If you’re planning a trip to Uruguay and would like to stay in contact, using Uruguay SIM cards is the ideal choice. Investing in a SIM card can simplify travel to Uruguay since it offers cheap data, calls, and texts without requiring you to pay exorbitant roaming fees from your home service provider. In this article, we’ll go over every crucial detail of obtaining a prepaid SIM card in Uruguay.

Uruguay SIM card

I. Should I buy a new Uruguay SIM card for my trip?

Yes. But there are a few things to consider.

The reason for this may be that local mobile networks in Uruguay do not support your current SIM card, or the roaming costs associated with using your primary SIM card may be very high. 

When you’re visiting Uruguay, having reliable internet access is essential when traveling. However, options and costs can vary depending on your location.

Uruguay SIM card
Using a cell phone in Uruguay
Connectivity Option Description Pros Cons
Portable WiFi Device Provides personal hotspot by renting a portable router Stable connection, can be shared by multiple devices Additional costs, needs regular charging, speed/coverage limitations
Public WiFi Free public hotspots available at airports, train stations, cafes etc. Free or low-cost, convenient in cities Limited availability outside urban areas, varying speed/reliability
International Roaming Use your home carrier's roaming abroad No new SIM needed, seamless connectivity Very expensive charges, limited data speed/allowance
Local SIM Card Get a Spain SIM card from local carrier Affordable, flexible, wide availability Physical card can be damaged/los

Each of the options has advantages, those traveling to Uruguay are likely to enjoy truly memorable connectivity when using an eSIM or local SIM card. For these, just using public Wi-Fi and allowing networks to surface could mean a longer wait especially for travel that takes time. Poor roaming plans or the use of portable devices get expensive as well.

II. Types of Uruguay SIM cards – Which are best for tourists?

In Uruguay, these types of SIM cards include:

1. Physical SIM

  • Uruguay prepaid local SIM card

Prepaid local SIM cards are widely used in Uruguay. You can easily find it at the airport and other convenience stores. During your journey, you can use the data, calling, and texting that this sim provides.
A passport and possibly personal information, such as an ID card, are a prerequisite.

  • Tourist SIM card

Travelers visiting Uruguay can take advantage of exclusive rates for calls, texts, and data on travel SIM cards designed just for them. Visitors can buy tourist SIM cards at Uruguay airport or convenience stores.

Passports and possibly personal information are mandatory requirements.

Make sure your phone is unlocked to receive signals from Uruguayan mobile service providers before purchasing a new sim card.

2. Prepaid Uruguay travel eSIM

Tourist eSIM cards are a modern, convenient way for travelers to stay connected in Uruguay. eSIMs are digital SIMs that work alongside your primary SIM if your device is compatible. With a prepaid tourist eSIM, you can connect anywhere in Uruguay without swapping out SIM cards. eSIMs are purchased online before your trip.

Travelers frequently opt for a data-only tourist eSIM to save money on their vacation and yet use applications to stay in touch with others.

To select the best choice for your needs, it is advised that you examine the pricing and plans provided by several mobile network providers.

Where to buy:  buy at online stores of eSIM providers such as Uruguay eSIM.

III. How much data is enough for a prepaid tourist SIM card in Uruguay?

When deciding how much-prepaid data to buy with your Uruguay travel SIM card, here are some typical usage levels to consider:

  • Light use – Only occasional web browsing and mapping. 2GB is usually enough for 7-10 days.
  • Average Usage – Daily web use, some video/music streaming. 4-5GB is enough for a week.
  • Heavy Use – Stream HD videos and music for hours every day. 8-10GB+ would be better for 7 days.
  • Choose with caution – For those who just want to “set it and forget it,” the 10GB+ plan allows unlimited streaming without having to worry about data.

To estimate your required data, consider these common activities:

  • 1GB allows users for browsing, mapping, or light social media.
  • 5-10GB of data is perfect for complicated tasks such as watching video, streaming, or others.

Note 💡

In short, most travelers find 4-6GB to be a suitable minimum amount for a week-long Uruguay trip that involves half-day web and app use and occasional media streaming. Increase to 8-10GB+ if you plan to stream higher volumes of videos/music.

IV. How much does a Uruguay SIM Card cost?

The cost of a SIM card in Uruguay varies between operators and plans:

Operator Data Minutes Validity Price (USD)
Antel 1GB 22 mins 30 days $5
Antel 3GB - 24 hrs $1.50
Antel 0.4GB - 30 days $3
Movistar 5GB 100 mins 5 days $5
Movistar 6GB daytime/12GB nighttime 50 mins 7 days $5.50
Claro 10GB + Unlimited WhatsApp - 1 night $1.50
Claro 3GB + 500MB social + 500MB gaming 50 mins 5 days $5

In summary, the major operators offer prepaid plans ranging from $1.50 to $10 with durations from 1 night to 30 days including data, minutes, messaging, and unlimited access to specific apps. However, this plan is not suitable for tourists because they are limited by several minutes.

V. Uruguay eSIM – Alternative to Physical SIM Cards

eSIM, or embedded SIM, refers to a virtual SIM card that is integrated into a mobile device like a smartphone or tablet – instead of being a separate, tangible card.

Even if it’s not their only option, having an eSIM provides travelers visiting Uruguay with a few advantages and conveniences.

This is a brief comparison of an eSIM for Uruguay and a real SIM card. Let’s look at their parallels and differences!

FactorseSIM for UruguayUruguay SIM cards
SimilaritiesConnect phones to Uruguay’s cell carrier networks and maintain those connections across the country.
Function in a dual-sim phone.
Connect phones to Uruguay’s cell carrier networks and maintain those connections across the country.
Function in a dual-sim phone.
FormActivate a mobile data plan from the network operatorsA chip that you physically insert or remove from your phone
Where to buyOnlineDelivered to you or picked up at a shop
ProsPurchase and download it from ANYWHERE with an internet connection.
Be not susceptible to physical damage or loss, unlike traditional SIMs.
A maximum of 20 eSIMs in a phone.
Set up an eSIM and activate them there.
Use them in an unlocked phone
Be widely accessible at local markets and convenience stores.
be less expensive than eSIMs.
ConsNot all phone models are compatible with eSIMCan be misplaced or broken when taking o

eSIMs are a good connectivity option for travelers to Uruguay compared to traditional SIM cards. Consider using an eSIM from a top eSIM provider in Uruguay – esimuruguay.com which offers a range of Uruguay eSIM plans that can be purchased before your trip and activated once you arrive, without the need to source a local SIM card.

Plan that may interest you

Uruguay eSIM 7 Days Plan
Uruguay eSIM 7 Days Plan
From $9.90
Uruguay eSIM 15 Days Plan
Uruguay eSIM 15 Days Plan
From $18.90
Uruguay eSIM 30 Days Plan
Uruguay eSIM 30 Days Plan
From $26.50

VI. Where to Buy a Uruguay SIM Card?

1. Where to Buy US Prepaid SIM Cards?

Uruguay SIM cards can be purchased at:

a. SIM Card Kiosks at Major Airports

  • Carrasco International Airport (MVD) – Multiple Claro/Antel/Movistar kiosks in the arrivals area
  • Punta del Este Airport (PDP) – ANTEL representative booth in the terminal
Carrasco International Airport (MDV)
Carrasco International Airport (MDV). Source

💡 Get more insights on Buying SIM Cards at Uruguay Airport to get more useful tips

b. Local Mobile Carrier Stores and Authorized Resellers

Local Mobile Carrier Stores and Authorized Resellers
Buying SIM Cards at Local Mobile Carrier Stores and Authorized Resellers

Antel, Claro, and Movistar operate stores across all major cities like Montevideo. PCIA outlets also sell SIMs.

c. Convenience Stores/Kiosks/Gas Stations

Convenience Stores/Kiosks/Gas Stations
Convenience Stores/Kiosks/Gas Stations in Uruguay

Many locations like Tienda Inglesa, McFrugal, and Estacion Ancap sell prepaid SIM packs from Antel, Claro, etc.

d. Mobile operator websites

Many mobile carriers such as Antel, Claro, and Movistar offer official websites that allow you to purchase prepaid SIM cards conveniently from your computer.

These sites let you buy SIM cards for different providers and have them shipped directly to where you’re staying in Uruguay, so you don’t have to purchase them in person during your travels. Online ordering makes it simple to get SIM cards delivered before your trip or soon after you arrive.

2. Where to Buy Uruguay eSIM?

An eSIM is now a superior choice. Although eSIMs aren’t sold in stores here, you may buy data plans online from companies like esimuruguay.com in advance of your trip. All you have to do is download the eSIM profile in advance and activate it when you go to Uruguay.

Some key benefits of eSIM over physical SIM cards:

  • Convenience – No need to hunt down a SIM card or deal with activation paperwork after a long flight. Just download and go.
  • Connectivity anywhere – Works from any device and you can easily purchase additional data on the go if needed.
  • Durability – eSIM won’t get lost or damaged like physical cards.
  • Flexibility – Switch between plans and carriers more easily than with SIM cards.

Overall, an eSIM provides the best connectivity experience for tourists. It ensures you’ll stay in touch seamlessly throughout your trip to Uruguay. Just be sure to purchase from a reliable provider with good coverage.

Leave your physical SIM behind, travel light with a digital SIM from esimuruguay.com

VII. How to Install and Use an Uruguay SIM Card

Using a Uruguay SIM card is straightforward. Follow these steps:

  • Confirm phone is unlocked – Most modern phones sold unlocked can use foreign SIMs. Confirm by inserting an alternate carrier SIM.
  • Locate SIM tray – Most phones have a small rectangular SIM tray that houses a tiny SIM card. You may require a SIM removal tool to open.
  • Insert SIM – Gently slide out the old SIM then insert Uruguay SIM with gold contacts facing downwards until secured in the tray. Reinsert tray.
  • Power on phone – SIM should automatically configure carrier settings shortly. A restart may help.
  • Enable mobile data – Find the mobile data toggle under Settings > Mobile Data and turn it on.
  • Fund account – SIM pack includes some starter credit. Top-up via vouchers sold at retailers if needed.

VIII. Best Mobile Operators for Uruguay SIM Cards

Uruguay has three major mobile network operators offering prepaid SIM card services. 

Best Mobile Operators for Uruguay SIM Cards

Operator Coverage Price Range for SIM Pros Cons eSIM Available
Antel Widest nationwide coverage reaching both urban and rural areas $5-10 Reliable network quality. Provides home broadband services. Pricing on the higher side. Yes
Claro Extensive coverage of major cities and towns $3-8 Affordable rates. Wide range of plans. Coverage not as widespread as Antel. Yes
Movistar Covers major population centers and cities $5-10 Large coverage in urban centers. 5G network in key areas. Lowest coverage compared to others. Higher prices. Yes

In conclusion, select Antel in terms of coverage, since it is the leading operator supporting eSIM.

Not sure which Uruguay mobile operator to choose for your trip? Check our article about Uruguay Mobile Operators: Which One is the Best to get more useful tips!

IX. Tips for Saving Mobile Data on Uruguay SIM Card

To reduce prepaid data consumption on your Uruguay SIM card:

Connect to Free WiFi

Leverage available free WiFi networks:

  • Hotels
  • Restaurants/Cafes
  • Malls & Shops

Download Content Over WiFi

Avoid streaming/downloads on mobile data. Instead, use WiFi for:

  • Podcast Episodes
  • Playlists
  • Videos
  • Offline Maps

Disable Auto-Updates

Disable auto-updates for apps, OS, etc. Manage manually only via WiFi.

Turn on Data Saver

Data Saver mode compresses & limits data usage via:

  • Limiting background syncing
  • Lower resolution for images/video Find under Settings > Data Usage > Data Saver.

Conserving mobile data allows achieving more usage days before needing to recharge.


Can I use Dual SIM mode with an Uruguay eSIM?

Yes, dual SIM support is a great benefit of eSIMs. You can activate an Uruguay data eSIM alongside your regular home country SIM. This lets you receive calls/texts via regular number while using eSIM for Uruguay data.

Is there a monthly plan or just prepaid/travel SIM?

Local carriers offer regular monthly contract plans. But these require a Uruguay-registered ID number to purchase, so they are not suitable for short-term tourists. Prepaid SIM plans are specifically geared towards visitors.

Can I top up my SIM via international credit card?

Unfortunately, most prepaid accounts in Uruguay require direct funding with cash or a local debit card. Some providers like Antel support international credit card deposits on their website or app. But instead, it’s simpler for travelers to purchase prepaid data plans for your entire trip.

How do I check the data balance on my SIM card?

You can check your data balance by dialing *611# on Antel or Claro or *515# on Movistar. Data usage statistics are also available on carrier self-service apps downloaded after SIM insertion.

XI. Conclusion

Getting a local Uruguayan nano SIM or eSIM card is the most practical option for travelers in need of affordable mobile data and connectivity. Plans average $1.5-$10 for a SIM card that comes with a few GB of data valid for 1-2 weeks. Purchasing at airport kiosks or local mobile carrier stores is simple. When you insert a Uruguay SIM, you’ll have wireless access to maps, translations, transportation, travel tips, and more throughout your trip.