Steven Irby


Update: 2016

You can skip the cards and just do this online!


Go there on your computer or phone with wifi. Add credit and pay with PayPal. Since the data plan is 400 pesos, they try to be slick and get you to pay for 500. Instead, I just pay 200 pesos twice. Then text alto30 Int500 to 5050. Done.


Getting cell service in Mexico

You’ve landed in Mexico and you need to get your data working on your phone. Assuming you got yourself an unlocked phone capable of working in Mexico. Here’s what you have to do to get things working. It’s a bit more complicated than in other countries but totally manageable.


Get a SIM card and Pre-Paid Cards

If you manage to find the de facto cell phone store, telcel then awesome! Go in and buy the correct SIM card, or “chip” as they call it, for your phone. Then get it loaded with 400 pesos worth of service. You’ll be good to go.

Most likely you won’t find a telcel right away and you’ll have to do things the hard way. No worries! In Mexico there are convenience stores literally on every corner called OXXO. It’s like a 7-11 in other countries. You’ll need to get your SIM card and prepaid data there.

Go into an OXXO and ask for a “telcel chip” and two telcel cards. It will cost about 550 pesos as of right now about $33-35 USD.

Here’s what the cards look like:

Now here is where things get complicated. With telcel you have to pick which data package you want. How much data and how long it will be valid for. Here’s a chart of the plans:


Update: 10/27/2016

These have now changed! They got rid of the 30 day 3GB package I would buy every month. Here is the updated one:

Duration MB/GB Price Code to text
1 day 10 MB $5 Int5
 2 days 50 MB  $20 Int20
4 days 100 MB $30 Int30
9 days 200 MB $50 Int50
23 days 500 MB $100 Int100
30 days 1 GB $150 Int150
30 days 1.5 GB $200 Int200
30 days 2 GB $300 Int300
30 days 4 GB $500 Int500
Duration MB/GB Price Code to text
1 hr. 100 MB $12.00 alto1h
1 day 150 MB $49.00 HIGH1
2 days 300 MB $79.00 high.2
7 days 1 GB $169.00 alto7
15 days 1.5 GB $249.00 alto15
30 days 3 GB $399.00 alto30


If you’re only here for a week, then obviously just pick the 1 GB 7 day plan. If you need data and service all month, spend $400 $500 pesos and get that plan.

Once you have your SIM card, put into your phone.

They only have the big SIM card but you need the micro one

This happened to me, as my Samsung S5 only takes the micro SD card like all modern phones these days. Don’t fret, you can still make it work with the big one. Here me out.

This is what I did. You’re going to have to get a pair of scissors or a knife and cut the SIM card. Yes I’m serious. Here are instructions on how to do it.

I took out my old SIM card, laid it over the big one, and started carefully cutting. It seriously took like 5 minutes and it worked!

Pop that SIM card into your phone. Turn it on. Then it should say telcel at the top near the bars.

Activate the data

Once you’re up and running. Scratch off the number with a coin, on the back of the telcel card. There’s a long number you dial on the back of the card. Just follow the instructions. You’ll get a message, that should say you have $200 on your account. Enter your other card if you have one.


Now you loaded your phone with money. You have to pick your data plan from above and text the number: 5050 with you code.

For example, you loaded $400 $500 pesos and you want data for one month. Text this to 5050alto30 Int500

If you get a message back in Spanish, then it worked. You now have 3 GB 4GB of data for one month!


Hope this works and feel free to ask me any questions!