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A Step-by-Step Guide for Setting Up an Inexpensive Prepaid Wireless Phone for Use in Mexico. Choose this option if your current phone does not automatically Roam in Mexico or does not have a Mexico roaming add-on available.

Step 1: Choose Your Carrier:
Below are our top choices for a "grab and go" phone for use in Mexico. You can also use just a SIM from these carriers and use an existing phone specifically for roaming in  Mexico.

One of our recommended phone services for roaming in Mexico is AT&T Prepaid. In Mexico, rates are .25 per minute for both incoming and outgoing calls to any US or Mexico number, including Long Distance charges.  AT&T owns their own network in Mexico so there are few objections for using them in both Mexico and the US.

If you spend most of your time within Wi-Fi coverage, such as at a Mexican resort, you can make your calls just like at home: Free!

You'll have a phone that can be used in Mexico and the rest of the world.

Step 2: Activate Your Account:
Once you have your Prepaid handset or SIM, you will need to choose a home location and a plan. The location (Zip Code) should be local to your current wired or wireless phones or to friends and family. It can be anywhere in the US. Once you are activated and have an assigned number, you need to make sure "Mexico Roaming" is activated.  With some carriers this is done by default.  If you don't know, contact Customer Service. Don't let the agent sign you up for any special Mexico roaming plan, they may only need to check a box on their screen, if it isn't already checked.

Step 3: Direct Your Incoming Calls to the Travel Phone:
Just before leaving the US, choose the way to have your calls find you:
  • Activate Call Forwarding from your home or regular wireless phone to your new Mexico prepaid phone. It should be a local call. If your regular wireless phone is from the same carrier, the calls could count as "Mobile to Mobile," if not, minutes can be charged as Forwarded calls.
  • Tell your callers to call your new Prepaid phone number.
  • Activate a new or existing Google Voice number. You can program where calls are directed online. You can also use the Google Voice voice mail which can be reviewed online without using minutes on the phone, then return calls on your new Mexico Prepaid phone. You can add the number of your new Mexico Travel phone to the list of phones that rings with incoming calls to your Google Voice number. 

Step 4: Test Your Connections Before Leaving the US

Make sure calls work as intended. (If you use any of the above recommended "Travel" phones they should work in the US before you leave.) You could take your "regular" wireless phone to Mexico with you just to make a test call...or you can have a stateside friend call you. Make a call before you leave the US and another once you arrive in Mexico. Fortunately, if something is wrong, you can call customer service free at 611 from the US or Mexico. If you are Forwarding calls from another stateside wireless number, that carrier's customer service should be able to also change your Call Forwarding status, but that may not be a free call.

Additional Considerations:
  • By using using a US phone instead of a Mexican cellular phone, you will still have a working phone with some balance available that can be used when you return to the US.
  • Be sure to check Mexico Calling Procedures
  • Get online DISCOUNT Refills for AT&T Prepaid instead of paying full price at retailers.
  • You can use the above steps to activate other prepaid wireless phones such as Verizon Prepaid, MetroPCS or Page Plus, but expect higher rates.
  • Get additional reviews of these and other Prepaid phones at Prepaid Phone Reviews.
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