Use Cell Phone In Mexico for Tourists 2024: How To Do It?

For those planning a trip to Mexico in 2024, understanding how to easily use cell phone in Mexico while there is crucial. 

This article provides insights on using your phone smoothly, including details on phone compatibility, local networks, international plans from carriers such as AT&T and Telcel, checking if your network is compatible, and additional advice for travelers.

how to use cell phone in mexico

I. Highlights of Phone Compatibility, Frequencies, and Networks in Mexico

For smooth Internet access in Mexico, understanding phone compatibility, frequencies, and networks is crucial. Here are key points to get you started:

1. Phone Compatibility in Mexico

  • Many new smartphones can work with various frequency bands, even the ones in use in Mexico.
  • To confirm if your phone is compatible, look at its specs to see if it supports the mentioned frequency bands.
  • Unlocked phones are usually more flexible and can connect to different Mexican network providers.

2. Frequency Bands in Mexico

  • 2G: The 2G network in Mexico operates on GSM 850 and GSM 1900 frequency bands.
  • 3G: The 3G network in Mexico operates on UMTS 850 and UMTS 1900 frequency bands.
  • 4G: The 4G network in Mexico operates on LTE 1700 and LTE 2100 frequency bands.

3. Network Coverage in Mexico

  • Mexico has widespread network coverage, including urban areas, towns, and rural regions.
  • Major network operators in Mexico include Telcel, Movistar, and AT&T Mexico.
Pro tips: Make sure your phone is unlocked before you get to Mexico. Double-check with your home carrier on international roaming choices and charges.

II. Will My Cell Phone Work In Mexico?

will my cell phone work in Mexico

A common question travelers have when visiting Mexico is – will my cell phone work there? The good news is that chances are very high that your phone will function in Mexico!

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Check if your phone can connect to Mexican networks. Look for the bands it supports to avoid extra charges.
  • Mexico uses common 2G/3G/4G LTE bands. Make sure your phone can work with these.
  • International roaming with your home carrier can be costly. Look for cheaper options.
  • Get a prepaid SIM from Mexican carriers, prices start at $5-50. Look for tourist packages online.
  • For unlimited data, consider eSIM plans starting at $19 for a few days. Great for newer iPhone and Galaxy models with eSIM.
  • Check out the cellular network frequencies in Mexico to gauge your Internet speed here. 

Below are the specific bands and frequencies Mexican carriers operate on:

Operator5G 4G 3G 
Telceln78 (3500)B4 (1700/2100 AWS 1)
B7 (2600)
B66 (1700/2100)
B2 (1900)
B5 (850)
Movistarn7 (2600)
n41 (2500)
B2 (1900)
B4 (1700/2100 AWS 1)
B5 (850)
B7 (2600)
B26 (850)
B2 (1900)
B5 (850)
AT&Tn7 (2600)
n41 (2500)
n66 (1700)
B2 (1900)
B4 (1700/2100 AWS 1)
B5 (850)
B7 (2600)
B26 (850)
B2 (1900)
B4 (1700/2100 AWS A-F)
B5 (850)

III. Do I Need An International Plan In Mexico?

international plan in mexico

Deciding whether you need an international plan in Mexico depends on your data needs and connectivity preferences. Here’s a breakdown to help you choose:

When an International Plan Might Be Necessary:

  • Heavy Data User: International data plans can be more cost-effective than roaming for streaming, photos, and navigation.
  • Making Local Calls: International plans usually include local call minutes for calls within Mexico. Check for coverage.
  • Peace of Mind: Choose an international plan for price predictability and compare costs to other options.

Alternatives to Consider:

  • Local SIM Card: 🇲🇽 Buy one on arrival. Check Telcel or AT&T for coverage/costs. Great for long stays or data-heavy use.
  • Free Wi-Fi: Many places offer it, but speeds may vary. Good for light data or messaging.
  • Download Offline Resources: Get essential maps/apps like Google Translate in advance to save data.
  • Communicate via Apps: Use WhatsApp/Skype for free calls/messages over Wi-Fi.

Remember:

  • International plans typically don’t cover data tethering.
  • Weigh your data needs and travel style against plan costs and convenience.

Additional Tips:

  • Check Coverage: Ensure your phone is compatible with Mexican frequencies (GSM 850/1900, UMTS 850/1900, LTE Bands 2/4/5/7/25).
  • Research and Compare: Different providers offer varying plans and pricing. Research and compare options based on your needs before making a decision.

IV. What Are Options To Use Cell Phone In Mexico For Tourists?

After exploring various ways to access an international plan in Mexico to use cell your in Mexico, let’s delve into the characteristics, pros, cons, and where to buy each choice.

1. eSIM Plan for Mexico

esim plan for mexico

Features:

  • Virtual SIM card embedded in your phone, no physical card needed.
  • Instant activation upon scanning a QR code.
  • Unlimited data plans available.
  • Compatible with newer phone models (check your device’s specifications).

Pros:

  • Convenient and hassle-free setup.
  • No need to change physical SIM cards.
  • Often cheaper than traditional roaming charges.

Cons:

  • Limited phone compatibility compared to physical SIM cards.
  • Requires a data-enabled phone.
  • May offer less local network coverage than physical SIMs.

Where to buy: Online eSIM vendors like Gigago

2. International SIM Card for Mexico

international sim card for mexico

Features:

  • Physical SIM card with a Mexican phone number for calls and texts.
  • Various data packages available to suit your needs.
  • Works on virtually any unlocked phone.

Pros:

  • Wider phone compatibility than eSIMs.
  • Offers local phone numbers for calls and texts.
  • May provide better network coverage in remote areas.

Cons:

  • Requires physically swapping SIM cards, potentially inconvenient.
  • Need to manage two phone numbers (local and home).
  • Data packages may not be as cost-effective as eSIMs.

Where to buy: Airports, convenience stores, authorized carrier outlets in Mexico, or online travel retailers.

3. Pocket Wi-Fi

pocket wifi in mexico

Features:

  • Portable Wi-Fi hotspot device providing internet access for multiple devices.
  • Ideal for sharing data with a group.
  • Various data plans and rental periods available.

Pros:

  • Connects multiple devices simultaneously.
  • Convenient for group travel or frequent location changes.
  • No SIM card needed in your phone.

Cons:

  • Requires a separate device to carry and charge.
  • Data plans can be expensive, especially for high usage.
  • Network coverage depends on the provider and chosen plan.

Where to rent: Airports, online travel retailers, or local rental companies in Mexico.

V. Will My Local Network Work In Mexico?

In many situations, your home network will WORK FINE in Mexico. But, there’s a big thing to be careful about: roaming charges. They can be super expensive and eat up your travel money quickly.

Why is relying only on roaming the most costly choice?

  • Charges for each minute or megabyte are high and can pile up fast, even if you use it a bit.
  • Sneaky fees like connection charges or extra data costs.
  • You won’t know how much it’s costing you until you get the bill if you don’t check your usage.

Advice: Before your trip, contact your carrier for details on their Mexico roaming charges and explore alternative options.

VI. Mexico eSIM – An Alternative To Get Internet In Mexico With Your Cell Phone

gigago mexico esim

When it comes to different plan choices, eSIM stands out as the top pick for staying connected online while in Mexico. eSIM eliminates the need to visit physical stores for a SIM card. If you have a cell phone that works with eSIM, you can easily get one and activate it online using a QR code before you travel.

Which Mexico eSIM plan should you choose for your trip?

In the large market of eSIM providers, Gigago always stands at the top. Gigago offers several data plan options for Mexico, ranging from $9.90$38.00 . Their entry-level 1GB/7-day plan starts at just $9.90 . With this range of affordable plans, Gigago can accommodate any type of user and trip length in Mexico. 

Whether you only need occasional internet access or plan to stream extensively, Gigago has a Mexican eSIM plan to fit your needs and budget. Buying Mexico eSIM from Gigago now!

VII. FAQs about How to Use Cell Phone in Mexico

What should I do with my Mexican SIM card before leaving Mexico?

When finished with your Mexican SIM card, remember to use up any local currency balance before departing to avoid losing it. You can do this online or by dialing a customer service code.

Are there any restrictions on using cell phones in Mexico?

Not really besides observing regular rules around using phones safely and respectfully in public spaces. Be aware cellphone theft can be an occasional concern in major cities, so keep your phone securely on your person. Throttling of hotspot/tethering speeds is common on Mexican plans too.

What’s the best way to stay connected in more remote areas of Mexico?

Stick to bigger carrier networks like Telcel for the most reliable coverage across Mexico. Consider renting a mobile hotspot/MiFi device if you need consistent connectivity and can’t rely on public WiFi. Message/call via WhatsApp as it uses less data than traditional calling/texting too. Planning is key.

VIII. Conclusion

Understanding how to use cell phone in Mecixo is crucial. While you can typically use your phone there, opting for a local eSIM or prepaid SIM card is recommended over costly international roaming. Remember to choose a plan that suits your travel requirements.