Sorting out phones and internet is an early priority once you’re living in Cabo. It can be a challenge to get yourself setup and satisfied as you were back home. Having a local phone number and then having your friends at home trying to dial you may have you keeping your old familiar number and phone from home. This blog is our quick start guide to sorting this out fast.
Internet & Home Phone
There are other options for home internet but Telmex is really the only one. In 2019 and 2020 Telmex has completed a network renewal and upgraded all home customers to Fibre Optic service. Unlimited upload and download enables alternate TV viewing options. To acquire you need to go to the Telmex office and navigate Google Translate to ask for a new service or to have the service in your name. For a new service you will need to put up a sign in your window so they can find your house and you need to be around because they tell in the next 7 days. Yup, that’s a pain but once you’re hooked up you’re good. If you need it faster, ask around (see our Networking page) for a “Guy” (with Telmex) who can connect you faster (after hours) para effectivo.
Telmex usually gives you a home phone number (its your account number) and the standard calling plan is unlimited North America (CA, US & MX) and is good for rentals. That said I’ve heard of people getting Internet only from Telmex. There a number of plans available, we stream Netflix and other video just fine on PAQUETE 599 for 639 Pesos per month.
If you’re renting, it doesn’t matter the name on the Telmex bill just make sure you pay it. Remember everyone! Always pay the bill or you get cut-off.
If you’re having to keep a number from home (or bring one with you for the winter) as a home phone number, standbys like Vonage and Magic Jack and others can delivery Voice Over IP home phone services.
Mexican Cellular Phones
US and Canadian Cellular Phones
Lots of expats come here and think they need to keep their US or Canadian cell phones. Unless you are part time it can be an expensive proposition. Canadian cellular carriers have very expensive fees for their Mexico plans ($10 per day). US cellular carriers have better plans that cover Mexico but will eventually figure out you are spending more of your time in Mexico and kick you off their services. I had a T-Mobile plan where that happened to me. That said I have heard many with AT&T (USA and not AT&T Mexico) have been in Cabo pretty much full time without a peep from AT&T. Have one at your own peril – and cost, see above for prices for a local phone.
VOIP Alternatives to Cell Phones
When you absolutely have to have US or Canadian phone number if only for family to call you there are many Voice Over IP (VOIP) alternatives. Not all work perfectly as there are rumours that Telcel and Telmex (both owned by Carlos Slim) throttle data flow to many of these apps in order to discourage their use. Go figure?!?
Magic Jack – the landline sensation is a phone app as well.
Skype – With a Skype account you can add a Skype Number to it and can pick a number from almost anywhere in the world. A Skype number is about US $50 per year. We have tested this and Telcel doesn’t impede inbound calls on Skype.
Google Voice – Google voice is a good option for a US number or to port over an existing US number. The Google Hangouts app receives and makes calls to US and Canadian numbers for no charge.
Fongo – Fongo is a good option for a Canadian number or to port over an existing Canadian number. The Fongo app receives and makes calls to Canadian and US numbers for no charge.
TextNow – is a good option for a US or Canadian number for voice calls and texts. Best used on Wifi. They also have a desktop app (like WhatsApp) that makes texting easy.
WhatsApp – this works really well when you can get your friends and family to get on WhatsApp. No dialing numbers or voice network involved. Great quality voice and video calls over data and wifi.
Facebook Messenger – another great option that works really well when you can get your friends and family to get on Facebook Messenger. No dialing numbers or voice network involved. Great quality voice and video calls over data and wifi.
In August 2019, the Mexican national phone system was upgraded to allow regular dialing as in the US or Canada. Gone are the old 044 / 045 / 01 prefixes for cell phones. If you live in the U.S. or Canada, the new way to call Mexico will be using the country code 52 and then the 10 digits of the Mexican phone number.
US or Canada ► Mexico
When dialing from the US or Canada from a land line (or cell phone) in Mexico dial:
011 – for outbound international dialing
52 – the country code for Mexico
the ten digit number
Example: 011 52 (624) 129-7975
Mexico ► US or Canada
When dialing from Mexico from a land line (or cell phone) to the US or Canada, dial:
00 – for outbound international dialing
1 – the country code for US and Canada
the ten digit number
Example: 00 1 (872) 222-6726
The + Symbol
The + symbol is universal in all dialing systems for calling internationally and is available on all cell phones. For example, if you are calling Cabo Real Estate Services your would dial +52-624-129-7975. In your phone’s contact list if you put the +1 in front of all your US and Canadian and +52 in front of all your Mexican numbers they will dial regardless of where you are. When you are in the US and Canada the dialing system will still dial correctly for the +1 numbers and your Mexican numbers will be routed correctly with the +52. The same goes in reverse when you are in Mexico. The simplest thing to do is to change all the numbers in your address book to include + and the country code.
Dialing from Mexico or US or Canada from a cell phone, dial
“+” – for outbound international dialing
1 or 52 – the country code
the ten digit number
+1 (872) 222-6726
+52 (624) 129-7975
Dialing US or CDN 800 numbers from Mexico
I have included this because the information is out there. Every time I tried this protocol it told me I would be charged international calling rates so beware. I just use one of my VOIP apps like Google Voice or Skype to dial these.
For 800 numbers: Dial 001 880 & the seven digit number
For 866 numbers: Dial 001 883 & the seven digit number
For 877 numbers: Dial 001 882 & the seven digit number
For 888 numbers: Dial 001 881 & the seven digit number