I'm travelling to Mexico later this year and wondering if anyone has had experience with SIM cards from companies like Telcel or Movistar. I have an old phone that I'll use (hopefully I'll be able to unlock it) so that my current phone doesn't have issues with iMessage. It's an AT&T Avail 2 (also called ZTE Z992) which I have the unlock instructions for. I bought it in the US two years ago.

What's the easiest and cheapest way to get a SIM card and load it with an American credit card?

  • 1
    Keep in mind that North America uses different GSM frequencies. Your "old" phone may not cover those (modern smart phones tend to cover all, older not so "smart" phones do not)
    – user13044
    Oct 19, 2016 at 0:46
  • I think you should talk about SIM cards with the local shop assistant
    – user52658
    Oct 19, 2016 at 2:12
  • 2
    For questions like this it's good to specify exactly what phone you have, and what country you purchased it in (and from what carrier, if any). Oct 19, 2016 at 2:24
  • Do you need data? Can you pay by cash?
    – JonathanReez
    Oct 19, 2016 at 7:29
  • You should clarify where you live ('American credit card" suggests the US) and whether what you want is a Mexican phone number so locals can call you or just want to use the service for data and calls from home. If the latter it is very often better to buy service from a US-based carrier that includes Mexico calling and roaming (including Telcel America)
    – user38879
    Oct 19, 2016 at 20:43

1 Answer 1


I go to Mexico City three times per year and have always bought a Virgin Mobile SIM Card in the 7-11 in the airport (I think other 7-11s carry them but I just use the one in the Airport). There are a couple 7-11s in the Juarez Airport and only one of them had the SIM Cards but it was there.

One thing to know is that Mexicans don't call them cards - even in Spanish "Tarjeta" will not communicate - they call it a "Chip" which in Spanish is sort of pronounced like "CHEEP".

You can say "Quiero comprar un chip para el telefono celular; Virgin? Telcel? Movistar?"

I suggest unlocking your phone before you leave the USA - I've used several different Samsung phones and never had a problem.

You can also go to a Telcel store in the city, I had a colleague do that but he waited in line for almost an hour and it was a lot of red tape (they were cheaper on the data and calls though).

All 7-11s sell credit for phone and they all take US Credit Cards.

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