Monterrey - Post Report Question and Answers

Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

I use a home-country plan, but a local plan is cheaper and easy to set up. - Feb 2021

Kept home country plan. WhatsApp is popular here. - Sep 2018

I didn't have one. Post issued. - Mar 2014

US government personnel are provided with a cell phone upon arrival for security reasons. - Oct 2012

The consulate provided cell phones for all employees and spouses. - Oct 2010

Telcel is the main company here for cell phones, and we've had zero issues. Most people get a pay-as-you-go phone because the plans are cheaper. It just depends on what you prefer. - Jul 2010

Most cell service here is GSM, and an unlocked phone from the US can be placed in service quite quickly. There are several cell options, with TelCel (first cousin of TelMex, the local phone monopoly) being the easiest and most popular option. TelCel is GSM, so an unlocked phone only needs a new SIM card to come to life. Prepaid service is the only realistic option for most foreigners, unless you have a Mexican issued credit card and a bit of luck. For about US$15, you can purchase a new SIM card for the prepaid service. You can purchase credit at any grocery or convenience store, with in the form of a card with a scratch off bar, or by simply giving the cashier your telephone number. (The cash register reports the purchase to TelCel almost instantly-- and no nasty card with tiny numbers to deal with.) In theory it is also possible to add time at select ATM machines, although I haven't tried. Nextel phones can work in Mexico, or be purchased locally. Their service is no cheaper here than in the U.S., but is another option. Forget about a Sprint phone, at the present time. Roaming coverage is no more than spotty. - Jan 2008

Unless you are a Mexican citizen or have a cell phone sponsored by your company, it is very difficult to get contract plans. Most expats use pay-as-you-go phones which are fine. TelCel and Movistar are the 2 biggest companies. Nextel walkie talkie phones are popular as well. - Jan 2008

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