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Yaxchibonam

Oct 14, 2009, 5:27 PM

Post #1 of 16 (5785 views)

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Can I get a SIM card and use my cell phone from the states?

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I disconnected my Verizon service before I left, but brought my clunky old (2 or 3 years) Nokia and the charger with me. I live in Oaxaca city. Is there a place I can go to get this thing working locally?

Do I get a SIM card, and where?

A Mexican friend said I should definitely get the kind of "pay as you go" service she has. She doesn't have to poke in code numbers, she just goes to the local farmacia, gives them her number, and they give her however many pesos worth of credit she wants. Then she gets a message on the cell telling her it's been recharged with more time and she's good to go.

Thanks for your expertise!
Lorena
Yaxchi



joaquinx


Oct 14, 2009, 5:59 PM

Post #2 of 16 (5778 views)

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Re: [Yaxchibonam] Can I get a SIM card and use my cell phone from the states?

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I believe that a lot depends on whether or not the cell is "unlocked". That is, can it be used with any provider or is it locked into only one provider.

As for the "pay as you go", most of us do this method. We either buy a Amigo card and punch in the numbers or go to a farmacia, supermercado, etc and buy some time.

ps. you can buy a phone that includes some time for around 300 pesos.
_______
My desire to be well-informed is currently at odds with my desire to remain sane.

(This post was edited by joaquinx on Oct 14, 2009, 6:00 PM)


Yaxchibonam

Oct 14, 2009, 6:55 PM

Post #3 of 16 (5767 views)

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Re: [joaquinx] Can I get a SIM card and use my cell phone from the states?

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Thanks Joaquin, I didn't know it was that cheap! I wonder if Chedraui is a good place to buy one? or do I need to go to telmex?
Yaxchi


joaquinx


Oct 14, 2009, 7:03 PM

Post #4 of 16 (5760 views)

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Re: [Yaxchibonam] Can I get a SIM card and use my cell phone from the states?

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Any supermarket is good. Actually, any store that displays the Telcel logo. I believe that all the prices and promotions are the same. Best to check and compare, right?

One typical promotion is a cell for around 400 pesos with 300 pesos of time. The time is divided over three months, i.e., 100 pesos of time each month.
_______
My desire to be well-informed is currently at odds with my desire to remain sane.


Riverman

Oct 14, 2009, 7:42 PM

Post #5 of 16 (5752 views)

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Re: [joaquinx] Can I get a SIM card and use my cell phone from the states?

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Any supermarket is good. Actually, any store that displays the Telcel logo. I believe that all the prices and promotions are the same. Best to check and compare, right?

One typical promotion is a cell for around 400 pesos with 300 pesos of time. The time is divided over three months, i.e., 100 pesos of time each month.



Riverman

Oct 14, 2009, 7:44 PM

Post #6 of 16 (5751 views)

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Re: [Riverman] Can I get a SIM card and use my cell phone from the states?

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I wonder if this gets you a new GSM phone and Sim card?


joaquinx


Oct 14, 2009, 7:52 PM

Post #7 of 16 (5746 views)

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Re: [Riverman] Can I get a SIM card and use my cell phone from the states?

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I wonder if this gets you a new GSM phone and Sim card?

The telephone is new and the sim card is included in all purchases from Telcel. If they sell used/reburbished ones, I haven't seen them.
_______
My desire to be well-informed is currently at odds with my desire to remain sane.


Riverman

Oct 14, 2009, 7:58 PM

Post #8 of 16 (5742 views)

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Re: [joaquinx] Can I get a SIM card and use my cell phone from the states?

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I wonder if this gets you a new GSM phone and Sim card?

The telephone is new and the sim card is included in all purchases from Telcel. If they sell used/reburbished ones, I haven't seen them.



Brian

Oct 15, 2009, 6:39 AM

Post #9 of 16 (5719 views)

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Re: [Yaxchibonam] Can I get a SIM card and use my cell phone from the states?

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Your old cellphone is impractical since it uses CDMA technology and cannot be unlocked to work with the Amigo prepaid plan. The advice to take advantage of the best deal on a new phone and included minutes from TelCel is appropriate. If you should want to use it in the future in the USA, you can get it unlocked then and purchase a sim card from TMobile or ATT. It is very easy to swap out the cards.

Brian


Peter


Oct 25, 2009, 6:45 AM

Post #10 of 16 (5665 views)

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Re: [Yaxchibonam] Can I get a SIM card and use my cell phone from the states?

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When shopping for you phone keep in mind what you want to use it for primarily. I have two services, Telcel for here in Mexico because it covers areas I visit at times where no other service exists, and Unefon because it is MUCH cheaper to call the US, $200 pesos allows me to talk for hours to the US and is commonly what airtime I purchase each month. I believe Unefon is connected with Iusacel and both have good coverage though Telcel covers some places those do not, like in Caleta de Campos, Michoacán on the coast. Movistar seems to have the worst coverage.

In both cases I pay as I go and can buy my airtime for either service as I need it from many of the ATM machines when I pick up cash. Santander is one ATM that offers this service and in my part of the world it is the most common machine found in the supermarkets.


(This post was edited by Peter on Oct 25, 2009, 7:03 AM)


Papirex


Oct 25, 2009, 10:12 AM

Post #11 of 16 (5652 views)

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Re: [Peter] Can I get a SIM card and use my cell phone from the states?

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Yes, Unefon is now connected to Iusacell. About 2 or 3 years ago a friend of ours that is now a Gerente of one of the Iusacell offices here gave me a Nokia cell phone as a gift, no camera, but a perfectly good phone. It was part of a promotion. She said she was giving it to me because I was “such a good customer.” Our friend at Iusacell speaks fluent English, that is handy for me.


Iusacell is always giving us “freebies”. We accumulate “points” every month. About every 3 years we have enough points to get a new phone at no extra cost. I have a box with a half dozen perfectly good cell phones in it that we no longer use. I already gave one of them away to a friend that wanted to use it with pre-paid phone cards. I also loan one of them to my cuñado when he visits from Tacoma.


We gave the Nokia phone to my suegra since we already had two cell phones. At first, we just bought pre-paid cards for that phone, but last August our friend told us we could put it on a plan that only costs me $221 Pesos every two months. That plan is with Unefon. My suegra is very happy and I think a little bit proud to have her own cell phone now. She seldom if ever, uses it, but my wife does sometimes.


We can make calls to The US with all 3 phones, but they are pricey. Since we live here, and are not just on a visit, we use Vonage for all of our International calls to The US at no additional cost per call. The plan we have for my wifes' cell phone allows her to call any of our other cell phones anywhere in The Republic at no cost. That is handy when she makes her monthly trip to México City, or the occasional trip to visit her aunt or uncle in Ajijic and Guadalajara. She is in México City right now.


Last February, one of my daughters in California gave me a two year old Nokia phone that she used with her Verizon plan, it has the charger, car cord, manual, a CD, everything, it is complete. Her thought was that I might want to have it reprogrammed to use pre-paid cards to use as a loaner for visitors here. I did some research and found out I can get a new phone number and buy Verizon pre-paid cards for it on our next trip NOB and use it in The US cheaply. I have a toll free 888 number with Vonage, so calls home to Cuernavaca are cost free. The phone my kid gave me is a good color too. It is a very masculine pink.


In this area of the central highlands, Iusacell is king.


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


Peter


Oct 25, 2009, 2:44 PM

Post #12 of 16 (5632 views)

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Re: [Papirex] Can I get a SIM card and use my cell phone from the states?

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Thanks for the info, Rex. I sometimes wonder if I should consider a monthly service contract for changing needs but never justified doing so. For the $200 peso and sometimes $300 I buy I am still better off pre-paid. The convenience of paying at the cajero automatico is nice and probably still available if I go monthly.


Yaxchibonam

Oct 25, 2009, 9:20 PM

Post #13 of 16 (5612 views)

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Re: [Peter] Can I get a SIM card and use my cell phone from the states?

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Thanks everyone for all the good information and advice...now it's time for me to get out there and make a good choice!
Yaxchi


Papirex


Oct 26, 2009, 9:25 AM

Post #14 of 16 (5586 views)

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Re: [Peter] Can I get a SIM card and use my cell phone from the states?

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Peter, we all choose what is best for us personally. When we first moved to México we had a phone we used in the US reprogrammed to work down here. It was a CDMA phone and Telcel couldn't reprogram it to work in their system, but Iusacell could. After we moved to Cuernavaca a friend of mine here that dabbled in electronics sold me a cell phone complete with a charger, car cord, belt holster, two batteries,(you needed an extra battery in those days) and a $100 Peso phone card for $500 Pesos, that was equivalent to $50 US Bucks at that time. Deducting the $100 Peso phone card, I got the phone for $40 Bucks. That was a bargain in those days.


I don't use my cell phone much, I carry it mostly for security in case of car trouble or an accident. My wife uses the hell out of hers, I had to keep upgrading her plan to get more minutes because she kept running out of time every month. She has 700 minutes per month now and she hasn't run out of time in several years. It's OK with me, if having a functioning phone with her makes her happy, I want her to have a phone.


I used prepaid phone cards for a couple of years, they used to be valid for 2 months, and they only were good for 37 minutes of air time. then they expired and could not be recharged with Iusacell. A $200 Peso card lasted for 2 months, so I had cell service for only $10 US Bucks per month. I used to carry a spare card in my wallet in case I did run out of minutes, I could recharge the phone wherever I was.


Incidentally, there are guys at most busy intersections in Cuernavaca selling prepaid phone cards for every cell phone service in the country, so it is never a problem buying a new card here.


After a few years they changed the cards to only about 27 minutes per month and they expired after one month, and the recording in Spanish I heard when dialing to recharge the phone every month seemed to be changed almost every time I called to activate a new card. My Spanish skills are a little crude, and it was often hard to understand the rapid instructions in Spanish given. That is when I signed up for my first monthly cell phone plan. It only cost $250 Pesos per month, that was only $50 Pesos more than the cards were costing me every month at that time, for 100 minutes per month, and it was a hell of a lot simpler for me.


I have been with Iusacell long enough that I have gotten a couple of free phones from them now.


I have upgraded my monthly plan a few times and I am presently paying $361 Pesos (about $28 US Bucks today) per month. I think I have about 250 minutes per month now, but I have never come close to using them all. $3 Dollars of that is for roadside service insurance. In case of car trouble, I can call them and they will send a mechanic, if he can't start the car it will be towed to the nearest full service repair facility.


They will change a tire or deliver 5 litros of gasoline at no cost, you may order more gas, but you must pay for any amount over 5 litros. You may only use the tire changing or gasoline delivery service twice a year at no cost. I have this roadside service on my wifes' cell phone plan too. I hope we never need to use it, but it gives me peace of mind, especially for my wife, and it is cheap protection.


You couldn't pay me enough to quit Iusacell in our area.


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


Peter


Oct 26, 2009, 10:42 AM

Post #15 of 16 (5575 views)

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Re: [Papirex] Can I get a SIM card and use my cell phone from the states?

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Like you I only used my cell phone as an emergency back-up in the car and only on occasion used it to place a call when I was on the road when I first started using one in the US. After a time the annoyance of telemarketers calling my land-based phone got to be too much so I switched to only using the cell. Here in Mexico there is never that problem since the caller pays both, in the US the caller and receiver get charged.

I am happy with my Unefon, Pobrefon as my friend calls it, since it has the good coverage of the Iusacel system. My ladyfriend had Movistar but it lacked coverage even in good-sized pueblos like Tepecaltepec. It became necessary to add Telcel because of much time I spent in Caleta and Nexpa, Michoacán which Iusacel didn't cover. I haven't been there for six months now so it's possible they have extended service or I can now do without my Telcel, though that is the number many of my friends here in Mexico have.

Now with about three years with my first Unefon phone it's just about time to replace and upgrade it. I am also considering getting Iusacel's internet/TV setup but need more info on that. It might help if I had an Iusacel phone but want to keep my Unefon number as that is the only way certain people in the US can contact me. I also like the idea of the road service you mention. For communicating with my Mexican friends we use text messages because I can read Spanish much better than I can hear it. My Telcel phone works better for messaging which may be just the phone and not the service though both are Nokia phones but different models. A new phone may help that but I have not been offered any new phones or discounts to upgrade.

Iusacel and Unefon may be together but their cost and services are somewhat different. My poor understanding of spoken Spanish hasn't permit me to fully understand what I may have to gain or lose by changing service type or provider but it is getting close to time I will probably change something.


Papirex


Oct 26, 2009, 12:15 PM

Post #16 of 16 (5567 views)

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Re: [Peter] Can I get a SIM card and use my cell phone from the states?

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I just did a Google search and learned that Unefon and Iusacell have actually merged. Together, they now control 7% of the cell phone market in México, of course, that means that they do not have full coverage of the whole country. The roaming service with Iusacell is good, but you do pay extra when roaming.


I did have a plan a few years ago that allowed me to call any Iusacell phone anywhere in the country at no cost or use of my minutes. When my wife was visiting her aunt in Ajijic I was able to call her from Cuernavaca at no cost. Her phone would ring in the house over there, but to hear me, or talk to me, she had to go outside of the house. The reception in Ajijic for Iusacell is not very good.


The road service we have is called *911, and those are the symbol and numbers we must call to get service. We haven't needed to use it yet, but it is nice to know we have it.


The young lady we have become friends with at Iusacell is nice, and she speaks fluent English. She was working in one of their offices here, and then was transferred to another office. We followed her there, she had been a big help to me when someone in Guadalajara cloned my phone and made a couple of thousand Pesos worth of long distance calls using my phone number. Our friend was promoted to be a Gerente and transferred to another office. We followed her again.


She has now been transferred to a fourth office, she is still a Gerente and we still do our business with her. It is nice for me that she can tell me technical things in English, and I can understand her easily.


I have recommended her to a couple of Americans that were thinking of moving here and asked about cell phone service in Cuernavaca. I don't know if they moved here or not, but dealing with an English speaker at the phone company would be one less hurdle to jump for a newcomer.


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