|Jon's First Stop at Telcel Mazatlán|
Staying in Touch with Family and Friends While Living in Mexico
Having Internet service that works with a usable speed is one of our biggest challenges while we live in Mexico. In many of the RV Parks that we stay in, the internet is provided but is unreliable or slow. Some days the internet service doesn't work at all or it is so overloaded by RVers uploading photos and downloading movies, making Skype phone calls, doing Online Banking, and viewing YouTube videos and internet TV that it comes to a standstill.
Our solution beginning last season was to have our own portable back-up internet service with us. Jon set up our internet hotspot using the Mexican internet and phone company, Telcel, and an AT&T MiFi Hotspot "unlocked" device he purchased online while in the U.S. A year ago, we visited Telcel in Mazatlán and purchased a Sim Card, a portable memory chip to use in the MiFi for internet access. After a phone call to the manufacturer of the AT&T MiFi to get help setting up the hotspot unit so it would work with the Telcel Sim Card, we had internet in most remote areas of Mexico, as long as there was cell service. We had great internet service on most little beaches and in mountain towns that we visited. We were able to stay
in touch with our family and friends with e-mail, Facebook, and Skype phone calls!
|Telcel Christmas Tree in January|
This season, the unlocked AT&T MiFi Hotspot with last year's Sim Card would not work, even when Jon spent 399 pesos (about $28.00 U.S.) on Telcels website to add 3 GB of data to it! Thus began our education on this year's Telcel system for Sim Cards. As I've always said, the one constant in Mexico is change. Telcel's policies are no exception. Here are the steps we took and what we learned this year to activate the MiFi Hotspot:
- Mazatlán Centro Telcel Store to Buy a New Sim Card for Our AT&T Hotspot: We took the Sabalo Centro bus in Mazatlán to an official Telcel store in Centro to find out why our Sim Card would not work. We were told that because we had not used that Sim Card for six months, it was void. We were also told that that policy has now changed, of course, so that Sim Cards
Sabalo Centro "Tourist" Bus to the Telcel Store
- Ensuring that the AT&T Hotspot Worked with the New Sim Card Before Leaving the Mazatlán Centro Telcel Store: Jon returned to the first Telcel counter and the helpful associate agreed to put the Sim Card (chip) into the AT&T Hotspot Device, turn it on, and allow us time to test it with our iPad and Samsung tablet to be sure we had internet access. Success! It worked!
- Discovering that Our New Sim Card Worked in our Unlocked GSM Phone (Global
Mazatlán Centro Telcel Store
- Discovering that After We Activated the New Sim Card for Use in Our GSM Phone, that Sim Card would no Longer Work in Our Unlocked AT&T HotSpot!: Jon first realized that to use the GSM phone with the new Sim Card, he had to call Telcel with the GSM phone to activate the Sim Card/GSM phone. The GSM phone worked. He put the Sim Card (chip) back in the unlocked AT&T Hotspot and the Hotspot did not work any longer! From our experience, it appears that the Sim Card must be activated as a phone chip OR a data chip, not both.
- Puerto Vallarta Centro Telcel Store to Purchase Another Sim Card, This
Puerto Vallarta Centro (Downtown) Telcel Store
- Another Lesson We Are Learning: It appears that it is best to NOT add more data to the Sim card until all data time has run out. Recently Jon purchased another 3 GB of Data on Telcel's website using his Debit Card. The charge continues to show as "Pending" on his bank account and the Data has not been added to his Telcel account after several days. At this point, we assume the additional 3 GB of Data will be added when we have used up our existing Data.
- One More Hard Lesson: When adding time using Telcel's website, a rejection
Puerto Vallarta Centro Telcel Store--A Busy Place
- Oh, Another Thing We Later Found Out...Our Sim Card from last year that didn't work so we threw it away...it really just needed to be reactivated at an official Telcel store. When a Sim Card has not been used for a long period of time, it needs to be checked at an Official Telcel store to be sure it is still activated, and have them reactivate it if necessary. It is best to do this before purchasing a packet of Internet Data or Cell Phone Time.
Overall, we have had good results using Telcel to stay connected with our family and friends while we live in Mexico. These frustrations and lessons learned are worth the trouble so that we can live in this beautiful country six months each year and communicate with others in the United States. We know there are changes coming with the new relationship between AT&T and Telcel, and hopefully they will improve this internet and phone service between the United States and Mexico. We would love to receive comments and information about this or other systems that work for internet while RVing in Mexico and the United States.
|Terry and Jon Turrell Live in Mexico Six Months Each Year|
Get a free sample of my eBook about our adventures while living in a motorhome in Mexico at: "Healthy Living and Traveling in Mexico" eBook on Amazon.com
Follow Our travels and healthy living activities at: www.HealthyLivingandTravelinginMexico.com