Just arrived in Buenos Aires and now you want to call a friend to make plans for dinner? Only been in town for a couple days and want to call that cute guy who gave you his number last night? Sounds like a simple enough task. Although it’s not rocket science, depending on the type of phone you are using and the calling plan attached to that line, dialing out can be a bit more complicated than you’d otherwise expect. To help you make sense of it all, here’s a quick guide to calling and being called in Buenos Aires!
Phone numbers in Buenos Aires consist of the city code (11) followed by an 8-digit number (ex: 11.1234.5678). When dialing from landline to landline, you will only need to dial the base 8-digit number. Easy enough.
Cell phones complicate this system quite a bit. Cell phone numbers replace the Buenos Aires city code (11) with the cell phone prefix (15). So when dialing from a landline to a cell phone, you will need to dial (15), followed by the 8-digit cell number. BUT if you are dialing from cell phone to cell phone, the (15) is interchangeable with the city code (11). You will notice that when friends call your cell phone from theirs, the prefix that shows up on your caller id is (11). To be safe, however, always dial cell phones beginning with (15). Likewise, give your cell phone number to friends with the prefix (15), that way they will know that they will be dialing a cell phone and not a landline.
If you are staying at a hostel or in a temporary apartment, you may also notice that you cannot call cell phones from the landline without purchasing credit. That is because the local telephone companies charge extra for calls made to cell phones. In order to make calls to cell phones on these lines, it is easiest and cheapest to stop by the nearest kiosko and purchase an “Habla Más” card. With the “Habla Más” card you can also make international calls to your friends and family back home without breaking the bank.
Dialing internationally with the “Habla Más” card is easy. Once you’ve logged onto their system, just type in the country code, area code, and phone number that you wish to dial. Unfortunately, dialing cell phones in Argentina with the “Habla Más” card is a bit more complicated. In order to do this, you’ll have to dial the desired cell phone number as if you are making an international call. This means that you will begin with Argentina’s country code (54), followed by the digit (9) to indicate that you are calling a cell phone, followed by the city code (11), and then the 8-digit phone number. Pfew, you got all that? Here’s the short form: 18.104.22.1684.5678.
Although this system is complicated and perhaps illogical, once you’ve mastered these steps, you will be a pro when it comes to telling your friends and family back home how to dial your phone in Argentina.
When making international calls from Argentina, just pick up that handy “Habla Más” card and dial normally (country code + area code + phone number). If you have a cell phone, you may also be able to make international calls. Unfortunately, international calls from cell phones are unreliable, and they will certainly be more costly. In these cases, sticking with the “Habla Más” card and using a landline is the better option. Or better yet, if you have your laptop with you, calling internationally using Skype is your cheapest option (only $0.02 per minute).
Teaching your friends and family back home to dial you in Argentina is tricky, as well. Calling landlines is easy. Just tell them to dial the country code (54), followed by the city code (11), and then the 8-digit phone number. Here’s the short form: 54.11.1234.5678.
Calling cell phones internationally is a little harder, no surprise here. To call a Buenos Aires cell phone from outside the country, you will have to dial the country code (54), followed by (9) to indicate that you’re calling a cell phone, followed by the city code (11), and then the 8-digit phone number. Here’s the short form: 22.214.171.1244.5678.