Mobile Telephones in Colombia

Find out how to get yourself a mobile cellular phone in Colombia...

A mobile telephone is called a móvil or celular in Colombia. Mobile telephones are now more widely used than landlines in Colombia, the nation being one of the largest mobile telephone users in Latin America.

The three largest mobile phone providers in Colombia are Claro, Movistar and Tigo. A number of other providers offer competitive rates. Calling a mobile that has a different provider from a mobile telephone is more expensive than calling another cell phone with the same operator.

Getting a pre-paid mobile telephone

A pre-paid mobile telephone and top-up credit can be bought without a contract. To get a pre-paid mobile telephone, a passport or a foreigner's ID card (Cédula de Extranjería) is required.

Credit (saldo) for pre-paid mobile telephone can be bought online, in service provider outlets, and in shops and supermarkets.

Getting a mobile telephone contract

To get a mobile telephone contract, a Colombian bank account is required and the following documents must be provided:

  • Foreigner's ID card (Cédula de Extranjería)
  • Proof of address in the form of a bank statement or utility bill

There are different packages available, although standard plans include a number of free calls and text messages per day. Additional costs may apply if using the Internet with a mobile phone or downloading content. Options are available for different packages with monthly megabyte usage, which are suitable for online smartphone browsing.

A standard contract is generally for at least twelve months. Opt-out options do exist, but depend on the provider and type of contract.

Mobile Telephone Providers

Stolen or Lost Mobile Telephones

A stolen or lost mobile telephone should be reported to the service provider. The mobile telephone line can usually be suspended or blocked by going online, visiting an outlet or by telephone. A theft should be reported to the police and a copy of the report kept for insurance purposes.

The customer should also provide the IMEI number (International Mobile Station Equipment Identity), which protects the owner if their mobile telephone is lost or stolen. It is usually printed beneath the battery. Note the number and keep it separate from the mobile. If the mobile is lost or stolen, call the service provider and give them the IMEI number. The service will be suspended and the mobile telephone may be traced.

Some service providers such as Claro, Movistar and Tigo allow customers to register their phone online in order to protect the owner's data in case of theft.