How to Get and Activate AT&T SIM Cards and eSIM: 2024 Ultimate Guide for Tourists

This article is written for travelers who plan to visit Mexico and are looking for information on buying and using AT&T SIM cards & eSIMs while abroad. Maintaining cellular connectivity when traveling internationally can often be challenging due to a lack of familiarity with overseas providers and plans. 

The objective of this article is to help readers understand their AT&T connectivity options in Mexico, how to purchase and activate an AT&T SIM/eSIM and get the most out of their plan while traveling.

att sim card and esim mexico

I. Quick Facts about AT&T

AT&T is a big telecom company providing wireless, internet, and entertainment services. It has a long history in telecom, now expanding into new areas with acquisitions and tech. Let’s see some facts about it.

Founded: 1876 (as Bell Telephone Company)

Full company name: AT&T Inc.

Service: Mobile, broadband, fixed-line telephone, fiber optic, DirecTV entertainment services

Subscribers:

  • Over 100M wireless subscribers
  • Over 15M broadband subscribers
  • Over 18M DirecTV subscribers (as of 2021) 

Coverage: Extensive coverage across all 50 states and Puerto Rico 

Stores and partners:

  • Over 5,000 retail stores nationwide
  • Partnerships with major retailers like Best Buy and Walmart 

Customer support:

  • Available 24/7 through phone, online chat, and social media
  • Self-service options available online and through the myAT&T app 

Awards:

  • J.D. Power Award for Wireless Network Quality (2023)
  • Ookla Speedtest Award for Fastest Mobile Network (2023)
  • Newsweek’s Most Trusted Companies list (2022)

II. Why AT&T When Traveling Mexico – Coverage and Speed

Let’s see the coverage and speed of AT&T carrier in Mexico.

1. AT&T Coverage in Mexico 

att coverage in mexico
Source: nPerf

Coverage: AT&T extends cell service to about 80% of Mexico’s populated zones by partnering with local carriers like Telefonica and America Movil.

Network:

  • 4G LTE is the most widespread network, available to 75% of the population with speeds ranging from 15-25Mbps.
  • 5G availability is still limited, currently offered only in specific areas of Mexico City, Guadalajara, and Monterrey through shared facilities.
  • Nationwide 5G coverage is expected to be launched in 2025.

2. AT&T Speed

att speed in mexico
Source: Opensignal

Based on OpenSignal’s April 2023 report and AT&T’s official information:

  • Overall Download Speed: 17.2 Mbps 
  • Overall Upload Speed: 6.9 Mbps
  • Average Speed: 12.05 Mbps (average)

Our recommendation: If consistent connections are a priority, AT&T is a good choice. However, speed-demanding users might consider alternative carriers with higher average speeds.

III. What are the Best Connectivity Options of AT&T for Travelers to Mexico?

facts about att

Here are several options for you:

  • Tourist SIM card: $5-15, 3-5GB data packs available
  • International Day Pass – Unlimited talk, text, and 5GB LTE data/day for $10. Best for light users. Speeds may slow after 5GB.
  • Mexico Value Pack– Unlimited talk/text, 15GB LTE data/week for $35. Auto-renews Sundays.
  • WiFi Calling & Messaging– Make calls/texts over WiFi in Mexico.
  • Rent AT&T Traveler WiFi hotspot – $10/day or $50/week, connects up to 15 devices.
  • Roaming agreements with Telcel and Movistar in Mexico. Use existing plans in partner networks for service.

Our recommendation: Buying an AT&T Mexico SIM card is also the best option in all cases. 

IV. Best AT&T SIM Cards for Tourists & Cost

This operator always offers the best package for tourists coming to Mexico. Here are the best deals:

PlanPriceDataTalk & TextHotspotOther Features
AT&T Tourist SIM$30 + tax/fees5GBUnlimited talk & textYes (10GB limit)Unlimited calls and texts to 100+ countries
AT&T Unlimited Talk & Text & Data (Monthly)$60/month (AutoPay)UnlimitedUnlimited talk & textYes (Unlimited)
AT&T Unlimited Extra (Monthly)$75/month (AutoPay)UnlimitedUnlimited talk & textYes (Unlimited)Unlimited data in Mexico & Canada
AT&T Unlimited Premium (Monthly)$85/month (AutoPay)UnlimitedUnlimited talk & textYes (Unlimited)Unlimited data in Mexico & Canada + HBO Max

Notes:

  • SIM card prices exclude phone costs.
  • Data speeds vary based on network availability and may slow after the data limit.
  • Hotspot limits apply to all plans except Unlimited Premium.
  • International calls/texts vary by plan.
  • Check phone compatibility with ATu0026amp;T network before buying SIM.

Remember to check the updated prices on the ATu0026amp;T website before buying.

V. Does AT&T Support eSIM in Mexico?

Yes, AT&T Mexico offers eSIM for convenient mobile data access. Here are your options:

1. Buy directly from AT&T Mexico stores

  • Pros: Potentially wider plan options.
  • Cons: Requires passport for postpaid plans, potential language barrier, finding store location.

2. Buy online from eSIM resellers

  • Pros: Convenient online purchase, no documentation needed, often competitive rates for travel plans.
  • Cons: May have limited plan options compared to AT&T directly, with different coverage areas possible.

Which is right for you?

If you prefer ease and speed and don’t mind limited plan options, buying online is convenient. If you prioritize wider plan selection or direct assistance, consider visiting an AT&T store, but be prepared to present your passport.

Note: Please ensure your phone is carrier-unlocked and eSIM-equipped to use eSIM. Check how to know if your phone is unlocked and supports eSIM with our guides.

VI. Where to Buy an AT&T SIM card and eSIM?

where to buy att sim card in mexico

Some options are recommended below for you to buy a AT&T SIM card & eSIM.

1. Where to buy an AT&T SIM for Mexico?

  • AT&T Stores: Across Mexico, in major cities and tourist destinations.
  • Authorized retailers: Airports, convenience stores, and electronics shops.
  • Online retailers: Platforms like Amazon and SimCorner offer delivery options.

2. Where to buy a Mexico AT&T eSIM?

  • AT&T online portal: Purchase and download directly on the AT&T Mexico website.
  • AT&T physical stores: Request an eSIM replacement for your existing AT&T SIM (additional fee may apply).
  • Third-party eSIM providers: Gigago offers eSIMs specifically for Mexico travel.

For Mexico, Gigago offers multiple data plan options, starting from 1 GB for 7 days with $9.90

What is great about Gigago’s Mexico eSIM is that its plans’ costs are diversifying, varying between $9.90$38.00 . Thus, it does not matter how many Internet users you are and how long your trip is in Mexico, there is always an option for you with Gigago.

VII. How to Activate AT&T SIM/eSIM in Mexico?

where to buy att esim for mexico

Setting up your AT&T Mexico SIM card or eSIM can differ a bit based on the choice you make when buying.

1. How to Use an AT&T SIM Card in Mexico?

To set up your new AT&T Mexico SIM card from a store, here’s what to do:

  1. Put in the SIM and turn on your phone.
  2. Pick your language.
  3. Choose a prepaid plan by texting a code.
  4. Wait for a text confirmation.
  5. Go to the website link from the text.
  6. Select the tourist SIM plan.
  7. Register with your passport.
  8. Follow the steps to start using your SIM.

If you run into any problems, the AT&T store team can help with setting up the SIM and data plan. After that, you’re good to go – use data, texts, and calls here.

2. How to Activate AT&T eSIM?

Getting started with an AT&T eSIM for Mexico is quite easy as follows:

  1. Check if your phone is unlocked and compatible with eSIM or not
  2. If yes, choose the eSIM plan that suits your needs and make payment
  3. Scan QR code received in your registered email to install the eSIM (or import activation code manually)
  4. Follow the prompts on your phone’s screen to activate the eSIM
  5. Start using the eSIM: Once the eSIM is activated and set up, you can start using its services.

Note: To have specific instructions to install eSIM on your cell phone, check our guides below:

VIII. How to Top-up AT&T SIM/eSIM?

Topping up your AT&T SIM or eSIM is easy, no worries! Here are a few ways to do it, depending on your preference:

1. Online

  • myAT&T account:
    1. Sign in to your myAT&T account.
    2. Go to “My devices” and select the device you want to top up.
    3. Click “Make a payment” and choose your preferred payment method (credit/debit card, checking account).
    4. Enter the desired amount and follow the prompts to complete the transaction.
  • AT&T Prepaid website:
    1. Visit AT&T website
    2. Enter your phone number or wireless account number.
    3. Choose your desired top-up amount and payment method.
    4. Follow the prompts to complete the transaction.

2. Phone

  • *Dial 731#: This initiates a quick top-up prompt using your saved payment method.
  • *Dial 611: This connects you to customer service for assistance with topping up.

3. Retail stores

Visit any authorized AT&T retailer and make a payment with cash, credit/debit card, or gift card.

4. Additional options

  • AutoPay: Set up automatic payments through your myAT&T account for hassle-free top-ups.
  • Gift cards: Purchase AT&T gift cards and use them for top-ups online or in stores.

Notes:

  • The specific options and instructions may vary slightly depending on your plan type (postpaid, prepaid) and device.
  • Always double-check your account information and top-up amount before confirming the transaction.

IX. FAQs about AT&T SIM Card in Mexico

What if my phone doesn’t support eSIM? Can I still use an ATu0026amp;T SIM card in Mexico?

Yes, most ATu0026amp;T Mexico plans to offer both SIM card and eSIM options. Choose the one compatible with your device.

Does ATu0026amp;T Mexico offer any student, senior, or family discounts on SIM cards and eSIMs?

Yes, they often have special promotions and discounts for various groups. Check their website for current offers.

Is it cheaper to buy an ATu0026amp;T SIM or eSIM in Mexico, or get one beforehand online?

Online purchases might offer slightly better deals, but airport convenience can outweigh the price difference for some travelers.

How much do ATu0026amp;T SIM cards and eSIMs typically cost in Mexico?

Prices vary based on data allowance, validity period, and roaming options. Expect a range of $20-50 for basic plans, with premium options exceeding $100.

X. Conclusion

Connecting in Mexico with an AT&T SIM card & eSIM is fast and easy for tourists exploring different areas. With wide coverage, quite fast speeds, nice prepaid offers, and English/Spanish help available, it’s a great option. 

For many travelers, we suggest getting an AT&T tourist SIM card package when you arrive at the airport. eSIMs are also becoming popular as a simple digital choice. Gigago offers a smooth eSIM service to consider.