Mexico SIM Cards: Everything You Need To Know | 2023 - A Broken Backpack (2023)

If you’re planning on visiting Mexico soon, you may want to buy a Mexico SIM card to facilitate your travels.

Now, you may be wondering how to buy a SIM card in Mexico, or if you can buy it before your trip. Don’t worry – we got you.

In this guide, we’ll explain where to buy a SIM card in Mexico, how to top up your SIM card, and how to buy one online.

🤳Just want a Mexico SIM card fast? Buy one on Amazon.

Before you start, let’s see if you actually need a SIM card in Mexico. If you don’t mind being without Data, you could probably rely on hotels, cafés, and restaurants that provide Wifi.

Although, when my partner and I go around Mexico, we love to have access to a map, we want to be able to communicate with each other when we are not together, and frankly, it makes our lives easier!

You should note that if you’re American or Canadian, your mobile phone provider may be offering service in Mexico.

So, if that’s your case, you won’t be needing a SIM card for Mexico.

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Contents hide

Best SIM Card In Mexico

How To Buy A SIM Card In Mexico

Buying A SIM Card in An OXXO Store

How To Buy A Mexico SIM Card Online

How To Buy An eSIM Card For Mexico

Airalo eSIM Mexico

Holafly eSIM Mexico

How Much Does A SIM Card Cost In Mexico

How To Top Up A Mexico SIM Card

Final Thoughts On SIM Cards In Mexico

Best SIM Card In Mexico

The best prepaid SIM card in Mexico is Telcel. I personally used Telcel during my stay in Mexico and everything was fine.

Telcel is the largest mobile phone company in Mexico meaning you’ll get more coverage across the country.

That said, they offer options with unlimited social media. Yes, you read that right, some social media such as Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp won’t count towards your internet usage.

There are other SIM card providers in Mexico, but we strongly recommend Telcel.

How To Buy A SIM Card In Mexico

You can either buy a Telcel prepaid SIM card in person at the international airport, in an OXXO convenience store, or on Amazon.

We recommend buying your SIM card in an OXXO store if you wish to find the cheapest option possible.

Usually, you can expect higher costs at the airport, or via Amazon.

Below, you’ll find more information to learn how to buy a SIM card in an OXXO store.

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Buying A SIM Card in An OXXO Store

The SIM cards are usually next to the cashier. You’ll see different data plans. You can point to the Telcel SIM prepaid card you’re interested in buying.

Then, they’ll give you the package and a receipt, but you’ll need to install your SIM card yourself.

You simply need to open up your phone with the little thingy to open the SIM card compartment, add your new Mexican SIM card in there, and voilà!

If you wish to learn more about the costs of buying a SIM card in an OXXO store, keep reading. We’ll get back to this later.

How To Buy A Mexico SIM Card Online

If you wish to have your SIM card ready for your arrival, you could also purchase it online on websites like Amazon.

Here’s an overview of the costs:

  • SIM-only (that you can recharge online): around $18
  • Prepaid SIM card with 2GB: around $28
  • Prepaid SIM card with 4GB: around $40

Now, this can be wonderful if it works, but sadly many people reported that their SIM card didn’t work as planned on arrival. Is it a mistake on their behalf, or couldn’t they understand the SMS in Spanish?

It’s hard to tell. Some people also reported that it worked just fine. So, it’s up to you to decide if the risk is worth taking.

If you don’t want to risk it, I’d recommend buying it in person in Mexico.

Alternatively, if you are based in the United States, you could purchase a SIM card on Simify.

They have a SIM card that works in the US, Canada, and Mexico for 15 days. You’ll get 6GB for $40.

But there’s another solution worth considering if you wish to have data immediately on arrival.

How To Buy An eSIM Card For Mexico

Finally, if your mobile phone supports eSIM cards, this could be a brilliant alternative!

If you’re not sure what eSIM is and want to learn more about it – you can read my guide explaining eSIM for travelers.

Airalo eSIM Mexico

Airalo offers eSIM plans in Mexico.

Here’s an overview of the plans available:

  • 1 GB, valid for 7 days for $8
  • 2 GB, valid for 15 days for $15
  • 3 GB, valid for 30 days for $21
  • 5 GB, valid for 30 days for $32.50

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If you wish to try it out, you can get a 10% discount by signing up on Airalo and using this code: ABB10.

Holafly eSIM Mexico

Alternatively, you could look at your options onHolafly. You can read ourHolafly review to learn more about this eSIM store.

Here’s an overview of the plans available:

  • Unlimited data, valid for 5 days for $19
  • Unlimited data, valid for 7 days for $27
  • Unlimited data, valid for 10 days for $34
  • Unlimited data, valid for 15 days for $47
  • Unlimited data, valid for 20 days for $54
  • Unlimited data, valid for 30 days for $64
  • Unlimited data, valid for 60 days for $84
  • Unlimited data, valid for 90 days for $99

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How Much Does A SIM Card Cost In Mexico

The initial cost is higher because you need to buy the SIM card too. If you’re staying long-term, you’ll be able to top up instead of buying a new SIM card every time.

We had originally bought our Telcel SIM cards in an OXXO store for around EUR 12 (or $14, or MXN 280). If my memory is good, we only had a few GB of data (probably between 2-4).

Obviously, if you need more data, the cost will be higher.

Keep reading to learn more about the costs of topping up below.

How To Top Up A Mexico SIM Card

When it’s time to top up your Mexico SIM card, you’ll have two options. You can either go back to the OXXO store to top up, or you can do it online. Click here to get started.

Note that the website is only available in Spanish, so I’ll share screenshots of the different steps with you.

The steps below are for the Internet only, but you can browse other options if you wish to make calls.

Step 1: Browse the internet packages available. I usually go for Internet Amigo 300, which gave me 5 GB and unlimited data for social media networks – valid for 30 days.

You’ll find several options between MXN 50 and 500 depending on the timeframe and data needed.

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Step 2: Choose a package and click on the purple button “Lo Quiero”.

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Step 3: Then, you’ll see two options appear. Click on “Compra Ahora” to buy it right away.

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Step 4: Enter your Telcel phone number twice (you can find it on the SIM card package). Then, click on “Continuar”.

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Step 5: On the next screen, you’ll need to enter the following information:

  1. Card number
  2. Date of expiration
  3. CVV
  4. Zip code *
  5. Email address

Then, press on “Continuar”.

* Now, as my Revolut travel card is linked to my European address, I wasn’t able to enter a Mexican ZIP code. So, I simply typed the one suggested there “00000” – and it worked.

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If this option doesn’t work for you, or if you’d rather go through the process in English, you can always head to Recharge.com. It’s slightly more expensive, but it’s fairly easy to use. I personally topped up via Telcel’s website a few times and it always worked fine for me.

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Final Thoughts On SIM Cards In Mexico

Having a Mexico SIM card is definitely great when traveling around the country.

Not only does it makes your life easy, but it’s also safer.

As safety can be an issue in Mexico, having a working SIM card can help you feel safer.

Traveling to Mexico soon? Read one of the following blog posts:

  • Backpacking Mexico
  • Best hostels in Cancun
  • Best place to live in Mexico

FAQs

Mexico SIM Cards: Everything You Need To Know | 2023 - A Broken Backpack? ›

Traveltomtom recommends buying a Telcel sim card for Mexico. Telcel has by far the best 4G/5G network coverage in Mexico and for less than $10 USD you get unlimited social media apps, calling and texting plus 6 GB data for surfing the internet.

What is the best SIM card for Mexico? ›

Traveltomtom recommends buying a Telcel sim card for Mexico. Telcel has by far the best 4G/5G network coverage in Mexico and for less than $10 USD you get unlimited social media apps, calling and texting plus 6 GB data for surfing the internet.

Will my Mexican SIM card work in USA? ›

First of all, your Mexican prepaid SIM card will still work in the US. You can still call home and receive calls without problems. The question of course is how expensive all of this is.

Do you need an ID to buy a SIM card in Mexico? ›

Unlike most other countries around the world, you do not need your passport or ID when buying a Mexico prepaid SIM card. Find the closest OXXO, and if you don't speak Spanish, here are a few tips: Go to the counter, point to your phone, and say “chip, por favor”.

How much is a SIM card in Mexico? ›

It's easy to buy a Telcel SIM card online or at any OXXO shop in Mexico. A prepaid SIM card itself costs between 29 and 149 pesos (around US$1.5-7.5). 3GB of data valid for 30 days on the sin limite plan (unlimited) costs 200 pesos (US$10.)

How to get unlimited data in Mexico? ›

Online stores like Holafly have virtual SIM cards for Mexico with unlimited data and many other destinations around the world. One of the main advantages of eSIM cards is the fact that you can buy them before or during your trip to Mexico. Being completely virtual, they can reach you in a matter of minutes.

Can you buy a SIM card without a plan? ›

Buying a local SIM card in USA

It is true that to buy a prepaid SIM card, you do not need to sign a contract, but it is necessary that you register the SIM card, have an unlocked phone, and have availability of local frequencies.

Does a Mexican SIM card expire? ›

The Telcel chip is valid for 180 days without using it. Before passing 180 days, you need to reload/top-up to keep it active. If it expires and you still want to have the same number, you have to go to the Telcel kiosk and they will re-activate it for you with a small fee.

Can I get a Mexican SIM card at the airport? ›

You can either buy a Telcel prepaid SIM card in person at the international airport, in an OXXO convenience store, or on Amazon. We recommend buying your SIM card in an OXXO store if you wish to find the cheapest option possible. Usually, you can expect higher costs at the airport, or via Amazon.

How do I activate my SIM card in Mexico? ›

1. How do I activate my SIM Card? The Telcel SIMs ship activated and you will only need to insert it in your phone upon arriving in Mexico. The SIM can be tested prior to leaving to confirm that it is functioning properly but mainly to make sure that your phone is properly unlocked.

What documents are required to get SIM card? ›

SIM Home delivery FAQ

What are the documents required to get a new SIM? Following original documents can be shown as Proof or Identity (POI) and Proof of Address (POA) : Aadhaar, Voter ID & Passport. For eKYC based Jio SIM activation process, Only your biometric finger impression and Aadhaar details is required.

What are the requirements for getting a SIM card? ›

  • Identity proof documents such as Driving License, Aadhaar Card, Passport, Voter ID Card, etc.
  • Address proof documents such as Passport, Electricity bill, Voter ID Card, Driving License, etc.
Jan 17, 2022

Can I use a SIM card without registration? ›

All SIM card owners must register their SIM cards under Republic Act No. 11934 or what is now commonly known as the SIM Registration Act (SRA) before using them for mobile internet, calls, and texts.

What happens if you take out your SIM card and put it in another phone? ›

If I put my SIM card in another phone, will my number be the same? If you insert your SIM card in a new phone, your phone number will stay the same. A SIM card is only associated with one phone number at a time, so it won't change even when you insert it into another phone.

Can I get a SIM card in Mexico for my phone? ›

Buy your SIM Card from a local operator in Mexico.

In Mexico, you'll be able to choose a SIM card from various brands, each offering different rates and deals. This way, you can choose the deal which meets your needs best. We recommend buying from Telcel or AT&T, which offer the best coverage in the country.

What is the best cell data plan for Mexico? ›

T-Mobile's ONE plans are arguably the best cell phone plans for living in Mexico. The provider's Mobile Without Borders policy translates into unlimited talk and text between the US, Mexico and Canada, and data with up to 5GB of 4G LTE data in Mexico and Canada.

What is the best network coverage in Mexico? ›

The best cell phone carrier for tourists in Mexico is Telcel. Most major carriers in the US partner with Telcel to provide cellular data and network coverage. Telcel has the best coverage throughout the country and if needed, their prepaid SIM cards are readily available at most Oxxo or 7-Eleven convenience stores.

How long does a Telcel SIM card last? ›

The Telcel chip is valid for 180 days without using it. Before passing 180 days, you need to reload/top-up to keep it active. If it expires and you still want to have the same number, you have to go to the Telcel kiosk and they will re-activate it for you with a small fee.

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