Dec 1, 2011, 9:38 AM
Post #26 of 28
There are some relevant details missing or only implied in some of these posts re cell service in Mex:
1. There are two major protocols worldwide for cell service: GSM and CDMA. In the USA most providers (Verizon, etc) are CDMA, while ATT and a few others are GSM. TELMEX IS GSM. I've successfully used USA Verizon (CDMA) and ATT (GSM) phones in Mex - although GSM coverage and reception is slightly superior in Mex. Europe is often GSM, Guatemala mostly CDMA, etc. - so it varies by country, and usually a given cell phone and USA provider plan will work (somewhat) for either.
2. USA cell providers are notoriously terrible at recommending the appropriate plans and advice re Mex travel. Try to get their International folks because most of their domestic USA support personnel are under-informed to say the least - and that can mean a LOT of money due to their providing the wrong plan (I dropped Verizon over this issue).
Another example is my current "Int'l away" ATT (iPhone) plan only allows 40% of the USA allowed free minutes while in Mexico - it took me two months and many phone calls to ATT service reps to find that out.
3. TEXT/SMS and BROADBAND/INTERNET can be VERY expensive in Mexico if you have the wrong plan (very expensive = hundred$ or even over a thou$sand per month). Limit you texting and broadband/Internet use until you have checked the charges (sometimes one has to wait for the full month billing to get that awful surprise).
4. There are cheap pay-as-you-go plans and phones in Mex - often about 250p-300p for phone and 300 units of air time. OR one can change out the SIM chip on most USA and Mex phones (be careful with iPhone though - there are some fatal "gotchas" - not sure about Android) - that can cost about 150p-200p. Be sure to get the SIM for the area in Mex you will be in and call most often, or else you'll be making long dist. calls within Mex.
5. VOIP INTERNET phone services (Vonage, MagicJack, Skype) etc are other options and some have portable devices and most can be used via you laptop computer. They vary in price, quality and features.
There are a lot of other details and "wrinkles" but the above are some of the more basic and more common. BASIC ADVICE: limit your use of cell phone air time and ESPECIALLY text/SMS and broadband/Internet (although cell Internet can be free at WiFi hotspots - best be sure it is WiFi and not 3G/4G cell Internet though).
I prefer to use more email via my laptop and cell broadband only at WiFi hotspots. I have a TelCel Amigo pay-as-you-go for local/domestic Mex calls, and ATT iPhone for rare calls to/from USA. I tell friends and family to email me as I won't usually answer incoming calls from USA on Mex cell phone - if it is important, they can email or leave voicemail (yet another topic, as well as toll-free USA calls).
JuanCha de: Santa Fe NM, San Cristobal de Las Casas Chiapas, San Diego CA