Telcel SIM Cards and eSIM: a Comprehensive Guide for Tourists

Welcome to our Telcel SIM card & eSIM comprehensive guide. Telcel, a frontrunner in the Mexican telecommunications market, offers expansive coverage and high-speed connectivity that tourists can rely on. 

In this guide, we’ll explore Telcel’s best connectivity options for travelers, cost-effective SIM card choices, and the innovative eSIM technology that’s changing the way we connect. 

We’ll also provide information on purchasing, activating, and topping up your Telcel service. Let’s discover together!

Telcel sim card in mexico

I. Quick Facts about Telcel

Telcel is one of the biggest network operators in Mexico. Here are some facts about it:

  • Founded: 1984
  • Full company name: Telcel, S.A. de C.V.
  • Types of services: Wireless communications, mobile internet, fixed broadband, value-added services (VAS) like mobile payments, messaging, entertainment
  • Number of subscribers: Over 90 million as of 2023 (estimated)
  • Coverage: 99% of Mexico’s population, 95% of its territory
  • Network of stores & agents: Over 4,500 Telcel branded stores and 80,000+ authorized agents
  • Customer support:
    • On-call: 24/7 in Spanish and English
    • Online chat: 24/7 in Spanish
    • Social media: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram
  • Awards:
    • “Best Mobile Network in Mexico” by Ookla Speedtest Awards (multiple years)
    • “Fastest Mobile Network in Latin America” by OpenSignal Awards (multiple years)
    • “Best Mobile Operator in Mexico” by Global Telecoms Business (multiple years)

II. Mexico Telcel Coverage and Speed 

Now, we will explore the Telcel network coverage and average speeds reported by some reliable sources in Mexico.

1. Telcel Coverage in Mexico

telcel coverage in mexico

Telcel boasts the widest mobile network coverage in Mexico, spanning across cities, towns, and even remote areas. Here’s a breakdown of their coverage and achievements, based on reliable sources:

Network Reach:

  • 99% population coverage: As of November 2023, Telcel reports covering 99% of the Mexican population, placing them ahead of competitors like AT&T (86%) and Movistar (82%).
  • 5G rollout: Telcel launched its 5G network in 2020, currently available in over 180 cities with plans to expand further. 
  • Complementary coverage: They partner with other operators to offer “Cobertura Complementaria” in specific regions, further extending their reach. However, note that service quality in these areas might differ.

Awards and Recognition:

  • Global awards: Telcel has received awards like “Best in Test – Mobile Network Experience” in Mexico from Ookla’s Speedtest Awards in 2023, highlighting their overall network performance.
  • Local recognition: They’ve also been recognized for their network quality and innovation by organizations like “Revista Expansión” and “El Economista”.

Telcel is the best operator in Mexico and the best choice for visitors to this country. 

2. Telcel Speed

telcel speed mexico

Here’s a breakdown of their performance:

Download Speed:

  • Overall: 27.3 Mbps
  • 5G Download Speed Experience: 45.5 Mbps, showcasing the potential of their 5G network.

Upload Speed: 9.5 Mbps

Average Speed: 12.7 Mbps

Video Experience: Scoring 69 (out of 100), indicating good video streaming quality, with minimal buffering and loading times.

Consistency:

  • Download Speed Consistency: 73 (out of 100), demonstrating stable download speeds across different areas and times.
  • Upload Speed Consistency: 70 (out of 100), also reflecting consistent upload speeds.

Awards and Achievements:

  • Fastest Mobile Network in Mexico by Speedtest Awards (2022).
  • Best Mobile Network in Mexico by Ookla (2022).
  • Widest 5G Coverage in Mexico (nPerf, 2023).

Telcel provides a solid mobile network experience in Mexico with good speeds, consistent performance, and strong video streaming. 

III. Telcel Connectivity Options for Travelers to Mexico

Telcel Connectivity Options for Travelers to Mexico

Deciding how to stay connected during your Mexican adventure involves weighing convenience, coverage, and cost. 

Let’s compare Telcel’s main connectivity options: SIM cards, pocket WiFis, and roaming.

Connectivity OptionProsCons
SIM Card– Widest coverage (4G/5G) 
– Most affordable option 
– Easy to top up
– Requires phone unlock 
– Initial setup needed 
– Limited data for heavy users
Pocket WiFi– Multiple device connection 
– Convenient for groups/families
– No phone unlock needed
– Higher rental cost 
– Limited battery life 
– Coverage may vary depending on the carrier
Roaming– Seamless connection with your home provider 
– No setup required
– Expensive data charges
– Limited coverage depending on provider 
– Potential hidden fees

Our Recommendation: For your travel in Mexico, a Mexico SIM card is the most suitable option thanks to its widest coverage, competitive price, stable connection and secured. While SIM cards require the initial installation and phone unlocked status, these are still minor inconveniences compared with the benefits you can get.

IV. Best Telcel SIM cards for Tourists & Cost

Plan NameDataCalls & SMSValidityPrice (MXN)Price (USD)Purchase Options
Amigo Sin Limite 2.02GBUnlimited National30 days200$10Telcel stores, OXXO, online
Amigo Sin Limite 3.03GBUnlimited National30 days300$15Telcel stores, OXXO, online
Amigo Sin Limite 6.06GBUnlimited National30 days400$20Telcel stores, OXXO, online
Amigo Sin Limite 12.012GBUnlimited National30 days500$25Telcel stores, OXXO, online
Telcel Amigo turista 2GB2GBUnlimited National + 100 International minutes28 days149$7.5Telcel stores, airports
Telcel Amigo turista 5GB5GBUnlimited National + 200 International minutes28 days249$12.5Telcel stores, airports
Telcel Amigo turista 10GB10GBUnlimited National + 300 International minutes28 days349$17.5Telcel stores, airports
Telcel Amigo turista 20GB20GBUnlimited National + 400 International minutes28 days499$25Telcel stores, airports

Hope this will help you in choosing your suitable plan. Here are some additional notes for you to refer to. 

Notes:

  • Prices may vary slightly depending on location and purchase method.
  • Data rollover is not available on any Telcel Amigo plans.
  • International minutes are only valid for calls to the US and Canada on the Amigo Turista plans.
  • Telcel Amigo requires registration with a valid ID.
  • Some online retailers may offer additional discounts or bundled deals.

V. Does Telcel Mexico support eSIM?

Yes, Telcel does support eSIM for existing lines with their “Renta” plan. You can visit any Telcel Centro de Atención a Clientes to request activation for your iPhone or iPad, regardless of where you purchased it.

Here are some advantages of eSIM compared to physical SIM:

  • Smaller and more durable: No risk of losing or damaging a physical card.
  • Easier to switch between devices: Simply transfer your eSIM profile to another compatible device.
  • More secure: Cannot be physically removed from your device.
  • Can be provisioned remotely: No need to wait for a physical SIM to arrive in the mail.

While Telcel offers eSIM, Gigago currently does not provide Telcel eSIM due to cost factors. They offer eSIM packages from Movistar and AT&T networks instead. 

gigago mexico esim

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.

VI. Where can you buy a Telcel SIM card and eSIM?

Whether you prefer the traditional SIM card or the sleek eSIM, here’s your guide to acquiring Telcel connectivity for your trip to Mexico:

1. Where to buy Telcel SIM for Mexico?

where to buy telcel sim for mexico
  • Before your trip:
    • Online retailers: Amazon, eBay, and travel-focused websites 
    • Mobile carriers: T-Mobile 
    • Airports & border crossings: kiosks, OXXO
  • In Mexico:
    • Telcel physical stores
    • Supermarkets and convenience stores: OXXO, 7-Eleven, Chedraui, Walmart, Selecta

2. Where to buy Mexico Telcel eSIM?

where to buy telcel esim mexico
  • Online retailers: Gigago offers eSIMs for various data packages and activation periods.
  • Telcel physical stores: Currently only available for customers with existing Telcel postpaid plans.

Tips:

  • Keep your SIM card safe: Don't lose your SIM card, as it can be expensive to replace.
  • Top up your credit regularly: You can top up your credit online, at Telcel stores, or convenience stores.
  • Be aware of roaming charges: If you're using your phone outside of Mexico, you may be charged roaming fees. Check with your carrier for details.

VII. How to activate Telcel Mexico SIM/eSIM?

It’s not hard to do this. Follow the steps below:

1. How to use a Telcel Mexico SIM card?

  • Find where the SIM card goes in your device.
  • Switch on your device and give it time to detect the SIM card.
  • If you can’t use the eSIM, set up the APN settings.
  • Verify your services.

2. How to activate Telcel Mexico eSIM?

Getting started with a Telcel eSIM for Mexico is quite easy as follows:

  • Visit the provider’s website or download the Telcel app.
  • Sign in or create an account.
  • Scan the QR code provided.
  • Follow the app’s on-screen instructions.
  • Contact Telcel if needed.

VIII. FAQs about Telcel SIM Cards in Mexico

Can I just activate a Telcel eSIM online?

Not yet for prepaid plans. Currently, eSIM activation for Telcel requires visiting a physical store with a postpaid plan and compatible device. Check their website for updates.

Can I top up my prepaid Telcel SIM card online?

Yes! You can top up online through the Telcel website or app, using major credit cards or debit cards. Some convenience stores and supermarkets also offer top-up options.

How much Telcel data do I need?

It depends on your usage! For casual browsing and messaging, 3-5GB might suffice. If you plan on streaming videos or making video calls, consider packages with 10GB or more.

Can I get help in English at Telcel stores?

While Spanish is the primary language, some Telcel stores in tourist areas might have English-speaking staff. You can also try using a translation app or asking a local for assistance.

IX. Final words

Getting a Telcel SIM card & eSIM in Mexico is simple, offering several options to fit your needs. Whether you prefer online purchases, Telcel stores, or third-party vendors, remember to bring your ID and follow the activation steps closely. 

With a Telcel SIM card or eSIM, you’ll be equipped to enjoy reliable mobile connectivity throughout your Mexican adventure.