Skip to main content

Will My Cell Phone Work In Mexico?

Cell Phone Work In Mexico

Are you planning a road trip south of the boarder? If you are, you’d probably like to know if your cell phone works in Mexico. This is a common and important question when planning a trip to Mexico. This is one of the most common questions southbound travelers want to be answered before they travel. It makes sense. You’re going to want to use your phone to stay in touch with family and friends and to navigate to new destinations.

In fact, if you’re planning to drive into Mexico, a reliable cell phone is even more important. You’ll need it for roadside emergencies or to report potential auto insurance claims.

If you are trying to find out if your cell phone will work in Mexico, we’ll help you out. Below you’ll find out if your phone will work in Mexico and a few tips for staying connected while visiting Mexico, and what to expect from cell service and coverage.

Will my cell phone work in Mexico?

Let’s answer this question straight away. Your cell phone will likely work in Mexico. In fact, we’d go out on a limb and say it will work. However, there are some caveats. First, for your phone to work properly it will depend on your phone provider and the type (or model) of your phone. But the most important caveat will be your cell provider and plan. Specifically, does your plan include international calling, or can it be added before you travel?

This sounds like a significant hurdle, however, the majority of consumers have cell service through Verizon, T-Mobile, or AT&T. If your service is provided by one of these retailers, you’ll probably be able to use your phone in Mexico with no problem. But you will need to add an international calling plan.

Why do I need an international calling plan?

An international calling plan is the most effective way to use your cell phone in Mexico. When you have an international calling plan, you’ll likely get unlimited texting, calls, and data while in Mexico.

Another benefit of an international calling plan is that it’s one of the least expensive options for using your cell phone in Mexico.

Sure, if you don’t want to add an international calling plan you will still be able to send texts, make and receive calls, and use data. However, it’s going to get expensive. This is because non-international plans are subject to costly international roaming fees and rates.


Before you travel to Mexico you should check with your cell phone provider. Review your account to see if international calling is included, or if you need to add it for the duration of your trip. Ask them if there are any special policies, promotions, or plans.

Is there good cell phone coverage in Mexico?

Just like the U.S., when you’re visiting the metro areas, or popular tourist destinations (eg. Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Ensenada, Rosarito, Puerto Vallarta, Los Cabos, or Mexico City), then you’ll likely get good cell service and high-speed data.

However, if your travel plans have you visiting rural or remote areas, then you should anticipate slower speeds or no coverage.

When you simply have to be connected

If you absolutely need to remain connected, you’ll need to consider buying a Wifi HotSpot. A wifi hotspot will still require a cell signal, but because they are dedicated units with much better antenna than the average cell phone, they get a much better range.

Mexico does have good cell phone coverage and you can generally expect to get good or decent service on your vacation.

How to use your cell phone in Mexico

If you are new to making international calls, here is a brief tutorial on how to use your cell phone to call the United States while in Mexico. First, it’s important to understand that each country has a country code and an exit code. You have to dial both numbers in the correct sequence in order to call out of one country and into another. 

To call the United States or Canada from Mexico you need the following codes:

  • Mexico’s exit code is 00

  • U.S. and Canada country code: 1

  • The sequence is Exit Code – Country Code – Area Code – Phone Number.

Example: If you are calling someone in Los Angeles you would dial – 00-1-213-###-####.

What if my phone doesn’t work in Mexico?

If you have an older phone, use a network that doesn’t provide international calling, or just cannot get connectivity from your provider. What can you do? Well, there are some alternatives to using your cell phone provider’s plan. Below is a list of alternatives if your phone doesn’t work in Mexico.

Consider Wifi Calling

If you cannot get cellular service on your phone while in Mexico, but you have access to a wireless internet network. You can still make phone calls and text using your phone’s wifi capabilities.

The following are mobile apps that don’t require your cellular data in order for you to use their communications capabilities:

  • WhatsApp (most popular)
  • Facebook Messenger
  • iMessage
  • Google Hangouts

If you intend to use these apps to stay connected to your home, you will need to have access to free wifi.

Buy a Mexican SIM card

If you intend to be in Mexico for an extended period, this may be the best option. Even better than your cell plans international calling. When you have a Mexican SIM card, you will arrive in Mexico with a local phone number, and the rates a frequently lower.

What is a SIM card?

A SIM card is a small computer chip that is inserted into cellular devices that connects the device to the provider’s network. SIM stands for “Subscriber Identity Module.

A SIM (subscriber identity module) card is a tiny metal chip that you insert into your cell phone, which connects your phone to a local mobile network. With a local SIM card, you will get a Mexican phone number (+52 area code) and will be able to use local data services.

When you replace your current SIM card with a Mexican SIM card, you effectively enable your phone to access the Mexican network. Additionally, you can use a Mexican phone number.

If you are interested, you can then purchase a Telcel SIM card on Amazon before you travel to Mexico.

Note, you may have to unlock your phone before installing a Mexican SIM. Each cell provider will have different rules relating to unlocking. Contact your provider to learn how to unlock and their unlocking policy.

Buy a Mexican burner phone

As a last resort, you could also buy a burner phone in Mexico for around USD 20.

Cheap cell phones in Mexico can be purchased at Oxxo convenience stores or in most shopping malls and will come with a prepaid SIM card.

With a Mexico cell phone, you will be able to make calls and use data, but you will have a Mexican number. This will at least allow you to stay connected in Mexico until you return home.

The bottom line

This article should have helped you answer the question, “will my cell phone work in Mexico?” Additionally, you are now armed with alternatives if your phone will not work in Mexico. 

Typically, your cell phone will work in Mexico. Still, you’ll want to double-check with your cellular provider to confirm you have the appropriate plan.

You may have a few extra charges on your next bill, but you should have no problem using your phone in Mexico.

Quote & Buy Mexico Auto Insurance

Mexico Tourist Auto Insurance

You can quote & buy Mexico Tourist Auto Insurance online. Offered through authorized +A Rated Mexican insurance carriers.

Quote & Buy Online

Call today and speak with a professional insurance agent.


Follow Us!

Share via
Copy link