Cellular service in Mexico has improved significantly within the last couple of years. In addition, roaming rates for travelers from the United States has significantly decreased or has been eliminated completely but, with some caveats. For example, T-Mobile and Sprint both boast free data usage while in Mexico. While regular cell phone use (data/calling/texting) is available through most of the carriers, some of the smaller carriers do not offer any service. In addition, no carrier offers solutions such as mobile hotspots or data SIM cards for tablets - and this is where Cellular Abroad comes in.
Here are some of the more popular cellular providers used in the United States. Read below to find a brief description of the service your provider offers and with a link to your provider's website with more information for Mexico.
Verizon offers a service called the Travel Pass. The Travel Pass costs $5.00 per day for travelers to Mexico and allows you to use your plan as if you were back home. For example, if in the US your plan offers 10GB of data, you will have 10GB of data in Mexico. This plan only charges you on the day that you use your cell phone - which will be every day unless you turn your phone to off or to airplane mode as even an incoming unforeseen text will activate the plan. For travelers to Canada, the Travel Pass also works under the same conditions.
As long as you have an LTE device (a smartphone), you can get free but very slow data while in Mexico. Sprint allows travelers to Mexico to "enjoy" free data (if you call slow as molasses internet speeds enjoyable). Chances are, your frustration will lead to purchasing a faster data plan at $2 a day or $10 for a week. Calls are $0.25 per minute, in and out, and all text messages are free.
If you are an AT&T Unlimited &MoreSM Premium or AT&T Unlimited & More customer, you can automatically use your phone in Mexico without incurring roaming fees. If you have other plans with AT&T, specifically, older or out of date plans, we recommend that you contact your carrier to upgrade your plan as older plan rates are extremely expensive.
If you are a T-Mobile customer and you are on the Simple Choice plan or a T-Mobile One plan, coverage in Mexico and Canada are already part of your plan and you will not pay for roaming. However, while data is free, you will only get 2G speeds which is only fast enough to check and send emails and send messages on WhatsApp. If you plan on having a browsing experience that is anything other than frustrating, you will need to either consider adding an LTE option to your plan or using a different solution altogether. Please note that other T-Mobile plans are extremely expensive. In fact, you can pay $15,000 per GB on some of the other T-Mobile plans. Again, before going to Mexico, check that you have the right plan or simply use a different solution.
Metro PCs offers a roaming solution for Mexico called the Mexico/Canada Unlimited. The plan is $5 per month and offers highspeed data but caps it at 5GB per month - which is enough data for most travelers but may not be if you need to rely on data for GPS or to conduct business. Calls and texts are free.
Boost Mobile has a roaming option for Mexico called the Todo Mexico Plus. The plan is $5 in addition to your regular plan per month. It allows unlimited free calls and texts and highspeed data capped at 8GB.
Consumer Cellular offers the trickiest roaming rates of any of the previously mentioned carriers. We recommend that you do not use data as, at $0.25 per MB, you will run up a high bill quickly. Fortunately, in a way, they block it when your charges add up to $50 which could literally be within minutes if you are using data. The other side of the equation is yes, Consumer Cellular has prevented you from spending more than $50 but they have also cut your service. Hence, if you plan to use Consumer Cellular While in Mexico, be sure to disable the data and only use calling and texting. Calls are $0.30 per minute and texts are $0.10 per text.
Virgin Mobile has a roaming plan for Mexico that costs $12 per day (plus tax). The plan offers unlimited calling and texts and allows you to access the data plan that you currently have back home.
If there is one important bit of information to learn from reading this is that you need to be extremely sure of what plan you have before venturing off to Mexico with your phone. Almost all the main carriers, Verizon, Sprint, AT&T and T-Mobile, offer affordable and even free roaming in Mexico. However, they also all have older plans that offer extremely expensive roaming rates in Mexico. If you don't ask for the cheaper plans, they certainly are not going to volunteer it. Here is another great tip. If by chance you roam to Mexico and incur huge roaming rates, call your carrier and ask them if they can activate retroactively a better plan and charge you accordingly. If they are not willing to do so, get a supervisor on the phone and remind them that there are other carriers in town.
Confused or have specific cellular needs for your trip to Mexico? Feel free to contact Cellular Abroad or visit our Mexico Cellular Service options.