How to get Mexican TELCEL service on Unlocked Cellphone

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
Press Main
Select Settings
Select Wireless and Networks
Select Mobile Networks
Select Access point Names
Delete all APN’s in this section.
Press Menu
Press New APN
Enter the follow settings one for General Data . The other for MMS

TELCEL DATA SETTINGS
Name: MX – Telcel Web
APN: internet.itelcel.com
Proxy:
Port:
Username: webgprs
Password: webgprs2002
Server:
MMSC:
MMS Proxy:
MMS Port:
MMS Protocol: WAP 2.0
MCC:
MNC:
Authentication Type: PAP
APN Type: default, supl

TELCEL MMS SETTINGS
Name: MX – Telcel MMS
APN:
Proxy:
Port:
Username:
Password:
Server:
MMSC:
MMS Proxy:
MMS Port:
MMS Protocol: WAP 2.0
MCC:
MNC:
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

  • ALTO1H (1 hour – 100mb) $12
  • ALTO1D (1 day – 150mb) $49
  • ALTO2D (2 day – 200mb) $79
  • ALTO7D (1gb) $199
  • ALTO15D (1.5gb) $299
  • ALTO30D (3gb) $499
  • 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:
    https://www.atencionenlinea.telcel.com/atencion_clientes/index.jsp

    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
    Dial: *99#
    APN: internet.itelcel.com
    user: webgprs
    password: webgprs2002

    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.

    Buen Suerte!

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    • jaime

      I just popped my telcel sim card in went to settings then mobile networks clicked preferred network and changed it from cdma mode to gsm/umts mode and it worked right away didnt have to change no apn settings…….of course i had to activate the sim but that was no biggy since im fluent in spanish and once im back in the states i change it back to cdma and it still works with my service provider i have a htc evo 4g design from boost

      • jackie

        So if I send a 4g my touch android to mexico and they puttheir sim card all they do is choose network theirs no need to unlock phone?

        • samantha gutierrez

          What company was the phone u sent to mx jackie? If u dont mind me asking

        • Alex

          Yes

    • barbie

      do these settings also work for telcel america??

    • polo

      Awesome!!! Thanks for this guide

    • Mike Hodge

      There are new phones available now at http://www.telefonostelcelamerica.com for Telcel America service in the US.

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    • MATTHIAS LEXIUS CRUZ

      DUDE, YUU ARE GONNA HELP ME MAKE ALOT OF MONEY!!
      HAVE AN IPHONE 4 FROM AT&T UNLOCKED, IT WILL WORK WITH AN “AMIGO PRE-PAID SIM CARD KIT” ???
      CONTACT INFO: retinanine@gmail.com

      • J F

        Yes – stop by a TelCel office (better than a retail dealer – as they can help if you have any issues such as adding the APN) and get the SIM activate & you are ready to rock

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    • Cactus Jack

      Mike, thanks for the info. I was using a Telcel Amigo USB Modem and wanted to switch to an AT & T unlocked Novatel 2372 MIFI. I was having a heck of a time until remembered your post. I took the data input info and inputed it on the AT & T mifi landing page in the internet properties section and the mifi lit up like a Roman Candle.It worked great the whole time in Rocky Point. I even watched US baseball live in streaming video with no hesitations or bulkyness at all. Thanks, again.

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    • jacquelinej

      How about if u already have a mexico sim card and u send an american cell phone do u just have to unlock it and have it connected to telcel in mexico???

      • Steve Brickman

        My experience is that once your SIM hasn’t been used in awhile (I think 30 days…) you have to buy a new one.

    • Caleb Gayle

      Does Telcel have an unlimited data plan? if so how much?

      • Mert Erel

        They do have unlimited data plans for contracted phones… not prepaid.

    • Funman

      I have 2 telcel phones I have used recently in Puerto Vallarta Mexico. Will they work in Cancun? Do I have to change sim cards? There is minutes on these phones from telcel in Puerto Vallarta.

    • Judymc

      I am going back to USA for 3 weeks. My unlocked Verizon iPhone has a Telcel SIM card in it for here in Mexico. Get both phone and data on it just fine. Can I safely take it out when I reactivate my Verizon cell number (currently on suspend) so I am using Verizon? Reverse process when I come back to Mexico? Thanks so much for helping!

      • J F

        Yes – I do it all the time – switch bet Verizon & TelCel – iphone5

    • Fly Fried Freddy

      Confirmed configuration; found 1 parameter out; Authentication Type:PAP, and now it works, thank you.

    • J F

      Out of the credit on your account generally, but you can buy a “ficha” at the TelCel office and pay specifically for your data plan

    • Lizbetth Cordova

      Help! Im going to mexico for the weekend and I have a samsung galaxy note with net10 a company that runs with the towers of at&t i already have a mexican sims card once in mexico i tried to make my phone work but it asked me for like a network password??? is that what you buy on ebay? the unlock code?

      • Steve Brickman

        If you haven’t used your Mexican SIM in awhile you have to buy a new one.

    • sjfpvr

      Just returned from Puerto Vallarta on 12-12-13. I went to the Telcel store across from the Sheraton. Checked in with receptionist, then got in line for one of the agents who spoke some English. Requested an Amiga prepaid SIM, 30 day plan. Needed to show US driver’s license. A passport would also work. Agent completed paperwork that I took across the room to the cashier. Cashier sold me extra minutes to the standard 30 day plan, which I agreed to. Used credit card to pay. Took receipt back to agent and handed her my iPhone 5s. Agent took out my Verizon SIM (after confirming from me that my phone was unlocked). Agent then put a Telcel nano SIM (yes, nano!). in my iPhone and did all the activation. Left with cell phone service and a 3G data plan. I could call out immediately, but it took about an hour before others could call me. Later I took out the Telcel SIM and put it in a different iPhone 5. Worked fine. Once back in US, I put my Verizon SIM back in. Worked fine. Key points. If someone from a Mexico land line wants to call you, they have to add 044 to the front of the call, e.g. 044 322 xx xxx would ring me. If a call to me is made from a Mexican cell phone, then you just dial 322 xx xxx. I had a friend who spoke fluent Spanish with me, as this was my first go at this. I’m not sure I could pull it off by myself. You buy the SIM card for 150 pesos separately from the plan. My plan was $500 pesos, so the total was 650 pesos. At times the 3G was so slow that I thought something was wrong with my activation.

    • sjfpvr

      Forgot to add that I was told that after 30 days the Telcel SIM would not work, even if I added via a refill card from an OXXO or elsewhere before the 30 days expired. Essentially, I left with the understanding that I would need to buy a new 150 peso SIM card each 30 days to go with a new 30 day plan, assuming 30 days is what I wanted. There are posts on the net that say you can keep your number associated with your SIM active if you refill at regular intervals after the 30 day period. I just don’t know. There are good instructions on the rethink ! blog for the Telcel experience in Puerto Vallarta.

    • Vincent

      I got my SIM from http://www.mexicosimcard.com before leaving, I probably paid a little extra but it was definitely worth it so I didn’t have to look for a Telcel store then buy and activate the SIM.

    • Guest

      I bought my Telcel SIM from http://www.mexicosimcard.com and received it before leaving for Mexico. I only needed to pop it in when I arrived in Mexico, so no need to find a store and wait for activation. Highly recommended.

    • Ron

      Have a Blackberry curve 9930, I took it to Telcel to see if it can be made to send texts to Telcel Amigo cell numbers. They cannot fix it. I can send texts to CDN cell phones but I cannot receive them with my Telcel sim, Have moved my sim card to another phone in Mexico and it sends and receives texts. My blackberry just does not send or receive texts to Mexican cell sim numbers. Just looking for a good answer.

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    • worldwideadven1

      A huge thank you for this in depth article on getting a sim in Mexico. Today I did exactly as you said and within 20 minutes Telcel had me hooked up and activated without a word of Spanish from me! Awesome – you rock! PS the same thing in the US took 4 days to get working!

    • markk

      I tried using a Telcel SIM with my Samsung Galaxy Note II and it did not work, so I ended up getting their cheapest model to make emergency calls. Everybody at Telcel said my phone had to be reformatted for Telcel. I wasted hours when I could have been sightseeing.

      • Mert Erel

        It depends on what carrier you have. If you have Verizon, then they are cool and it’s already unlocked. If you have Tmobile or ATT, they hate you and have their phones locked. Greedy corporations. When you get back to the USA, switch to Verizon.

    • Mert Erel

      This is a great tutorial. I found out that Verizon’s Galaxy S3 is a world phone that comes unlocked already. All of Verizon’s global phones are unlocked (unlike ATT which demands I pay up my past due bill and refuses to unlock it for me) and all I have to do is put in the APN settings WHILE I have the telcel chip in.

      Also, Verizon phones in “global mode” automatically connect to the IUSACELL network (the only CDMA network in Mexico) but they are not very good but have 4g Data. Their reception sucks. Also, incoming caller ID’s will not show. (I have the Verizon Mexico plan that includes 1000 minutes in Mexico when you add it for $15 per month on any plan). I recommend to switch the global phone to GSM only and do a manual search for TELCEL. If you are using the Verizon SIM CARD CHIP in your phone, I recommend doing this.

      I am about to visit the TELCEL store to make sure this is the current settings for the APN since things do change frequently in the Cell Phone world.

      My next step is to see IUSACELL to see if they have a unlimited data day plan since they have 4g and it’s CDMA. If so, I will get a prepaid chip from them so I can get 4g speeds while I’m in Mexico. Once again, their coverage is not good so it pays to have both chips just in case!

      If you have a Verizon smartphone, it smart to have not only the Mexico plan activated on your USA plan by adding the Mexico plan for $15 on top of your contracted USA plan but also have a TelCel chip to avoid paying $5/mb roaming on the Verizon chip but also have the IUSACELL chip too. The speed for IUSACELL will be much faster if you can grab on their scarce 4g signal.

      • LisAguilera

        So unlocked Verizon phones DO work in Mexico!? I want to buy a nice cheap phone. I have At&t in the U.S and I would prefer to keep the same carrier. I might just wait till my upgrade and switch my current phone to TELCEL SIM card when I visit there.

        • Alex

          All phones with a SIM card are now unlocked. Verizon told me this last week

    • Fred

      On telcel how do you track where a person in Mexico is

    • LisAguilera

      What U.S carriers for unlocked cell phones work in Mexico? I read in a different blog that ONLY At&t and T-Mobile (with GSM network compatability) work but an employee at Best Buy told me any phone with “quad-core” will work internationally (I found a Verizon phone with “quad-core” also). Any suggestions?

      • Alex

        President Obama has made all phones unlocked now. So just take any newer phone and put in a telcel chip and it should work

    • Alan

      This is great info, I plan to take advantage of it on my next visit to Chiapas.

    • will

      Great article! I did exactly as you lay out here. My cell phone works, as does my data. However, my texting does not…

      I notice I do not have an entry to modify for “MMS Protocol:” Neither in the data APN nor the MMS APN. Any advice?

    • king bonks

      what do i put if the mms protocol dont come up on the phone-

    • kellly

      somebody help me out with an iphone 5s! im visiting in december and plan on staying there for a while so im for sure gonna be in need of a phone…

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