Cell service

Just got back from Mexico few months ago and noticed a lot of locals buy those calling cards for long distance service. Seems like every time my wife uses one it eats up her minutes instantly! What are you expats doing to call back to Canada or wherever. Are you guys doing the calling card thing.?

I get my minutes either on line through mexico sim, or at an OXXO. If I keep my minutes around 200 there is no long distance charge. I never really used the cards they were more trouble than they were worth. All I need is my phone number.

The minutes are time limited, so that may be part of your problem , or your phone may have been hacked. Suddenly losing minutes near the border especially, can be a problem.  My phone is encrypted now so that has not been a problem. It was a problem with my previous phone two years ago I lost 200 minutes over night near the border. Its a problem people don't generally recognize. I was well under the 60 days because I had just recharged . The minutes didn't time out they were just taken.

Jokingly, but true, we do not use the telephne much. We have been retired for ten years in Chetumal.
I think to have a Telcel cell number, even prepaid, for more than a few months might help with the cost per minute - that is to verify.
Have you tried to use Canadian telephone cards in Mexico.
Skype, if the internet provider permits.

Ok travelite thanks but just curious the phone you have is it one you brought over or did you buy in Mexico and you buy the minutes on some online service?

Just trying to figure out how much is my monthly cell device gonna run me. Minimal LD calling and probably minimal usage

Skype or Whatsapp via WIFI.  Plenty free wifi around.

Sometimes, expatriation means a change of life.  I do not mean the internet that is wonderful for all the reasons but being hung on a telephone, is that the way to change?
Do not get me wrong, via Vpn I watch my  american movies and download my ebooks, but talking over the telephone, when all can be done otherwise?

gudgrief :

Skype or Whatsapp via WIFI.  Plenty free wifi around.

or even Google's Hangouts

Actually I got my phone from Vincent at Mexico sim, but he was in the U.S. at the time so it was a phone from Amazon unlocked. It's a Blu model so it has most of the bells and whistles, yet is cheap. Gudgrief is right about whatsup I use it locally quite a bit. SKype is an idea computer wise. But being out and making a call is another thing. So whatsup and skype are basically free. If you use the phone a lot I would keep my minutes in the 200 range. I made three U.S. calls in the last 2 days and it didn't cost anything.

It seems you need to determine how often you think you will use the phone, then go from there. Only you and your wife can answer that question. Perhaps Skype and whats up would be enough, if so you shouldn't have much of a bill and could keep the minimum for local calls.

i m using telmex infinitm 389 pesos 10 mb of internet with cable extensible to 100 mb , europa usa canada free of charge yesterday i callled cell number in francia and 0 pesos

Since Jan 1, every phone company is required by law to charge all calls within Mexico, to the US and Canada at the same rate.  In other words, no long distance or international call charges .  That includes roaming when you're travelling in the US or Canada.

Hi Troy,

With AT&T now in Mexico, cell phone plan rates have dropped in price. Many also now include unlimited calling to the US, Canada and throughout Mexico. TelCel has plans that start at $200 - $300 pesos a month. I have also had success with Movistar. With any cell carrier, you will need to purchase a phone (not the same cell phone you use for "pay as you go" minutes). You can buy a cell phone either through the carrier, at another store, online, or through street vendors.

If you are looking for a US or Canadian number that friends & relatives can call you on, I suggest using a VOIP carrier (Vonage, Magic Jack, Ooma, Skype, are a few). I have used Vonage for 12 years and loved it. Others are happy with Skype & Magic Jack services that connect to your laptop.

Best of luck!

Just to clear things up a bit.

All you need is a phone that will accept the SIM of the company you want to use.  Your current carrier might unblock your phone for free if it is locked.  In most cities, you can get a phone unblocked for around 400 pesos or less.

Prepaid plans are available for any phone with the company's SIM.  Monthly plans may require more red tape if you don't buy their phone.

You should understand all the terms, conditions and call, text, Internet limits which are not terribly clear with many carriers.

Refilling pay as you go online is quick and has been reliable with 2 companies for going on 8 years.

I have Movistar pay-as-you-go (Prepago) which I add to in 100 peso increments.  Each payment gets me 30 days of unlimited calls and texts to/from Mexico, US, Canada and up to 1 GB of Facebook, Twitter and Whatsapp for a month.  When I run out of the 1 GB, additional data use is charged at a fairly reasonable rate against the 100 Peso refill (200 pesos with a current promotion); same thing for calls to other countries.

That is my plan for this winter, Skype or WhatsApp. 
This is the first time I've heard that minutes can be stolen, wow.

Ever so often I will need to check in with my bank.  What do you suggest then?  Pubic WiFi might be an issue?   IF I'm on Skype can my banking app get hacked??

Thank you, you are so informed on this site!!


Melanie in Mexico,

I have read that TelCel SIM will work in my Samsung Galaxy S4.  Is this wrong?  I ask because you stated that we will have to buy a Mexican phone for these services....

Thank you,

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