Mobile Phones

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.

More information

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.

Phone Codes

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 phone10-digit number
Cell phone to landlineArea code + number
Landline to cell phone044 + 10-digit number (same area code); 045 + 10-digit number (different area code)
Abroad to Mexican cell phoneInternational access code + 52 + 1 + 10-digit number

Collect Calls

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.

Landlines

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 Mexico00 + country code + area code + local number
Mexican landline from abroadInternational access code + 52 + area code + local number

Operator & Toll-Free Numbers

Directory assistance040
Domestic operator020
Emergency911
International operator090
Mexican toll-free numbers1 + 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.