Mobile Telephones in Mexico

Find out how to get yourself a mobile cellular phone in Mexico and what do if your phone is lost or stolen...

A mobile telephone is called a movil or celular in Mexico. Mobile telephones are now generally more widely used than landlines in Mexico.

Pre-paid Mobile Telephone

A pre-paid mobile telephone and top-up credit can be bought without a contract, and is usually easily obtained by newcomers without formal residency. To get a pre-paid mobile telephone, take a passport or other proof of identity to a service provider.

Credit for pre-paid mobile telephone can be bought online, in service provider outlets, and in shops and supermarkets.

Mobile Telephone Contracts

To get a mobile telephone contract, it is generally necessary to be a resident of Mexico and to have a Mexican credit card. The following documents will be required:

  • Passport or other valid identification, and residency visa
  • Proof of address - either bank statement, utility bill or other relevant documentation

There are different packages available although standard plans include a number of free calls per day and text messages. Additional costs may arise if using Internet with a cell phone or downloading content. Options are available for packages which include Internet access.

A standard contract is usually for one or two years. Opt out options do exist but depend on the provider and type of contract.

Mobile Telephone Rentals

Some stores and hotels offer mobile telephone rental. Proof of identity and a credit card are required to rent a mobile phone

Mobile Telephone Providers

Telcel is a subsidiary of Telmex, the main landline provider, and holds a large share of the mobile telephone market. There are however a number of competitors offering competitive pricing plans.

Lost or Stolen Mobile Telephones

A stolen or lost mobile telephone should be reported to the service provider, as well as to the Ministerio Público in the event of a stolen phone. The mobile telephone line can usually be suspended or blocked by going online, visiting an outlet or by telephone.

The number to call for most telephone providers in the event of a lost or stolen mobile is *611 (from another mobile device).

The customer should also provide the IMEI number, which protects the owner if their phone is lost or stolen. It is usually printed beneath the battery. Note the number and keep it separate from the mobile. If the mobile is lost or stolen, call the service provider and give them the IMEI number. The service will be suspended and the phone may be traced. When reporting the theft to the police, give them the IMEI number.