Communications, Markets and Trade, Mexico Essentials

Mexican Cell Phones: Calling Plans for North America

Mexican cell phone plans offer unlimited calling and generous data allowances across Mexico, the US, and Canada—it's never been more affordable to keep in touch

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.

Calling and data roaming from your Mexican cellphone across North America

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.

Month-to-month plans without a contract

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$9) that includes unlimited call minutes and SMS messages across North America (Mexico, the US and Canada), and at least 2 GB of data.  Unlimited use of data across Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp is also included in these plans.  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 at the end of each 30-day billing period. If you don’t renew the plan, your tariff reverts to a peso-per-minute (or per-MB) rate.  If you use up all your data quota 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.

Annual contracts available if you want one

If you prefer a cellphone contract, you can sign-up for a year or more and get a plan that includes a phone, unlimited minutes and set amounts of data each month (depending on the contract).  These plans will tether (lock) the phone to the network operator you have a contract with.

It’s never been less expensive to keep in touch from Mexico and across the US and Canada

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 offering great deals on no-contract “pay-as-you-go” plans, 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.

Learn more about keeping in touch in Mexico

Our guides and articles about communications help you keep in touch when you’re in Mexico: by phone, by internet and by post/courier.

Mexico in your inbox

Our free newsletter about Mexico brings you a monthly round-up of recently published stories and opportunities, as well as gems from our archives.


  1. Grace Wolff says

    I have a Mexican telcel chip and phone number. I am in Canada.
    1. Do people calling me get charged long distance fees?
    2. How can i text without it automatically going to +52 ,I just need a normal text

    • Mexperience says

      Hi Grace

      1. When you are using a Mexican cellphone outside of Mexico:
      – you don’t pay for any incoming calls or texts
      – people who dial your Mexican cellphone to call you will pay whatever their carrier charges them to call a Mexican number

      2. It’s a good idea to prefix numbers on your phone with the country code e.g. +52, +1 etc. to ensure messages are properly routed.

      See also:

  2. willy says

    What is the cheapest cell phone plan with Mexico number that will be mainly use for texts while in the US. Also while in the US only AT&T and T-Mobile network is available.


  3. Robert Bonner says

    Great article, however, one question asked but not answered is how can one keep there old US cell phone phone number and still have unlimited calling from and within Mexico? I tried to use Google Voice for calls to the US, but they cannot port my old number in.

  4. Carl says

    I plan to look for a home to rent in the Altiplano of central Mexico in a smaller community not so crowded. How good of coverage/performance Can I hope to experience with a smartphone and internet ?

  5. Jake says

    I have a cell phone plan in mexico with celtel. I am from canada. The only plan they have where you can call canada involves calling from a convenience store called oxxo. Does anyone know how this works?

    Are there any cell phone companies in mexico that have plans where you can just plain call canada from your cell phone like any other call?

    • Mexperience says

      Hi Jake

      Virtually every calling plan from a Mexican cell phone company (phone with Mexican SIM card and number) offers unlimited telephone calls to any Mexico, US and Canadian landline or cellphone number.

    • Kurtis says

      Get the app called “textnow”. Gives you a free North American phone # you can text and call to anywhere in US and Canada from anywhere in the world for free.


    Normally you cannot call toll free numbers from Mexico, however; you can call by changing the prefix.
    To call 800 use (001-880)
    888 use (001-881)
    877 use (001-882)
    866 use (001-833)

    • Bo says

      when I try to call united States 800 with Telcel using 001 880, I get message that call is not free and you will be charged, so I hung up and did not continue, because when your trying to get some answers from bank and credit card questions you can get put on holds and switched to different customer service reps and then disconnected and have to start all over again.

      any other plans to try.


  7. Anna M Canales says

    How do I get a cell ohone abd plan in Mexico city Mexico? Just a cheap phone he doesnt take care of his phone.

  8. Victor says

    80% of my calls from MX to USA is 1-800 numbers is it included in most plans?

    • Mexperience says

      Hi Victor, dialing +1 then the 800-number *might* connect you. It will likely depend on whether the 800-number holder accepts (pays) for calls from outside the USA. Most probably do not. However, companies that have a 1-800 will usually have a regular (geographical) alternative number you can call instead (ask the company for details), and you can dial that number from your cellphone at no charge to you.

  9. 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!

    • Rosalee says

      Hi Mary. I had landline/internet services from Telnor for several years. Very happy with the service. I have moved to a condo complex that is pre-wired for Izzi only. Although the service is equivalent to Telnor, the equipment is not. Telnor has modern discreet wiring…Izzi still uses that old black coax cable. And after a teaser period your rates end up being about 50 pesos more than Telnor.
      I’m not promoting one over the other, and everyone’s needs are different. However, Telnor is a better fit for me. At least until I can find a solution for the ugly Izzi coax.

    • Steve says

      Hello Mary David,
      Were you able to keep your original U.S. cell phone number when the Mexican based company unlocked your phone?

  10. 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.

  11. 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!

    • 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.

  12. 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?

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

      • Dave says

        Hi, I am with At&T in the States. I am moving to Mexico soon.
        Can I keep my same USA phone number and switch to a cheaper plan when I get to Mexico with Same carrier AT&T ??

  15. 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

    • Rosalee says

      Hi Wendy. Thanks for bringing up WhatsApp. 90% of my cell phone calls and messages are via WhatsApp. Including video calls with friends/family in the US. It works most everywhere in the world. It’s pretty much the preferred line of communication in Mexico.
      I do also have the 30 day, 200 peso service from Movistar. Unlimited calling/texting for Mexico, US and Canada. Includes 3 gigs of data. Most social media does not count against your gigs and is unlimited.

  16. Gail Barraco says

    Fantastic, thank you for sharing!–Gail

  17. John Ramsey says

    Great news, thanks !! Mexperience always great.

Comments are closed.