If you’re planning a trip to Mexico, having a sim card is essential. Access to the internet while traveling can greatly enhance your experience by conveniently navigating new cities, finding the best restaurants, getting directions to your accommodation, booking taxis, and sharing photos with your loved ones on the go.
While roaming is an option, the costs can quickly accumulate when traveling internationally. Therefore, we always recommend either an eSIM or a local sim card to enjoy local phone rates. Luckily, obtaining either option in Mexico is incredibly straightforward, but it’s important to know which is the best choice for you.
This comprehensive guide aims to provide you with all the necessary information about buying a sim card in Mexico, including up-to-date pricing and the ultimate sim card recommendation.
There are a few different mobile internet operators in Mexico but there is one clear winner for the best Mexico sim card: Telcel. Telcel is the largest mobile internet provider in Mexico and offers substantially wider coverage and better reliability than their competitors AT&T and Movistar.
The cost of Telcel Sim cards varies often and can even change from store to store. Your best option is to head to an OXXO store and purchase your Telcel Mexico sim card here. The cost should be around 250 – 300 MXN and it will come with 3 – 4 GB of data. This is enough for most people or for short trips, but there will also be higher data plans available as well, or you can easily top your card up later if you require more data.
If you want the most convenient option, then you can consider purchasing an Airalo eSim instead. It conveniently uses the Telkomsel network as well so you can be confident the coverage will be as good as it gets in Mexico. However, the sim cards are much cheaper at OXXO so I recommend purchasing it in a store if you are worried about saving a few dollars.
A Tourist Sim Card in Mexico costs 250k MXN in February 2024, however, the exact price will often depend on the store you visit and the plan you choose.
Alternatively, an eSim in Mexico will cost between $8 USD and $32.50 USD. This, again, depends on how much data you require and which eSim provider you choose.
I generally recommend this Airalo plan for most tourists visiting Mexico which includes 3GB of data which is valid for 30 days and costs $21 USD.
In Mexico, the main SIM card providers are Telcel, AT&T, and Movistar. Telcel, owned by América Móvil, is the largest and most popular network in the country, offering extensive coverage and a wide range of plans and services. It boasts millions of subscribers and is known for its reliable network performance. AT&T, a multinational telecommunications company, has also established a strong presence in Mexico, with competitive pricing and extensive coverage. Movistar, owned by Telefónica, is another prominent player in the market, offering various prepaid and postpaid plans tailored to different customer needs. These three providers dominate the Mexican SIM card market, providing reliable connectivity options to millions of users across the country.
Telcel is one of the leading telecommunications companies in Mexico. They offer tourist SIM cards specifically designed for travelers visiting the country. These SIM cards provide convenient and affordable access to data, calls, and text messages. With extensive coverage nationwide, Telcel ensures tourists can stay connected and navigate their way through Mexico’s vibrant cities, beautiful beaches, and cultural attractions hassle-free.
The price of a Telcel tourist sim card in Mexico is 250 MXN.
The plan offered by Telcel stores includes 3.5GB data + free social media valid for 30 days.
AT&T offers convenient tourist SIM cards for travelers in Mexico. These SIM cards provide uninterrupted connectivity with 4G LTE coverage, allowing tourists to stay connected throughout their trip. With affordable data plans and competitive rates, AT&T ensures easy access to social media, navigation apps, and communication services. AT&T’s tourist SIM cards also offer nationwide calling and texting capabilities, making it a convenient choice for tourists exploring Mexico.
The price of a AT&T tourist sim card in Mexico is 200 MXN.
The plan offered by AT&T stores offers 6GB data + unlimited social media valid for 30 days.
Movistar is a popular telecommunications company in Mexico that offers tourist sim cards for international travelers. These sim cards provide affordable data and calling services, allowing tourists to stay connected during their visit. Movistar’s sim cards offer extensive coverage throughout Mexico, ensuring a reliable connection in major cities and remote areas. With competitive prices and flexible plans, Movistar’s tourist sim cards are a convenient option for travelers seeking seamless communication throughout their Mexican adventures.
The price of a Movistar tourist sim card in Mexico is 150 MXN.
The plan offered by Movistar stores includes GB data + free social media + free calls + free texts valid for 30 days.
Identify mobile providers: Telcel, AT&T and Movistar are your best options in Mexico.
Find your nearest store: Locate a store or retailer by searching on Google Maps for your nearest store or asking at your hotel reception. I’ve never had issues finding a store as they can usually be found in major cities, shopping centers, or tourist areas. If possible, I always recommend to to avoid airports and head in to an official store in the city.
Bring the necessary documents: It is always a good idea to carry your passport or identification documents for sim card registration purposes. We’ve found most providers will need to confirm your identity to provide a sim card and it can be a major hassle to head to a store only to have to come back again later with your passport.
Choose your plan: Either request the plan you are after or consult with the staff in the store to select the right plan for you. My recommendations at the beginning of this guide are a good starting point, but the staff will usually be able to suggest the best option.
Pay and activate your card: Pay for the SIM card and plan, and the staff will activate it for you.
Test: It’s always a good idea to check that you can access the internet before you leave the store. I always search for something on Google then refresh my Instagram feed to check it’s working fine.
Buying a prepaid sim card for Mexico at the airport is usually considered the most convenient option for travellers arriving by plane.
However, airport stores selling sim cards are almost guaranteed to charge inflated prices, so if you are a cost-conscious traveller then you should definitely buy your sim card from a store in the city center.
In addition to this, we would argue that buying physical sim cards at all aren’t particularly convenient now that most people use esim compatible phones. If you are looking for the most convenient option, then buying an esim before you arrive or with the airport wifi is much easier and will save you having to queue up or communicate with staff.
If you must purchase a sim card at the airport in Mexico then you will be in luck. All major international airports in Mexico have stores selling sim cards. Despite the prices being higher than normal, the staff are knowledgable and will be able to get you set up with the correct sim card relatively quickly.
If you want to avoid the inflated sim card prices you’ll find at the airport and your phone isn’t esim compatible, then you’re going to need to head in to a store to buy your sim card.
I recommend visiting one of the official retail stores of the mobile internet operators such as Telcel, AT&T and Movistar. Your best option is to enter their names into Google Maps and find the branch closest to your hotel or accommodation. Typically the staff in the official stores in Mexico are knowledgable and helpful which means you can ensure you’ll walk away with a functioning sim card.
Despite this, it’s always a good idea to check your internet is working before you leave the store by loading a Google search results page and your preferred social media app. You should also ensure you always bring your passport with you when purchasing a sim card in case they need to register it.
If you like to be prepared and would prefer to arrive in Mexico with your sim card all sorted and your phone ready to connect to the internet immediately then you should look into purchasing a sim card online.
The first option is to buy your sim card in advance via SimOptions, which is a company that will prepare and ship a sim card directly to your door. It’s a reliable and effective service, but with the invention of eSims it’s becoming obsolete.
The better option is to purchase an eSim online. We’ve written more on that below!
An eSim is a digital version of a traditional sim card and is most likely the future of connectivity for mobile devices. The convenience of no longer visiting a store, handing over your passport and purchasing a physical sim card is quickly making physical sim cards obsolete in favour of eSims.
We recommend Airalo’s eSim when travelling to Mexico. The Airalo Mexico eSim offers fast internet speeds, wide coverage and extremely competitive prices making it a far more compelling option than purchasing a physical sim card from any of the local sim card providers.
In order to get set up with an Airalo eSim, all you need to do is visit Airalo here and purchase the eSim online (the $21 USD plan is suitable for most travellers). Once you’ve purchased the sim card Airalo will email you instructions and a QR code. Following these instructions should take just a couple of minutes, then you’ll have a sim card in Mexico without having to venture outside.
Our preferred eSim provider in Mexico is Airalo. We used them, alongside a local sim card on another device, for our most recent trip to Mexico and found the service to be equal to the local sim card but without the hassle of acquiring a sim card in a store.
Airalo’s Mexico eSim uses the Movistar, AT&T & Telcel networks to provide data and connect users to the internet. You can expect very good coverage and reliability with the Movistar, AT&T & Telcel networksnetwork as they are amongst the best mobile internet operators in Mexico.
Here are the plans and prices for Airalo’s Mexico eSim:
1GB data valid for 7 days – Price: $8 USD
2GB data valid for 15 days – Price: $15 USD
3GB data valid for 30 days – Price: $21 USD
5GB data valid for 30 days – Price: $32.50 USD
For most travellers we recommend the 3GB data plan for $21 USD which is valid for 30 days. Some travellers may prefer a larger plan, whilst travellers visiting for just a couple of days may be fine with a smaller plan.
An alternative eSim provider we can recommend is Holafly.
Holafly’s eSim is a suitable option for travellers who require large amounts of data, such as digital nomads and people who work online while they travel. All of Holafly’s Mexico eSims offer unlimited data.
Holafly’s Mexico eSim uses the AT&T Mexiconetwork to provide data and connect users to the internet. This network will provide reliable speeds and coverage while in Mexico
Here are the plans and prices for Holafly’s Mexico eSim:
Unlimited data valid for 5 days – Price: $19 USD
Unlimited data valid for 7 days – Price: $27 USD
Unlimited data valid for 10 days – Price: $34 USD
Unlimited data valid for 15 days – Price: $47 USD
Unlimited data valid for 20 days – Price: $54 USD
Unlimited data valid for 30 days – Price: $64 USD
Unlimited data valid for 60 days – Price: $84 USD
Unlimited data valid for 90 days – Price: $99 USD
An eSIM, also known as an embedded SIM, is a digital SIM card that is permanently installed in a device like a smartphone, tablet, or smartwatch. Unlike regular SIM cards, eSIMs do not require physical insertion or removal.
Instead, the eSIM is integrated into the device’s hardware and can be remotely activated and programmed by a mobile network operator. This enables users to switch between different mobile networks or plans without the need to physically switch SIM cards.
The advent of eSIM technology offers convenience, flexibility, and user-friendliness, particularly for travelers or individuals who frequently switch between mobile networks or travel internationally. It eliminates the need for buying and inserting physical SIM cards, simplifying the management of multiple mobile connections on a single device.
To activate an eSIM, users typically scan a QR code provided by their network operator or manually input the activation details. Once activated, the device can connect to the desired mobile network and access voice calls, data services, and messaging, just like with a traditional SIM card.
There are several benefits to using an eSIM:
– Convenience: With an eSIM, there is no need to physically insert or remove a SIM card when switching between networks or plans. This is especially handy for frequent travelers who need to change networks or use local SIM cards in different countries.
– Dual SIM functionality: eSIM allows for dual SIM functionality on a device, meaning you can have two active mobile numbers on the same device. This is useful for separating personal and work numbers or managing multiple phone lines.
– Space-saving: eSIMs are embedded within the device, eliminating the need for a physical SIM card slot. This frees up space, allowing for smaller devices or additional components.
– Remote provisioning: eSIMs enable activation and management of mobile plans remotely. This means you can activate or switch to a new plan without a physical SIM card or store visit. It offers flexibility and convenience for managing mobile connectivity.
– Future-proofing: As eSIM technology becomes more popular, more networks and service providers offer support. By using an eSIM-compatible device, you ensure access to new services and offerings as they arise.
Overall, eSIM technology offers flexibility, convenience, and future-proofing for mobile connectivity, making it an attractive choice for many users.
eSIM technology is becoming increasingly popular and is supported by a growing number of smartphones and other devices. Here are some examples of eSIM-compatible phones:
Apple iPhone series (iPhone 11, iPhone 12, iPhone 13, etc.): Apple was one of the early adopters of eSIM technology and offers support for eSIM on various iPhone models.
Google Pixel series (Pixel 3, Pixel 4, Pixel 5, etc.): Google’s Pixel smartphones also support eSIM functionality, allowing users to activate and use eSIMs.
Samsung Galaxy series (Galaxy S22, Galaxy Note 20, etc.): Many of Samsung’s flagship devices now come with eSIM support, enabling users to utilize eSIM technology.
OnePlus devices (OnePlus 7, OnePlus 8, etc.): OnePlus has included eSIM support in some of its smartphone models, offering users the flexibility of using eSIMs.
Motorola Razr (2020): The latest iteration of the iconic Motorola Razr features eSIM compatibility, enabling users to use eSIMs for cellular connectivity.
These are just a few examples, and the list of eSIM-compatible phones continues to expand as more manufacturers embrace this technology. There’s a very strong chance your phone supports eSims so if you’re unsure we recommend looking it up on our list of eSim supported phones.
Using an eSim is new for many travellers, however, the good news is it’s surprisingly easy to get set up – even for the technologically challenged!
Here’s a general guide on how to use an eSIM:
Check eSIM Compatibility: Ensure that your device supports eSIM functionality. Many newer smartphones, smartwatches, tablets, and other devices are eSIM compatible including all iPhones produced since 2018.
Obtain an eSIM: There are multiple ways to acquire an eSIM. You can purchase an eSIM online from a provider like Airalo (which we recommend) or directly from a mobile network operator. Some devices also allow you to scan a QR code provided by your carrier to download the eSIM profile.
Activate the eSIM: Your eSim provider will send you instructions to activate the sim. This will usually involve scanning a QR code, entering an activation code, or downloading the eSIM profile directly onto your device.
Set up the eSIM: Once activated, your device will guide you through the eSIM setup process. This typically involves selecting the eSIM as your preferred mobile plan, configuring settings like data roaming, and entering any necessary authentication details.
Enjoy the Connection: Once the eSIM is set up, you can use it as you would with a physical SIM card. Make calls, send messages, browse the internet, and use data services as needed. You can also switch between eSIM profiles if you have multiple eSIMs installed on your device.
Hi, I’m Mitchell. I’m a full-time traveller, explorer and travel blogger. Travel Sim Expert is a blog dedicated to helping you find the best sim card for you, no matter where you are or what your budget is.