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  (#31)
25jive1 (Offline)
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Default 13-10-2010, 00:34

My Mexican experience was fraught with turmoil.
I bought 2 Telcel SIM kits from a street vendor in Nuevo Progreso for $15 US each. I tried to activate them but was unable to because of language barrier. A kind young woman in a Telcel shop in Matamoros was able to activate them for me a few days later. There was also a language barrier between her and I but by using sign language she got it done.
When we took a trip to Monterrey a few days later the starter minutes were gone. The tour guide told me there is a per day charge whether you use the phone or not. I then put 100 pesos on each. I made one call to my wife who had the other Telcel SIMed phone that lasted 1 minute.

In summary I spent about $45 US for a 1 minute call. On the next trip to Mexico I used my US T-Mo prepaid phone making one call which cost me $1.45 US
   
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  (#32)
babble (Offline)
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Default How to register a telcel sim - 13-10-2010, 13:46

25jive1, I am sorry to hear that you have had difficulties with both of your telcel sims. As you have discovered, it is now nearly impossible for a tourist to activate a mexican sim without help.

For a tourist who speaks spanish fluently, this is the official process for registering a mexican sim:

Step 1 (To register ownership of a sim card). Insert the sim card in your phone and dial *264. A telcel customer service agent will ask you for your name and mexican contact address. Afterwards, you will be told that you now need to dial *333 to register your sim card in the national phone database.

Step 2 (To register the sim card in the national phone database): Dial *333 and choose the correct option from the voice menu list. Although you can change the language of the menu list from spanish to english, this is not going to help because the customer service agent will probably only speak spanish. You will be asked for your name and address once again, and you will also be expected to give your "CURP" number, which is a mexican national identity number. If you cannot provide a CURP number, you will be told that "there is a problem with the computer system at the moment" and you will be asked to use the automated SMS system to register your sim card.
The automated SMS registration process requires you to send a text message with details of your full name and data of birth to a special sms number. A telcel computer will then use this data to check if your name is present in the national database of CURP numbers. If you do not have a CURP number, do not waste your time trying to send a SMS registration message - you will not succeed!

You can only make and receive normal calls with your sim card, once it is registered in the national phone database.

For a tourist who does not speak spanish fluently, here are two suggestions for registering a mexican sim:

1. Ask a spanish-speaking friend, relative, or acquaintance to help you. You need the help of someone who has a CURP number and who will register your sim in their name. Do not be surprised if your helper looks shocked when you ask for help. The purpose of the telephone registration process is to help prevent crime: kidnappings, extortion, telephone threats. Few people will register a telephone in their name for someone else.

2. Or alternatively, find the nearest telcel office that offers "Authorized Client Customer Service" (Telcel servicio al cliente). Ask a spanish speaking friend to dial *264 to obtain the address of the nearest office for you. (Although there are thousands of "Authorized Telcel resellers" - they are unlikely to be able to register sims for tourists. You need to take your sim and passport to an official Telcel customer support office. You will also be expected to provide a mexican residential address.)

Top-ups:

Telcel top-ups are more complicated than you imagine. There are "top-up vouchers", "electronic top-ups" and "online top-ups". You need to be careful if you use the cheapest $20, $30 and $50 "electronic top-up" services, which are paid for in corner shops and supermarkets.

If you make an "electronic top-up" of $20, your new credit balance will last for 10 days.
If you make an "electronic top-up" of $30, your new credit balance will last for 15 days.
If you make an "electronic top-up" of $50, your new credit balance will last for 30 days.

For example, if your old balance is $250, after an electronic top-up of $20, your new balance of $270 will only last for 10 days before it is all lost, unless you make a new top-up sooner!

With any kind of top-up of $100, or more, the new credit balance will last for 60 days. On day 61, any remaining credit is lost.
A telcel telephone number remains active for 180 days after the last top-up.

Final comments:

- The telcel network is reputed to be the most reliable mexican network.
- Telcel GPRS data transfer costs are very cheap, especially for people on the prepaid "Amigo Tariffs" (2 centavos per kilobyte). Movistar charges 14 centavos per kilobyte.
- Prepaid telcel sims can roam in USA, Canada, South Africa(!), as well as in several latin american countries, and on a few tourist ships, but not in Europe.
- Prepaid movistar sims can roam in over 200 countries.
- The prepaid "Amigo" tariffs offer 30-day blackberry, and nokia email, options for about 499 pesos. Unless you know what you are doing, these services are only intended to be used by customers who have bought phones directly from telcel!

Starter minutes only last for a few days. I have never heard about telcel having a "per day network charge". Very strange! I doubt that this is true...

Last edited by babble; 13-10-2010 at 14:07..
   
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  (#33)
petkow (Offline)
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Default 13-10-2010, 16:38

Quote:
Originally Posted by 25jive1 View Post
The tour guide told me there is a per day charge whether you use the phone or not. I then put 100 pesos on each.
Are you sure about this? This must be something new. Was your phone trying to connect to the internet by any chance?

Quote:
In summary I spent about $45 US for a 1 minute call. On the next trip to Mexico I used my US T-Mo prepaid phone making one call which cost me $1.45 US
I'm a bit lost as to how you came to that figure, given the low cost of the Telcel cards.
   
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teleroam (Offline)
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Default 13-10-2010, 16:56

There is no per-day charge on Telcel. None.

As mentioned though maybe data was eating up the balance, and the recharge. Plus with the call being domestic roaming it would have been charged on both outgoing and incoming phones.

A good dealer can register your Telcel sim with just a passport (they need to fax a copy in to a local office).

The by-the-day/week/month internet access (see Banda Ancha Telcel ) is easy to use, a much better deal than the 20 pesos/MB for pay-by-volume data.

Having said all that, if you don't need data, and make few calls, you're better off roaming on your home phone for most short trips.

If you need more calls, or for long/frequent trips, a US AT&T prepaid Go Phone (25c/min in Mexico) is the best option by a long way, generally cheaper than a local phone if you're mainly calling the US/Canada (if you don't mind the US$100+ a year it'll cost to keep it active).
   
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  (#35)
25jive1 (Offline)
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Default 15-10-2010, 13:57

I posted what the tour guide said, I didn't question it because my account was zero without making any calls. Now I learn here starter minutes "only last a few days" which would explain my zero balance.

I paid $30 for the 2 TelCel SIM "chips" (2 X $15) and about another $15 for the 2 refills in Monterrey for a total of about $45 USD.

We spend the winter months in South Texas making at least one trip per year into interior Mexico. I tried the TelCel SIMs for the experience. Our US phones will do for the infrequent calls we make to each other in the future.
   
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  (#36)
babble (Offline)
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Default Another advantage of telcel sims... - 15-10-2010, 17:42

@25jive1

Since you intend to return to Mexico, and because you already have two telcel sims, why not...

1. Spend 20 USD to keep one of your telcel sims alive for roughly a year.

Simply make two separate payments of 10 USD via the internet to maintain your number for two periods of 180 days.
https://www.prepaid.com/telcel

2. Just before your next trip to Mexico you could also buy a US DID from localphone.com

Initial setup charge: 3.00 USD, plus a 99 cent rental charge per month.
Minimum DID rental period is one month. You can cancel the DID whenever you wish.
In my experience, call quality from localphone to telcel is very good and reliable.
Incoming DID Numbers in United States with Localphone

3. Then you could receive cheap incoming calls from your localphone US DID to your telcel sim for 0.10 USD per minute.

4. As Petkow suggested earlier in this thread, why not use the betamax voipclient software (a java midlet installed in your phone) to set up very cheap callbacks (using telcel gprs data rates) between your telcel mobile and the rest of the world?

Or, if you are flush with cash, why not try teleroam´s suggestion: "Use a US AT&T prepaid Go Phone (25c/min in Mexico), ... if you're mainly calling the US/Canada (and if you don't mind the US$100+ a year it'll cost to keep it active)."

Alternatively, you could be adventurous once again and buy a new telcel sim next year...

And here is a special suggestion for anyone who already uses the betamax voipclient:
Several betamax services offer free call termination to "iNum" telephone numbers.
And localphone offers free iNums which can be installed in voip phones.
The services of both companies work wonderfully together.
   
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  (#37)
teleroam (Offline)
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Default 15-10-2010, 22:50

Quote:
Originally Posted by babble View Post
@25jive1

1. Spend 20 USD to keep one of your telcel sims alive for roughly a year.

Simply make two separate payments of 10 USD via the internet to maintain your number for two periods of 180 days.
Recharging with 100 pesos (or $10 from one of the US websites) gives two months extension to the balance. After that all the balance is lost, although the number can *usually* be reactived by recharging within 3-6 months after that (it seems to vary).

It's better to recharge every two months (600 pesos a year, which gives 600 pesos of usable airtime), rather than throwing away probably 200 pesos a year plus any remaining balance, to possibly keep the number active.

For somebody who travels to Mexico once a year, it's hard to justify either, roaming is much simpler. The AT&T works well in border areas because that $100 a year airtime purchase includes the US (for a two-country prepaid, that's cheap).
   
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  (#38)
adahary (Offline)
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Default How to activate telcel new SIM - 12-07-2011, 21:31

Hi,
I got a new telcel SIM on ebay and would like to know how to activate it.

I'm out of Mexico and when I install it in an unlock phone I get no signal - I guess it should be activated first.

Can I activate it out of Mexico?

I just want to arrive to Mexico with an active and reloaded SIM ready to make in/out calls.

Regards
Assaf
   
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  (#39)
babble (Offline)
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Default Offer lots of money! - 13-07-2011, 00:17

Quote:
Originally Posted by adahary View Post
Can I activate it out of Mexico?
No, no chance outside Mexico! Wait until you arrive in Mexico and then search for someone who will activate it for you.

Offer lots of money!

P.S. You can only roam with prepaid telcel sim cards in the "Americas" and in South Africa! You will never receive a signal in Israel.

Last edited by babble; 13-07-2011 at 00:27..
   
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  (#40)
babble (Offline)
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Default The start of Slim's Global Expansion - 13-07-2011, 00:51

Prepaid telcel sims can also roam in France and Spain now!

Carlos Slim has finally spotted the market for roaming tourists in Europe!
   
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