Communications

Getting Connected to Mexican Cell Phones

Dialing on a smartphone

In many countries, you dial the same set of codes to connect with a cell phone regardless of where you or the cell phone are situated; but in Mexico, you need to learn a few rules to be able to connect to Mexican cell phone numbers.

Mexico has adopted the ‘calling party pays’ scheme whereby it’s free to receive cell phone calls, but the caller pays a premium fee to connect with a cell phone.

Before the Telecommunication reforms of 2015, Mexico had a system which allowed a land-line caller in Mexico to pay a lower rate to connect with out-of-area cell phones, provided the cell phone user agreed to pick-up the charge difference. Since the reforms, this is no longer relevant as all calls to Mexican cell phones from Mexican land lines are treated as local calls.

However, different codes still need to be dialed depending on whether you are calling from a land-line or cell phone in Mexico—and for ‘good measure’, there is also an additional code for calling a Mexican cell phone when you are dialing from outside Mexico.

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: 044, then the cell phone’s area code (two or three digits), and finally the cell phone’s own seven or eight-digit number, thus:

Dial 045 when you are calling a cell phone from a land-line.  Cell phone numbers (even out-of-area cell phone numbers) are treated as local calls now and charged accordingly.  For example, if you are calling a Mexico City cell phone from a land-line anywhere in Mexico, you would dial: 045 – 55 – 1234 5678.

The old 044 code is now redundant as all calls to Mexican cell phones from a Mexican land line are treated as local calls.

Dialing to a Cell Phone from a Cell Phone in Mexico

If you are calling a Mexican cell phone from another cell phone inside Mexico, you ignore the 044/5 code 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.  For example, if you are calling a cell phone in Puerto Vallarta from your Mexican cell phone you would dial the area code then the cell phone number. e.g. 322 – 1234 567.

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.  For example, if you are calling a land-line in Mexico City from your cell phone you would dial: 55 – 1234 5678.

Dialing a Mexican Cell Phone from Abroad

When you are calling a cell phone number in Mexico from outside Mexico, it’s necessary to dial an additional “1” after Mexico’s country code (which is “52”) and before the area code.  You also ignore the 044, and simply dial the area code and the cell phone’s number.

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.

13 Comments

  1. Giancarlo Castillo says

    I need to add my $0.05 here. Just came back from Mexico, was there from March 5-12, 2016, I bought a SIM card for 80 pesos, and added 100 pesos for unlimited calls/SMS to Mexico/US and Canada for 30 days. I’m back in the US and I am still using it to call within the US and Mexico. No charge at all. I roam with T-Mobile 99% of the time and ATT. People can call my “mexican number” it works like a champ. I am using MOVISTAR, you can buy TELCEL it has the same plan. I bought the 100 pesos plan because it came with 360Mb of internet, I though that I would need it, I was wrong, I could have bought the 50 pesos plan unlimited calls/SMS to Mexico/US and Canada but 150Mb internet. I am still using the internet balance here in the US.

  2. Ted Hewison says

    Use the TelMex Amigo Plan and then you will not get dinged. I use pinzoo.com to top up if I am in or out of Mexico. You can also top up at any OXXO store.

  3. Steve says

    T-Mobile’s North America Simple Choice has fixed the cost problem for me. I’m visiting GDL and my phone has unlimited data and calls.
    For the sake of my new Mexican friends costs, I use WhatsApp, but calling home or getting calls from the US are just like I was still there. Unlimited.
    (not a commercial, I’m just surprised that is is working as it was advertised)
    Steve.

    • Tim McGrath says

      I am going to be in the Patzcauro are of Mexico near Morelia, Mich. I was wondering about purchasing a phone just for my extended trip. Can you possibly suggest a particular phone and where to purchase for this time? I would want plan that offers unlimited incoming and outgoing calls too. many thanks, Tim

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

    • Mike says

      Good suggestion Chris, but I need to clarify one thing. Your credit doesn’t expire, it freezes. As long as you top up within a year, it unfreezes. When you haven’t topped up and have frozen credit, you can still do free things like receive calls and texts.

    • Dan says

      There are also cheap cell phones out there that have room for two SIM cards. I found one (I think it was on Amazon?) for about USD $20 a couple years back and put two SIM cards in it whenever I’m in Mexico: one from a US carrier and one from Telmex. I usually buy a new card with the lowest amount of minutes I can as I just carry the phone for emergencies and work-related things. That way I have a “local” North American number and also a Mexican number on the same phone.

  6. 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.

  7. Ricardo says

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

  8. Roger says

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

  9. 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!

Comments are closed.