Getting Connected to Mexican Cell Phones

Dialing on a smartphone

In the USA, Canada and the UK you dial the same set of codes to connect with a cell phone, regardless of where you or the cell phone are ‘based’, whereas in Mexico you need to learn a few rules to be able to connect with cell phones.

Mexico has adopted the ‘calling party pays’ scheme whereby it’s free to receive cell phone calls (provided the phone is situated in its ‘home’ area), but the caller pays a premium fee to connect with a cell phone. However, Mexico also rolled-out has a system which allows a land-line caller to pay a lower rate to connect with out-of-area cell phones, provided the cell phone user agrees to pick-up the charge difference.

There are different codes to dial, depending on whether you are calling from a land-line or a cell phone, and whether the cell phone you want to connect to has its area code based inside or outside the area code you are calling from.

And, for ‘good measure’, there is also an additional code for calling a Mexican cell phone when you dial from abroad.

Here, then, are the rules:

Dialing to a Cell Phone from a Land Line in Mexico

The call must be preceded by a three digit number, either 044, or 045, then the cell phone’s area code (two or three digits) and finally the cell phone’s own eight-digit number, thus:

Dial 044 when you are calling a cell phone containing the same area code where the land-line is based.  You will pay the ‘in-area cell phone’ rate per minute and the cell phone will receive the call at no additional charge.  For example, if you are in Mexico City and are calling a Mexico City cell phone from a land-line in the capital, you would dial 044 – 55 – 1234 5678.

Dial 045 when you are calling a cell phone containing a different area code to where the land-line is based.  You will pay the ‘out of area cell phone’ rate per minute and the cell phone will receive the call at no additional cost.  For example, if you are in Mexico City and calling a cell phone with an area code in Puerto Vallarta, you would dial: 045 – 322 – 1234 5678.  You could also dial 044 – 322 – 1234 5678, but the cell phone user will receive a message prior the call connecting, asking if he/she wants to pay for the roaming element of the call.  If the charge request is rejected, the call will not connect.

Dialing to a Cell Phone from a Cell Phone in Mexico

If you are calling a cell phone from a cell phone inside Mexico, you ignore the 044/045 codes and simply dial the other cell phone’s area code and the number, regardless of where your cell phone is based (or roaming) and regardless of where the other cell phone is based.

Dialing to a Land Line from a Cell Phone in Mexico

When you are dialing from a cell phone in Mexico to a land-line in Mexico, you simply dial the land-line’s area code and the phone number.

Dialing a Mexican Cell Phone from Abroad

When you are calling a cell phone number in Mexico from overseas, you ignore the 044/045, and simply dial the area code and the cell phone’s number.  However, it’s necessary to dial an additional “1” after Mexico’s country code (which is “52”) and before the area code.  If you don’t add the “1”, you’ll receive a recorded announcement asking you to redial using it.   For example, if you are calling from the USA to a cell phone in Mexico City, you would dial 011 – 52 – 1 – 55 – 1234 5678.  This is distinct from calling a land-line in Mexico City from abroad, where the number dialed would be 011 – 52 – 55 – 1234 5678.

You can learn more about how to keep in touch by connecting to our comprehensive Guide to Communications in Mexico.


  1. Liana says

    For sake of completeness, how do you call abroad from a Mexican land line and/or cell phone?

    • Mexperience says

      Hi Liana, If you connect to the Guide to Communications (see link in article above), you will find the answers to those questions.

  2. Chris Cox says

    The least expensive solution if you plan on making more than just a few calls is to buy a chip (SIM card) in Mexico and a calling card. They range from 100 pesos to 900 pesos depending on how much time you need.
    Replace your existing US or Canadian SIM card with the Mexican one while you are in Mexico.
    Note that your phone needs to be unlocked to do this.
    Note also the calling card expires after a couple of months so don’t buy more time than you need.

  3. terry says

    US & Canada roaming charges are very high, but I bought a Nokia cell at OXO for 250$m and it came with matching minutes (basically free phone if you use it 3 months). I found the cost was pretty cheap (3 pesos/min to call Canada for example). Works for me.

  4. Ricardo says

    It sounds like a purposely confusing system to keep Carlos Slim rich.

  5. Roger says

    It’s mostly plain horrible and you have to pay handsomely. Use internet if you can –
    Skype or Viber.

  6. john says

    Do not forget to tell everyone that every time you use your cell phone in Mexico you taken to the cleaners on cell phone fees!

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