Buying a SIM card at Mexico City International Airport (MEX): Tourists’ Guide 2024

This guide is aimed at helping international tourists who are looking to purchase a SIM card at Mexico City International Airport (MEX) upon arrival. The objective of this article is to provide readers with information on where and how to buy a tourist SIM card at the airport, including details on documentation needed, SIM card options for tourists, prices, and alternatives to airport SIM cards. 

Following the guidance in these sections will prepare readers to have a mobile connection right from arrival at Mexico City International Airport (Benito Juárez International Airport).

buy a sim card at mexico city international airport

I. Should You Buy a SIM Card at Mexico City International Airport (MEX)?

It depends. There’s no one-size-fits-all answer. You should buy at the airport if:

  • You need data immediately upon landing (e.g., for navigation, communication, ride-hailing).
  • You are comfortable with potentially longer queues compared to other options.
  • Cost isn’t a major concern as airport prices might be slightly higher.

Alternative Methods:

  • Authorized retailers: Wider range of options, good prices, but requires research and travel.
  • Online: Comfortable pre-purchase, but requires international shipping or eSIM compatibility.
  • Convenience stores (Oxxo, 7-Eleven): Limited selection, decent prices, readily available.

Who Should Buy at the Airport?

  • Travelers prioritize immediate connectivity and convenience, even at a slightly higher cost.
  • Those arriving late at night or with limited access to transportation outside the airport.
  • Visitors with limited Spanish who prefer airport staff assistance for activation.

Here are some noticeable tips for you when buying a SIM card at any airport, MEX included: 

Pro Tips:

  • Ensure your phone is unlocked for international use.
  • Choose a plan with enough data for your needs.
  • Consider a multi-day plan if staying longer.
  • Ask about hidden fees or activation charges.

II. Where to Buy a SIM Card at Mexico City International Airport?

mexico city airport map

There are 02 common ways to get a SIM card at Mexico City airport:

1. Buying Online Before Departure and Pick Up at the Airport

If you want to be convenient when arriving, consider pre-ordering your Mexican SIM card online for pickup at the airport. Here’s how:

Before you fly:

  1. Compare: Research online retailers offering airport pickups (Telcel, AT&T, and Movistar are popular). Choose a plan based on data, minutes, validity, and price.
  2. Buy: Select your plan, enter flight details, and finalize the secure purchase. You’ll receive an email confirmation with pickup instructions.
  3. Prepare: Pack your passport/ID, flight info, and the confirmation email. Ensure your phone is unlocked and compatible with Mexican networks.

At the airport:

  1. Locate: Find the designated pickup point (kiosk, store like OXXO/7Eleven, or counter) mentioned in your confirmation email.
  2. Show documents: Present your passport/ID, flight info, and confirmation email to the staff.
  3. Pick up & activate: Staff will verify details, activate your SIM, and provide activation instructions. Insert the SIM into your phone and follow the instructions.

Pros: Skip airport lines, wider plan selection, save time.

Cons: Slightly pricier, potential delays, less flexibility for changes/top-ups.

Note:

  • Double-check: Ensure phone compatibility with the network and SIM type (Nano-SIM, Micro-SIM, etc.).
  • Read terms: Review online purchase terms, including cancellation and refund policies.

2. Buying a SIM Card Upon Arrival

buy a sim card at mexico city airport upon arrival

Different stores at the airport offer Mexico sim cards for tourists:

  • Door 3: MOBO shop – carries AT&T prepaid sim cards.
  • Door 5: MOBO shop – offers AT&T prepaid sim cards.
  • Door 5, 2nd floor: Official TelCel store – operates from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm.
  • Door 6: OXXO – sells only Telcel sim cards.
  • Door 7: MOBO shop – has AT&T sim cards.
  • Door 7: OXXO – provides Telcel sim cards.
  • Door 8: 7Eleven – stocks Telcel sim cards.

What to Prepare:

  1. Unlocked phone
  2. Passport
  3. Mexican Pesos (MXN): Having some cash on hand avoids currency exchange hassles.
  4. Patience: Depending on the queue, waiting times can vary.

Cost:

  • Generally more expensive: Airport prices tend to be higher than buying elsewhere in Mexico or online beforehand.
  • Expect: Starter SIM card costs around $5 (85 MXN), with data packages ranging from $10-30 (170-513 MXN).

Pros:

  • Get online right after landing.
  • No need to search for stores or deal with language barriers.
  • Both Telcel and AT&T are available, offering different plans and coverage.

Cons:

  • Expect to pay a premium for convenience.
  • Fewer choices compared to online or city stores.
  • This may delay your immediate connection.

III. Best Tourist Mexico City Airport SIM Card Options and Price

Choosing the right SIM card for your Mexico City trip depends on your data usage needs and budget. Here’s a comparison of popular options at Mexico City Airport:

OperatorDataPrice (USD)Calls/TextsActivation Fee (USD)Notes
Telcel2GB29.90Unlimited MXN/AValid for 26 days, works in US & Canada
3GB39.99Unlimited MXN/AValid for 30 days, works in US & Canada
8GB69.14Unlimited MXN/AValid for 30 days, works in US & Canada
AT&T1GB for 7 days9Unlimited MXN/AWorks on AT&T & Movistar network
2GB for 15 days15Unlimited MXN/AWorks on AT&T & Movistar network
3GB for 30 days21Unlimited MXN/AWorks on AT&T & Movistar network
3GB for 30 days (promotion)12Unlimited MX + Unlimited Social MediaN/AGood value option, limited social media included

Our reommendation: 

  • Heavier Data users: Telcel 3GB/8GB 
  • Moderate Data users: AT&T 3GB promo 
  • Light Data users /Short Stays: AT&T 1GB 

IV. eSIM for Mexico City – an Alternative to Prepaid SIM Card at Mexico City International Airport

gigago mexico esim

Instead of buying a physical SIM card, you can try using an eSIM due to these comfort:

  • Scan a QR code, connect instantly – no more SIM tray hassle.
  • Travel seamlessly – switch between local eSIMs on the go.
  • Double your number options – keep your main line, add a temporary eSIM for data or another line.
  • Embrace the future – enjoy flexibility and convenience with eSIM, the standard of tomorrow.
  • Go green – choose eSIM for a more sustainable mobile experience.

Gigago is one of the leading providers in offering quality eSIMs. 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.

V. Where to Buy a SIM Card Outside Mexico City International Airport?

where to buy a sim card outside mexico city airport

Besides buying a SIM card at the airport, you can buy SIM card for Mexico in Mexico city center, either in Mexican mobile operators’ stores or convenience stores.

  • OXXO convenience stores: Widespread, offering Telcel SIM cards and top-ups.
  • 7-Eleven and Circle K: Limited options, mainly Telcel.
  • Telcel stores: A wider selection of plans and assistance.
  • AT&T and Movistar stores: Fewer locations, but alternative options.

Upon buying SIM card in Mexico city, you need to:

  • What to prepare: Prepare unlocked phone, passport for registration, and cash (Mexican pesos).
  • Cost: SIM cards range from 29 – 149 pesos ((US$1.5-7.5)
  • Data plan options: vary based on the eSIM provider and data amount. For example, 3GB of data used for 30 days priced at 200 pesos (US$10).

Tips:

  • Compare plans before buying. Consider data, call/text needs, and validity period.
  • Ask for help if needed. Most stores have staff who can assist in English.
  • Top up online or at the same store for convenience.

VI. FAQs about SIM Card at Mexico City International Airport

What are some local customs or etiquette I should know when using my phone with a Mexican SIM card?

Be mindful of public phone usage in certain areas and avoid loud conversations. Consider purchasing a local calling plan if making frequent calls to avoid potential cultural faux pas.

Can I sell or gift my unused SIM card at Mexico City International Airport to someone else?

This is generally not recommended as plans are often tied to specific phone numbers and activation processes. Sharing personal information associated with the SIM card also raises security concerns.

What’s the cheapest way to get data access in Mexico City?

Research! Compare plans from different vendors, consider your data needs, and opt for options with longer validity periods to spread the cost.

Can I use my SIM card in other parts of Mexico after leaving the airport?

Most tourist plans work nationwide but double-check the coverage area with the vendor to avoid surprises.

VII. Conclusion

Picking up a SIM card at Mexico City International Airport is simple and budget-friendly. This blog post helps you find the right Mexico SIM cards, register them correctly, choose from top providers and plans, and explore options like eSIMs. 

Staying connected with dependable data, calls, and texts will help you explore Mexico effortlessly. Have a great journey!