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Will your foreign phone working Bolivia a step by step and detailed guide

Will Your Phone Work in Bolivia? All the Details, Requirements & Steps

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When you bring your phone with you to Bolivia, in almost all cases it will work without trouble. Enabling it in the country will be an easy process, in which you will only need to present your personal documents, also the ones that allow you to stay in Bolivia. You will need to buy a phone line in the country too, among other things.

Yes, your phone will work in Bolivia, unless it doesn’t have the right radio bandwidth on its design or your phone company has blocked it from working overseas. You’ll need to register your phone in Bolivia, present your passport and your tourist visa, buy a Bolivian phone line, and that’s all.

In this guide, we will show you everything about whether it is possible or not for your phone to work here in Bolivia. Also we’ll present to you the conditions, requirements, steps, costs and timespans to enable its use in our country, additionally, in which cases it is not going to work, the best phone companies to get a phone online, among other details.

Yes, your phone will totally work in Bolivia

Any mobile phone that meets the proper technical requirements you bring with you to Bolivia will work without any kind of limitation. There are no legal restrictions for you to use your foreign phone in the country. 

The general steps you need to follow in order for it to work here are:

  1. Register the phone in Bolivia
  2. Buy a Bolivian phone line
  3. Pay your phone usage bills

After you do it, the phone will work without trouble in the country and it will have the following full services activated:

  • Total functionality in making calls inside and outside Bolivia.
  • Total functionality on internet access through 2G, 3G and 4G (5G is not still supported by the country, it will be in 2024).
  • Ability to block the phone if it’s stolen, with the help of the Bolivian phone company.

The above are the legal and phone company flexibilities in Bolivia. Nevertheless, if your phone doesn’t meet the right technical and foreign phone company requirements, it won’t work in our country, as we show you next.

Cases in which your phone may not work in the country

As we just said, Bolivia doesn’t have any kind of legal restrictions for phones bought overseas to work in the country, so, in this aspect you don’t have any limit for it to work here. But there are some other technical and phone company restrictions that can affect the work of your phone in our country.

Possible technical restrictions

In the first place, most of the phones currently made around the world can support several radio bandwidths used in many countries, but some of them don’t have the right radio bandwidths that we use in Bolivia.

These radio bandwidths that are used in Bolivia for mobile phones are*:

  • 700 Mhz
  • 850 MHz
  • 1700 MHz
  • 1900 MHz
  • 2100 MHz

*If one company doesn’t support a certain bandwidth, go to the next one, between the 3 in Bolivia: Entel, Tigo and Viva.

Inside Tigo Bolivia offices located in La Paz Bolivia
Inside Tigo Bolivia offices located in La Paz, Bolivia.

Remember that currently in Bolivia GSM, 2G, 3G and 4G technologies are available.

We recommend you to visit this page in order to see if your phone has the right bandwidth to work in Bolivia:

Possible phone company restrictions

Secondly, sometimes the company that provides the line for your mobile phone in your country may restrict its use with another company, or outside your source country. You need to first make sure that the company of your phone hasn’t restricted it for its use overseas, or when you travel, or with another telecommunications company.

If your mobile phone doesn’t have any of the restrictions mentioned above, a) the radio bandwidths that it supports and b) the company restrictions for its use, then it will work without any trouble in Bolivia.

Steps and requirements to let your phone work in Bolivia

In order to enable your cell phone for its use in Bolivia, you will need to go through the following conditions, requirements and steps. In general it will be a very easy and fast process to go though.

1) Conditions

As we said at the beginning of this guide, your phone needs to meet the right technical and phone company requirements in order to work in Bolivia. Remember that there are no legal restrictions for your phone to work in the country.

  1. The mobile phone must have the right radio bandwidths, as we showed in a section above link.
  2. The mobile phone must not be blocked by the phone company in your source country for working overseas or elsewhere.

If the mobile phone you’re bringing with you when coming to Bolivia does meet these 2 conditions, then it will work with any trouble after being registered here.

2) Requirements

When enabling your mobile phone in Bolivia, you will need to present some documents and requirements:

  • Your passport
  • Or your tourist visa
  • Or your foreigners’ ID card (only if you are a temporary or permanent resident of Bolivia)
  • Around $30 to pay the initial bills

Remember that you don’t need your ID document from your source country or a foreigners’ ID card provided by the Bolivian government to enable a mobile phone in Bolivia, just with your passport and your tourist visa you can do it.

3) Steps

After you meet all the above conditions and requirements, just follow the next steps in order to enable your phone in Bolivia:

  1. Go to one of the 3 phone companies available here (you must go to their offices, don’t enable a mobile phone on the streets with one of the endless phone line sellers that work there):
    1. Entel, the largest phone company in the country (we recommend you to go to this company first).
    2. Tigo (an also good company, but smaller)
    3. Viva (another good company, but smaller).
  2. Present the needed documents and your phone. These documents are a) your passport and b) your tourist visa. In some cases, the company may ask for your country’s ID card, but it’s very unlikely to happen.
    1. If the phone’s technical features are not supported by the phone company, just go to the next one. Remember that there are 3 phone companies available in Bolivia and they have almost the same quality in their services. This may happen because one company may not support a certain radio bandwidth, but the next will if this bandwidth is one the bands we showed in an earlier section link.
  3. The employer will register your phone in Bolivia. Your phone will be registered with the information from your passport and tourist visa (or from your foreigners’ ID card if you are a resident). This will allow you to block, and in rare cases even recover, your phone if it is stolen.
  4. The employer will activate a Bolivian phone line for your mobile phone. You will get a new phone line from the country, with which you will be able to use your cell phone here.
  5. Pay the bills of your line subscription. You will need to pay for the acquisition of your Bolivian phone line (around $5), and also, for the call and internet plan for it, from $5 to $50 per month.
  6. That’s all, you are set!

4) Costs

The costs of enabling a phone in Bolivia are actually cheap, as we show next:

  • For registering the phone (free).
  • For getting a new mobile line in Bolivia (from $3 to $7).
  • For getting a monthly plan for your Bolivian phone line (around $20, but can go from $5 to $50 per month, depending on the amount of internet, calling minutes and other variables).

To enable your mobile phone for working in Bolivia, you will spend the following: ~$25 in the 1st month and ~$20/month in the following months.

5) Paperwork timespan

To complete the whole process to enable your phone for its use in Bolivia, you’ll need between 30 minutes and 2 hours at most.

You just need to go to one agency of a phone company within the country. They will register your phone in Bolivia and give you a new line, in just minutes, with everything working just fine.

Tips and precautions when enabling your phone in Bolivia

In the first place, remember that you are more likely to be targeted by scammers in the Bolivian streets when they see you are from overseas. So, never activate your phone in the streets, through the hundreds of phone line sellers that normally work there. They will give you just a generic mobile line, you won’t be able to register it with your passport and you will have troubles later.

Also, we recommend you to go first to Entel S.A. which is the main phone company available in the country. This company has a wider support for most regions inside the country, including many rural areas. Additionally, it supports more radio bandwidths for your mobile phone.

Entel agency the largest phone company in the country in La Paz Bolivia
Entel (largest phone company) agency in La Paz, Bolivia.

You can see the mobile phone plans available from this company here:

The other 2 companies, Tigo and Viva, have similar planszl, almost with the same cost, follow the links for more information.

We have a detailed guide about these 3 phone companies available in Bolivia, with all their services for people from overseas, their call and internet plans, the best company, among other details, in the following direction: Phone companies in Bolivia, a detailed overview. Link

When your phone gets stolen

Additionally, in the bad case you get your mobile phone stolen, you should rapidly go to the phone company in Bolivia where you activated the phone in order to block its line. This will make it harder for the robbers to hack it and access your information. But this measure won’t do almost anything else to help recover your phone. 

Unfortunately in Bolivia it’s very difficult to recover a phone after it has been stolen. So, be prepared for this situation and take the proper precautions, knowing that if you lose it, it will be almost impossible to recover.

In rare cases, you can get your phone back after going to a police station, because this entity may have recovered it from a police patrol or similar police activity, but almost never expect for this to work.

Conclusions:

In this guide about if your phone will work in Bolivia, and how to accomplish this task, you have seen that it will fully work in the country, unless it doesn’t meet the proper technical requirements or that it has been blocked by your foreign phone company.

You learned too that in order to let your phone work in Bolivia, without any restrictions in call making and use of the internet, you will just need to present your passport and your tourist visa, or your foreigners’ ID card if you are a resident. You will also need from $10 to $55 to pay for the new Bolivian mobile phone line, and for the monthly payment subscription for your line.

Finally, always take care of your phone in Bolivia, because if it gets stolen here, you won’t have almost any chance of recovering it. Also, never activate your phone by buying a line from a phone line seller in the streets of Bolivia, outside the offices of the 3 main phone companies available here, you should always go to one of these companies to make the proper activation.

We hope this information has helped you, and if you want to know every detail about the three phone companies that currently operate in Bolivia, with all their services, mobile plans, internet plans, their agencies, and which one is the best, visit our dedicated guide in the following direction: The 3 phone companies in bolivia, all you need to know. Link

BolivianExperts.com, information about how to live, work, invest and travel in Bolivia.

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