2016 Cell Phone Information Update

This is an update to the 2015 Telcel Information that I posted in the spring of 2015. Here is the link to the preious article.
2015_Telcel information

This article will cover updates to Telcel and the new plans offered by T-Mobile.

Competition has been heating up between AT&T and Telcel in Mexico. AT&T purchased a company called Iusacell which was well known on the mainland but had limited towers in Baja. This has caused several changes. The first is price. A phone call to the US or Canada is now 1 peso per minute. This applies to the Amigo plan which was discussed in the previous article. There is a requrement that you put 200 pesos per month on the plan.

The second change is related to international calling. Telcel has added a new plan which gives unlimited voice and text to the USA and Canada. It is started by texting SL100 to 5050. This takes 100 pesos from your account and lasts one month. You can call between Canada, USA and Mexio with unlimited calling and text messages. It also gives you 200 MB of data which can be used in both Canada and the US. If you want to use it all summer, you can text SL100R which causes the charges to reccure every month. To put money on your Telcel account, you can use mitelcel.com or Pinzoo.

Some people have told me that this is too good to be true. The latest numbers on the worlds richest men shows that Carlos Slim lost 45 billion dollars of his net worth in 2015. Part of this was due to the exchange rate but it also reflects the changes that the new laws have done to his communications business.

AT&T and T-Mobile run on the GSM network so their phones match Telcel very well. Both have added new plans that include Mexico and Canada. AT&T tries to us the Iusacell towers but there are not very many in Baja and this has caused problems for people. If you have an unlocked phone, there is a way around this issue. In IOS you go to settings/carrier and turn off Auto. This will cause the phone to search out what networks it can see which will take several minutes. Once it comes up with the list, choose Telcel as your provider. This will give you a much better experience in La Ventana.

Phones are now legal to unlock in the USA. Normally a company will unlock you phone if you tell them you are headed to Mexico. (The possible exception is Sprint) If your provider will not do it, you can get it unlocked by a company on eBay for a small fee. Roberts in Canada can be unlocked also but it will cost more and may take several weeks for it to happen. Visiting a Roberts store and giving them $50 US might be the easies way to get it done.

T-Mobile has a new Simple Choice plan which gives you free calling from Canada and Mexico. They also allow you to use your data exactly like you did in the USA. When you cross the border, they send you a text message saying that your phone should work exactly like it did in the US. During the 2015-2016 season they doubled your data but you had to ask them to get it. They also gave a Christmas present of free unlimited data for December, January and Feburary.

People have asked about LTE. It is now available in Las Planes but the towers have not been updated in La Ventana. If you have a direct line of sight to the tower in Las Planes, you can get one or two bars of LTE. Phones with larger antenna seem to do better than smaller phones because La Ventana is on the edge of the coverage area.

The cell phone market has changed so fast it is hard to keep up. I am sure that there willbe new rules for next year.