What is the Best Cell Phone Carrier in Mexico?

In modern times, cell phones are a lifeline for many. They connect us to family and friends and can be accessed quickly in case of emergency. Therefore, it’s evident that you want the best cell phone carrier available in the Mexican market.

Throughout the last couple of decades, Mexico has extensively updated its network, providing extensive coverage at low prices. Some of the most prominent providers within the Mexican cell market are industry giants AT&T and Telcel. 

If you live in the United States and want to travel to Mexico, various options are available to you, such as free-roaming and sufficient data up to 5GB. There are also many prepaid plans that you can either purchase in Mexico or before you leave. 

These prepaid plans give you the capability to have all the features of a contract plan but with no long-term commitment. The short-term monthly plans are great for tourists who are visiting for less than a month.

Cell phone prices in Mexico are also substantially lower than in the United States, although it often depends on the manufacturer, as some can be more expensive. So, in this article, we will review the various cell phone carriers in Mexico and determine which ones are superior. This article will go over the best cell phone carriers in Mexico and which U.S. carriers provide roaming service in Mexico and throughout North America.

What Cell Phone Carriers Are Available in Mexico?

An image of a person touching a smart phone with their fingers

Mexico has quite the cell phone network and has a wide variety of different carriers to choose between. Some of the most common are Telcel, AT&T, Movistar, and Virgin Mobile. Over the last few decades, cell service in Mexico has improved substantially and has attracted some of the most well-known wireless companies into the market.

It is important to note that most of the latest 4G LTE technology is available in large cities, such as Mexico City, and popular tourist spots like Cancun. However, in other locations, you should have more than enough capacity to check emails, make calls, and send text messages. 

Telcel has the largest coverage area out of the three main carriers and offers roaming service in both the United States and Canada. AT&T is the second-largest carrier and also provides roaming services to its customers. Let’s go over some of the specifics of each carrier. 

AT&T Mexico

AT&T Mexico is one of the four main carriers within the country. After purchasing two smaller carriers already in operation, Iusacell, and Nextel wireless, they emerged into the Mexican cell phone market. The acquisition of these companies by AT&T allowed their network to upgrade to the latest 4G LTE technology and increased their roaming abilities to different locations. 

Movistar

Movistar is a versatile option, offering various prepaid plans and connections to its GSM network nationwide. Like the other providers, Movistar offers to roam to other locations such as Canada and the United States.

Telcel

Telcel has the largest wireless network in Mexico and offers various perks, such as the latest in 4G LTE technology, however, just within the large cities. Many visitors from the United States can get service through Telcel’s various prepaid plans throughout the country, which you can purchase at most retail stores. However, it is essential to note that they do not have roll-over plans.

Virgin Mobile

Virgin Mobile is also available in Mexico; however, it utilizes the Movistar network and includes many of the same features, including a nationwide GSM network, roaming capabilities, and prepaid plans.

What Companies Offer Unlimited Data Plans in Mexico?

A photo of a person pushing their finger against a smart phone.

All the major players in Mexico offer unlimited data plans. This has grown in recent years with the addition of AT&T to the market. Therefore, Telcel, AT&T Mexico, Movistar, and Virgin Mobile all offer unlimited data plans.

If you live in the United States and plan to take a trip to Mexico, most U.S. carriers such as T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon all offer unlimited plans. Let’s review a few of the most popular U.S. wireless carriers and each data plan they provide if you plan on visiting Mexico.

Verizon

As one of the premier wireless carriers in the United States, Verizon provides excellent coverage in Mexico with its roaming services. Verizon customers can experience the same coverage they have in the U.S., and it’s available for a small fee of $5 per day. Therefore, you will have the same amount of data during your stay in Mexico as if you were in the United States.

It’s also important to note that when you are not using your phone, it is best to switch it to airplane mode, as they will not charge for days your wireless is off. So, if you have Verizon, you will be well covered when traveling abroad in Mexico.

AT&T

AT&T has a vast network in Mexico, as they have acquired a couple of smaller providers in recent years. Therefore, if you are an AT&T Unlimited & More Premium customer, you can use your service in Mexico without additional fees or commitments. 

However, it is critical to ensure that you have one of these newer plans because older plans can incur significant charges. So, it is always best to check with AT&T before your trip to ensure you are covered.

T-Mobile

T-Mobile offers a variety of plans that cover roaming at no extra charge. These include the Simple Choice plan and the T-Mobile One plan, which provides free-roaming throughout Mexico. 

However, the downside to T-Mobile’s roaming is that the only cell service available is the highly outdated 2G. Although this is enough for communicating and sending short emails, you will not be able to run resource-heavy applications. 

If you want to do any type of internet browsing or run heavier applications on their plan, prices can get very expensive. On some plans, to get LTE in Mexico, you could be paying up to $15,000 per G.B.! Therefore, you should check which plan you have before using your service abroad.

Metro PCS

Metro PCS has a plan called the Mexico unlimited plan, allowing customers access to quick mobile speed while abroad. This service is very affordable, costing just $5 per month. It is important to note that this service only allows up to 5 G.B. per month, so we recommend connecting to Wi-Fi when possible. 

How To Buy SIM Cards in Mexico

SIM cards are relatively cheap to buy in Mexico and will often include prepaid plans. You can purchase these SIM cards at various locations throughout the country, including various convenience stores and even airports. 

If you are used to the prepaid plans in the United States, which offer little perks other than texting or calling, you should be pleasantly surprised when you purchase one in Mexico. You will have access to the internet, up to 5 G.B. of data, and there are no long-term contracts to worry about. 

It is often less of a hassle just to buy a SIM card in Mexico rather than use the roaming data provided by your primary carrier, as these can have various hidden fees. Also, if you don’t have a plan that offers roaming capabilities, you could pay thousands per G.B.!

If you are visiting Mexico from the United States, you may purchase SIM cards from your provider before your trip. It is also essential to get in touch with your provider to ensure you have roaming included in your plan.

What is the Cheapest Cell Phone Plan in Mexico?

A photo of a man looking shocked as he stares into a mobile phone screen. He has a blue piggy bank under one arm. The image represents bill shock from an expensive mobile phone plan

There are various options for cell service throughout Mexico. In this section, we will review a few of the most affordable plans available in Mexico.

Telcel

Telcel has by far the cheapest cell phone plan in Mexico. You can get a phone plan for as low as $2.50 per month with quick service and experience the best coverage of any plan in Mexico. You can also add the Sin Fronteras to your account, which allows for free-roaming in the United States and Canada. Additionally, any call made to a number outside of Mexico is billed at the local rate. 

AT&T Mexico

As previously mentioned, the AT&T Mexico sector is one of the best plans available. This is the second cheapest plan, as you can get a phone plan for as little as $10 per month. 

You can also make calls and send texts to any number throughout North America for no extra charge, and as a bonus, receive up to 3 G.B. of data. This is the best plan if you use social media apps on your phone, as they don’t use up any of your main 3 G.B. of data per month. 

And the best part is; there is no long-term contract. You can pay monthly and either change plans or carriers at any time. 

So, the cheapest plan would be Telcel, as you cannot beat the low price of $2.50 per month. However, for the plan with the most value, AT&T is definitely worth the extra cash. 

How Much Are Cell Phones in Mexico?

Similar to the United States and Canada, there are various types of phones to choose between. Some are the latest smartphones, while some are just your basic phone used to make calls. Therefore, the prices of different types of cell phones vary greatly. 

For a standard cell phone that can make basic calls and send texts, you can pick one up for around a little over $17. Smartphones start at only USD 85; therefore, they are much cheaper than the standard price paid in the United States and Canada. 

Are Cell Phones Cheaper in Mexico?

As previously stated, cell phones are much cheaper in Mexico. And most of them are sold unlocked, meaning you can transfer them to any carrier. Although it is also important to note that depending on the type of phone, such as manufacturer and model, the price could increase substantially. 

Will a U.S. Cell Phone Work in Mexico?

An illustration showing a map of the United States with interconnected dots, representing the telecommunications network in America

A U.S. cell phone will work in Mexico. Most U.S. mobile providers provide roaming, either free or with an extra charge, depending on which plan you are on. Although U.S. cell phones and SIM cards will work in Mexico, we recommend you check with your provider to ensure no exorbitant rates are present on your phone bill.

For example, in some cases, T-Mobile can charge thousands extra for roaming if you are on an outdated plan, further emphasizing how critical it is to check your plan before your trip. 

If you are looking for other options in Mexico and want to get a Mexican phone plan, you can use a U.S. cell phone if it’s unlocked, and you can transfer the SIM card. 

In short, it is crucial to understand the fine print within your phone plan before using it out of the country. This could save you thousands of dollars and make your trip much more enjoyable. 

Are There Extra Charges for Using a U.S. Cell Phone in Mexico?

Since the dawn of the smartphone in 2008, our phones have been a lifeline for many. They serve as our cameras, alarm clocks, and sole means of communication with our loved ones when traveling abroad.

Therefore, it is important to check with your cell provider to see if they charge extra for roaming. In most cases, it depends on the type of plan they have, as some plans offer free-roaming. 

In most cases, U.S. cell service providers will require their customers to have an updated plan or pay extra. For example, if you have AT&T, you will not pay extra for roaming anywhere in North America, depending on your plan. 

T-Mobile also includes free-roaming throughout North America with its latest plans. However, if you have an outdated plan, fees can begin to skyrocket. 

Therefore, it really depends on which type of carrier and plan you have if extra charges apply. 

What Prepaid Cell Phone Options are Available in Mexico?

Most providers throughout Mexico offer prepaid plans. One of the best options is Telcel, which provides some of the best-prepaid options throughout Mexico. One of the main players, AT&T, has an extensive network throughout the country and offers various prepaid plans in Mexico. 

AT&T offers prepaid service throughout the country, offering prepaid SIM cards you can place in your unlocked phone. Telcel offers a similar service with extensive coverage throughout the United States and Mexico, making it easier than ever to stay connected.

Many of these plans offered by AT&T, Telcel, Movistar, and Virgin Mobile require no long-term contracts and provide all the perks of a long-term contract.

Cell service is exponentially cheaper in Mexico than in the rest of North America, as most of them offer substantial plans with nationwide coverage for a fraction of what it would cost with a long-term contract.

If you live in Mexico and don’t want to enter into a long-term contract, prepaid plans offer the same coverage and are extremely popular. 

If you have a plan in the United States and plan to take a trip to Mexico, you have a few different options for cell service. You could either remain on your current plan and ensure that it allows free-roaming or for a little charge. You could also purchase a prepaid SIM card and offer the same coverage you would get in the United States. 

You can purchase these SIM cards from your U.S. cell service provider, or you could enter into a monthly plan with no contract and purchase your SIM card in Mexico. It’s what is the most affordable and convenient for you.

What Carrier Has the Best Cell Phone Coverage in Mexico?

A photo of a telecomunications town shot from the ground up. It shows a blue sky lined with clouds

All major Mexican cell service market players have extensive coverage throughout the country, especially in the major cities. However, some providers offer more coverage in the more rural areas and greater roaming capabilities.

The carrier that has the best cell phone coverage in Mexico is Telcel. They have the most extensive network and the most affordable service nationwide. With Telcel, customers can access cell service providers anywhere in the country and roam throughout North America.

Ever since AT&T entered the Mexican market, the industry giant has been expanding its vast network. AT&T also includes prepaid plans and extensive coverage nationwide and continues to expand and add more towers to its already vast network. Furthermore, because AT&T is a major player throughout North America, many plans include free-roaming or charging very little. 

Movistar is similar to other players within the market, offering competitive prepaid plans and an extensive network, most notably, in the large industrialized cities. Movistar also has roaming capabilities; however, they do charge a small fee depending on the plan chosen. 

And finally, Virgin Mobile offers extensive coverage throughout Mexico and roaming throughout the United States and Canada. They offer competitive prepaid plans throughout the country and a vast network prevalent in the major cities. 

Final Thoughts

Whether you live in Mexico or you’re just visiting, a cell phone is a critical lifeline for many. It allows us to stay in touch with family and friends, check emails, and keep updated on everything going on in the world. Therefore, it is important to ensure you have ample coverage throughout Mexico, even outside of the city.

Often, most of the service you will receive outside of the city is outdated 3G, with only the ability to do simple tasks such as call, text, and answer emails. However, it’s a fantastic deal for the price point and allows you to keep in touch with friends and family.

Cell service in Mexico has come a long way in the last couple of decades. With large players such as AT&T entering the market, service will continue to advance to even the country’s most remote areas. 

If you live in the United States and are planning a trip to Mexico, it is critical to know exactly which phone plan you have and if they offer free-roaming and no exorbitant fees. It’s essential to check with your service provider to ensure that you are on a plan that your service provider does not charge fees. 

If you live in Mexico, you will have various affordable phone plans with an extensive network, especially Telcel and AT&T. Many cell services in the Mexican market also offer roaming for their customers throughout North America. 

So, whether you live in Mexico or are visiting, it is important to thoroughly review which plan would be best for your needs and budget. We recommend visiting the carrier’s website for individual plans and pricing for more information.