Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Mexico Roaming Goes Mainstream

AT&T invested in Mexico with the hopes that they could tap a market that could grow significantly with a growing number of Data users.  The secondary objective was to create a "borderless" North American market where AT&T would be the go-to provider for users who wanted to travel freely with cellular between the US and Mexico.  It is that secondary project that gave us all hope for seamless wireless travel across the continent.  As expected, this kicked off a flurry of competitive plans that gave actually us more than what we expected: Cheap Roaming for Talk, Text and Data!

As frequent Mexico travelers we tried to address the challenges on Mexico Cellular.  Our most popular Mexico Roaming solution was a Mexico "Travel" phone, a choice of a low-cost GSM phone or SIM from AT&T GoPhone.  We also recommended a few other alternatives, but all of them now have limited usefulness.  Most carriers currently offer either FREE or low-cost Mexico Roaming.  The only mainstream providers that don't are US Cellular, Virgin Mobile, Boost Mobile and, oddly, the Mexican-owned America Movil networks (with the exception of TelCel America).  We can't help but think America Movil will jump on the bandwagon as well.  The travel phone concept still works for those of us who use the low-cost providers like PTel, Red Pocket and the America Movil companies (Tracfone, PagePlus, NET10, StraightTalk and others).  As we said last winter, this may still be an evolving process, but we sure like what has happened so far.

AT&T's actions have also sparked the Mexico networks to speed up their own upgrades toward faster broadband which will benefit US travelers using whichever Mexico network for roaming.  We currently favor AT&T's Cricket Wireless now that they offer full North American roaming as well as well-priced US service, and the potential of accessing the better AT&T 4G-LTE network in Mexico.  There should be more to come in this arena.  Yes, we can travel thousands of miles away to a warm Mexican beach and still be able to completely remove ourselves from our surroundings...just like home.  Be careful what you wish for.

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