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Mexican Cellular Carriers:
Listed alphabetically

AT&T Discounts AT&T
is presented here as a Mexican carrier due to their major acquisitions of 2 Mexico carriers, Iusacell and Nextel of Mexico. AT&T will combine these networks and offer a formidable product for both Mexican and US customers. They are expected to upgrade both networks to 4G LTE. For now, US customers should wait to see what offers will be coming, including from the AT&T-owned, Cricket Wireless. We expect the Roaming US customer will benefit significantly with their own AT&T phone in the near future. This may have major consequences in the Mexico wireless market.

is now owned by AT&T. Iusacell currently operates both GSM and CDMA networks that are not as expansive as the other carriers in Mexico. Most of the phones Iusacell sells are GSM and their CDMA network is maintained for the small number of CDMA phone owners in Mexico and roamers from the US who use Verizon and Sprint phones. AT&T ownership should mean significant changes including better Mexico roaming for US AT&T costumers, expansion of the network toward 4G LTE, and retirement of CDMA service. Also, AT&T has acquired Nextel of Mexico, which will be combined with the Iusacell network, and will provide an excellent choice for Mexico wireless service. For now, Iusacell has a few stores and kiosks and if you can get a deal on one of their prepaid phones, they offer more minutes for your money, but not really enough to make a difference. Over the years we have only found one Iusacell store, and only one kiosk, to make a purchase.

Iusacell Coverage Map

offers prepaid options and their GSM network is almost as good as TelCel's. You can buy a Movistar SIM-only and use your own "Unlocked" GSM phone. Movistar retailers are hard to find, but refills are available at many convenience stores through the store's computer. We were able to renew our Pay-Per-Call plan ("Movistar Pro Llamada") which gives you at least 15 minutes of talk to anywhere for a flat fee, currently calls to the US are about $1.25. However, we cannot confirm that Pay-Per-Call is available to new customers. We have never been able to access any English-speaking assistance at Movistar, either on cellular, or at their national toll-free number. Like TelCel, Movistar calls to 611, and to check your balance, involve a charge.

Movistar Coverage Map

has been acquired by AT&T. This Nextel uses a mixture of technologies that will change under AT&T ownership. Nextel's iDEN technology coverage is better within the interior of Mexico and not as extensive around the resorts, but it works very well within their service area. They don't offer much for the short-time visitor but have a big following among business people, especially for their Direct Connect Walkie-Talkie service. They have created a new, "Red" network which currently doesn't have as much coverage as their old iDEN network but it includes Broadband coverage. We expect significant improvements as AT&T upgrades Nextel and Iusacel into one 4G LTE national network.

Nextel Coverage Map

currently offers the best coverage in the country, and sells a prepaid package, "Amigo", that includes phone, SIM ("chip") and a prepaid card. Some retailers offer just the SIM, some of which have minutes already loaded on them, which can be inserted into your own unlocked GSM phone. Some retailers charge an extra fee to help you get set up...it could be worth it. If your phone is not unlocked, your GSM carrier (AT&T, T-Mobile and others) may provide you with your unlock code. If not, or if you don't subscribe to those networks, you can buy an unlocked GSM phone just for use in Mexico.

The future of TelCel has a few clouds on the horizon as they will be required to sell a certain percentage of their network to comply with new government regulations. This may affect TelCel's coverage but we imagine they will only sell under favorable terms. Even though Telcel advertises themselves as "4G LTE," we could find nothing better than 3G.  They will upgrade to compete but we can't guess how soon.

There are some price benefits among TelCel's plans, including flat rate calls to any other phone in Mexico or the US, excluding Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. You can also choose 3 "Free Numbers" within Mexico that will get you Free calls for the first 5 minutes as well as Unlimited Text Messages to those numbers. Incoming calls are usually free on all calls.

Also, our TelCel refills don't "roll over". Add a new prepaid card and you lose some or all of your previous minutes. TelCel refills are available at many retail outlets. A few still sell the refill cards, but most now take your number and enter your purchase in the computer, which is immediately credited to your phone. Calls to customer service (264) or to check your balance are charged against your minutes, but they usually add a few extra for this purpose.

Telcel also offers wireless service in the US including a Spanish language web site. Get Details on the America Movil Networks.
Telcel Mexico Coverage Maps


This is your guide to using cellular service in Mexico. We give a brief review of the wireless carriers in Mexico and their value to the long or short term visitor to Mexico. Our focus is on wireless information for English-speaking travelers, especially those who want to use their US-based wireless phone while visiting Mexico. We have sections on how to use your phone, how to get the cheapest service, what to avoid, and specific Recommendations:
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