I am not conTigo

I am conTigo

There are three cell phone companies in Guatemala (4 according to Wikipedia). Tigo is the mobile phone brand of Millicom International Cellular. Claro mobile telephone operator is owned by the Mexican group América Móvil, which in turn is the umbrella name for the mobile telephone division of Telmex, owned by Carlos Slim (estimated fortune of US$67.8 billion). Carlos Slim’s empire also owns the Guatemalan National Telephone Company, Telgua, and Telgua’s division of cellphone Claro brand. Movistar is the mobile division of the Spanish transnational Telefónica telephone company. Believe it or not the Telmex/América Móvil and Movistar/Telefónica are probably bigger than AT&T.

Among the three major mobile telephone brands in Guatemala, they have over 6.8 million subscribers (December 2006). There are 1.3 million land lines, most of them, belong to Telgua. If you consider that the total population of Guatemala to be close 12 million, you could say that one in two Guatemalans owns a mobile phone. It is an incredible figure if you also consider that about 70% of the population is poor.

One more interesting aspect of the mobile telephone companies is their illogical rate structure. Let me explain, it is cheaper for me to call Manolo who lives in Toronto than to call his brother Mauricio who lives in Guatemala City. Yes, calls to the U.S.A. and Canada cost about Q0.80 (80 centavos of Quetzal or about US$0.10) while calls within Guatemala cost around Q1.35 (1 Quetzal and 35 centavos or about US$0.17). Mobile telephone rates vary very little between the three mobile telephone companies.

© 2007 – 2016, Rudy Giron. All rights reserved.

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  • i never use the mobil phones. i hate them. they fade in and out. daughter has one she carries in case of car trouble but other wise it is never used.

  • I like the way the people are curious about your taking a picture.

    Abraham Lincoln
    Brookville Daily Photo

  • Ann

    The mobile phone industry is very well supported in Jamaica. Most people have a mobile and not a land line. This is not because the mobile is cheaper, but rather because there is only one land line company (Cable & Wireless)in Jamaica and that company has not installed lines in some places in the island. So for some people the only option is a mobile phone. We also have a huge pre-paid mobile phone industry. The pre-paid option was so popular that the phone company, Cable and Wireless, started offering a pre paid option for land lines!

  • Very interesting (as usual) to read what mobile phones represent in Guatemala. It may comfort to know that here things aren’t different. I mean: italian people can easily support to have one or more cell phones but even if we couldn’t, you may stay sure that most of us should prefer to have last fashion device than to have bread to our children. Sad but true.

  • Manolo

    Pues my brother just told me you mentioning us in your post. I am actually spending some days here in Guatemala City so it would be as expensive to call me for the time being 🙂 For what is worth send me an e-mail to see if I could call you from here (La Capital) while I am visiting my family. I am not sure if I will end up going to Antigua… my mom was asking about that “vivero” outside Antigua I think you mentioned in one of your postings or someone mention as a comment. I will have to make a search for it… I believe was a comment on a picture about “pan dulce”…
    About phones, it always surprise me how smaller are the phones my family have here than the one I have in Canada…

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  • John Dale

    Thanks for the place to see and catch up on my favorite town. I’m coming back to Antigua in two weeks and will be there almost two months (yes!).

    Last time I was there I bought a cheep/free Tigo phone and had great service, but the phone quality was so bad that this time I’m brining my unlocked phone and will buying a chip (The phone was free basically so I’m not complaining). But when I was there last time, Tigo had very few double minute days and no triple minute days. One company – I think it was Claro – had double/triple minute days almost every day.

    So my question is; Which cell phone company is best for me? …considering the cost of service, the ease of getting double minutes, the quality of service (most of my time will be in Antigua), and the fact that most of my calls will be back to the U.S.

    Much appreciated,


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