Purchasing a Mexico City SIM card in USA
December 16, 2015 2:09 PM   Subscribe

Are there any reputable sources from whom I can purchase a Mexico City SIM card while I am still in the USA?

Before a recent trip to the UK, my sister (who lives in England) purchased a UK sim card for my iPhone 4s and mailed it to me in the US. It saved me a lot of time & hassle and proved to be very beneficial to be able to use my phone in the UK as soon as the plane landed.

I'd now like to be able to do the same thing on an upcoming trip to Mexico City. I know that I can purchase a SIM card in Mexico City, but my trip is pretty short and I'd prefer not to waste any time tracking one down once I land. If I can take care of it before I leave, it's one less to worry about once I get there.
posted by ericthegardener to Technology (7 answers total)
I don't have a lead for how to get Mexican SIMs in the US, but I do deal with cross-North America travel regularly, so have a couple of...if not suggestions, then some knowledge to share.

First, you don't need a DF-specific SIM card. Mexico (finally!) abolished local vs. long-distance calling, so any Mexican SIM will do. The biggest companies are Telcel, Movistar, and IUSACELL (which is rebranding as...AT&T or something?). They all suck.

Second, you can actually buy a SIM right in the airport, assuming you're flying into DF (Benito Juárez) and not Toluca or Puebla or something. There's a Movistar office on the upper retail area of Terminal 1. It's the "Client Service Center" (Centro a Atención a Clientes) but you can do anything there.

Third, if you're US-based, most carriers have a Mexico or North-America plan at no extra cost. That's probably the easiest route, unless you need to have Mexicans call or text or even whatsapp *you*, which they won't do on a US or Canada line. I know that one from experience. Cheap calling is a beneficial side effect of so much northward migration from Latin America.

I highly recommend not bothering with the local SIM if you don't actually need it.
posted by migrantology at 2:53 PM on December 16, 2015

Thanks for the info migrantology! Did Mexico just recently abolish the local vs. long distance thing? When I was there in at the end of 2013 I still had to buy a Mexico City specific SIM. Also, do the US carrier's Mexico/US plans typically include data? I will definitely need a data plan. If they don't, I may end up purchasing my SIM at the airport, as you suggest.
posted by ericthegardener at 3:00 PM on December 16, 2015

When I was looking into cross-border plans, the Mexico add-on was not free for most carriers. Verizon's plans still have ridiculous per minute charges. I ended up just getting a Telcel SIM card, which works in my 4s. I'm sure you can get one in the airport (as well as any Oxxo). I can also mail you one if you go this route and want to have it taken care of before the trip.
posted by FiveSecondRule at 3:29 PM on December 16, 2015

Did Mexico just recently abolish the local vs. long distance thing?

Sometime between 2013 and May 2015, I believe.

Also, do the US carrier's Mexico/US plans typically include data?

Mine from Sprint does, up to a monthly limit which is pretty high, although I don't remember exactly what it was. Maybe like 2 gb? There's enough wifi around* that I don't pay that much attention. But I'm not trying to watch movies on my phone data either.

I do have a Movistar SIM as well, however.

When I was looking into cross-border plans, the Mexico add-on was not free for most carriers.

I have Sprint on my US phone, current partner has AT&T, ex had either Bell or Rogers (both Canada, I can't remember when one contract ended and the other began). For all three it was either a nominal fee (I think AT&T was a one-time $5 charge?) or less (Sprint: cost of the phone call). Pricing rates are often hidden and not online, and you can get deals by calling and asking, in my experience.

*hint: as of right now, any infinitummovil username/password works with any infinitummovil access point. So you can get coffee once at a certain green-and-mermaid logo'd coffee chain (among others) and use the same log-in anywhere you see infinitummovil wifi.
posted by migrantology at 6:02 PM on December 16, 2015

T-Mobile Simple Choice has unlimited calling, texting, and 4G LTE data in US and Mexico. I recently went to Tulum and it all worked flawlessly with no extra charges.
posted by Karaage at 7:02 PM on December 16, 2015

That T-Mobile plan looks great but I'm on AT&T and their plan isn't nearly as good.
posted by ericthegardener at 7:49 PM on December 16, 2015

I just came back from Mexico. I use att. I was able to add for free (no add'l charge) an unlimited txt and 1Gb of data plan to my iphone plan your calls as I understand it come out of my monthly bucket. My wife got her own Gb of data and txt as well.
posted by prk60091 at 7:51 PM on December 16, 2015

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