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Best cell phone provider for American living in/spending extended periods in Mexico?


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ChicagoBob

I need a US phone that receives and places calls/texts in Mexico without the MX ringtone.  In other words, completely stealth.  Any ideas?  

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edgar
On 3/2/2021 at 2:48 PM, Reuben said:

If you have an extra phone laying around and are in Mexico, I suggest getting a Telcel chip for about 70p from most OXXOs and then getting the pay-as-you-go Amigo plan.  For 200p/month, you get unlimited calls to/from US regardless of location plus unlimited WhatsApp, unlimited Facebook/Snapchat/Instagram in Mexico, plus 3GB data.  You can pay at any OXXO or pay using a credit card with their app. 

https://www.telcel.com/personas/telefonia/amigo/todavia-no-tienes-amigo#!tarifas

 

I've been really happy with T mobile for a long time, and Whatsapp calling, etc., seems to make it less important to have a Mexican number. But this is the next number for me, a telcel plan or prepaid on a back up phone or dual sim phone.

Incidentally, I just had two hassles getting a dual sim phone. First, T-mobile offered me one for very cheap, a nice phone too, and when it came, no place for the second sim in the phone, so I sent it back. Then I researched Samsung, finally got through to their sales line, and bought a Galaxy S21 since it was supposed to have dual sim. They throw in a lot of goodies if you buy a Samsung phone directly through Samsung online, and they give you a pretty exceptional deal on a phone trade in (like a 6 year old iphone for $200, where Apple would give $6o in credit). However, guess what. The phone arrived last week, and no slot for the second SIM. I call Samsung technical support, and oops, we're not offering a dual sim version of the unlocked S21 right now but we're really working on it. So that phone went back. It's easier for me just to juggle two phones than keep messing with phones that don't arrive as advertised, however great the deal.

 

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Reuben
32 minutes ago, edgar said:

 

Incidentally, I just had two hassles getting a dual sim phone.

 

Dual-sim phones sometimes use a single slot with one sim as an "e-sim" and the other as a physical one and that may be what you got.  I think T-Mobile is one of the carriers doing this but the dual-sim isn't common in the US so I'd guess that they didn't know how to handle it.

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Reuben
6 hours ago, ChicagoBob said:

I need a US phone that receives and places calls/texts in Mexico without the MX ringtone.  In other words, completely stealth.  Any ideas?  

You're asking for the Holy Grail. :ph34r:

The only POSSIBLE workaround I can think of (and I have no idea if it would work) is to get a Google Voice line (they're free if you have Gmail) and then figure out if you can forward calls from your regular number to it while in MX and then the big question is what ring tone comes through when you're in MX on the Google Voice line.

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Moose
6 hours ago, ChicagoBob said:

I need a US phone that receives and places calls/texts in Mexico without the MX ringtone.  In other words, completely stealth.  Any ideas?  

I was able to forward my cel phone calls to another number (my work office number) and when people called  me while I was in Mexico the calls went straight to my work number with the normal USA ring. 

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vegasrick
1 hour ago, Reuben said:

Dual-sim phones sometimes use a single slot with one sim as an "e-sim" and the other as a physical one and that may be what you got.  I think T-Mobile is one of the carriers doing this but the dual-sim isn't common in the US so I'd guess that they didn't know how to handle it.

I have a cheaper BLU phone and it has dual sim card slots comes in handy when I'm in Thailand 

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soulcal
11 hours ago, edgar said:

I've been really happy with T mobile for a long time, and Whatsapp calling, etc., seems to make it less important to have a Mexican number. But this is the next number for me, a telcel plan or prepaid on a back up phone or dual sim phone.

Incidentally, I just had two hassles getting a dual sim phone. First, T-mobile offered me one for very cheap, a nice phone too, and when it came, no place for the second sim in the phone, so I sent it back. Then I researched Samsung, finally got through to their sales line, and bought a Galaxy S21 since it was supposed to have dual sim. They throw in a lot of goodies if you buy a Samsung phone directly through Samsung online, and they give you a pretty exceptional deal on a phone trade in (like a 6 year old iphone for $200, where Apple would give $6o in credit). However, guess what. The phone arrived last week, and no slot for the second SIM. I call Samsung technical support, and oops, we're not offering a dual sim version of the unlocked S21 right now but we're really working on it. So that phone went back. It's easier for me just to juggle two phones than keep messing with phones that don't arrive as advertised, however great the deal.

 

Apple's 12 phone has the dual sim feature @Reuben mentioned but I don't remember the specific 12 model.  IIRC while both SIMs are active, neither will work with 5G and fallback to 4G LTE so that may be an issue going forward.  I guess with all phones it falls into the category "it depends."

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KCQuestor
10 hours ago, Reuben said:

Dual-sim phones sometimes use a single slot with one sim as an "e-sim" and the other as a physical one and that may be what you got.

That's how my Pixel 4XL is. I had an eSIM from Sprint and when I switched to Fi it just downloaded a new eSIM. From the management screen it looked like there could be lots of downloaded eSIMs that I could turn on and off at will. I haven't needed to use the physical SIM tray but it is there if I ever want to use it.

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TJX
11 hours ago, Reuben said:

You're asking for the Holy Grail. :ph34r:

The only POSSIBLE workaround I can think of (and I have no idea if it would work) is to get a Google Voice line (they're free if you have Gmail) and then figure out if you can forward calls from your regular number to it while in MX and then the big question is what ring tone comes through when you're in MX on the Google Voice line.

That's what I've been doing for years except that I use Google voice as my main phone number. The one drawback is that you can't text people in Mexico from google voice if I remember correctly. Most people that I know use whatsapp so that's no problem but I have come across a few women who live out in the boonies who for whatever reason still use old school sms. 

Recently I messed up and used my main google voice number to port over to Google Fi to get a discount on a cell phone. I then travelled to Mexico for one day and one of my workers called me about something. I didn't get the call but he later asked "how come your voicemail is in Spanish?"

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  • 4 weeks later...
Norcalkid

Another vote for Google Fi.  I guess if only using in Mexico/US Fi is just another option.  But I travel all over and don't want to have to switch sims, don't want Uber not to work when I arrive somewhere and don't have a local sim, hate trying to get phones to work with local sims network, don't need to register phone in Colombia (which I couldn't figure out how to do), etc.  

To be honest I have only used it in US and Mexico due to this stupid pandemic but so far so good.  

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