What is required to get a land line phone?
The major telephone provider in Mexico is Telmex. In order for them to install a new phone service in your home, they will need your Resident Visa or Passport and photo ID, a ‘comprabante’ (utility bill proving your address), and of course some money. The good news is, package deals consisting of phone service with unlimited North American calling, high speed internet, and including the modem/router and Claro Video service (like Netflix) can be obtained for just 389 pesos per month. The bad news, if there is no existing service to take over, is that new installations can take months to complete. If you find yourself in that situation, you may want to consider using cellular in the short term.
Do I even need a land line phone?
The obvious benefit of a land line is the bundled packages, but many people do just fine using cellular only. Service options for both cell and land lines are much less expensive in Mexico than North of the border. Keep in mind that some things like a residential home alarm for example, need a land line to operate. If you are a moderate or greater internet user or like to stream videos, you’ll probably want a land line.
Is the service dependable?
For the most part, service is both reliable and cheap. However, much of Mexico is in the hurricane belt and as such, winds and flooding can cause short term outages. Also, in order to offer free North America wide calling, calls are routed over VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) networks and can suffer from mild cases of ‘echo return’. At times the delay can be quite annoying but when you consider you generally get what you pay for and you’re paying nothing for those calls, it’s a lot easier to take in stride. Besides, it’s Mexico – just be glad you have a phone!
Can I receive and pay my phone bill online?
Yes you can! Although bills are typically mailed out (and sometimes arrive after the due date), you can sign up for electronic service and have your bill emailed to you. The online bill is a PDF image, exactly the same as the bills that are mailed out. You can pay most utility bills at any OXXO (similar to 7-Eleven) store, bank, supermarket, or online either with a credit card or by direct EFT payment from your Mexican bank account.