Many US and Canadian cellular carriers offer Mexico roaming deals. Mexican SIM cards can be used in unlocked phones; all unlocked smartphones are compatible with Mexican data systems. WhatsApp and Viber are widely used, as are VoIP calls.
Mexico's main cell-phone (teléfono celular) companies are Telcel (www.telcel.com), Movistar (www.movistar.com.mx) and AT&T Mexico (www.att.com.mx). Telcel has the most widespread coverage, and both Telcel and AT&T Mexico offer both roaming and calling in both Canada and the United States without extra charges.
- Roaming in Mexico with your own phone from home is possible if you have a GSM, 3G or 4G phone, but can be expensive. Roaming Zone (www.roamingzone.com) is a useful source on roaming arrangements. A number of cell-phone service providers in the USA now offer packages that allow customers to roam in Mexico at no (or a small) extra charge.
- Much cheaper is to put a Mexican SIM card (‘chip’) into your phone, but your phone needs to be unlocked for international use. Many Mexican cell-phone stores can unlock it for around M$400.
- SIMs are available from countless phone stores, often for around M$50.
- For around M$350 you can buy a new, no-frills Mexican cell phone with a chip and some call credit included. New smartphones start around M$1700, plus M$300 to M$500 a month for calling and data credit. Take your passport for ID when you go to buy a chip or phone; you may also have to provide a local address and postcode.
- You can buy new credit at convenience stores, newsstands, pharmacies and department stores.
Like Mexican landlines, every Mexican SIM card has an area code. The area code and the phone’s number total 10 digits.
|Cell phone to cell phone||10-digit number|
|Cell phone to landline||Area code + number|
|Landline to cell phone||044 + 10-digit number (same area code); 045 + 10-digit number (different area code)|
|Abroad to Mexican cell phone||International access code + 52 + 1 + 10-digit number|
A llamada por cobrar (collect call) can cost the receiving party much more than if they call you, so you may prefer to arrange for the other party to call you. If you don't have access to a smartphone/wi-fi/Skype you can make collect calls from public card phones without a card. Call an operator on 020 for domestic calls, or 090 for international calls.
Mexican landlines (teléfonos fijos) have two- or three-digit area codes.
|Landline to landline (same town)||7- or 8-digit number|
|Landline to landline (different town)||01 + area code + local number|
|International call from Mexico||00 + country code + area code + local number|
|Mexican landline from abroad||International access code + 52 + area code + local number|
Operator & Toll-Free Numbers
|Mexican toll-free numbers||1 + 800 + 7-digit number|
Public Card Phones
You’ll usually find some at airports and bus terminals and around town. Most are run by Telmex (www.telmex.com). To use a Telmex card phone you need a tarjeta Ladatel (phone card), sold at kiosks and shops everywhere, usually in denominations of M$50, M$100 and M$200. Insert the card into the phone to make the call.