A Step-by-Step Guide for Setting Up an Inexpensive Prepaid Wireless Phone for Use in Mexico
. Choose this option if your current phone does not automatically Roam in Mexico or does not have a Mexico roaming add-on available.

Option 1:
Best for people who want to make Voice Calls & Text Messages to & from the US while in Mexico.

Option 2:
Best for people who use Text or Data outside the US. Talk minutes are low-priced but not free.

Option 3:
If you spend most of your time within Wi-Fi coverage, such as at a Mexican resort, you can make your calls just like at home: Free!

Option 4:

Set Up a Foreign "Travel Phone"
You'll have a phone that can be used in Mexico and most of the world.

Steps for setting up an AT&T Prepaid:

Step 1: Get an AT&T Prepaid Phone or SIM.
Our recommended phone service for roaming in Mexico uses AT&T Prepaid. In Mexico, rates are .25 per minute for both incoming and outgoing calls to any US or Mexico number, including Long Distance charges. If you already have AT&T Prepaid or GoPhone you can skip to Step 2. If not:
  • Before leaving the US, buy an AT&T Prepaid Phone or SIM. You can buy AT&T Prepaid Online or at many retailers. You can purchase a nice model, or the cheapest.
  • If you already own an AT&T phone, or any US-based Unlocked GSM phone, you can just buy an AT&T Prepaid SIM card, available Online or at an AT&T store. Remember, this phone will have a different number than your regular AT&T phone.
  • Get Discount AT&T Prepaid (GoPhone) Refills instead of paying full price at retailers.

Step 2: Activate Your Account:
Once you have your AT&T Prepaid handset or SIM, you will need to choose a home location and a plan. The location (Zip Code) should be local to your current wired or wireless phone. The lowest-cost plans are Simple Rate Plans. Once you are activated and have an assigned number, contact AT&T and make sure "Mexico Roaming" is activated. Don't let the agent sign you up for any special Mexico roaming plan, they only need to check a box on their screen, if it isn't already checked.

Step 3: Direct Your Incoming Calls to the New Phone:
Just before leaving the US, choose the way to have your calls find you:
  • Activate Call Forwarding from your home or wireless phone to your new AT&T phone. It should be local call. If your regular wireless phone is from AT&T, the calls should count as "Mobile to Mobile," if not, minutes will be used as Forwarded calls.
  • Tell your callers to call your new AT&T Prepaid number.
  • Activate a new or existing Google Voice number. You can program where calls are directed online. You can also use the Google Voice voice mail which can be reviewed online without using minutes on the phone, then return calls on the AT&T Prepaid phone.
Step 4: Test Your Connections Before Leaving the US:
Make sure calls work as intended. You could take your "regular" wireless phone with you just to make a test call or have a stateside friend call you. Make a call before you leave the US and another once you arrive in Mexico. Fortunately, if something is wrong, you can call AT&T customer service free at 611 from the US or Mexico. If you are Forwarding calls from another wireless number that carrier's customer service should be able to also change your Call Forwarding status, but it won't be a free call.

Set Up a Republic Wireless Phone:

Republic Wireless phones normally make and receive calls through a Wi-Fi connection with a backup through the Sprint network. In a foreign country like Mexico, there is only the absence of the "backup" network...your calls are still delivered through a Wi-Fi connection. Rates are as low as $15/month with no extra charges for making calls in a foreign country. You are limited to calls to and from the US, Calls and Texts to local Mexico numbers are not included.

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Additional Considerations:
  • By using using a US phone instead of a Mexican cellular phone, you will still have a working phone with some balance available that can be used when you return to the US.
  • Be sure to check Mexico Calling Procedures
  • Get online DISCOUNT Refills for AT&T Prepaid instead of paying full price at retailers.
  • You can use the above steps to activate other prepaid wireless phones such as Verizon Prepaid, MetroPCS or Page Plus, but expect higher rates.
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