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jrpierce


Jul 23, 2011, 1:42 PM

Post #1 of 21 (11214 views)

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Mexico cell phone plans and/or smartphones

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After three plus years here in Mexico, my wife and I are ready to cut another umbilical cord to the US and drop our Verizon North American cell phone plan. We wish to replace it with a full-service plan here in Mexico (we currently have cheap prepaid Mexican cell phones to receive local calls).

We live in Morelia, and the carriers available to us here are TelCel, MoviStar and Iusacell. I want a smartphone (probably Iphone, but perhaps Blackberry or Droid), my wife a standard phone.

I searched this forum and found nothing recent on point, so would like to pick your collective brains. The carriers' web sites are short on information. I'd love input on which carrier, which rate plan, etc. you recommend and why. Or, a good web site with information about all of this, either in Spanish or English. Also any other tips relating to:

1) International travel (we are in the US and/or other parts of the world a couple of months a year).
2) Which smartphone/carrier combination to select.
3) Any carriers that offer "family plans" with discounts for the two of us.
4) Any reason to consider "prepaid" plans versus "rental" plans.

I know this is a huge topic, so thanks in advance for any tidbits you may offer!

Jim




raferguson


Jul 23, 2011, 5:41 PM

Post #2 of 21 (11191 views)

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Re: [jrpierce] Mexico cell phone plans and/or smartphones

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A few comments:

If you buy a quad band GSM unlocked phone you can use the phone in Mexico, the USA, or anywhere else in the world. These are kind of pricey new, reasonable used. I think I picked up a Treo 650 used for $60 or so, that is a smartphone from several years ago.

Iphones do not use the standard sim card size, they use a micro sim, which is a problem if you want to use them internationally. Also, they are generally locked to one carrier, again not good for international use.

I suggest just plugging in a SIM card for the country that you are in, generally the best rates, gives you a local phone number.

Telcel has the best coverage, Movistar has good coverage and generally better prices. A while back, I had trouble even getting cost info from Telcel, one of the reasons I am not enthused about them. Also, it seemed like my Telcel credits disappeared faster than they should have. All in all, I don't really trust telcel. That said, Telcel is the most popular provider.

If all your friends are on Telcel, that is one reason to get Telcel, calls within the same company are cheaper than from one company to another.

Movistar had a plan where calls of up to 15 minutes to the USA were only a couple of dollars, a great deal for calling the USA. Right now, the plan is called Pagemenos Extra, 30 minutes to the usa for 7 pesos, a great deal. The same deal applies to call a fixed line or Movistar phone in Mexico.

IUSAcell does not use GSM, but Telcel and Movistar do. GSM is the world standard, but the US and Mexico use different frequencies than the rest of the world, hence the need for a quad band phone.

Most of the plans allow at least one number that you can dial free, so no need for a family plan, just designate your spouse as that number, works as long as you both have the same carrier.

Richard


http://www.fergusonsculpture.com


jrpierce


Jul 23, 2011, 6:23 PM

Post #3 of 21 (11186 views)

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Re: [raferguson] Mexico cell phone plans and/or smartphones

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Really helpful information, thanks. Especially about the micro sims on Iphones--I was unaware of that.

RE the Treo 650, that's what I'm currently using and have been for many years. It is a marvelous device, but the sad decline in Palm, now HP, means it is falling further behind the field, and I've finally decided it is time for a change. Moreover, this is a locked phone tied to the Verizon system.

Are you still using the 650? If not, have you found a suitable replacement?

Again, my thanks!

Jim



joaquinx


Jul 23, 2011, 6:51 PM

Post #4 of 21 (11182 views)

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Re: [raferguson] Mexico cell phone plans and/or smartphones

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Quote
Iphones do not use the standard sim card size, they use a micro sim, which is a problem if you want to use them internationally. Also, they are generally locked to one carrier, again not good for international use.


I don't believe that this should be a problem since the iPhone is sold just about everywhere so you should find a chip to fit. I read somewhere and can not verify it, that the standard sim chip can be carved down with a knife to fit.
_______
My desire to be well-informed is currently at odds with my desire to remain sane.


raferguson


Jul 23, 2011, 8:35 PM

Post #5 of 21 (11173 views)

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Re: [jrpierce] Mexico cell phone plans and/or smartphones

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The Treo 650 is a recent acquisition, the GSM version. I bought it for trips, and I have not used it yet. I have Verizon in the USA, which is CDMA, not GSM, so I cannot use that phone with Verizon. On my recent trip to Canada, I just used my Verizon phone; the coverage was spotty, but might have been spotty if I had a GSM phone, we were in rural areas.

As you say, the Treo is getting long in the tooth, so you might as well spend the money for something more modern. Maybe you would be better off buying a brand new unlocked phone that took standard SIM cards, then you could carry a few SIMS and swap them out when you cross the border.

I don't know about the availability of micro SIM cards, although you will find some info at the link below. It may be that the older iPhones use standard SIM cards, but I think that the current iPhone 4 uses the micro cards.

Richard

http://apcmag.com/...im-into-the-ipad.htm

http://ipod.about.com/...4/a/Iphone-4-Sim.htm


http://www.fergusonsculpture.com


jrpierce


Jul 24, 2011, 8:30 AM

Post #6 of 21 (11149 views)

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Re: [joaquinx] Mexico cell phone plans and/or smartphones

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@ Joaquinx: Based on some research today, you are correct that the micro SIM cards can be cut down for the Iphone 4, however what a hassle. From the look of things on-line, it appears tricky. Besides, if you arrive in say France and want to put in a SIM for local service, the last thing you want to do is spend time fiddling with this. Sigh...nothing is simple.

@ Raferguson: Many thanks for the follow up and the links.

Jim



johanson / Moderator


Jul 24, 2011, 11:26 AM

Post #7 of 21 (11133 views)

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Re: [joaquinx] Mexico cell phone plans and/or smartphones

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Please don't try carving down the sim chip with a knife. The odds of it working are not very good. Rather go to a Telcel office that has a sim chip cutter (not all offices do). My older, larger sim card was cut to size and works fine.

And I'm still using only the Amigo Plan. How do I get my data? WiFi. (Which I have at work and at home and often at the restaurants were I dine out.)


joaquinx


Jul 24, 2011, 11:37 AM

Post #8 of 21 (11130 views)

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Re: [johanson] Mexico cell phone plans and/or smartphones

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And I'm still using only the Amigo Plan. How do I get my data? WiFi. (Which I have at work and at home and often at the restaurants were I dine out.)


I was buying data time for 500 pesos and getting 3gB for 30 days, but I wasn't using 3gB. I went on the demand and found out that I was using anywhere between 50 and 100 mB per month. Now Telmex has added another level. Instead of sending to 5050 the BAT30, I using the demand and paying 2 pesos per mB. After one month, Telcel send me a message that they have lowered the rate for me to 1 peso per mB. Just looking at the site recently, Telcel has a whole new rate structure for data See http://www.telcel.com/..._amigo.html?mid=1107 for the new rate structure. If you want email and a few searches and perhaps a quick look at a site, the lower rates might fit in. 50 or 100 pesos is much better than 500.
_______
My desire to be well-informed is currently at odds with my desire to remain sane.

(This post was edited by joaquinx on Jul 24, 2011, 11:39 AM)


johanson / Moderator


Jul 24, 2011, 1:31 PM

Post #9 of 21 (11113 views)

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Re: [joaquinx] Mexico cell phone plans and/or smartphones

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Yes I got a message too (over my iPhone with the voice chip) saying 1 peso per meg. I didn't check it out but maybe I should.


jrpierce


Jul 25, 2011, 10:46 AM

Post #10 of 21 (11078 views)

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Re: [joaquinx] Mexico cell phone plans and/or smartphones

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You and Johanson are helping a lot re Telcel plans and how to proceed. It sounds like Johanson has an Iphone. What are you using, Joaquinx?

It seems using Wifi when available would reduce time spent on a data plan and thus keep costs down.

Practically everyone I know who doesn't have a monthly prepaid voice and/or data plan has occasional problems with running out of time, and of course those always happen at the worst possible moment. I'd prefer to avoid that with a monthly prepaid plan. Any thoughts on that?

Again, my thanks for your expertise on this topic.

Jim


joaquinx


Jul 25, 2011, 11:13 AM

Post #11 of 21 (11074 views)

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Re: [jrpierce] Mexico cell phone plans and/or smartphones

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I have an SonyEricsson Vivaz.

Telcel requires a credit check, or so they told me, and I have no local credit, so I opted for the Amigo plan. That plan, not really a plan, requires me to buy time either at the supermarket or at an ATM. My phone calls are few and I mostly communicate by text messages. I had a Blackberry before and to access their email service and message service costs 500 pesos a month. I carried that idea over to the SE after the BB lost its Bluetooth function. It also was very, very slow. Last month I didn't opt for the 500 peso service and started to keep a daily record of the mB usage and the peso per day cost. If someone is a heavy data user, the 500peso BAT30 plan would be beneficial, however, for me, I didn't use that much data, I fact after some 45 days I've only use a little over 35mB. Total cost including text message and telephone call is around 200 pesos.

It only costs 0.88 pesos to get a text message with your current saldo and regalo. Certainly, using available wifi will reduce you data cost, but at 1 peso per mB, the cost is low. My average for the last 45 days is around 4.50 pesos. Your smart phone will give you your data usage and Telcel will give you to charges.
_______
My desire to be well-informed is currently at odds with my desire to remain sane.


gypsysailor

Sep 3, 2011, 12:47 PM

Post #12 of 21 (10867 views)

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Re: [johanson] Mexico cell phone plans and/or smartphones

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Hello,

I have spent the last year cruising my sailboat in Mexico. I was the using the Banda Ancha for Inernet using the $500 month prepaid. I also bought a cheap Telcel phone and chip. I am back in the States now and would like to buy an Iphone for use in Mexico, preferibly used. I have gotten so much conflicting info that I am now totally confused. Would a used unlocked and /or jailbroken Iphone work with my Telcel chip? What is the difference between 3G and 4G and which would perform better for Internet and navigation? Do I need to purchase a phone from Telcel? Does it make more sense to have an ATT Amigo plan or Telcel plan? When I am out and about, I would like to be able to use my phone for calls, text and data. Thanks.
Lisa
lisajgoldman@yahoo.com


johanson / Moderator


Sep 3, 2011, 2:32 PM

Post #13 of 21 (10855 views)

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Re: [gypsysailor] Mexico cell phone plans and/or smartphones

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You can buy a new or used iPhone in both the US and Canada that are unlocked. Either new from Apple or used from many places. It has to be GSM (the same as AT&T) Down here, we don't have 4G. The best my iPhone 4 can get is 3G along the shores of Lake Chapala from Telcel. Maybe there is G4 available in other places in MX, I don't know.

I usually turn my network and 3G off and transfer data via WiFi, which saves me a lot of money. I have WiFi where I have breakfast and lunch, at the office and at home


sparks


Sep 3, 2011, 3:11 PM

Post #14 of 21 (10846 views)

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Re: [johanson] Mexico cell phone plans and/or smartphones

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Iusacell/Unefon has 4G but I can't rate it 'cause I don't have it yet. Unefon offeres the same services as Iusacell (same company) at lower rates

Sparks Mexico - Sparks Costalegre


jrpierce


Sep 3, 2011, 9:21 PM

Post #15 of 21 (10822 views)

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Re: [sparks] Mexico cell phone plans and/or smartphones

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Hi all,

This is a follow-up to our earlier discussion about setting up iPhone service. I went ahead and purchased an iPhone 4 32 GB from TelCel as part of a 2 year contract. While I'm probably overpaying for the monthly service, it does spread out the cost of purchasing the phone. Plus, as many friends have said, from a security perspective it is a comfort to know that you will never run out of minutes when you need them most.

My experience with TelCel has been mixed. If you wish to sign up for a plan, you undergo a rigorous credit check. This includes having personal references, a personal visit to your home address, and much more. Unlike so many other vendors, they don't rely on the fact that other utilities, even their sister company TelMex have extended you credit, but do their own checking. A knowledgeable Mexican friend said that if you go through this and then pay your bills on time, you'll wind up with a solid gold Mexican credit rating, so that may make it worth doing.

I also have had problems setting up my personal computer access to my account information, as well as my voice mail. This all could stem from the fact that I had them use my former phone number from an Amigo plan with a different phone. Anyway, it is getting resolved, but slowly.

On the plus side, I'm crazy about the phone, and it performs beautifully on the TelCel network.

Many thanks once again for your help!

Jim


melina12

Jan 23, 2012, 2:43 AM

Post #16 of 21 (10164 views)

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Re: [jrpierce] Mexico cell phone plans and/or smartphones

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Pretty interesting thread about a cheap cell phone plan. A cell phone is an investment, with the minimum cost of a smartphone plan in the United States clocking in at well over $70. In France, however, one cellular phone supplier is hoping to put downward pressure on prices with plans that top out at $26. Source for this article: French mobile provider offers ultra-low-cost plans


frito

Jan 25, 2012, 1:10 AM

Post #17 of 21 (10097 views)

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Re: [jrpierce] Mexico cell phone plans and/or smartphones

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A couple of ideas to consider: Magic Jack now has an iPad app. A reviewer in USAToday gave it very high marks, used it to call the States from New Zealand. You can both make and receive free calls with it.

I use a Net10 prepaid cellphone here in Texas. They have several plans, the one I use gives me 750 minutes for $25 that lasts 30 days. They have a $50 for 30 days unlimited plan if you are a heavy user. I mention it because Net10 is owned by Carlos Slim, and might have a similar deal in Mexico.


RickS


Jan 25, 2012, 6:21 AM

Post #18 of 21 (10082 views)

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Re: [frito] Mexico cell phone plans and/or smartphones

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" I mention it because Net10 is owned by Carlos Slim, and might have a similar deal in Mexico."

To clarify, neither Net10 nor Tracfone (both owned by American Movil) provide service in Mexico. Net10 does have an "International Neighbors" plan which provides a nice free service allowing calls from WITHIN Mexico (and Cananda) TO your Net10 cellphone IN the US. It allows one to register up to 3 phone numbers in Mexico (friends/family) from which international calls can be made to your cellphone..... free of any international call fees.

"Magic Jack now has an iPad app"


I didn't know that! The app is written by the Magicjack folks themselves. Works on iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad.

HOWEVER... in reading about it there are some technical problems (of which MagicJack is aware but has not/can not fix yet) having to do with not being able to remove the app from one's iPad.

For the service to be really effective and to be assigned a realistic phone number, one must actually get an account with MagicJack (or already have one) which does currently cost $20/yr.


(This post was edited by RickS on Jan 25, 2012, 7:13 AM)


jrpierce


Jan 25, 2012, 7:34 AM

Post #19 of 21 (10072 views)

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Re: [melina12] Mexico cell phone plans and/or smartphones

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Here in Morelia I'm paying about $60 US per month for my Telcel plan. That also includes theft insurance--always fairly expensive, and never something that pencils out, but recommended by several Mexican friends who know of frequently stolen smart phones. I'll probably cancel it after the first year. The plan is for 3G--no 4G is offered here.

While that is expensive by Mexican standards, it is also the most reliable and best quality cell phone service I have had in my 3+ years in Mexico (before I always used Amigo plans and seemed always to be having problems). After a few start-up glitches, it has worked flawlessly.

I also have Skype's app on my iPhone, and that works well for long distance and international calls. All one needs is a WiFi connection. Telcel's roaming, long distance, and international rates are absurdly high.

Jim


frito

Jan 25, 2012, 7:40 PM

Post #20 of 21 (10041 views)

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Re: [RickS] Mexico cell phone plans and/or smartphones

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Thanks RickS, Good to know!


Axience123

Nov 20, 2012, 3:06 AM

Post #21 of 21 (5579 views)

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Paid Survey for Messengers

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Are you using a messenger such as Skype, Whatsapp, ooVoo etc.? Participate in a survey and win iPad (mini)! This is not spam you can contact us directly: Gleb Zhukov at gleb.zhukov@axience.com. Please follow the link to sign-up for the survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/5KC7T33
 
 
 
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