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Post by Newguy on Fri Aug 28, 2015 7:25 am

What is the best cell phone option for snowbirds? I have read that bringing an unlocked cell phone down from NOB and then buying a local sim card is one solution but I have also read that this method requires you to add minutes monthly or your service expires. I am hoping one of you veterans can steer me in the right direction. Thanks

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Post by CanuckBob on Fri Aug 28, 2015 7:43 am

You can either get a phone here or bring an unlocked one. Once you put a sim card in you can sign up for a monthly plan or "pay as you go", with either one. There is absolutely no difference between the phone you bring or the one you buy here.
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Post by MexicoPete on Fri Aug 28, 2015 7:59 am

Remember that in the US, not Canada, many phones sold are using a different system than Canada and Mexico and do not have GSM chips. AT&T and T Mobile do use the same type of chip used in Mexico and Canada
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Post by juanrey on Fri Aug 28, 2015 8:29 am

I have heard that if you don't use a sim card for 6 months it expires. True?
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Post by lunateak on Fri Aug 28, 2015 8:40 am

Very true.
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Post by CanuckBob on Fri Aug 28, 2015 8:59 am

Yep, they don't want to tie up their limited # of numbers. Your number will be given to someone else.
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Post by CanuckBob on Fri Aug 28, 2015 9:03 am

MexicoPete wrote:Remember that in the US, not Canada, many phones sold are using a different system than Canada and Mexico and do not have GSM chips. AT&T and T Mobile do use the same type of chip used in Mexico and Canada

I don't believe those types of phones have sim cards at all. Telus in Canada uses (or used to) that type of technology.
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Post by Kiri on Fri Aug 28, 2015 9:09 am

juanrey wrote:I have heard that if you don't use a sim card for 6 months it expires.  True?

My understanding is that it must remain valid for 12 months.
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Post by CanuckBob on Fri Aug 28, 2015 9:18 am

In Canada it is 6 months with a "pay as you go" plan. I know this because last time up there I bought a "pay as you go" sim for my phone (Rogers) and they told me once I stop using it it would only be valid for 6 months and when I return the following year I would need a new one. Of course monthly plan phones never expire as long as you keep paying.
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Post by zenwoodle on Fri Aug 28, 2015 10:46 am

Expired time on the Amigo plan can be recovered up to 1 year from expiration by adding new time.
If you do not use your phone for a 6 month period, Telcel will lock your number.
I use my Mexican phone when I am in Canada or the US. Beer
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Post by MouseDoc on Fri Aug 28, 2015 12:02 pm

Thanks for the info on the SIM card expiration.  My wife and I are coming down for our first scouting of the area for potential retirement this Feb.  I guess I will have to throw a few pesos at the phone every few months to keep the SIM card working since I suspect we will be coming down more often over the next few years.
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Post by Flamingo on Fri Aug 28, 2015 12:40 pm

The monthly cost is SOOO much lower than the cost of a cell phone NOB. Pay 100 pesos and it is good for 2 months. That's $6 USD a month. If you make lots of calls, put in 200 pesos.
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Post by CanuckBob on Fri Aug 28, 2015 12:58 pm

MouseDoc wrote:Thanks for the info on the SIM card expiration.  My wife and I are coming down for our first scouting of the area for potential retirement this Feb.  I guess I will have to throw a few pesos at the phone every few months to keep the SIM card working since I suspect we will be coming down more often over the next few years.

You can add minutes on-line with your charge card when you are up north and want to keep it activated.
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Post by gvprod on Fri Aug 28, 2015 1:17 pm

T mobile now has a plan that covers the US, Canada and Mexico.....you can makes call to or from any country, all considered one area.
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Post by gstevenson on Sat Aug 29, 2015 11:27 pm

I am from Canada and on a trip to Ajijic.  I picked up a T-Mobile sim in the U.S. on the way down and signed up to the new $50/mo plan where you get unlimited voice and texts and 1Gb of data, with coverage in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.  

It worked well most of the way down to Ajijic, and in Ajijic the voice and texts work...but there seems to be no data coverage.  Anybody know why?  I have the SIM in an iPhone 5s running the current version of iOS.  Data Roaming and LTE witches are both turned on, and I have a strong voice connection...full bars...on TelCel.  Anybody know?  Anybody have a T-Mobile phone in Ajijic?

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Post by gvprod on Sun Aug 30, 2015 10:27 am

In the setting make sure data is turned on
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Post by gstevenson on Sun Aug 30, 2015 10:55 am

gvprod wrote:In the setting make sure data is turned on
"Cellular Data" is on. "Enable LTE" is on. And "Data Roaming" is on.

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Post by gstevenson on Tue Sep 01, 2015 10:41 am

gstevenson wrote:I am from Canada and on a trip to Ajijic.  I picked up a T-Mobile sim in the U.S. on the way down and signed up to the new $50/mo plan where you get unlimited voice and texts and 1Gb of data, with coverage in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.  

It worked well most of the way down to Ajijic, and in Ajijic the voice and texts work...but there seems to be no data coverage.  Anybody know why?  I have the SIM in an iPhone 5s running the current version of iOS.  Data Roaming and LTE witches are both turned on, and I have a strong voice connection...full bars...on TelCel.  Anybody know?  Anybody have a T-Mobile phone in Ajijic?

Just to close this and not leave misinformation. I got it working. I really don't know what the cause was, but it started working after I tried changing one of the settings under "Cellular" based on a post I read somewhere else. The change did nothing so I changed it back...fully powering off the device and restarting it after each change. Then it worked...with the settings exactly as they had been. I can only assume that causing something to change and restarting the device re registered it with the local cell company's equipment. Whatever. Anyway t-Mobiile data does work in Ajijic, leveraging the local cell company's connection.

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