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A Step-by-Step Guide for setting up an inexpensive prepaid wireless phone or SIM 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.

Step 1: Choose a Prepaid Carrier:
Choose from this list, or the list of Prepaid services that roam in Mexico.  You may already have one of these Prepaids and just need to change your plan.  Each can also be used in the US.

Simple Mobile is one of the most economical and useful US Prepaids that can be used in Mexico.

Other Prepaids are almost the same with slightly higher or lower fees and requirements.

Global Travel Phones
are usable in most counties in the world.  Most are Prepaid and can be refilled only when you want to travel.

Simple Mobile
Simple Mobile is an economical and useful way to use Prepaid wireless in Mexico. You can purchase a phone or SIM and roam in Mexico and also have a phone that works in the US.  Simple Mobile plans are as low as $20. You could use your own phone, one you have sitting around, or buy a new one. Simple Mobile is owned by Verizon.

Prepaid Roaming Phones
There are several choices among prepaid phones that will easily roam in Mexico.  Make sure to choose a Prepaid that offers the amount of Talk, Text and Data that you'll need south of the border.  Some choices do not include Data and some change a per-minute or per-use fee to roam in Mexico.

If you'd rather have a Prepaid phone or SIM that works worldwide, check the list of Global Travel Phones and SIM's. You'll have a phone that can be used in Mexico and the rest of the world.

Step 2: Activate Your Account:
Once you have your 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 phones or to friends and family. It can be anywhere in the US. Once you are activated and have an assigned number, make sure "Mexico Roaming" is activated.  With some carriers this is done by default.  If you don't know, contact Customer Service. Don't let the agent sign you up for any special Mexico roaming plan, they may only need to check a box on their screen, if it isn't already.

Step 3: Direct Your Incoming Calls to the Travel Phone:
Just before leaving the US, choose the way to have your calls find you:
  • Activate Call Forwarding from your home or regular wireless phone to your new Mexico prepaid phone. It should be a local call. If your regular wireless phone is from the same carrier, the calls could count as "Mobile to Mobile," if not, minutes can be charged as Forwarded calls.

  • Tell your callers to call your new Prepaid phone 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 your new Mexico Prepaid phone. You can add the number of your new Mexico Travel phone to the list of phones that rings with incoming calls to your Google Voice number. 

Step 4: Test Your Connections Before Leaving the US

Make sure calls work as intended. (If you use any of the above recommended "Travel" phones they should work in the US before you leave.) You could take your "regular" wireless phone to Mexico with you just to make a test call...or you can 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 customer service free at 611 from the US or Mexico. If you are Forwarding calls from another stateside wireless number, that carrier's customer service should be able to also change your Call Forwarding status, but that may not be a free call.

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 additional reviews of these and other Prepaid phones at Prepaid Phone Reviews.
Mexico Wireless Resources:
About Mexico Cellular
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US Phones in Mexico
Set Up A Travel Phone for Mexico
US Prepaid Phones in Mexico
Making Calls in Mexico
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