Data roaming in Chile & Alternatives to Get Internet 2024: Which Option to Choose?

Data roaming in Chile is one of the important matters concerned by most tourists. This is a method to help you have a stable internet connection to search necessary information as well as stay in touch with your family and relatives while exploring Chile.

data roaming chile
Data roaming in Chile

This article will give you an overview of data roaming in Chile, including costs, usage, activation, and recommended alternatives.

I. Overview of Data Roaming in Chile for Tourists

As a traveler, there are several issues related to data roaming in Chile that you should consider thoroughly:

  • Roaming service: Chile allows visitors to use your cell phones for international internet carriers that offer roaming service.
  • Network coverage: Most attractions and major cities in Chile have good coverage. In particular, 5G is being strongly developed in this country. Some areas such as remote or rural ones may have more limited coverage.
  • Major network operators: You can consider some major network operators in Chile such as Claro, Movistar, Entel and WOM.
  • Consideration about SIM card vs eSIM: Travelers can purchase a local SIM card upon arrival to get better data and call rates within Chile. On the other hand, eSIM can be considered if your device is compatible with this solution, thereby your can activate an eSIM without needing a physical SIM card.
  • Data plan: Choose the data plan that meets your needs. This amount of data will be necessary for map viewing, texting, and web browsing.
  • Top-up options: If choosing a local SIM card, learn about top-up options. You can reload your balance at convenience stores, kiosks, or online.
  • Roaming fees: Be aware of roaming fees if you want to use a home country SIM card, because this can be quite expensive. You should check to see if your provider offers an international roaming package.
  • Wifi availability: Many cafes, restaurants, and hotels in Chile offer free wifi. Take advantage of these hotspots to save data.
  • Phone compatibility: Chile supports GSM networks (GTE, 3G, 4G and 5G), so if your phone supports GSM technology, it may be well compatible with the Chilean network.

II. How Roaming in Chile Works

how data roaming in chile work

Roaming or data roaming in Chile is simply understood as the process of mobile devices connecting to foreign networks when you travel in Chile. When a device roams, it accesses data services through the local carrier’s network.

Based on the scope of use, data roaming can be divided into two types: international roaming and domestic one. Through active roaming with the network operator, travelers can use the phone to stay connected online, use necessary and favorite applications, make calls to relatives or friends, and send – receive text messages over other networks.

Good to know: Some major local operators offering data roaming services for your reference include Claro, Movistar, Entel and WOM.

Pros of data roaming in Chile:

  • Connect anytime, anywhere: Data roaming allows your cell phone to use the internet and applications over the mobile network while visiting Chile.
  • Convenience: Data roaming helps travelers to use your phone number and data plan, even when outside of home network coverage. This means you can continue to use your phone as normal without the hassle of finding a wifi access point or dealing with local SIM card complications.
  • Use in case of emergency: In emergency situations, visitors can make calls, send messages or look up important information immediately.

Cons of data roaming in Chile

  • High costs: Roaming charges can be significantly more expensive than your typical data usage costs, which include charges for text messages, calls and data usage.
  • Slow speeds: When roaming, your cell phone connects to networks outside of its normal service area. This speed may not be as fast as usual.
  • Limited data: Some mobile service carriers may limit data usage when roaming. Therefore, travelers will not enjoy the same level of data as in their home country.

III. Roaming Charges in Chile – Is It Expensive?

is roaming expensive
How is roaming charge in Chile

Yes, data roaming charges in Chile are quite expensive and inconvenient if travelers do not have a reasonable data management plan. Although the price depends on the network operator you choose, the information below can help you get a deep insight about data roaming in Chile:

EntelIncoming calls: Free minutesOutcoming minutes: Free minutesUp to 400 SMS within national territoryFrom 300GBFrom $16,093
ClaroIncoming calls: Free minutesOutcoming calls: Free minutes500 SMS all destinationsFrom 200GBFrom $8.990
MovistarIncoming call: Free minutesOutcoming calls: Free minutes Up to 1000 From 200GBFrom $7.525
WOMIncoming call: Free minutesOutcoming calls: Free minutes N/AFrom 400 GBFrom $16,990

Our recommendation: Data roaming charges in Chile are quite high and inflexible, so travelers should consider using a SIM card or eSIM as an alternative option.

IV. How to Activate Roaming Service for Chile in Your Cell Phone?

To activate roaming service for Chile in your cell phone, you should follow these 4 steps:

Step 1: Choose the most reliable and suitable provider

  • Before activating data roaming in Chile, travelers should identify the appropriate internet service operator.
  • You can absolutely keep your home cellular plan or purchase a data plan from a reputable carrier in Chile such as Claro, Entel or Movistar.

Notes: Check the provider's official website in advance to get the most up-to-date pricing and data plan details.

Step 2: Activate data roaming function for service provider

  • Each network provider has a different way to activate roaming service. Therefore, you should visit the official website of the selected carrier for detailed instructions.
  • For example, with Claro, you follow these steps: Access Mi Claro App >> Go to “International roaming” >> Select your destination country >> That’s done.

Step 3: Choose appropriate data roaming package

Why is the roaming package important?

Normally, data roaming charges are quite expensive. So purchasing a roaming package ensures that travelers do not have to pay beyond your budget.


  • Consider purchasing a roaming package 1 day before departure as the roaming package will activate immediately after the purchase is complete
  • To someone who demands a high volume of data, you should consider purchasing an unlimited package to ensure stability.
  • In contrast, to someone who only uses data when necessary, a data roaming package with limited data volume is the right choice.

Step 4: Turn on data roaming on cell phone

  • For Android devices: Go to “Settings” >> Tap on “Data roaming” >> Turn the “International roaming” button on.
  • For iOS devices: Navigate to “Settings” >> Go to “Cellular” >> Switch “Data Roaming” on.

Notes: Switch off data roaming button when not necessary to avoid extra costs.

V. How to Avoid Roaming Charges When Traveling to Chile

Travelers can keep data roaming to a minimum by following these tips:

  • Use free wifi whenever possible: Most cafes, restaurants and hotels in Chile now have free wireless internet available.
  • Check if your network offers roaming add-on: Internet service operators today all have add-ons that provide users with data, messages and minutes used abroad. After paying the price of the add-on, you are not responsible for charges beyond that.
  • Turn off data completely: This will help travelers save data capacity and avoid incurring roaming charges.
  • Consider a local SIM card or eSIM: To reduce the cost of calls and text messages, you should buy a local SIM card and top it up with pay-as-you-go credit. However, to use this option, travelers need an unlocked phone, as well as the phone compatible with eSIM. Please check if your phone supports eSIM by checking eSIM compatibility list.

VI. Chile eSIM – Alternative to Data Roaming in Chile to Get Internet

In addition to data roaming, travelers can stay in touch with friends and family while exploring Chile by using travel eSIM Chile.

eSIM is a virtual or digital version of a traditional SIM card. Similar to a physical SIM card, eSIM users have access to mobile data access plans. Depending on the service operators, you can benefit from features such as calling, texting, and web browsing.

For travelers, a prepaid data-only eSIM is a suitable and ideal choice. These plans give you a certain data capacity at an affordable price, thereby avoiding unwanted roaming charges.

For an overview, you can refer to the eSIM and data roaming in Chile comparison table below:

eSIMData roaming
CosteSIMs can be prepaid but often offer competitive prices.Usually more expensive
Flexibility Allows switching between operators without changing the physical SIM card.Bind users to home carriers’ roaming agreements.
Data speedDelivers high-speed data, including 5G.Speeds vary but are usually slower than local connections.
ConvenienceEliminates the need for a physical SIM card and simplifies travel in Chile.Can lead to bill shock if data usage is not carefully managed.
Setup timeFast, in just a few minutesMay require manual configuration and time-consuming steps.

When referring to eSIM providers in Chile, Gigago is one of the ideal choices for travelers, because of:

  • Affordable price 
  • Quick and easy activation 
  • 24/7 technical support

For Chile, Gigago offers multiple data plan options, starting from 1 GB for 7 days with $12.50 . What is great about Gigago’s Chile eSIM is that its plans’ costs are diversifying, varying between $12.50 . Thus, it does not matter how Internet users you are and how long your trip is in Chile, there is always an option for you with Gigago.

VII. How to Turn Off Data Roaming When Traveling in Chile

Turning off data roaming on your cell phone is one way to prevent unexpected charges on your phone bill. Here’s how to disable data roaming on Android and iOS operating systems:

1. Turn off international roaming on Android When Traveling in Chile

  • Step 1: Open the “Settings” application on your Android phone.
  • Step 2: Tap on the “Connections” button or “Network & Internet” button.
  • Step 3: Select “Cellular Networks” or “Mobile Networks”.
turn off roaming on android
How to turn off roaming on Adnroid
  • Step 4: Switch the “Data Roaming” button to the off position.

Note: The above steps are still the same on other Android devices although the location of the application may be set up a little differently between devices.

2. Turn off international roaming on iPhones devices

  • Step 1: Open the “Settings” application on your iOS devices.
  • Step 2: Tap on “Cellular” or “Mobile Data” (depending on the iOS version you are currently using).
turn off data roaming on iphone
How to turn off roaming on iPhone
  • Step 3: Select the “Cellular Data Options” button.
  • Step 4: Switch the “Data Roaming” off.
turn off roaming on iphone


How are mobile data and data roaming in Chile different?

Your mobile phone uses mobile data when accessing internet services such as social networking applications, Google, maps, etc. Meanwhile, data roaming is used for accessing internet services in a different country and your phone needs to use a different network to access the internet.

Should I turn data roaming in Chile on or off?

This depends on your needs. If you’re traveling outside of cellular network coverage and want to use mobile data services like email, web browsing, or apps, you can turn on data roaming. However, keep in mind that this way may result in additional costs. Therefore, turning off data roaming is necessary if you are worried about costs or do not need mobile data.

Does data roaming in Chile consume a lot of battery?

Data roaming itself doesn’t necessarily use more battery. However, when your phone is roaming, it may be more difficult to connect to a foreign network, which takes more battery. Additionally, using mobile data often consumes more battery than a wifi connection.

What happens if I turn on data roaming service in Chile?

If data roaming service is enabled, your cell phone will use mobile data services when out of network coverage. This can be helpful for staying connected but can also lead to higher costs, especially when traveling internationally. Monitoring the installation is an important action to avoid unexpected charges.

IX. Conclusion

Data roaming in Chile is one of the popular solutions for tourists to get an internet connection while traveling abroad. However, this is not a budget-friendly option and can become a problem without strict data usage management. On the contrary, eSIM is an ideal alternative with competitive costs, large data capacity, stable internet connection and quick setup process. To have perfect experiences in Chile, travelers should consider registering for an eSIM with a reputable provider like Gigigo.