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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I swear I try to search the forum history before asking questions, but I don't see an easy way to filter results.... This is a question that requires constant updating, anyways, as tech advances.

I am currently with Verizon. I use 8-10 GB of data per month, on average (yes, it's a lot). I was just going to go with an unlimited plan with Verizon, until I read the fine print, which states the service will be cut off after 60 days of continuous use abroad, and the primary use of the phone has to be in the US. It's meant as a short term solution, not a long term option. I checked T-Mobile and Virgin Mobile, and they have similar fine print.

I will be in Mexico for 1 year, maybe 2 years, depending on the direction my education goes.

My plan is to port my number through Google Voice/Hangouts, so I'm keeping my US number and can still receive texts/calls. I'd like to get a Mexican SIM card for my existing iPhone. I am NOT interested in the pay-as-you-go options (buying minutes, etc.), or computer/laptop workarounds, as I use way too much data for that to make sense. I'll be using at least 5 GB/month, if not more.

So I'm worried I won't be able to get a contract/plan with a Mexican carrier, because I have no history in Mexico. I have excellent credit in the US, but I'm assuming Telcel won't care. I'll be on a student visa, which is technically a temporary resident visa ("residente temporal estudiante"). I'm not sure if this will help me?

I'm specifically looking at the Telcel Max Sin Limite 7000-12000 plan. I can't tell if this is a prepaid (month to month) plan, or if it is a contract. Reading the fine print leads me to believe I can choose either a "free plan" (month to month) or a contractual term? However, I don't see any language about documents/info required to establish the plan.

tl;dr: What do Mexican cell phone carriers require from foreigners to set up a phone plan?

Thanks!
 

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I swear I try to search the forum history before asking questions, but I don't see an easy way to filter results.... This is a question that requires constant updating, anyways, as tech advances.

I am currently with Verizon. I use 8-10 GB of data per month, on average (yes, it's a lot). I was just going to go with an unlimited plan with Verizon, until I read the fine print, which states the service will be cut off after 60 days of continuous use abroad, and the primary use of the phone has to be in the US. It's meant as a short term solution, not a long term option. I checked T-Mobile and Virgin Mobile, and they have similar fine print.

I will be in Mexico for 1 year, maybe 2 years, depending on the direction my education goes.

My plan is to port my number through Google Voice/Hangouts, so I'm keeping my US number and can still receive texts/calls. I'd like to get a Mexican SIM card for my existing iPhone. I am NOT interested in the pay-as-you-go options (buying minutes, etc.), or computer/laptop workarounds, as I use way too much data for that to make sense. I'll be using at least 5 GB/month, if not more.

So I'm worried I won't be able to get a contract/plan with a Mexican carrier, because I have no history in Mexico. I have excellent credit in the US, but I'm assuming Telcel won't care. I'll be on a student visa, which is technically a temporary resident visa ("residente temporal estudiante"). I'm not sure if this will help me?

I'm specifically looking at the Telcel Max Sin Limite 7000-12000 plan. I can't tell if this is a prepaid (month to month) plan, or if it is a contract. Reading the fine print leads me to believe I can choose either a "free plan" (month to month) or a contractual term? However, I don't see any language about documents/info required to establish the plan.

tl;dr: What do Mexican cell phone carriers require from foreigners to set up a phone plan?

Thanks!
My plan, with AT&T Mexico, is a monthly plan but I get 12 months for the price of 7 months by paying a year in advance. I get 2 GB of data, but I think they have other plans with more data. Text and voice are unlimited and the plan includes calls/text/data in Mexico, US and Canada.

I think the only things I needed to set it up were proof of address and money, but it was a while ago.
 

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We just went with TelCel - we bought a cheap 1200 peso phone and went with the 100 peso unlimited calling / 4 gigs for 21 days. Apple isn't well represented in our area and this plan met our needs. One of our concerns (and this may be unfounded) was a couple comments by the cell store rep's that swapping the SIM card cam effect many of the apps and accounts on your phone. As we are going back and forth between our new home here and the old one in Canada, we played it safe and bought a cheap mobile phone with pay as you go. We required a land line from MexTel for our internet and use that for most calls along with Skype etc. for calling out of country friends. We may have shown ID of some sort for the cell services, but nothing like MexTel where we had to show proof of residency and have a friend interpret for us.
 

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...
One of our concerns (and this may be unfounded) was a couple comments by the cell store rep's that swapping the SIM card cam effect many of the apps and accounts on your phone.
...
I swap Sim cards all the time. I have an unlocked phone that I bought independently of any phone company. I have a Mexican Sim, a US Sim, a German Sim and a Guatemalan Sim and just swap in the appropriate one for the country. I don't need the US Sim anymore since my Mexico Sim works in the US and Canada, but I use the German one every year in Europe. I have never had any issues with the phone apps or accounts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
One of our concerns (and this may be unfounded) was a couple comments by the cell store rep's that swapping the SIM card cam effect many of the apps and accounts on your phone.

....

We may have shown ID of some sort for the cell services, but nothing like MexTel where we had to show proof of residency and have a friend interpret for us.
I've read that some iOS apps aren't available in Mexico, so I'm bracing myself for that reality. Example: Cash, which is my primary method of receiving payment from my business. I'll have to figure something else out. I've also read that Google Voice/Hangouts has to be set up while in the US, or it won't work.

Anyways, I'm glad I'll just have to show ID, and that I won't have to gather a bunch of documents that I might not even have (like residency/utility bills/credit info).

Thanks!
 

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I swap Sim cards all the time. I have an unlocked e n or MexoaalmeatGuhbtothbphone that I bought independently of any phone company. I have a Mexican Sim, a US Sim, a German Sim and a Guatemalan Sim and just swap in the appropriate one for the country. I don't need the US Sim anymore since my Mexico Sim works in the US and Canada, but I use the German one every year in Europe. I have never had any issues with the phone apps or accounts.
Same here - SIM cards from Canada, Mexico, and Guatemala. No problem swapping them out. My iPhone does ask if I want to change my WhatsApp contact number to the new number when I put in the new SIM, but I always say no, so my WhatsApp account stays linked to my Canadian cell number, but still works fine with the Mexican or Guatemalan chip inserted.
 

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I swap Sim cards all the time. I have an unlocked phone that I bought independently of any phone company. I have a Mexican Sim, a US Sim, a German Sim and a Guatemalan Sim and just swap in the appropriate one for the country. I don't need the US Sim anymore since my Mexico Sim works in the US and Canada, but I use the German one every year in Europe. I have never had any issues with the phone apps or accounts.
Same here - SIM cards from Canada, Mexico, and Guatemala. No problem swapping them out. My iPhone does ask if I want to change my WhatsApp contact number to the new number when I put in the new SIM, but I always say no, so my WhatsApp account stays linked to my Canadian cell number, but still works fine with the Mexican or Guatemalan chip inserted.
 

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Same here - SIM cards from Canada, Mexico, and Guatemala. No problem swapping them out. My iPhone does ask if I want to change my WhatsApp contact number to the new number when I put in the new SIM, but I always say no, so my WhatsApp account stays linked to my Canadian cell number, but still works fine with the Mexican or Guatemalan chip inserted.
The problem I have with WhatsApp is that the only way to enter a phone number when sending a message is to give WhatsApp access to all of my contacts. I refuse to do this. I have about 3000 entries in my contacts list and I won't give it to WhatsApp. So I can only send messages to someone after they have sent me a message. Because I can reply to messages but I can't start new conversations. This is on a iPhone. I don't know if the Android version is different. If there is away around giving them access to all contacts, I would like to hear it.
 

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The problem I have with WhatsApp is that the only way to enter a phone number when sending a message is to give WhatsApp access to all of my contacts. I refuse to do this. I have about 3000 entries in my contacts list and I won't give it to WhatsApp. So I can only send messages to someone after they have sent me a message. Because I can reply to messages but I can't start new conversations. This is on a iPhone. I don't know if the Android version is different. If there is away around giving them access to all contacts, I would like to hear it.
To the best of my knowledge, giving WhatsApp access to my contacts is only so they can show you within the app those of your contacts who are also using WhatsApp. My contacts not using WhatsApp don't appear on the contact list within the app, and I don't believe the non-users ever receive any kind of message from WhatsApp (unlike LinkedIn and some other networking apps).
 

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To the best of my knowledge, giving WhatsApp access to my contacts is only so they can show you within the app those of your contacts who are also using WhatsApp. My contacts not using WhatsApp don't appear on the contact list within the app, and I don't believe the non-users ever receive any kind of message from WhatsApp (unlike LinkedIn and some other networking apps).
You are probably correct, but I am a little paranoid about not sharing too much information. I don't use FaceBook or Google search for the same reason. I do use Google maps, so they know what places interest me. I prefer to be a customer rather than a product. With both Google and Facebook, users are the product that they sell to advertisers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
The problem I have with WhatsApp is that the only way to enter a phone number when sending a message is to give WhatsApp access to all of my contacts. I refuse to do this. I have about 3000 entries in my contacts list and I won't give it to WhatsApp. So I can only send messages to someone after they have sent me a message. Because I can reply to messages but I can't start new conversations. This is on a iPhone. I don't know if the Android version is different. If there is away around giving them access to all contacts, I would like to hear it.
I don't allow WhatsApp access to my contacts, either. It could be totally different, since we are in different countries, but I can add numbers even though I don't allow access to my contacts.

Here is what my Privacy settings are for my iPhone, and how chats appear in WhatApp. Their names don't come up, just their numbers. I start a new chat by pressing the pen/paper icon in the upper righthand corner. Some of those I started, and other chats they started.
 

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I don't allow WhatsApp access to my contacts, either. It could be totally different, since we are in different countries, but I can add numbers even though I don't allow access to my contacts.

Here is what my Privacy settings are for my iPhone, and how chats appear in WhatApp. Their names don't come up, just their numbers. I start a new chat by pressing the pen/paper icon in the upper righthand corner. Some of those I started, and other chats they started.
That is strange. When I click the new Chat icon, I just get a screen telling me that WhatsApp doesn't have access to my contacts, and a button to go to settings, and a button to cancel.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Quick update:

I walked into a Telcel store in a mall in CDMX, and showed them the 7,000 MB (7 GB) monthly plan I wanted. The woman seemed really confused, and said, "But that is a monthly plan." I said yeah, exactly. She explained that I'd need this, that, and something other, plus references to get a monthly plan (this was in Spanish, and with the combo of mall noise and the language barrier, I only caught the last bit).

She offered me a prepaid plan, and I specified that I wanted a lot of data. She showed me a chart, and the largest amount was 4 GB, so that's what I took (plus a Mexican SIM card, of course).

Got home, tried to text my mom, and it wouldn't go through on either iMessage or SMS. I had apparently bought a data only plan, without the ability to text or call. I'm going to try buying a Telcel recharge card thingy from Oxxo, and see if I can add that to my existing "plan." I tried buying credit directly on MiTelcel online, but they needed to verify my credit card by making a small charge and me confirming the amount, except I couldn't do that because they charged in MXN and it shows up in my credit card portal in USD, so the numbers differed.

So I'm kind of irritated because I ended up with about half the data I normally use (I'll try to be really conservative with my data usage, I guess), and I can't SMS or call anyone, currently. I've already recruited my parents and some other family to WhatsApp, but it would be nice to have SMS, and I'm worried about not being able to make a call in case of emergency (or simply to communicate with businesses, etc.). I will try again in a few weeks when I move up to Queretaro (and maybe bring my Mexican host mom along with me), to get some clarification on why I can't get a monthly plan. That'd be so much more convenient than having to run to Oxxo every month.

Google Voice porting is in progress.

"Quick update" over.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I don't allow WhatsApp access to my contacts, either. It could be totally different, since we are in different countries, but I can add numbers even though I don't allow access to my contacts.
Another update: I can still do this with my Mexican Telcel SIM card, and without allowing access to my contacts. I kept my USA number on WhatsApp, though, rather than transferring it to my Telcel number. Perhaps it's a carrier-specific limitation.
 

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Just in case, when I needed to be super frugal, I used an app that assigns you a US number, and only requires data/internet connection to connect.

I don't remember what app this was, (i'm trying to google it, but no dice.)

It let me text for free unlimited, and would make phone calls, but you needed to buy minutes. It wasn't expensive, if you didn't want to buy minutes you could watch a commercial for a free 60 minutes or something.

From a quick browse, it seems like there may be other apps like this.
 

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Lately, I've been using Whatsapp for all my telephone calls.
 

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Wow!!!

Planning to move to Mexico in a few weeks to a month or two. Verizon definitely told me my unlimited plan would work there indefinitely, which I need, as I will run my in business in the states from Mexico. I will have to check more into this!!!
 

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Wow!!!

Planning to move to Mexico in a few weeks to a month or two. Verizon definitely told me my unlimited plan would work there indefinitely, which I need, as I will run my in business in the states from Mexico. I will have to check more into this!!!
I think it depends on whether you are fine with having a USA phone number ... for your purposes, it seems like that would be exactly what you want, so I expect you'll be fine. I've used my USA phone in Mexico often, no significant issues. Only small worry might be coverage, not all of MX is super well-covered with towers.

I'll footnote that I have only made phone calls and done texting. Data might have its own issues.

.
 
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