How to get a SIM card in Mexico? (2023 Complete Guide)

Adam Rozsa

Planning a vacation in Mexico, or perhaps an extended stay to work or study? If your home phone plan doesn’t offer international roaming, you’ll need another solution.

Here, we’ll cover everything you need to know about getting a SIM card for Mexico travel. This includes how and where to buy one, and the options available.

We’ll also show you a smart way to pay for it, with the Wise card. It’s ideal for low cost spending and cash withdrawals in 150+ countries, including Mexico.


Do I need a different SIM card for Mexico?

If you were thinking of using your current US SIM card for your trip overseas, you’ll need to check with your provider. Some carriers have plans which let you talk, text and get online in places like Mexico and Canada.

For example, Verizon has a Mexico and Canada plan, while T-Mobile’s Go5G Plus plans come with unlimited talk, text, and data in Mexico and Canada with up to 15GB of high-speed data.¹

But if your carrier or plan doesn’t support international roaming, you’ll need to look into your options for getting a specialist SIM card for travel to Mexico.

Where to buy a SIM card for Mexico - your options

There are a few different options for getting your hands on a SIM card for use in Mexico. You can either buy a prepaid international SIM online before you travel, wait until you arrive or sign up for a local phone plan (if you’re staying in Mexico longer).

Before you buy your Mexico SIM though, there are two important things you need to do.

Firstly, check with your US carrier whether you already have Mexico coverage. Or if it can be added for a reasonable extra charge.

Secondly, check whether your phone is unlocked. If it isn’t, you won’t be able to use a SIM card from a different network or carrier in your phone.

Now, let’s take a close look at each option:

1: Buy a prepaid SIM card for Mexico online before you travel

There are lots of options available online for prepaid SIM packages which work in Mexico, although some are data-only.

Places to start your search include sites like Amazon, Simify or SimOptions.

2. Buy an eSIM for Mexico

An easier and more convenient option for using your phone in Mexico is to buy an eSIM.

If you’ve not heard of this before, an eSIM is a relatively new concept. It’s a virtual SIM card inside your phone, that you can connect to any operator offering eSIM services.

Essentially, it lets you use a new SIM in your phone without having to physically buy and insert a new SIM card. It can be one of the easiest ways to get your phone working in Mexico. You can do everything online (or on an app), including buying, installing and activating your new eSIM.

In order to use an eSIM in Mexico, you’ll need to check that your phone supports this technology.

If it does, a handful of the best places to look for a Mexico eSIM are Airalo, Nomad and Holafly.

3: Buy a prepaid SIM once you land in Mexico

Don’t have much time to prepare or you simply prefer to buy your Mexico SIM when you arrive? There are lots of places to pick up a SIM card in Mexico, including:

There are lots of places to pick up a SIM card in China. This includes:

  • International airports - be aware though that this can be an expensive option, and not all airports have SIM card stores. The most likely airports for availability are Cancun Airport and Mexico City Airport.
  • Mobile provider stores - you should find plenty of Telcel, AT&T and Movistar stores in major cities and tourist areas.
  • Convenience stores - such as OXXO and 7Eleven.
  • Online.

What makes this option even more flexible is that you don’t need to register before activating or using your Mexico SIM card. It’s essentially ‘plug and play’, so you can just put your new SIM in your phone and start using it.

4: Sign up for a phone plan with a Mexico cellular provider once you arrive.

If you’re staying in Mexico for a while, it could be cheaper to sign up for a phone plan with a Mexican cellular provider.

You might also want to read our guides to banking in Mexico and how to open a bank account.

There are three major providers in Mexico - Telcel, AT&T and Movistar.

Telcel is believed to have the best 4G and 5G network coverage across the country, so could be a good bet.

Its Telcel Plus plan gives you 10GB with unlimited apps, minutes and SMS from around $30 USD a month. However, you’ll need to be able to commit to a contract of a minimum of 12 months.²

Which SIM card is best for Mexico?

Now, let’s find you the best SIM card for Mexico. Which one you choose will depend how long you’re traveling for, how much data you need and your budget.

But here are a few options based on some of the providers we’ve mentioned so far:

1: Nomad Mexico eSIM³

Nomad offers a choice of eSIMs for Mexico, including:

  • 1GB for 7 days (AT&T/Movistar network) - $9 USD
  • 3GB for 30 days (AT&T/Movistar network) - $14 USD
  • 10GB for 30 days (AT&T/Movistar network) - $32 USD.

2: Holafly Mexico eSIM⁴

Holafly’s Mexico eSIM packages range from 5 to 90 days, all with unlimited data. This makes them a great choice for longer stays, or if you don’t want to worry about running out of data.

Prices range from $19 to $99 USD, depending on duration. The network is AT&T.

3: Airalo Chorro Fon Mexico eSIM⁵

Airalo’s eSIMs for Mexico include the following:

  • 1GB for 7 days - $8 USD
  • 2GB for 15 days - $15 USD
  • 3GB for 30 days - $21 USD
  • 5GB for 30 days - $32.50 USD

4: Orange Holiday World SIM⁶

This SIM card from Orange works worldwide, and offers 10GB of data in Mexico for $49.90 USD. It’s a data-only SIM, so you can’t use it to make calls.

Available from SimOptions, it comes in Standard, Micro and Nano SIM sizes and lasts for 14 days unless you register it online.

5: Telcel Mexico Prepaid SIM⁷

The Telcel SIM card for Mexico is available on sites like Amazon. It offers 2GB of data and unlimited calls and SMS, for a cost of $29.90 USD.

It’s valid for 26 days from when you arrive, and can also be used in Canada and the US.

6: T-Mobile Canada, Mexico and USA Prepaid SIM Card⁸

Another option available from sites like Amazon, this T-Mobile SIM gives you coverage across Mexico, Canada and the US.

For a cost of $34.99 USD, you’ll get 10GB of 5G data in Mexico along with unlimited talk and text. So, it’s a pretty good deal.

Low-cost spending in Mexico with the Wise card

While you get your SIM card sorted, it’s also worth thinking about how you’ll cover your costs when in Mexico.

The Wise card is the ideal choice for low-cost international spending, as it offers the following features:

  • Spend and withdraw cash from ATMs in 150+ countries, including Mexico
  • Have your US Dollars automatically converted to Mexican peso at the mid-market exchange rate, whenever you spend. There’s just a small fee to convert the currency, and no transaction fees.
  • Withdraw up to $100 from overseas ATMs for free (although ATM operators may charge their own fees).

The Wise card is available for a one-time fee of just $9 when you open a Wise Account. This account also lets you send money to and from Mexico with low and transparent fees. And of course, you can use it to pay for your new SIM card.

Wise is a money service business, offering a multi-currency account, international money transfer services and a debit card.

Get a Wise Account today

Please see Terms of Use for your region or visit Wise Fees & Pricing: Only Pay for What You Use for the most up-to-date pricing and fee information.

Bottom line

And there you go - all the essentials you need to know about Mexico SIM cards for tourists. We’ve covered the options available, from prepaid SIMs and plans right through to eSIMs.

You should be all set to plan your trip to Mexico and get your phone working right away.

It’s completely up to you whether you get organized and buy your SIM in advance, or wait until you arrive. But to avoid any delays, where you may not be able to use your phone, it could be a good idea to order your prepaid SIM before your plane touches down in Mexico.

And while you’re planning your trip, make sure to check out the Wise card. It’s a super convenient, low-cost way to spend in Mexico, and for ATM withdrawals too.

Learn more about Wise

💡 You should also check out our guides to using US dollars in Mexico, whether or not you need a passport to travel there, and how to find a Mexican ATM.

Frequently asked questions

How long is a Telcel SIM good for?

The Telcel Mexico Prepaid SIM is valid for up to 26 days, starting from when you arrive in Mexico.

Does Mexico have unlimited data plans?

Some of the Mexico prepaid SIM card providers we’ve covered here in this guide offer unlimited data. For example, Holafly and its Mexico eSIM packages.

Sources used for this article:

  1. T-Mobile - Coverage
  2. Telcel - Phone - Rates and Options
  3. Nomad - Mexico eSIM
  4. Holafly - International travel eSIM for Mexico
  5. Airalo - Mexico eSIM
  6. SimOptions - Orange Holiday World
  7. Amazon - Telcel Mexico Prepaid SIM
  8. Amazon - Canada, Mexico and USA Prepaid SIM Card T-Mobile

Sources checked on 16-Aug-2023.

This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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