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Oscar2

Jul 12, 2007, 11:57 AM

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Affordable communication

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I tried posting this in seemingly the less visited Technical Mexico Forum unsuccesfully, so I thought I’d try and reach a wider audience on this forum.

We are preparing for our next trip to Mexico, so I called Verizon to setup our convenient North American plan, which provides cell service for Mexico, and Canada within the same allotted minutes in whatever plan you are on for about $10.00 more each month, which brings it to about $80.00 per month for both cells combined.

Surprise, as of May of this year, Verizon discontinued this service and neither explanation nor anything else was offered. A couple of years ago we exclusively bought our cells from Verizon at the inception of the North American plan and now they claim that if we want to move on to some other provider offering something akin to the North American plan, we have to pay an early termination fee of $150.00 per cell X 2 = $300.00. Sheesh!

As probably most of you travelers, our need to communicate down south, within Mexico and NoB at a reduced rate while traveling too and from and within Mexico is imperative. I know perhaps some of you folks are in tune with the latest in savings and technology available down south. If possible, would appreciate a heads up on what is working for you and perhaps why. Thanks.



donnameyer

Jul 12, 2007, 8:25 PM

Post #2 of 21 (6465 views)

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Re: [Oscar2] Affordable communication

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Just a thought...
Have you tried talking to an actual human being, i.e. a manager where you pay your Verizon bill or some such? Explain that since they changed the service you signed up for, they have essentially "broken the contract," already so you should be able to discontinue the service without penalty. Maybe a real human will understand the situation (if you can ever find one to talk to) and get this sorted out.

Donna
Donna
http://www.experience-san-miguel-de-allende.com
Click on "Best SMA Restaurants" to post your own restaurant reviews and recommendations.


donemry

Jul 13, 2007, 7:48 AM

Post #3 of 21 (6444 views)

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Re: [donnameyer] Affordable communication

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In Oscar2's post, he indicated that he was not currently on the North American plan and wanted to get on it again for his trip.

Verizon has discontinued this plan and will not allow any new signups. However, anyone who is already on the plan may continue to stay on that plan, which is my case.

Depending upon you area, a Verizon phone may still work in Mexico without the plan. I found that I could call local Telmex numbers with no problem. However, no one could call my cel number.

I would suggest getting a VoIP phone like Vonage or Skype if you are going to be in an area where you can get high speed internet.


Oscar2

Jul 13, 2007, 12:34 PM

Post #4 of 21 (6428 views)

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Re: [donnameyer] Affordable communication

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Donna and Donemery, your take and sentiments reflect exactly my contentions and efforts which unfortunately only produced oily apologies and as anticipated, no cigar. I explained that a month after the inception of the North American plan, back in December 2003, I was quick to sign on. I remained locked in until “they” informed me that it was superfluous to remain on the program ad infinitum (about a year and a half at that point), especially while back in the US and not needing it on a continued bases.

In confidence, I bit. They went on to say, when you are ready to travel or anytime you want to reinstate your program, just call us……. Surprise, Surprise! I did just that several days ago and with no prior notification of the North American plan biting the dust, I was aced out with the least amount of fanfare.

Yes we spent hours on the phone bumping heads until a supervisor of their level intimated agreement of the injustice, and also admitted that we should have been notified so as to be (Grandfathered back into the North American Plan).

With that said and with a curtsy they ushered us off by suggesting we write Corporate and beat the bushes there for a while. Good luck……… Ho - Huuum

Donemyer, if you still have the NA program, stay with it as long as you can, it’s a good deal I realized that back in January of 04’.

I will give it one last-ditch effort and write corporate. I’ll keep you posted but in the interim, I haven’t seen nor heard feedback on the horizon about VoIP, Vonage and/or Skype. I would sign on to any of them or anything else in a nano second if confirmed cell phone use was possible in the US and Mexico or any kind of variation thereof while traveling.


raferguson


Jul 14, 2007, 9:09 PM

Post #5 of 21 (6384 views)

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Re: [Oscar2] Affordable communication

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The other option, of course, is to get a Mexican cell phone number. With a little research, I think that you could get your cell phone to forward all calls to Mexico, perhaps by using a third party service. (Forward from US cell to another number with flexible forwarding and then to the Mexico cell).

Good luck,
Richard


http://www.fergusonsculpture.com


Goody2shs

Jul 14, 2007, 10:05 PM

Post #6 of 21 (6380 views)

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Re: [Oscar2] Affordable communication

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We have the same situation, only in reverse, as we still are in the U.S. I was informed of their change in service in Mexico recently by accident as I had occasion to call them on another matter. Their recording, as well as the lady on the phone said that these changes were precipitated by "new Mexican government regulations", whatever that means. I wanted to discontinue my international calling feature, but she mentioned as long as I make calls from the U.S. to a Mexican landline phone the rate would still be only 1cent/per minute, however, I would have no coverage with my cellphone while in Mexico. We also have 3 phones to discontinue before the 2-year contract expires when we move, but she said that enormous early termination penalty would be waived if we had proof of a new Mexican address or other documentation. - Searching for another cellphone solution while in Mexico that is not too expensive, I am currently researching having my present Verizon phone unlocked and then simply using calling cards. However, not being a super techie, I still don't know what would happen if people want to call me there and if I can keep my present number. I would also be interested in hearing any and all suggestions on this matter.


Oscar2

Jul 15, 2007, 9:28 AM

Post #7 of 21 (6353 views)

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Re: [raferguson] Affordable communication

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Richard, a Mexican cell phone has weighed in heavy in considerations while exploring other possibilities. Thus far, I have contacted Cingular (which is now AT&T) without much success.

My contact with T-Mobile revealed that its cell phones have a (Sim Card) adapter that allows for purchase and slip right in Mexico card from a variety of cell phone companies. More information from users, if any would be very helpful. The real question, I’m sure many of us travelers and other circumstances can benefit from, is which cell phone companies others in Mexico are using, why and if they had it to do over again, which way would they go?

I am glad I posted this question on the Traveling Mexico forum due to some responses I was not getting before which I am sure benefits others.

Incidentally Richard, I checked out your very interesting artistic website and the color of that copper or brass ribbon quickly brought forward the very attractive sort of hammered out brass/copper glossy new look of colored paint which I used to re-paint the tall five stem lamp post illuminating a portion of our swimming pool. Yes, it is an attractive color, you have good taste …… ;-)


Oscar2

Jul 15, 2007, 10:02 AM

Post #8 of 21 (6348 views)

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Re: [Goody2shs] Affordable communication

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Goody2shs, a penny a minute US to Mexico beats the best I could get at 5 cents per minute to a landline and 15 cents per to a cell phone from Sprint which is our business 4 cell phones provider. Problem being, Sprint doesn’t have feasible service while in Mexico, nor can you use that same cell phone with the adaptable (Sim Card) I spoke to Richard about above.

You mentioned unlocking your Verizon and simply using calling cards. Can you explain this a bit more? I may be misinterpreting your reference to what I think are landline calling cards purchased just about anywhere in Mexico and used on any phone booth. Please correct me if misunderstood.

You also mentioned a Verizon rep assured you that early termination charges would be waived with proof of a new Mexican address. May I suggest having that rep or whoever is saying this to you, if allowed, to either fax or Email confirmation. I doubt this will happen but it may come in useful.

It is my interest as well, if some of the ol’timers and/or those down south more familiar would/or could chime in with a goody or two.


raferguson


Jul 15, 2007, 2:13 PM

Post #9 of 21 (6324 views)

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Re: [Oscar2] Affordable communication - Mexican cell phone providers

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Thanks for the nice words about my art.

I piped up about Mexican cell phones because no one else had mentioned that option.

You can buy prepaid cell phones pretty cheaply in Mexico, and the price generally includes some air time. For a basic new phone, I would figure to pay 30 to 60 US dollars. Obviously a fancy phone is more money.

I used to recommend that people bring cell phones down from the US, and you can still do that, but the basic Mexican phones are cheap enough to buy that it is hardly worth it.

As far as I can tell, only Telcel and IUSACELL have nationwide coverage. I am prejudiced against Telcell because of the owner, but that should not affect your decision. Of course what you really care about is the coverage in the area where you spend most of your time, which almost requires asking your neighbors which cell phone they use and how they like it. If you make a lot of calls across the border, that may affect your decision also. Telcel adopted calling party pays for international calls, so that might be a good reason to use another company, since it would make it less expensive for friends and family to call you from the USA.

I recall that IUSAcell has a program that allows free calls to another IUSACell phone, but it depends on which service plan that you use. Could be very convenient if you and your wife both have cell phones.

Good luck on your decision. I plan to get a Mexican cell phone the next time I go to Mexico, although I may save a few bucks by having them reprogram a US phone.

Richard


http://www.fergusonsculpture.com


Papirex


Jul 15, 2007, 7:19 PM

Post #10 of 21 (6304 views)

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Re: [donnameyer] Affordable communication

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Richard is right about getting an older cell phone reprogrammed to use down here, it is not too expensive to do that, I think I only paid $10 or$15 US Bucks to have it done by Iusacell a few years ago, it may cost more now. Telcel uses TDMA technology, and Iusacell uses CDMA technology. It may be the other way around, but if one of them can’t reprogram your phone, the other company can. If you bring an old phone with you, the type of phone it is will probably determine which company you use. Just take it into one of their offices, show them the phone, and ask if it can be reprogrammed to use their service.

I had one phone that I brought here from The US, and another new phone I bought in México that had a user manual in English, programmed to use their prepaid calling cards a few years ago. The prepaid cards are sold in various denominations; I used to buy the cheapest cards for $100 Pesos. When I first started using them the $100 Peso card was good for 37 minutes, and it expired with all unused minutes every two months. They changed that a few years ago and they were only good for one month before they expired, and only contained 27 minutes of calling time. They were still a good deal for me, I don’t make many cell phone calls per month, and I had cell service for less than $5 US Bucks per month for a couple of years, and $10 US Bucks per month for the last couple of years before I signed a regular contract with Iusacell to end the hassle of needing to activate new cards every month. Iusacell also gives you a phone if you sign at least a one-year contract with them. The longer the contract is, the better the phone you will get. I signed a three-year contract and got their best camera phone.

Rather than buy a more expensive card with more minutes on it, I used to carry a spare card in my wallet in case I ran out of prepaid time. You can activate a phone card on the phone, but be at least semi-fluent In understanding Spanish, as the recording you will be listening to will be spoken in Spanish, and you will need to understand which keys on the phone you are supposed to press to activate a new card. I’m not sure if international calls can be made when using a prepaid card, as I never tried to do it. If it is possible, it will probably eat up many of your prepaid minutes, so it will be prudent to ask the company you go with for the details. A big advantage to using the pre paid cards for a visitor is that there is no contract and you can walk away with no penalty when you go back home. When you come back to México, just buy another prepaid card and activate it, or if you are here to stay, you can sign up for one of their regular contracts and continue to use the same phone if you wish to.

The ability to call another Iusacell phone from anywhere in the nation without using any of your monthly minutes that Richard mentioned is not a part of any monthly plan. It is an extra service that can be ordered with any Iusacell monthly plan. It is listed on our monthly statement and is part of our monthly bill. My wife has a more expensive monthly plan with more included minutes than I do, and she can make international calls with her phone. I have the cheapest plan they offer with fewer monthly minutes, and I cannot make international calls. We pay an extra $90 Pesos per month for each phone to be able to call each other with no other charge. We have made long distance calls to each other between Cuernavaca and México City, and between Cuernavaca and Guadalajara and Ajijic with no extra charges, it has lowered our regular monthly phone bill too. There is an extra charge on our home phone bill every time we use it to call a cell phone, so if Doris is out of the house I will use my cell phone to call her instead of the regular house phone even here in Cuernavaca.

Another possibility that you might want to check on after you get here is to buy a Movistar brand phone (pronounced Mow-vee-star) it is a play on the Spanish word movil, which means mobile. A local Mexican friend recently bought one, and he was praising the low cost of making calls with it using a prepaid card. I know nothing about that company, but it seems to be gaining in popularity here.

Be aware that if you buy a phone here in México the user manual will almost certainly be in Spanish. The phones we have now have Spanish language user manuals only; there is no English section.

Good luck, Rex


"The supreme happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved" - Victor Hugo


raferguson


Jul 16, 2007, 6:51 AM

Post #11 of 21 (6278 views)

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Re: [RexC] Affordable communication - IUSAcell

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If you go with a prepaid plan, and buy your prepaid cards in 200 peso denominations or more, all calls to other IUSAcell customers in the same calling area are free. But the 200 peso cards expire after 30 days, just like the smaller denomination cards.

The web site is not clear, but the free calls appear to be limited to two IUSACell phones which have the same area code. It may be that it does not matter where the phones are being used, which is what Rex experienced, where he could call his wife for free when he was out of town.

Richard


http://www.fergusonsculpture.com


Oscar2

Jul 16, 2007, 11:45 AM

Post #12 of 21 (6258 views)

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Re: [raferguson] Affordable communication - IUSAcell

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This was a lead Rolly posted and I followed up. It is a new product just hitting the market, which has a website with what they call a Magic Chat Room. Simply provide a name and log on and instantly you get replies to any questions needing answers.

Like any new product, caution comes into play but the rep seemed clear and open. Magic Jack apparently hooks up like the Voip device (USB port) and can be used in any coffee shop or any place where high-speed internet is available, even WiFi.

As I understand it, the device (Magic Jack) is a one time charge of $19.95, which sounds like one heck of a good deal especially if all calls thereafter are free. Probably an introductory offer and questions under Customer Support too Magic Chat is easy.

I came away feeling pretty good about the product and my wife thought it was unbelievable. I’m curious to know what some of you would come away with??

http://www.magicjack.com/

http://www.magicjack.com/...CustomerSupport.html





(This post was edited by Oscar2 on Jul 16, 2007, 11:52 AM)


Oscar2

Jul 16, 2007, 12:28 PM

Post #13 of 21 (6250 views)

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Re: [RexC] Affordable communication

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Rex and Richard, while traveling in Mexico, the cell phone need is essential. I thoroughly understand Rex’s need to have inter-contact with the wife, as we also need down south. Doing this with the purchase of phone card at 200 pesos a pop for unlimited interphone availability when you buy the phones at the same time and place, sounds like a good deal.

However, I think Richard mentioned, correct me if misunderstood, that you can call anyone within your same Mexican (area code) anywhere in the Republic. Is this correct?

I logged onto Iusacell website but couldn’t sufficiently weed through all the Spanish to get a clear picture of what you and Richard were referencing. I also tried to find some reference too Iusacell availability and cost of a Mexico (Sim Cards) and calling rates thereafter purchase of this Sim card if purchased in Mexico.


T-Mobil here in the US claims success of Sim Card usage with this same phone when another Sim Card is purchased for and while in Mexico.

(This post was edited by Oscar2 on Jul 16, 2007, 12:33 PM)


Oscar2

Jul 26, 2007, 1:17 PM

Post #14 of 21 (6164 views)

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Re: [Goody2shs] Affordable communication

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On a previous post filled with dismay over Verizon pulling the plug on our going on 4th year on the North American calling plan for Mexico, today was a new day and perseverance finally paid off with great results.

A couple of seek and find statistical calls and a letter to corporate spelling out the unfair disruption of our North American business (No longer Available to new members) plan being unfairly discontinued, “luckily” we were reinstated by the skin of our teeth, under the Grandfathering Guidelines.

Restored is our original 1400 minutes to Canada, Mexico, within Mexico and/or too the USA from either Mexico or Canada. Plus 1000 minutes free nights and weekends and 1000 free Cell to Cell minutes anywhere we happen to be at the time.

Quite frankly, I had just about thrown in the towel and yes, I was already vigorously pounding the bushes to find an alternate services plan. Halleluiah, Santa Claus is alive and well ………………. ;-)


soyalison

Jul 31, 2007, 7:04 PM

Post #15 of 21 (6094 views)

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Re: [Oscar2] Affordable communication

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Congratulations and good work! I guess I got in just under the wire with the North America Plan. For the most part it works well for me.
I am finding that I get better reception with my cell phone in Chiapas than I do in Chicago.

I am having difficulty with 800 calls to the US, however. When I dial them...001-800-xxx-xxxx, they don't go through. I am not sure what I am doing wrong. I called the Verizon help line and they couldn't help. Any suggestions?


Papirex


Jul 31, 2007, 9:44 PM

Post #16 of 21 (6075 views)

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Re: [soyalison] Affordable communication

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I can’t give you any information if your problem calling US toll free numbers is related to the North American calling plan, because I have never used it. However, US toll free numbers are not toll free when they are placed from México.

Before I started using Vonage, whenever I would call a toll free US phone number from México using a regular telephone, I would hear a recording, in English, informing me that US toll free numbers would be charged at regular international long distance rates, and if I did not want to pay those charges, to hang up now.

This may possibly be the reason your calls are not going through. It will probably take some research to find out if it is part of the problem.

Rex


"The supreme happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved" - Victor Hugo


Oscar2

Aug 1, 2007, 9:02 AM

Post #17 of 21 (6052 views)

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Re: [soyalison] Affordable communication

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Quote
I am having difficulty with 800 calls to the US, however. When I dial them...001-800-xxx-xxxx, they don't go through. I am not sure what I am doing wrong.



Soyalison, I know how frustrating it can get dialing while in Mexico and difficulties crop up with little to no fix available. I took the liberty of calling Verizon's 611 and enquired.

First off, dialing 001 prior to your 800 number is correct. In addition, if you haven’t already heard this I’ll give it a shot. First off, prior to leaving to Mexico or Canada its mandatory you dial:


Quote

*(ASTERIS) 228 then press the SEND button, and then select OPTION 2
When you do this you get a series of voice recording informing you that the procedure is being done and will verbally inform you that the procedure was done correctly and you are now good to go.




Purpose being that it technically allows for much more improved connection with some of Mexico’s towers, which otherwise you may have difficulty hooking up too and or not at all. Again, this can only be done while in the USA. If done while in Mexico, it won’t work.


Quote
I was told one other possibility is to remove your battery while your phone is still ON, wait a bit, reinsert battery and by doing so it will reset and this too may help.



I made the mistake myself of not following the procedure above last time we went to Mexico and although our calls were clear, intermittently some calls didn’t connect properly and at times, not at all. I was also just informed that I can execute the aforementioned dialing procedure, right now, while in the USA, which won’t do any harm at all, in fact it can probably improve contact with some towers in the process of calling Mexico.

Keep me posted and let me know if any of this helps for future reference. Good Luck.

Hasta Luego

(This post was edited by Oscar2 on Aug 1, 2007, 9:04 AM)


soyalison

Aug 1, 2007, 5:42 PM

Post #18 of 21 (6020 views)

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Re: [RexC] Affordable communication

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Thanks for the suggestions, Rex and Oscar. I did just recently do the *228 thingy. I'll see if that helps when I get back to Chiapas next week. I can't remember which recording I got when I placed the 800 calls. I don't mind paying the long distance rates because the NA plan covers those. I will see if, when I stay on the line, they put through the call. I was hoping this plan would be good for 800 calls to my bank and my pension plan. If it doesn't work, I guess I will just have to find the local numbers through which I can access the 800 services. I'll post later when I try it again. Thank you again! Alison


houtxuno

Aug 1, 2007, 6:47 PM

Post #19 of 21 (6011 views)

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Re: [soyalison] Affordable communication

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Use this table to dial toll free numbers from Mexico:

Prefix 800, dial 001 880
Prefix 866, dial 001 883
Prefix 877, dial 001 882
Prefix 888, dial 001 881



Oscar2

Aug 2, 2007, 8:34 AM

Post #20 of 21 (5983 views)

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Re: [houtxuno] Affordable communication

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Soyalison and Houtxuno, I ran across this while googling which may be of some help in making calls.

Thank you Houtxuno for the cross in toll free line numbers. Do you also have the Verizon North American Plan while using these numbers or are you using them on a Mexican land line? I take it your in Mexico right now and have personally used these numbers effectively. In order to get information such as this does one have to call the Mexican operator or information, which if I remember correctly while in Guad, I used to have to dial 444 or 44, not sure.


http://mexicotoday.blogspot.com/...ng-instructions.html

(This post was edited by Oscar2 on Aug 2, 2007, 8:37 AM)


houtxuno

Aug 2, 2007, 9:22 AM

Post #21 of 21 (5974 views)

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Re: [Oscar2] Affordable communication

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Yes, I am in Mexico and use the Verizon North American Plan. To be honest, I've only used the 800/880 combination and it works fine.
 
 
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