Data Roaming in Mexico & Alternatives to Get Internet: Which Best Option to Choose?

As more and more tourists travel to Mexico each year, the question of how to get internet access abroad comes up frequently. Data roaming in Mexico can be expensive if you’re not careful, so it’s important to understand your options. 

This guide will explore phone roaming basics, whether roaming rates are high, alternatives to avoid charges, and the best options like Mexico eSIM to save money on connectivity when traveling.

roaming data in mexico

I. Phone Roaming in Mexico – Quick Facts for Tourists

Here are some facts you should know to have a safe trip in Mexico:

  • Avoid free-roaming: It can lead to unpredictable behavior and safety issues for visitors.
  • Use prepaid SIM cards: They are cost-effective in Mexico and provide more data than roaming.
  • Unlock your phone: Ensure it’s unlocked before your trip to use Mexican SIM cards.
  • Watch data roaming charges: Turn off data roaming when not in use and connect to Wi-Fi.
  • Download offline maps and apps: Get essential apps and maps before traveling.
  • Save emergency numbers: Keep local emergency and Mexico Embassy contacts handy.

 Pro tip: Learn some basic Spanish phrases for better communication and to avoid getting overcharged.

II. Understand about Roaming in Mexico – How It Works?

understand roaming in mexico

Staying connected while traveling in Mexico can be a lifesaver, whether you’re navigating unfamiliar streets, using translation apps, or sharing memories with loved ones back home. 

Roaming allows you to use your existing phone number and data plan in Mexico, but it’s important to understand how it works before you land.

1. What is Roaming Service in Mexico?

Data roaming in Mexico is a service that lets your phone connect to a local Mexican mobile network when you’re outside your home country’s coverage area. This means you can make calls, send texts, and access data just like you do at home, but with some key differences.

2. How Does Roaming Work in Mexico?

When you arrive in Mexico, your phone automatically searches for a compatible network. If it finds one, you’ll be able to use your phone as usual. However, roaming charges can be very expensive, often exceeding $10 per day for data alone.

Here’s what happens behind the scenes:

  1. Your phone connects: Your phone searches for and connects to a Mexican network operator, like Telcel, AT&T Mexico, or Movistar.
  2. Data exchange: When you use your phone (calls, texts, data), information is exchanged between your phone and the Mexican network.
  3. Charges incurred: Your home operator charges you for using the Mexican network, often at much higher rates than your domestic plan.

▶ Our Recommendations:

  • Check with your home operator: They can provide details about their specific roaming charges and plans for Mexico.
  • Consider alternatives: Prepaid eSIMs or local SIM cards often offer more affordable data options compared to traditional roaming.

3. Which Mexico Mobile Operators Offer Roaming Services?

The major mobile network operators in Mexico that offer roaming services include:

  • Telcel: The largest network with extensive coverage, but also the most expensive roaming rates.
  • AT&T Mexico: Widespread coverage and competitive roaming rates compared to Telcel.
  • Movistar: Good coverage in major cities and tourist areas, with mid-range roaming costs.

III. Is the Roaming Rate in Mexico Expensive?

roaming rates in mexico

YES. Your home provider usually charges more for using networks in Mexico compared to local rates. Here’s a table to check:

OperatorData (per MB)Calls (per minute)Texts (per message)
AT&T (varies based on US carrier)$2-$5$0.50-$1$0.25-$0.50

Note: These are just estimated rates and may vary depending on specific plans and promotions. Always check with your carrier or the network operator for the latest rates before traveling.

If you want to use data roaming in Mexico, connect to free Wifi whenever possible to avoid shockingly high bills after your trip. We would like recommend other connectivity options, such as, pocket wifi, prepaid SIM cards, eSIM from major carriers like Telus, Bell,…While pocket wifi for Mexico is useful for group travel and people with multiple devices, its cost is still pricey. Thus, it is the best to consider using prepaid SIM cards/eSIMs to get the best value and a smooth connectivity experience.

IV. How to Avoid Roaming Charges When Traveling to Mexico?

Mexico beckons with its stunning beaches, vibrant culture, and delicious food, but the thought of hefty roaming charges can put a damper on your excitement. Fear not, fellow traveler! Here’s your guide to staying connected without breaking the bank:

Before you go:

  1. Contact your carrier: Discuss their international roaming plans for Mexico. They might offer temporary travel passes, daily/weekly packages, or even all-inclusive options.
  2. Consider your needs: How much data, calls, and texts do you anticipate using? Choose a plan that fits your usage habits to avoid overspending.
  3. Explore alternative providers: Companies like Gigago offer eSIMs with data packages specifically designed for travelers, often at competitive rates.
  4. Unlock your phone: Ensure your phone is unlocked to use foreign SIM cards. This is usually a free service from your carrier.

While in Mexico:

  1. Embrace Wi-Fi: Most hotels, restaurants, and cafes offer Wi-Fi. Use it for data-heavy tasks like browsing, social media, and video calls. Many messaging apps like WhatsApp also work on Wi-Fi for free calls and texts.
  2. Turn off data roaming: When not on Wi-Fi, disable data roaming to prevent accidental charges. You can still receive calls and texts if your plan includes them, but sending them will incur fees.
  3. Use apps wisely: Download offline maps and guides before your trip. Many apps like Google Translate and Maps offer limited offline functionality. Consider using lite versions of social media apps that consume less data.
  4. Local SIM card: If you need constant connectivity, consider buying a local SIM card. This gives you a Mexican phone number and data at local rates. Look for vendors at airports, convenience stores, or authorized mobile carrier shops.

By following these tips, you can avoid roaming charges and stay connected in Mexico without breaking the bank. 

V. Mexico eSIM – Alternative to Data Roaming in Mexico to Get Internet

For a smooth connection in Mexico, consider getting a Mexico eSIM from 

gigago mexico esim

Gigago offers multiple data plan options, starting from 1 GB for 7 days with $12.00 What is great about Gigago’s Mexico eSIM is that its plans’ costs are diversifying, varying between $12.00$224.50 .

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. Buying Mexico eSIM from Gigago now!

VI. How to Turn Off Data Roaming When Traveling in Mexico?

turn off data roaming when traveling mexico

Here’s how you can disable data roaming while on your trip to Mexico using Android and iOS devices:

1. Turn off international roaming on Android When Traveling in Mexico

  • Start by heading to “Settings.”
  • Click on “Network & Internet.”
  • Choose “Mobile network.”
  • Find “Roaming” and switch off the slider beside “Data roaming.”

2. Turn off international roaming on iPhones

  • Start by heading to the “Settings” section.
  • Choose either “Cellular” or “Mobile Data” based on your iOS version.
  • Select “Cellular Data Options.”
  • Turn off the switch next to “Data Roaming.”

VII. FAQs about Data Roaming in Mexico

Is it true I can get free data roaming in Mexico with my phone plan?

Some carriers offer free data roaming in Mexico with specific plans or add-ons. Check with your carrier to see if yours qualifies. However, these plans often have limitations on data usage or may only apply to certain destinations within Mexico.

I’m worried about surprise charges. What’s the deal with per-MB fees?

Standard roaming charges can be ridiculously high, often exceeding $15 per MB! Avoid this by exploring alternative options like travel passes, local SIM cards, or eSIMs, which offer fixed data packages for a set price.

Does buying a local SIM card mean I lose my original phone number?

No! You’ll have a Mexican phone number for calls and texts within Mexico, but your original number remains active for calls and texts back home (though roaming charges may apply).

What if my phone isn’t unlocked? Can I still get a local SIM card?

No, a locked phone is tied to your current carrier and won’t work with a different SIM card. Consider unlocking your phone before your trip for more flexibility.

Is a portable Wi-Fi hotspot a good option for group travel?

Absolutely! Renting a portable hotspot provides internet access for multiple devices, making it ideal for sharing the cost and staying connected on the go. However, hotspot data packages can be expensive, so research beforehand.

VIII. Conclusion

In conclusion, navigating data roaming in Mexico requires a blend of preparation and informed decision-making. By choosing suitable roaming plans, leveraging local SIM cards, or utilizing Wi-Fi networks, travelers can stay connected affordably and efficiently.

These strategies not only ensure seamless communication and access to online resources but also enhance the travel experience in Mexico. Being mindful of data usage and available options allows for an uninterrupted, worry-free exploration of this vibrant country.