Claro Chile extends low-cost roaming coverage

Thursday, January 4, 2018

América Móvil's Chile unit Claro has extended its international roaming pricing plan, which allows users to pay the local rate for voice and data when traveling to 16 Latin American countries and the US.

The so-called roaming without borders service is now available for travel to Argentina, Peru, Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras, Panama, Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Dominican Republic, Mexico and the US.

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Claro Chile claims the plan cuts roaming costs by nearly 90%. "Before, the minute cost 1,500 pesos [US$2.48] and the MB some 3,500; today, the price of both is 60 pesos. It's the same price charged in Chile when you exceed your plan," said residential and SME director Alfonso Emperanza in a release. Activation is done via call center or on the operator's website.

While the idea of a region-wide roaming agreement still appears as a pipedream for many, Claro Chile has been progressively lowering roaming charges since December 2015, when it launched roaming without borders for Argentina, Colombia and Peru, adding Mexico and the US in January 2016 and Brazil in August.

"Users have lost the fear of roaming, there is a new paradigm shift," Emperanza added.

According to the executive, since December, 2015, voice and data traffic on the principal roaming routes has increased 200%.

In October, Claro Argentina also extended its roaming program to the rest of the Americas, including the US and Canada.

And in the same month, the Chilean and Argentine governments confirmed an agreement to progressively eliminate international roaming between the two countries by 2020.

Zero roaming charges by 2020 is also one of eight goals set by the Pacific Alliance bloc of countries that includes Chile, Peru, Mexico and Colombia, and is seen as a keystone of a single digital market in the region championed by Eclac.