July 7, 2019, Santiago

One of my challenges is maintaining connectivity as I travel around the world. Chile was my first opportunity to test my technique. My preparation was to carry an unlocked iPhone with the expectation that I would have to purchase a SIM card wherever I went.

Of course, without the SIM card, I am able to use WiFi that I find at restaurants or hotels. Many of my WarmShowers guests use this exclusively. I need to be able to stay in contact while on the move. I need to make local phone calls. There are solutions that provide this, like getting your US provider to turn on access globally. I find this is expensive. Exploring alternatives is worth the education.

Changing SIM cards means getting a new local phone number. No problem. I didn’t appreciate the predatory robo calls that much anyway. I can leave instructions for those that need to find me in my prerecorded voice mail with my US service provider.

Chile presents a good test for me, a significant language barrier and no understanding of the marketplace. I learned the following lessons

  • It is possible to purchase a SIM card at a drugstore for ~3USD. This will not provide connectivity until it is funded.
  • Going to a local vendor that will provide a complete package (including SIM card) is still pretty cheap. I spent a total of ~20USD for a prepaid package with Unlimited texts, 3Gbit data and 50 minutes of phone.
  • We established service with WOM, a local provider. My brother, Rick said WOM stands for What a Mess. The service is significantly crippled. It enables me to answer incoming calls and texts, but not make outgoing. It also prevents me from accessing some websites altogether. Rick did some digging to find reports from other users. One issue appears to be that WOM assigns internet addresses that have been previously blacklisted. We think the proper thing to do here is demand a refund and get a better package from another provider. I am only in Santiago for another day. I will make do.
  • I call this tuition, the price of learning. Even if it is learning from one’s own mistakes. I get to try again next month in Amsterdam.
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