This article instructs you how to get your unlocked cellphone working on the Mexican TELCEL mobile network. I had full 3G service most of the time in Mexico.
If you do not yet have a TELCEL Phone or TELCEL SIM card you need to go to an official TELCEL Centro to get one. The little tiendas selling phones everywhere cannot help you.
Here is the list of all the official centros, pick your state in Mexico and it will give you a list. You cannot get a new phone without going to the legit centro as apparently they have to run your passport nowadays (though it didnt really seem like they did much with mine) http://www.telcel.com/portal/contactanos/cacs/begin.do
Personally I had an ATT LG Thrive on ATT that was using in the states. I found an unlock code for sale on ebay for about $7. Just google “Unlock code + Yourphonename” They emailed me an unlock code to enter once I received my TELCEL SIM and put it in the phone.
Go to the Official Centro and speak with the front desk clerk. Tell them you want to buy an Amigo (Pre-paid) SIM. They will give you a ticket and send you to another line. *DO NOT WAIT IN THE MAINLINE WITHOUT A TICKET* Ask me how I wasted 45 minutes of my day…
Once your ticket is called, tell the clerk you would like to purchase a Prepaid AMIGO SIM card. Most of the staff were confused at first since I had a U.S. ATT phone but I assured them that it would be OK, I just needed the SIM. Note: All this was taking place in my horrible spanish.
Give the clerk your passport and she will fill out some paperwork and print out a receipt. Take the reciept to the cashier counter and pay $150 pesos (the SIM includes $50 pesos of airtime). Take your new paperwork with proof of payment back to your original clerk. The clerk will run some more paperwork, retrieve a SIM, and write your number down for you.
Take the new TELCEL SIM and put it into your phone. Once your phone turns on it should say something like “CARRIER LOCK” and request your unlock code. Enter your code and proceed. My phone hooked up instantly the the TELCEL 3G network. Obviously if you purchased an “Amigo Kit” which includes a TELCEL phone or have an already unlocked phone you can skip this unlock step.
Ask the Clerk to activate your phone for you. This activation process all takes place in spanish and its better to leave it to the professionals. The clerk will verify your information over the phone and activation is complete. You will get your phone back and you are done! Almost…
Now since my phone was not an official TELCEL phone I had to manually go into it and setup the APN settings which I was able to track down on the internet.
Here they are for your information. Note this is for an Android phone, iPhones and blackberry will be different. You can find more settings for other phones here. http://www.unlockit.co.nz/mobilesettings/settings.php?id=15
INSTRUCTIONS ON ACCESSING ANDROID APN SETTINGS
Select Wireless and Networks
Select Mobile Networks
Select Access point Names
Delete all APN’s in this section.
Press New APN
Enter the follow settings one for General Data . The other for MMS
TELCEL DATA SETTINGS
Name: MX – Telcel Web
MMS Protocol: WAP 2.0
Authentication Type: PAP
APN Type: default, supl
TELCEL MMS SETTINGS
Name: MX – Telcel MMS
MMS Protocol: WAP 2.0
Authentication Type: PAP
APN Type: mms
Now that that is out of the way I was able to get the phone on the internet and was checking my emails and surfing natively on TELCEL 3G. The kicker is the plan was currently in “On-demand” data mode which absolutely rapes your phone. I think it is something like $30 pesos per meg which is nonsense.
You can change your data plan to a prixfixe model where you pay per hour, day, week, month etc by texting the phone number 5050 with which plan you want
Note: When your plan expires you automatically roll back to the “OnDemand” model which will quickly burn up your Amigo credit so be wary of when your plan is ending, they send you a text to remind you.
OK, So you got your phone, internet, plan all setup and working. Now how the hell do you see how much time/credit you have left on your phone and how do you recharge it?
Go to this website:
On the bottom right you enter your 10-digit number to register and setup your password, it sends you a text to confirm it is you and now you can login to the “Mi TelCel” website.
From here if you click on “Consulta tu Saldo” under Mi Cuenta on the right you can see your current Amigo credit balance.
If you click on “Tiempo Aire con Cargo a Tarjeta” you can recharge your balance with a credit card.
You can also modify your internet plan etc there.
Now I personally also brought an 4596 3G Mobile Broadband Modem that I purchased off of Amazon before I left
Using this Dongle I am able to take my SIM out of my phone, put it in the dongle and get 3G internet here in Mexico as long as I have cellphone signal.
TELCEL USB APN SETTINGS
These are the APN settings required for the USB dongle
Note: TELCEL sells a prepacked Amigo dongle with everything all setup and ready to go for you if you don’t want to dick around with all this nerdy APN stuff. I believe it also comes with 3Gigs of data when you purchase it.