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Easiest and Cheapest cell phone service for US/Mexico calls


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I currently have a cell phone provider which does not give a good service in Mexico. I will probably speak to most of my friends via Skype and WhatsApp but it may be necessary to phone the US sometimes. 

In your experience, which services work best. Does it make sense to rent a phone? What about having several SIM cards for the same phone?

Thanks so much!

 

 

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Is this a temporary situation?  One can easily buy a SIM card for here from Telcel, AT&T and ? and put it in you smartphone. Can buy by the minutes. Or buy a cheap flip phone with minutes that can be added to.

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Since I don't make calls but wanted a smartphone for internet and the camera, I have the cheapest plan you can buy.  I pay 100 pesos every 21 days, and get some data but unlimited calling within Mexico, Canada, and the United States.  It is one of the Amigo plans through Telcel.

 

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5 minutes ago, gimpychimp said:

Since I don't make calls but wanted a smartphone for internet and the camera, I have the cheapest plan you can buy.  I pay 100 pesos every 21 days, and get some data but unlimited calling within Mexico, Canada, and the United States.  It is one of the Amigo plans through Telcel.

 

Our Amigo plans also cost $100 but are good for 60 days. Top up every other month at any Oxxo.

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32 minutes ago, pappysmarket said:

Our Amigo plans also cost $100 but are good for 60 days. Top up every other month at any Oxxo.

Better yet!  Does it have the same things included?  If so would you be able to tell me the exact name of it please so I can switch?  Thanks!

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1 minute ago, gimpychimp said:

Better yet!  Does it have the same things included?  If so would you be able to tell me the exact name of it please so I can switch?  Thanks!

It uses the pesos for data when needed and I can call all of Mexico and the US if needed. I don't know the name. I just go to Oxxo, hand them the phone with my number showing, say "Telcel" and hand them the $100. They use their register to input the number, ask me to verify and then about 15 seconds later I get a text from Telcel confirming. Since we use Ooma for VOIP calling the US and have that app on our phones also, as long as we have wifi we use that to call US numbers rather than using Telcel pesos but with no wifi we can still call.

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10 hours ago, gimpychimp said:

Since I don't make calls but wanted a smartphone for internet and the camera, I have the cheapest plan you can buy.  I pay 100 pesos every 21 days, and get some data but unlimited calling within Mexico, Canada, and the United States.  It is one of the Amigo plans through Telcel.

 

 

10 hours ago, pappysmarket said:

Our Amigo plans also cost $100 but are good for 60 days. Top up every other month at any Oxxo.

I also use the 100 pesos Sin Limites pay as you go plan for 21 days unlimited texting and calling, Mex, Can and US. Don't use my old school phone for data so don't care about that. I don't understand this other Amigo plan- it's something you sign up for and are locked into unless you go into a Telcel office to change it ? Does it have unlimited texting and calling in all North America for 60 days?

Margo- you can use the phone you have now and just put a Telcel SIM card in it when you get here, as long as your phone is unlocked. Or, as another poster mentioned, you can buy a non-smart phone here for about 300 pesos if you just want it for calling and texting.

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Sometimes phoning Canada, well, more like half the time, I can barely hear the person on the other end. They say they can hear me fine. And sometimes I can hear them like they were sitting right next to me. Has nothing to do with my cell phone reception- I get strong signal all the time where I live.

Anyone else experience this?

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9 hours ago, mudgirl said:

 

 

I also use the 100 pesos Sin Limites pay as you go plan for 21 days unlimited texting and calling, Mex, Can and US. Don't use my old school phone for data so don't care about that. I don't understand this other Amigo plan- it's something you sign up for and are locked into unless you go into a Telcel office to change it ? Does it have unlimited texting and calling in all North America for 60 days?

Margo- you can use the phone you have now and just put a Telcel SIM card in it when you get here, as long as your phone is unlocked. Or, as another poster mentioned, you can buy a non-smart phone here for about 300 pesos if you just want it for calling and texting.

You don't sign up for it anywhere, we just top up at Oxxo. It is not unlimited calls and texts, you pay per text and per minute. Once in a while we need to replenish more often than every 60 days but we just check every so often. With so much public wifi in central PV we seem to be almost always connected unless we are in the car or a sparse coverage area. We also don't make very many voice calls which if we did might not be the best plan to use. Works well for us.

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The Amigo Sin Limites plan is the default plan that Telcel  now foists upon you when you purchase a phone/service. The old Amigos plan is the one with 60 day time period. It has no unlimited benefits as far as I know. You have to get a Telcel rep to change the plan. We used the lady next to Alex's Pasta that many people use (name slips my mind). She told us to come in the day before , of, or after our current time was to expire. She spent nearly an hour arguing with Telcel, hanging up and calling back until she got someone who would change the plan, even though she kept telling us "they have to".

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9 hours ago, econ man said:

The Amigo Sin Limites plan is the default plan that Telcel  now foists upon you when you purchase a phone/service. The old Amigos plan is the one with 60 day time period. It has no unlimited benefits as far as I know. You have to get a Telcel rep to change the plan. We used the lady next to Alex's Pasta that many people use (name slips my mind). She told us to come in the day before , of, or after our current time was to expire. She spent nearly an hour arguing with Telcel, hanging up and calling back until she got someone who would change the plan, even though she kept telling us "they have to".

Actually, I was on an Amigo plan, think it was 150 pesos for a month. Never got anyone to change the plan, although I now use Sin Limites. When I go put another 100 pesos on it for another 21 days, I get a bunch of messages from Telcel acknowledging my 100 p. payment, telling me that my calls will be something like 1.98 p.per minute, etc, etc. But I just text SL100 to 5050 and then I get a text back saying my Sin Limites has been activated and expires in 21 days. If I would forget to send that SL100 text, before making my first call, as I did once, I would be stuck in that old Amigo plan @ 1.98p/min. until the month expired.

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What I was referring to was the original pay as you go plan (circa 2008) whereby you purchased the tarjetas (many Telcel stores look at you like you're nuts when you ask for a tarjeta now, they do it all electronically) for 100 p for 60 days, etc, nothing was free, everything was charged against your balance. I just made the assumption it was  called some sort of Amigos plan. When I had to replace my sim card/phone this past year, I asked for the pay as you go plan and expected it would be the same. When my time expired in 21 days, I googled and discovered that Telcel's default pay as you go was the 21 day Sin Limites plan, and it was implied that Telcel dealers could offer you no other. When I had it changed to the  60 day plan, those were the hoops I had to jump through, and, as I said, it took Ana quite a bit of time to get it done. Apparently Telcel wants you on the 21 day refill cycle.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Wow, thanks to all of you for this discussion. I still feel really confused but that's not unusual and I'm in the process of this huge move for myself and my elderly aunt.

I will use Skype and Whatsapp for my US calls. I just want to be able to make local calls in Mexico, have access to the internet (and of course Wifi whenever possible) and local texting.

I have an Iphone 5s. I don't find it to be that excellent. Does it matter whether you have an IPhone or an android in terms of how easy it is to getting them sorted out when things go wrong in Mexico?

From what I've read so far, it sounds as if AT and T might be the best option but perhaps I've misunderstood. 

Anyway, it sounds as if it is best to wait until you are in Mexico to make any changes.

Scary to feel disconnected even for a few minutes, let alone days!

Thanks again for your insights and experiences.

Margo

 

 

 

 

 

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I don't know/see how you came to the conclusion about AT&T Mexico being the best option. AT&T is fairly new in Mexico having bought existing Mexican carriers Iusacell and Nextell in 2015. With those purchases they cover about 90% of Mexico.

That said, TelCel is ubiquitous in Mexico and their coverage at Lakeside is probably better. I don't know about pricing between each of them but if I were a newbie I'd just start off with TelCel if for no other reason than there are many places where one can get 'service' with them. After you have been here you could look into other resources but......    YMMV

P.S.  and yes, I'd just wait until you were Lakeside to address your cellphone needs.

P.P.S.   T-Mobile in the US has an agreement with TelCel in Mexico and it works flawlessly for me. Once in Mexico your phone will switch over to TelCel automatically. The T-Mobile "over 55" account @$50 has unlimited talk, text AND data in the US and that carries over to Mexico so you could use that for quite a while after arriving Lakeside and worry about switching after you have settled down. Calls back to the US (and Canada) are covered with the plan.

 

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 10/22/2017 at 12:19 AM, mudgirl said:

Sometimes phoning Canada, well, more like half the time, I can barely hear the person on the other end. They say they can hear me fine. And sometimes I can hear them like they were sitting right next to me. Has nothing to do with my cell phone reception- I get strong signal all the time where I live.

Anyone else experience this?

No, on ATT cellular the connection has been loud & clear.

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I have the Telcel Amigo plan on my phone (Samsung/Android) and I have downloaded a Telcel app that lets me check my account, balance, usage, etc. I can also add minutes directly within that app without having to go to Oxxo or somewhere else to pay. For quite a while I just went into the app and adding $100 pesos or so when it was time to do so. I've been using the app for several years now so this year I changed a setting where it automatically adds that $100 when it is supposed to. I never have to think about it or worry about forgetting to do it. I have it set up to pay with a U.S. credit card. Really easy to do.

I agree with Ana as the "go to" person for all things Telcel. She is very knowledgeable, helpful and patient.

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