Home How To Guide How To Stay Connected in Mexico

How To Stay Connected in Mexico

by Erin May

How to Stay Connected in Mexico

Mexico has one of the most well developed telephone network in Latin American and offers a wide range of telephone services. 

This guide provides you with options to keep communication costs to a minimum when traveling or living in Mexico, allowing you to stay connected with friends and family back home.

Internet Telephony 

Telmex is Mexico’s dominating telephone operator and provider which has resulted in telephone charges being quite high compared to Canada and the U.S.  However, new technologies are making great headway through Telmex’s domination of phone call charges, especially long distance.

Nowadays, the use of high speed internet to make voice calls (known as VoIP, Voice over Internet Protocol) in a user-friendly manner has resulted in people skipping high long distance phone charges and keeping in touch with family and friends for low costs.  Internet telephone also allows includes video calls so you can both see and hear the caller!

To use VOIP as a means of keeping connected you will need to download the free VOIP software to your computer and will need to be connected to a high speed internet connection.  You will require a headset, and a microphone, which are often built into your computer, netbook or laptop.  To use the video option, you will require a web-cam, which can be purchased at a low cost or may already be built into your computer.   

The two best known internet telephony service providers are Vonage and Skype.  Once you have downloaded the VOIP software you can sign up for a free account and choose an ID or phone number that will enable you to make voice or video calls.  Your contacts and personal settings are saved on the server so your ‘phone book’ can be accessed from anywhere in the world from any computer.

Skype calls between Skype users are currently free with calls to non-Skype users costing extra.  You can also buy credit for your account using a credit card or Paypal to enable you to call from your computer to regular phone lines as well as mobile calls to most countries around the world.

Calling Cards

Many Mexican companies offer calling cards with discounts over regular long-distance call rates. You access these by dialing a toll-free or local rate access number and then dialing the long distance number you want to reach.

Purchasing a calling card with an alternative carrier will save you a lot of money on long distance and international calls. Calling cards are simple to buy and use as they are available at most kiosks and convenience stores.  There are many different brands/companies that you can choose from and these alternative carrier cards offer significantly more minutes on Mexican long-distance calls, calls to mobiles and especially calls abroad, than the equivalent amount on a Telmex calling card (or even, from a private phone line serviced by Telmex).

Most often you can conveniently use the same calling card to top-up your “credit” via the internet with a credit card.  The website is typically printed on the card in both english and spanish.

Mexico Cell Phones

Mexico’s cellular telephone network is quite extensive. Telcel is a mobile operations spin-off of Telmex with vast network coverage across Mexico.  Outside of big cities, Telcel might be the only network available, however other operaters are developing in more remote areas. Because Mexico is divided into roaming regions, rates increase significantly when you travel outside of your phone’s home region.

Types of cell phone plans include:

Contact Cell Phones – these contracts offer lower call charges but come in terms of 12-24 month minimum.  This is handy for those staying in Mexico for longer periods of time.

Pre-Pay Cell Phone Kits – these offer easy access to the phone network without the need for a contract or minimum term. However, the call and roaming charges are the highest.  For between $45-$85 CDN, you can buy a “phone kit” that comes with a phone, charger and, usually, up to half the cost price in air time included.

Mexico SIMM Cards – SIMM cards are little chips acting as the “brain” of more modern cell phones.  They hold the phone’s number as well as call credit and account details.  SIMM cards are often inter-changeable between different phones, which may allow you to use your own cell phone when you travel simply by substituting the SIMM inside of it while you are in Mexico. 

Dialing Codes and Protocols in Mexico

Dialing Mexico from Canada & US

011 – dial first for international calls made from the USA or Canada

  • 52 – Country Code for Mexico
  • area code – 2 – 3 digit area codes
  • phone number – 7 – 8 digits; area code + number total 10 digits

Dialing Long-distance from Mexico

For national long-distance calls (within Mexico) the code is 01 plus the area code and phone number.

For international long-distance calls, first dial 00, then the country code (for the U.S. and Canada the country code is 1, so you would dial 00 + 1 + area code + 7 digit number).

Country Codes:

  • U.S. and Canada 1
  • United Kingdom 44
  • Australia 61
  • New Zealand 64
  • South Africa 27

Calling Toll-Free Numbers in Canada and US from Mexico 

If you are in Mexico and you want to contact someone in the USA or Canada who is advertising a toll-free number, you will need to dial “001” then the 10 digit 800 number excluding the 1. 

For example:  001-800-123-4567

Landline Calls within Mexico

To make local landline calls within Mexico, omit the area code and dial direct, just like you would do at home.

Dialing Mexico Cell Phones within Mexico

The dialing format for calls to a cell phone is: 011 + 52 + 1 + area code (above) + number

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Colin OShea May 15, 2017 - 5:48 pm

Eriin Brent Just touching base and to tell you how much I appreciate the info on Mexico. From driving down to living there. to connecting to there telepnone systems. You represent Huatulco and Mexico very well. Thank you. Looking forward to seeing you next winter

Erin May May 26, 2017 - 7:12 pm

Thank you for the kind words Colin. I am glad you enjoy our complimentary info. If we can help you find a rental next season please let us know. Saludos!


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