How to Buy a SIM Card in Mexico – The Most Economical and Easiest Way (2023)

Getting a SIM card in Mexico is EASY and CHEAP. Ah, indeed. It's one of the easiest and cheapest places I've gotten data from, and that's saying a lot. The process is super easy and the internet packages are really great, they offer a lot more benefits than you are probably used to.

Since it's so easy to get a SIM card in Mexico, you probably won't need to roam with your current provider, saving you a lot of money and a headache.

This blog will checkatabout SIM cards and mobile phone tariffs in MexicoWith so much detail, you'll think you've already done it yourself. I will explain you exactly how to get a Mexico SIM card, which company you should use, how much it should cost, how to get data/minutes, even what internet package deals are on offer.

How to buy a SIM card in Mexico

How to Buy a SIM Card in Mexico – The Most Economical and Easiest Way (1)

Before I jump right in... to get a SIM card in Mexico,You need an unlocked phone. Most phones these days come unlocked straight from the store, but if they don't, unlock it before you travel. Just call your home carrier and they will help you unlock it by phone

Cell phone plans in Mexico are CHEAP.Being from Canada, we have the most expensive mobile data costs in the world, so enjoying amazingly cheap plans in Mexico is a real treat! People in the US have been spoiled with affordable cell phone plans for years, but those in Mexico are often cheaper.

Companies offering prepaid SIM cards in Mexico:

  • Telcel
  • AT&T
  • movie star

How to Buy a SIM Card in Mexico – The Most Economical and Easiest Way (2)

Telcel is the best of the three.It's not that AT&T or Movistar are bad, it's that Telcel is the most popular, has the best coverage and is the easiest to use. If you can, choose Telcel.

Ways to get a SIM card in Mexico:

  • At an OXXO store in Mexico
  • at the airport in Mexico
  • Online and shipped ahead of your trip

Without a doubt, OXXO is the cheapest and easiest way to do it.

  • If you receive one after landing at the airport in Mexico, you will likely be charged 2x to 10x the actual value.
  • Again, if you buy one online (e.g. from Amazon) and have it shipped to you, it's more expensive and good luck if it actually works. We bought TWO online before our trip and they didn't work so we just had to go to the OXXO anyway.

How to Buy a SIM Card in Mexico – The Most Economical and Easiest Way (3)

Just choose OXXO.

This is Mexico, there's an OXXO on every corner. Where we live in Mazatlán, we have 4 of these on our street, not to mention dozens more in our neighborhood. At OXXO you can do it all: SIM cards, snacks, coffee, pay bills, send or receive international money transfers, deposit cash on debit or credit cards and even buy bus tickets.

Go to the nearest OXXO store to buy your SIM card.This is also where you can top up your account or add new phone packages, but more on that later.

(Video) Getting a SIM card in Mexico (Telcel) - Mexico Travel 2022

How to buy a SIM card from OXXO

If you speak Spanish you will know exactly what to do and what to order.However, if you don't speak Spanish, here are some tips:

  • People who work at OXXO may refer to the SIM as'CHIP'. Point to your phone and say "SIM" and "CHIP", they will know what you want.
  • say now„Telcel“ so they know how to sell you a Telcel brand SIM card. This was supposed to be M$50 so you might hear them say"fifty pesos".
  • Paying M$50 for this SIM card is equivalent to CAD 3.43 or USD 2.62.Cheap right!

They give you a plastic card with your SIM card on it. Does it look like this:

How to Buy a SIM Card in Mexico – The Most Economical and Easiest Way (4)

Depending on the type of phone you have, you may need a different size SIM card. The 3 most common sizes are:Standard-SIM(15 x 25 mm), microsim cards(12x15mm) and Nanosim cards(8,8 x 12,3 mm).
Don't worry, the SIM card you just bought from OXXO comes in all 3 sizes. You just have to pull out the size your phone uses from the plastic card they give you.So easy!

You can also find your new telephone number on the outside of the plastic card that you receive, so don't miss it! Add your new Mexico phone number to your contacts on your phone so you always have it with you.

Note: When you buy a SIM card from OXXO, it comes with the bare minimum of data, so you can basically go online to buy a pay-as-you-go package. So your phone is mostly "naked" and needs to be placed on a plan/bundle.

Also keep in mind that depending on the Oxxo store, sometimes you have to buy your first top-up together with the purchase of your SIM / chip. So if they want to charge you 250 pesos instead of 200 pesos, that's why.

How to buy minutes/data packs on your Telcel SIM

Buying minutes, data, or a pay-as-you-go phone plan is called for'load' and you have two options to buy one:In person at OXXO or online at

Charging in the OXXO:

Since you already buy your SIM card in the OXXO, you can also deposit/top up a package there. That's how it's done:

  • Go to the counter and say:"Please charge".
  • Then say:„Telcel“.
  • They will show you a screen with all Telcel packages. All of them are called by name how much they cost. If this is your first time, you probably don't know what you get with each package, so opt for a mid-range package like 150M$ or 200M$ ("one hundred and fifty"Ö"two hundred" in Spanish).
  • Then they will ask"Number?"You ask for your cell phone number. If you don't speak Spanish, just show it on your phone or write it down.
  • They will apply the package in seconds and collect your payment.
  • You will immediately receive an SMS text message confirming your package. It will be in Spanish, but you can always copy and paste it into Google Translate if you want to know exactly what it says.
  • Every time you need a refill, just go to the store and repeat this process.You make hundreds of these a day.

(Video) How To Use Your Phone in Mexico | BEST SIM CARD FOR TRAVELLERS

Online top-up at

This is the method I used because I wanted to browse the different packages. That's how it's done:

  • BecomesMiTelcel.comand register an account with your new phone number.If you don't speak Spanish, right click on your browser and press "Translate to English" and your browser will update all the text on the page.
  • Verify your account with a password sent to your phone via SMS.
  • Then log in and click(English):'package' SoUnlimited friend packs(Spanish):'package'So'Unlimited Friends Packs'.Yes, they call your phone your "friend" with Telcel, so don't be confused if you think you're buying minutes for a friend of yours.
  • Below you can see all kinds of different packages. YouJust select the one you wantand follow the steps to select it and pay with your credit card. You will receive an SMS text message once the package is shipped.

↓ In English:

↓ In Spanish:

→ USE:If for any reason you are unable to top up your TelCel balance on the MiTelCel website,You MAY use a third party website.We used the sitewww.recarga.comto charge our Telcel phones. They charge a small premium, but it works like a charm!

We use this third-party top-up site when we are located in the US or Canada.

The best cell phone plans in Mexico

Again, I think Telcel has the best plans!

Here is an example of just some of the plans available with Telcel in Mexico. So you don't oversleep, I'm including ONLY the cheapest plan, the mid-range plan I always get, and the most expensive plan they offer. This way you can see the range and get a good idea of ​​the costs.

Telcel cheapest tariff/recharge offers:

20 Mexican pesos

(1.40 CAD or 1 USD)

Admittedly, this isn't really a PLAN since it only lasts 24 hours, but it will get you a phone that works for a day when you're on a very low budget.

  • 100 MB of data
  • Unlimited calls and texts to Mexico, Canada and the USA.
  • 200 MB for social networks
  • lasts 24 hours

Telcel's best mid-range plan/top-up deals:

150 Mexican pesos

(11 CAD or 8 USD)


That's the plan I always fill up with. I don't know why but it's my favorite.

  • 2GB of data
  • Unlimited calls and texts to Mexico, Canada and the USA.
  • Unlimited use of the social media app
  • 500 MB for "Claro Música" (which is like a Mexican "Spotify")
  • lasts 26 days

The most expensive plan/top-up offered by Telcel:

500 Mexican pesos

(35 CAD or 25 USD)

This is the most expensive plan I have ever seen from Telcel. It's quite packed with data, so it's good for heavier users.

  • 6GB of data
  • Unlimited calls and texts to Mexico, Canada and the USA.
  • Unlimited use of the social media app
  • 500 MB for "Claro Música" (which is like a Mexican "Spotify")
  • lasts 33 days

Benefits with Telcel prepaid plans:

free social networks

Just keep in mind that you may not need as large a data package in Mexico as you typically do in Canada or the US.You actually get free social media data when you use the apps. That's what I mean:You don't count most of your social media usage among the MB in your data pack.

You can do almost anything in itFacebook, Facebook Messenger, Twitter, Snapchat, WhatsApp and Instagram without consuming your own data. You can e.g. B. browsing timelines and feeds, sending messages, uploading photos, liking or commenting on things, etc. The only thing that doesn't seem to be included is streaming videos on social media.

Unlimited calls and texts to the US and Canada

All of these Telcel plans also come with unlimited text messaging and free calls to Canada or the United States. What a crazy bargain!

free roaming

Telcel hatFREE ROAMINGwhen you travel to Canada and the USA!

Yes! Telcel has the most(already incredibly cheap)the packs actually come with FREE ROAMING! That means if you're making a return trip to Canada or the US, your Telcel plan will work perfectly at no extra charge.

All 3 packages I mentioned above have it, even the smallest one.

Does the Telcel SIM card work in Canada and the US?


I returned to Canada with my Telcel SIM card still in my phone and it works perfectly! Since the Telcel plans mentioned above have free roaming, it just connects to any of the Canadian cell towers and works with my super cheap Mexican plan. I've been using it for 1 month so far with no problems.I will keep updating this blog to see how many months in a row it will make me hike!


I first wrote this article in October 2019 and have some important updates on using the plan in Canada.

We left Mexico and returned to Canada in March 2020 due to the unknowns of Covid. Of course we brought our TelCel SIM card.

The BIG NEWS: Roaming, including all calls and data, has been working flawlessly in Canada for 8 months! We never thought it would work for so long!

Both my husband and I continued topping up our pack through and data and minutes in Canada without going back to Canadian carriers.

Update from June 2022:

We continue to use our free roaming TelCel when traveling between Mexico, Canada and the US and it works perfectly every time.

Checking data/packet usage on Telcel

How to Buy a SIM Card in Mexico – The Most Economical and Easiest Way (10)

There are many ways to check your usage, but don't worry, Telcel will text you when you're done.

If you want to check it yourself, you can do it in two ways:

(Video) How To Use Your Cell Phone Internationally | Travel Tips & Advice

  • you can easyEnter (the same site where you buy packages)and check your consumption. It's easy to find on the first page of your dashboard.
  • If you have a Google Play or iTunes account associated with your new Mexico phone number, you can do thatDownload the MiTelcel application.

Data speeds with Telcel

Speeds are great! I use my phone every day with no complaints.As a rule, you will receive 4G nationwide.

In fact, the internet provider we had at our apartment in Mazatlán was TERRIBLE, so I had to use my cell phone to connect almost every day.(We've switched it to fiber now, but for the first 3 weeks we had an agonizing 1MBPS download and 0.20MBPS upload.)

How to Buy a SIM Card in Mexico – The Most Economical and Easiest Way (11)

I just ran some speed tests with my Telcel mobile account and this is the average result:

The highestDOWNLOADThe test came back with me50 MBPS, but with an average result around25-30 Mbit/s.

The highestUPThe test returned at25 MBit/s, but with an average result around12-18 Mbit/s.

Buying a cell phone or smartphone in Mexico

If you lose or damage your phone, Mexico is a great place to get a cheap replacement. You can find them in convenience stores, malls, supermarkets or Walmart.

you can get onecell phone burner cheapwith some basic functions for349 Mexican pesos.(24 CAD or 18 USD)

How to Buy a SIM Card in Mexico – The Most Economical and Easiest Way (12)

If you need a smartphone with all the trimmings, you can choose oneMotorola Moto E5Only for2,290 Mexican pesos.(158 CAD or 120 USD)
It runs on Android, has a great camera and a nice big screen. It's a great replacement for a lost or damaged Samsung that won't break the bank.

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We hope this guide gave you a step-by-step explanation of how to get a SIM card in Mexico!

How to Buy a SIM Card in Mexico – The Most Economical and Easiest Way (14)

How to Buy a SIM Card in Mexico – The Most Economical and Easiest Way (15)

Follow me on Instagram:@kashlee

Other related posts:
  • 3 Cities in Mexico Rated by Travelers as the Best in the World
  • Is Mazatlan, Mexico safe for tourists?
  • How to get a SIM card in Vietnam

Article originally published October 2019, with updates

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