Public phones take either phone cards (sold at kiosks on the street) or coins (less common). Local calls initially cost 20 centavos and charge more the longer you talk.
Telecentro or locutorio offices -- found everywhere in Buenos Aires -- offer private phone booths where calls to Europe and North America cost about a peso a minute. Most hotels offer fax services, as do all telecentro offices. Dial tel. 110 for directory assistance (most operators speak English) and tel. 000 to reach an international operator. Direct dialing to North America and Europe is available from most phones. International, as well as domestic, calls are expensive from hotels (rates fall btw. 10pm and 8am). Holders of AT&T credit cards can reach the money-saving USA Direct from Argentina by calling tel. 0800/555-4288 toll-free from the north of Argentina or 0800/222-1288 from the south. Similar services are offered by MCI (tel. 0800/555-1002) and Sprint (tel. 0800/555-1003 from the north of Argentina, or 0800/222-1003 from the south).
With the right service plan in your home country, GSM smartphones will work in Argentina -- in theory. Service is not entirely dependable, and calls are often routed to voice mail. Text messages are more reliable. Most service plans from overseas are very expensive. It makes more sense to use an unlocked phone that accepts a SIM card, also known as a "chip," and add minutes to this. In general, rates depend on the company, but will run about US50¢ per minute for local calls, and up to US$2 for international calls. The pedestrianized shopping streets Calle Florida and Calle Lavalle are home to numerous stores selling such phones and SIM cards. The phones can be recharged at virtually any newspaper kiosk through an electronic vending system. The cellphone company Movistar has a booth in Galerías Pacífico, Calle Florida 750 at Avenida Córdoba (tel. 11/5555-5287), as well as at Lavalle 567 at Florida (tel. 11/4328-5624). Altel, Av. Córdoba 417, 1st floor (at Reconquista; tel. 11/4311-5000; www.altelphonerental.com), is a cellphone-rental company aimed at tourists. It offers free rental and delivery, but phone calls cost about $1 to $2 a minute, even locally. With a strong Internet signal, you can also use Skype to call home.
Internet & Wi-Fi
Argentina is one of Latin America's most wired countries. You'll see the Wi-Fi sticker on cafe doors and restaurant doors all over Buenos Aires, especially in neighborhoods popular among tourists. Most hotels have Wi-Fi, regardless of the price category. In addition, more and more hotels, resorts, airports, cafes, and retailers are becoming "hotspots" that offer free high-speed Wi-Fi access or charge a small fee for usage. To find public Wi-Fi hotspots in Buenos Aires, go to www.jiwire.com; its Hotspot Finder holds the world's largest directory of public wireless hotspots. To find cybercafes in Buenos Aires, check www.cybercaptive.com and www.cybercafe.com. Most major airports have Internet kiosks that provide basic Web access for a per-minute fee that's usually higher than cybercafe prices. In addition, locutorios, or phone centers, usually have Internet stations, available for about $2 an hour. These are all over Buenos Aires and especially concentrated downtown. If you plan to be in Buenos Aires long-term for work purposes, you might want to check out Area Tres Workplace, Malabia 1720 between El Salvador and Costa Rica (tel. 11/5353-0333; www.areatresworkplace.com), run by Martin Frankel, which rents short-term office space, complete with Internet connections.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.