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HarryinNM

Nov 4, 2011, 6:14 AM

Post #1 of 28 (5595 views)

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cell service

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We are driving to MX next week for a six-month stay. Would like to purchase a cell phone and service early in our trip. Will be entering at Nogales. Any recommendations on a basic no frills unit and service will be appreciated. We expect to spend most of our stay in the Manzanillo area.



johanson / Moderator


Nov 4, 2011, 7:04 AM

Post #2 of 28 (5581 views)

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Re: [HarryinNM] cell service

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What will be your primary use. Will you be calling other cell phones and if so what brand are they? Or is this simply for the occasional call?

Also I believe that you had better buy the phone where you will be living to make sure your phone as the correct area code.

There are cheap Telcell, MovieStar and other cell phones available. Some cell phone companies have better coverage than others in different areas. I don't know about the coverage around Manzanillo, but I bet Telcel has good coverage there.


HarryinNM

Nov 4, 2011, 7:19 AM

Post #3 of 28 (5573 views)

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Re: [johanson] cell service

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The "occasional call" probably best describes intended use. Having one for the 1200 mile road trip down the Pacific Coast just seems like a good idea from a safety perspective. We have traveled the route without MX cell service, but would feel more comfortable with one. Sounds like TelCel is probably the best choice. Anyone from Coastal Colima have comments?

Thanks.


joaquinx


Nov 4, 2011, 7:41 AM

Post #4 of 28 (5564 views)

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Re: [HarryinNM] cell service

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Buy the phone at the border and they'll give you maybe 300 pesos of time or less. When you get to your destination, use up the remaining time, toss the chip, and buy a local one. The cost of a new chip will be under 300 pesos. Telcel has the best coverage and, of course, the largest number of users.
_______
My desire to be well-informed is currently at odds with my desire to remain sane.


YucaLandia


Nov 4, 2011, 7:45 AM

Post #5 of 28 (5559 views)

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Re: [HarryinNM] cell service

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Telcel often has an Amigo plan where you can get the phone (a simple Motorola or Nokia), SIM card, charger, and 300 units of credit for about $300 pesos. Have the young person that sells it to you to be sure to get it activated and working => don't walk away from the kiosk/desk until he/she proves it works by calling you on it. Be sure to bring your passport and FMM along so you don't have to get a CURP.

I understand that Telcel may be the only phone company that currently has approval to sell & activate phones (to foreigners) without a CURP.

The sound quality on these phones is just "OK", but it is good enough to keep you out of detention (jail) for several days by calling your insurance company in case you get in an accident.
steve
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Read-on MacDuff
E-visit at http://yucalandia.com


chinagringo


Nov 4, 2011, 8:45 AM

Post #6 of 28 (5544 views)

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Re: [YucaLandia] cell service

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While not mentioned so far, what about the option of getting a Telcel sim card? That assumes that the OP has a cell phone here NOB.
Regards,
Neil
Albuquerque, NM



HarryinNM

Nov 4, 2011, 3:40 PM

Post #7 of 28 (5512 views)

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Thanks

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Thanks much, folks, for your very useful info. I think we have all we need to find what we want and to not walk off until it is functioning. Thanks, particularly, for that piece of advice. We'll be on the road Sunday.


DavidHF

Nov 4, 2011, 10:02 PM

Post #8 of 28 (5489 views)

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Re: [HarryinNM] Thanks

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If you have a US cell phone simply use it (if you need to) until you reach your destination then buy a phone there.


HarryinNM

Nov 5, 2011, 5:38 AM

Post #9 of 28 (5482 views)

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Re: [DavidHF] Thanks

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We've been using TracPhone here since our need for cell phones is very limited and pay only about $20 US for three mos service. Last time we were in MX our TracPhone (I understand owned by Carlos Slim) did not work. Getting a TelCel unit with sim card sounds like the most practical way for us to go.

Again, thanks to all of you. This forum is an absolutely marvelous resource.


YucaLandia


Nov 5, 2011, 7:54 AM

Post #10 of 28 (5473 views)

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Re: [DavidHF] Thanks

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In Reply To
If you have a US cell phone simply use it (if you need to) until you reach your destination then buy a phone there.


On its surface, this sounds like a good plan, but if they have an accident on the way to their destination, then they might unnecessarily spend a few days in jail vs. having a working phone while driving to call their insurance company.

If you think driving without a cell phone is unimportant, read: http://jailbirdwhome.blogspot.com/

steve
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Read-on MacDuff
E-visit at http://yucalandia.com


DavidHF

Nov 5, 2011, 5:00 PM

Post #11 of 28 (5455 views)

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Re: [YucaLandia] Thanks

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The US cell phone will work in Mexico on their drive down, it's just costly.


YucaLandia


Nov 5, 2011, 7:05 PM

Post #12 of 28 (5441 views)

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Re: [DavidHF] Thanks

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Oh.

Does it matter what US company or what plan you have? 2 of our previous ones lost service within 20 ft of crossing the border => showing that they have GPS chips, even though the phones did not offer GPS service, and our Tracphone definitely does not work past the border.
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Read-on MacDuff
E-visit at http://yucalandia.com


johanson / Moderator


Nov 5, 2011, 7:26 PM

Post #13 of 28 (5432 views)

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Re: [YucaLandia] Thanks

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Yuca, I only know that my Telcel GSM phone works in Seattle with good coverage. But darn, the roaming charges suck. They are something like $26 pesos per minute. Therefore, up north, I use my land-line when possible.


chinagringo


Nov 5, 2011, 7:54 PM

Post #14 of 28 (5427 views)

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Re: [YucaLandia] Thanks

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While we have Sprint, their roming charges of $1.69/minute in Mexico are what I would consider to be excessive. Interestingly, a few years back, we had Qwest cell phones that operated on the Sprint network and their Mexico plan was much more reasonable. Our Sprint phones do work well in Mexico.
Regards,
Neil
Albuquerque, NM



YucaLandia


Nov 5, 2011, 8:04 PM

Post #15 of 28 (5425 views)

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Re: [johanson] Thanks

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Harry has TracFone service, like ours, and TracFone does not allow any calling services when the phone is in Mexico or Canada, so David's suggestion to use the TracFone while traveling in Mexico is a technical no-go.
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Read-on MacDuff
E-visit at http://yucalandia.com


RickS


Nov 6, 2011, 11:00 AM

Post #16 of 28 (5405 views)

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Re: [johanson] Thanks

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So to take this one step farther....

Could Harry (and me in 3 weeks) purchase a Telcel phone with some minutes 'at the border' that would work for 'emergency usage' if required while traveling down into Mexico (even if it is roaming) and then, once at the final destination, go to a Telcel store and get a sim-card that would give local service?


mazbook1


Nov 6, 2011, 11:02 AM

Post #17 of 28 (5404 views)

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Re: [RickS] Thanks

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Yes, easy peasy!


DavidHF

Nov 7, 2011, 11:51 AM

Post #18 of 28 (5370 views)

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Re: [YucaLandia] Thanks

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Ooops Yuca, I did NOT recommend a Track Phone. I said "if you have a US cell phone" simply use it until you get to Mazatlan (or wherever) and then get a Mexican phone. All the US carriers phones work in Mexico, just a bit costly. But they only need it for an emergency that will most likely not occur, therefore zero cost.


RickS


Nov 7, 2011, 1:49 PM

Post #19 of 28 (5359 views)

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Re: [DavidHF] Thanks

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I don't have a dog in this fight but.......I think the issue is that Tracfone, which is a US cellphone company and contracts with other US cellphone companies (AT&T, Sprint, Verizon) to provide the actual signal, will not work in Mexico. Once it detects a Mexican tower after crossing the border, the service goes dead and the phone cannot be used to insert, say, a Telcel sim card.


DavidHF

Nov 8, 2011, 12:11 PM

Post #20 of 28 (5329 views)

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Re: [RickS] Thanks

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In Reply To
I don't have a dog in this fight but.......I think the issue is that Tracfone, which is a US cellphone company and contracts with other US cellphone companies (AT&T, Sprint, Verizon) to provide the actual signal, will not work in Mexico. Once it detects a Mexican tower after crossing the border, the service goes dead and the phone cannot be used to insert, say, a Telcel sim card.



HarryinNM

Nov 18, 2011, 9:06 AM

Post #21 of 28 (5252 views)

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YucaLandia advice

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Well, I'd no idea that I would touch off such a firestorm.

That aside, YucaLandia's advice was heeded in Nogales, MX just after crossing. The process of setting up the phone was laborious for the young woman who sold it to us. We did ask that she call us on our cell phone before leaving her kiosk. She graciously complied. No hitches. Thanks for saving us headaches.

We are now in Cuyutlan and enjoying the early days of our stay immensely.


frito

Nov 22, 2011, 1:06 PM

Post #22 of 28 (5195 views)

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Re: [HarryinNM] YucaLandia advice

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I'm surprised no one mentioned AT&T's Viva Mexico service. For an extra fee, something like $15 a month, your phone can be used in
Mexico without incurring roaming charges. Ran across that while Googling cell service in Mexico, don't know if it's still available or not.


johanson / Moderator


Nov 22, 2011, 4:24 PM

Post #23 of 28 (5177 views)

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Re: [frito] YucaLandia advice

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Tell us more, it seems too good to be true. I pay more than that per month here in Mexico for Telcel.


frito

Nov 22, 2011, 4:31 PM

Post #24 of 28 (5173 views)

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Re: [johanson] YucaLandia advice

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I'm not good at making links on my iPod but if you Google AT&T Viva Mexico it'll pull right up. It's an extra charge beyond the normal charges per month.


chinagringo


Nov 22, 2011, 4:36 PM

Post #25 of 28 (5170 views)

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Re: [frito] YucaLandia advice

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While some may be "grandfathered" on Mexico calling plans, it looks to me that AT & T may have restructured their plans? I do know that in our case, we used to have cell service through Qwest but it really used the Sprint network. We paid $5/month for no roaming in Mexico. When Qwest got out of the cell phone business, we switched to Sprint and now get charged $1.69/minute for roaming in Mexico and no calling plans available to reduce the cost. Needless to say, we keep our cell phone usage to a minimum in Mexico.

Some info on AT & T:

http://www.wireless.att.com/...es.jsp#canada-mexico
Regards,
Neil
Albuquerque, NM



(This post was edited by chinagringo on Nov 22, 2011, 4:38 PM)
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