MEXICO CELLULAR CALLING TIPS
( Hacer llamadas en teléfonos celulares en
You can turn on your wireless phone in Mexico
and hope it works or you can go there equipped
with the latest inside information to make
and take your calls without getting cut off...or
ripped off. Also, check the procedures for Making Local and Long Distance Calls in Mexico.
IMPORTANT TIPS FOR USING CELLULAR IN MEXICO:
- In Mexico, The Calling Party Pays. With a Mexican phone or SIM, that means
if you make the call, you're the one paying
for the miniutes (unless you have a "Free
Number" Feature). That means the call
recipient usally does not pay any per-minute
fees. This does not apply to US phones roaming
in Mexico, but if you call a Mexican cell
phone with your US phone, the call is charge-free
for the recipient. Also, normal charges for
calls to cell phones are significantly higher
than to land line numbers, unless you have
a special discount calling feature or a US
wireless phone with a fixed rate to all Mexico
- When you are calling your voice mail or any
US number from Mexico, you must enter "001" (or, alternatively, "+1" on GSM
phones) before the number called to access
a US-based phone, even if it that phone is
roaming in Mexico. Most likely, the number
programmed for voice mail in your phone will
not work. Call "001" and then your
own number for voice mail access.
- The number for emergencies is not 911. The general number for emergencies in Mexico
is "066". If you are using a GSM
wireless phone, some of the more common emergency
numbers are already programmed for you. So
if you can only think of "911",
or the European version, "112",
it may convert the call for you. Be ready
to speak Spanish. If you have trouble being
understood, try calling your hotel and ask
them for help. Program in their number as
soon as you arrive.
- You need some Spanish skills to use a Mexican cellular phone efficiently. Even if you have the prompts on your phone
service switched to English, most messages
beyond the balance and refill access are
still in Spanish. Most Mexican cellular vendors and their customer
service do not speak English. Be prepared. The best to way to set up your
account is to get a brochure or bring up
the Mexican cellular provider's web site,
and have someone translate to you what is
available and how to ask for that plan or
product. One great source for translating
is your hotel concierge or front desk. Even
small hotels have a concierge, but they work
almost solely on commission, so if they help
you set up your wireless service, a small
tip would be fair. A nicer tip could get
that person to call customer serivce and
make all the adjustments necessary.
- In most cases, calls to your own US cellular
service provider ("611" or their
normal customer service number) usually do
not incur any charges. Check with your carrier before you leave
to make sure. They may be able to help with
some of your Roaming problems in English.
Ask for their non-"800" number
in case you need to call them Collect.
- Mexican corporate cellular retailers may not sell you just a SIM. If not go ahead
and buy a phone, some stores offer a promotional
phone for as low as $20US, and with that
you can just use the SIM.
- Many cellular retailers offer pre-activated
phones and SIM's for the convenience of tourists. Don't be afraid to ask.
- Consider having one party call the other
back based on who has the cheapest rate. A person
calling your US wireless number may only
be calling a local (to them) number. Charges
for long distance calls from the US to Mexico
can vary widely, some as much as $1.00 per
- While the carriers claim your Mexican prepaid
account and number will expire after 60 days
of non-use, we have refilled both TelCel and Movistar
accounts as much as 1 year after their "expiration".
- Some of the rules and charges are different
along the Mexico/US border. Sometimes charges are lower, or you might
access a US cell site. Watch your Roaming
indicator. Some US carriers charge lower
roaming rates in Baja California.
- Mexico Roaming must be activated with phones from most US carriers. This is usually done for free by customer service
and you should be able to contact them toll-free
from Mexico, either by their listed (non
Toll-Free) number or 611.
- Billing that crosses international borders
isn't 100% accurate or timely. Keep your "Mexico" plan until
all the charges show on your bill. You might
also have calls that are never charged.
- Caller ID does not work on all networks in
all places. You may not be able to choose which calls
you answer and which you ignore. Our experience
has been Mexico GSM carriers usually transmit
Caller ID, CDMA carriers often do not.
- There is often a per minute charge with US
GSM carriers for roaming calls that go to
voice mail, even if your phone is off and even if no
message is left. You can have your home carrier
temporarily disable voice mail. Make sure
your own network knows when you are "home"
by turning on your phone once you arrive
in the US. Some carriers, like AT&T,
don't charge for these calls if your phone
is turned off.
- Calls to US toll-free "800" numbers
(001-800... in Mexico) are not free. Per minute (or per call) rates apply, but
long distance charges do not.
- These are observations we and other contributors
have noted while calling in Mexico,
may be different, and prices are
to change. If so, we'd like to hear
- How to Make Calls in Mexico
- Our Recommendations
- Setting Up a Phone for making economical calls to and from
- Wireless Carriers in Mexico
- Data Roaming Dangers