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Bozeman, MT

Cell Phones for 3 weeks in Mexico

Wanting 2 phones to use to call BETWEEN these two phones while INSIDE Mexico to keep in touch with the wife if separated or choose separate activities.
Not PLANNING to need to call back to the USA. Not planning on texting. Not planning on talking a LOT, just getting in touch with each other and coordinating activities.

Phone #1, Currently Using Verizon Wireless: It looks like International roaming needs to be activated so there aren't huge roaming fees. Supposed to cost $20 or something.? It looks like that is just the plan charge and calls still cost almost a dollar a minute or something? $0.99/min »businessportals.verizonwireless. ··· ico.html

Phone #2, Currently Using PagePlus Wireless: I found an article online with no date on it that says they do let you use your phone inside Mexico but it does cost $1.10 per minute. Still valid?

Any other better options?

I see some recommendations that say to just buy a prepaid phone when you get into the country. Others have had difficulty finding phones. I am nervous about not having something in place ahead of time. Buying 2 new phones for just a couple of weeks seems like it would probably be sort of expensive.
I see some recommendations that say to buy a Mexico SIM card. The phones I use don't USE SIM cards.

Not planning on needing phones a bunch so not wanting to spend a lot of $$, but would be better to spend $50 ahead of time instead of discovering later that we have $200 in roaming fees or something...


Berwyn, IL
I've heard very good things about "SIMPLE Mobile Wireless." Not sure if they have coverage in Mexico, though...

»www.mysimplemobile.com/Simple-Mo ··· -Details

YMMV. Enjoy your trip!

Jedi Poster
reply to ttiiggy
Yes, 15 dollars for 1000 minutes per month. Remember you can all ways change plans. So change or add to the plan below for one month or more if needed. When your time in Mexico is up change back to the plan you had before. (It sounds like you are only going to be there less than a month.)

»youreguide.vzw.com/pg/add-canada ··· 0Mexico*

Account deleted

New Jersey
reply to ttiiggy
You can add Mexico roaming and calling to your Share Everything Plan or Nationwide Family Share Plan. Just call 611 (these plans are not available online) and ask them about it. Be sure to ask if you can switch back to your old plan after your trip. Also be aware of prorated minutes when switching plans.

There are no roaming charges (your phone will say "Extended Network"), no per minute charges, and no long distance charges.

»www.verizonwireless.com/b2c/plan ··· s-mexico

If you do this, be sure to update your phone's PRL while in your home area before your trip.

reply to ttiiggy
Like Bob4 See Profile and Blogger See Profile have said, change you plan prior to going and have it start on your beginning billing date. I've done this already twice when I've gone to Mexico for two weeks. My billing cycle starts on the 4th, so I call VZW and have them start my new Int'l Plan on that day. As what the others have said, you get charged for the minutes used and not roaming. It's the same as being here in the U.S. and using your minutes. Of course if you go over your minutes...

The cost is $74.95 to start, which is what I've used. When I get back to the states, I call and have them put me back on my regular plan but at my new billing date just so I can avoid all those prorated charges. Good luck and have fun in Mexico.
Illegal aliens have always been a problem in the United States. Ask any Indian. Robert Orben

reply to ttiiggy
Go to T-Mobile (GSM w/SIM chip), and by cheap phones »www.walmart.com/ip/T-Mobile-Prep ··· 14053386
from T-Mobile or Walmart. Note this example is only GSM 850/1900 (Dual Band)- you need to find out what GSM band is used where you are going. This is also a prepaid so you can do a very inexpensive pay as you go plan for $10.
After 2 months (assuming you are not leaving right away), T-Mobile will unlock your phone at no charge and then you can put in whatever SIM chip you need and swap back when you return if you want.
For non-SIM chip phones (e.g. Spring, Verizon) you are always stuck to the carrier, no choice.

Here's some info of a frequent traveler to Mexico regarding cell phones.
Illegal aliens have always been a problem in the United States. Ask any Indian. Robert Orben

Dzyn Cre8
Minneapolis, MN
reply to ttiiggy
Good basics on that above link, if not a little too self-promotional.

That said, I have no personal gain from reminiscing over the services I once enjoyed...

So my 2cents - having gone with zero Spanish, and then lived there 3 years -
Other than the hassle of registration mentioned on link cited above, enacted during my stay, which I would think can be planned ahead for, including buying at a border/major transit location where they're glad to sell to you and will know the details...

I would recommend buying 2 cheap cell phones even for your short stay. My reasons, in no particular order, being: Cheap, Reliable, Safe.

I had the benefit that my partner is from Mexico, and knew what to advise. But I had to go on my own to shop for the phone & all, and his advice turned out to be right.
I used Movistar the whole time, with the same phone so I can speak to it being the best deal (in '07-'10).
I lived in a major metro area 2 hours outside of Mexico City and traveled around a good bit, through remote areas and towns too. I worked alot while there, so contact with clients was important.

(Info links in Spanish for Prepaid "Pay by the Second" »www.movistar.com.mx/Telefonia-mo ··· repago-Q)

• Cheap.
I got mine for =USD$20 -a Nokia 1112, was nearly the lowest-end phone of their offering in late '07-'09.
I looked at their current deals, all seems the same for the basics, including phones at that kind of price-point. They differ on battery life, but the Alcatel for $249 pesos has 5hrs while other have 2.

The best part is that you get free unlimited minutes/SMS to 2 numbers you select by opting in. (i.e.code*343) »www.movistar.com.mx/Telefonia-mo ··· egundo-Q
So the two of you can have all your minutes/SMS FREE. One of the 2 does not have to be a Movistar number.
Their site looks complex at first, but all works out once you get the gist of it.

Another tip, when you buy time in higher increments, the bonus time is disproportionately augmented as well, so it pays to start out with $200 pesos, since your stay is short, if you wanted that backup to be there.
These promotions gave it extra value, like this one:
If you buy the phone and activate right there they add on double the minutes for the cost. Movistar Promo
Promo follow through was 100%+.
So ~USD$20 ($200 pesos) would get you 55 minutes + bonus time added.

• Perfect signal. Even inside concrete buildings which is most of the structures I was in all day and night. Never missed/lost a call or message. Even while traveling, reasonably populated towns and semi-urban areas had signal. I came back to the USA totally unprepared for the service/signal failures I've now endured for 2 years. I was so NOT aware such issues could even exist, having had the old T-Mobile before that.

• No expensive equip to worry about getting stolen/targeted over. This was a very real risk for us, and for any woman alone for any real length of time- the less flashy the better. The only phones we ever witnessed being stolen, were mid-end to lower high-end ones, belonging to our Mexican friends. Of course, higher/lower risk depending on the area you'll be in. I was glad I could e casual about using mine, though I thought the admonition had been a bit paranoid in the beginning. It turned out to be true, so added to my comfort level while busing and shopping, in the many places I set it down on a table or it could have been snatched away effortlessly.

• No worries about your USA device settings, setup, accidental changes, or anything. And as for a cheapie phone- these low-end models have faded in our memories here, but they're still easy to use.
After my disappointment with USA service upon my return, I really wouldn't want to deal with any USA-based billing hassles or nonsense, but then again I just recently bailed out of T-Mobile and ported to Google Voice, but I digress.

So it looks like for USD$80-90 tops, you could have unlimited service for you both for your stated purposes. Presumably in one transaction and take 'em home. Refills are easy if you need 'em, and I never had any problem at any little shop that sells that company's refills. They all work fine. You get your confirmation while you're standing there. Less worry than messing with online transactions I think.

Re other cell vendors: I know Telcel & Nextel were more prestigious and $$$. Alcatel seemed the choice for exec levels who wanted consistent remote area service.

Hope some of this helps. Have a good time!
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