radio Universo FM – 93.7 FM – Santiago
Radio Universo – FM – Todo Chile
RadioActiva – FM – Santiago
RadioZero – FM – Santiago
Radioactiva – 92.5 FM – Santiago
Radiozero – 102.1 FM – Vina Del Mar
U Radio – 99.9 FM – Santiago (Universidad De Chile)
Uradio – real audio – Santiago de Chile (Escuela de Periodismo Universidad de Chile)