Communications, Markets and Trade, Mexico Essentials

Mexican Cell Phones: Unlimited Calling Plans for North America

Mexican cell phone plans now offer unlimited calling and generous data allowances across Mexico, the US, and Canada

Mexico, USA, Canada

When new laws came into effect on January 2015 to shake-up Mexico’s telecommunication market, fixed-line all charges dropped sharply from residential telephones. The reforms caused Mexican landline telephone charges to go from being among the most expensive in the world, to among the cheapest.

Since then, the Mexican cellular telephone market has been undergoing some major reforms too, and you can now elect to buy a plan that, for a modest monthly fee, gives unlimited calling and SMS messages to all phones across Mexico, the United States, and Canada—and you can also use the mobile data included in your plan across all three countries without any data roaming costs. These “unlimited” deals are also available on pay-as-you-go monthly plans: there is no need to sign a long term contract.

If you have a smart phone that isn’t tethered to a network through a contract—whether you purchased it in Mexico or brought it from abroad—you can use the number portability procedure to hop from one network to another on pay-as-you-go deals, depending on who’s offering the best plan this season. Constant hopping is unlikely to be beneficial, but occasional hops may be useful to take advantage of deals that match your present needs or usage habits.

By way of example: AT&T, Telcel, Movistar and Virgin Mobile currently offer a month-to-month plans (no contract) for MXN$200 pesos (US$11) that includes unlimited call minutes and SMS messages across North America (Mexico, the US and Canada), and at least 500 MB of data.  An additional 1 GB of data is included for use of Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp. Visit the websites of the mobile operators to learn about these new unlimited plans which offer good value for money.

Plans last for 30 days and can be renewed or not, as you wish: automatic renewal can be set-up, or you can renew manually. If you don’t renew the plan, your tariff reverts to a peso-per-minute (or per-MB) rate.  If your data quota runs out before the 30 days, you can pay-per-MB until the plan’s renewal date, or re-initiate your plan for an additional 30 days starting on the (earlier) date of the renewal.

When lower residential phone line tariffs came into force at beginning of 2015, many people didn’t believe it was true until they started getting their first phone bills that year and saw that calls to Mexican cell phone and long distance calls across the country and the world were being charged at zero rates—all included in the monthly plan, which also includes fixed-line high-speed internet.

Now with the Mexican cellular market following suit, Mexico is one of the least expensive countries in the world to own and use a mobile phone: staying in touch with friends, family, and business contacts on the move in Mexico and when roaming with a Mexican cell phone in the United States and Canada has never been easier and less expensive than it is today.

See Also: Communications in Mexico and Guide to the Cost of Living in Mexico

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14 Comments

  1. Mary David says

    I get fiber Internet and my landline home phone for $389/ mo. ($22 US) through Telnor but Izzi is presently offering the same deal. I also have a free one-year subscription to a Mexico-based internet TV service that’s like Netflix with Telnor.
    And calls to USA, Canada and Europe are free and unlimited. I had my cel phone unlocked for service in Mexico and got Virgin Mobil for unlimited calls, texts & some Mb for email for $100 (ant $6 US). I bought my son’s smartphone at Walmart for $547 (about $35 US) with the $100 Virgin plan too. My US iPhone service with NO unlimited calls to the US & Canada is over $100 US / month. Yes, I’m dropping the US service–soon!

  2. Pam says

    Much easier and cheaper than vonage is to use a Mexican landline. Our package with telmex is 389p/mo (about $20) for unlimited fiberoptic internet and a landline.
    As of Jan 2015 calls from Mex landlines to the US, Canada, within Mexico and to most international locations are free/included in the monthly fee listed above.

  3. Walt says

    We use T-Mobile – $40 per line billed online in the US. Unlimited calling, data, text in the US, Mexico, Canada. You can call any Mexican or US numbers while in either country for the monthly charge. If you only use a Mexican telephone number to receive calls from Mexico like us you can get a sim card (chip in MX) and put 200 Pesos on it that lasts for about 3 months or until it runs out the minutes. We have BLU mobile phones (Best Buy or Amazon) they are about $100 for an excellent smartphone with 2 sim card slots – one for TelCel and one for T-Mobile. They are very similar to a $700 Samsung Note.

    If you really need a landline I recommend using VOIP. Phone Power is $99 a year for unlimited calling and 100 minutes of International long distance a month. If you are using a Virtual Private Network the phone thinks you are in the US – calls free.

    You can get a VPN service from Strong VPN online for $80 a year. If you are technically challenged you can buy router with the vpn software built in from Sabai Technology for another $200. Just plug it all in and set up Strong VPN service and you are now using an IP address in the US. Roku – Netflix, Hulu, Pandora and my new fav Playstation Vue which includes local US news channels. Wow!

    After you have the VPN working, if you like to read magazines, check out Texture online. For $10/month there are 100’s of magazines you can read on you iPad, phone or computer.
    You have to use the VPN so you appear in the States. For $15/month it includes Time and Newsweek.

    You can have your place in the sun and watch and read everything!

    • Jean says

      Why did you buy the $100 phone in the US? Can’t you get 2 smart phones free when going with AT&T? I am
      Moving there soon and trying to figure out the best way to go with a mobile smart phone. Thanks.

      • Debra says

        I got the AT&T plan here in Mexico. I paid $550 US for a Samsung S7 and 2 years of service (no further charges). That includes 2G data. It is much cheaper if you don’t include a phone.

  4. janet valente says

    Can you set up a Mexican phone number on At&t while in the U.S., or do you have to do it in Mexico?

    • Mary David says

      For now, you have to set up a Mexican phone number if you have AT&T in Mexico because AT&T US and AT&T Mexico are two separate companies. The AT&T rep here told me that they should be connected within about a year. Also, if you have an AT&T US phone you need to have it “desbloqueada” –unlocked–before you can get a new chip (SIM card) for it. AT&T will do it for free if you ask them to at a US office. Here AT&T Mexico will charge $350 (around $20 US) to do it.

  5. Frances McKay says

    can I buy phone and a plan while I am in Mexico and continue to use it as my main cell phone after I return to the USA?

    • Mexperience says

      Hi Frances,
      Yes, and you could top it up online, but it means you would have a Mexican phone number and people in the USA would need to dial an international number to reach your Mexican cell phone ‘roaming’ there.

  6. Mark says

    If I use my Telcel phone/SIM Card in the US with this plan, do you know what US provider network and cell towers are utilized. Thanks for the article!

    • Mexperience says

      Hi Mark,

      The provider your phone picks up in the US will depend on who you use for your plan in Mexico. For example, if your MX plan is with AT&T (Iusacel/Nextel), that’s who your provider will be in the US on your Mexican cell phone.

  7. Wendy says

    Telcel Amigo pay as you go Plan offers calling to the USA, at the same charge as local calls. No additional charge.

    You can also download Whats Ap and make free calls and text messages in Mexico and the USA

  8. Gail Barraco says

    Fantastic, thank you for sharing!–Gail

  9. John Ramsey says

    Great news, thanks !! Mexperience always great.

Comments are closed.