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Cellphone To Buy For Use In Cozumel


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#1 bulsaros

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 03:18 PM

Is it possible to buy a cellphone here in America to give to a friend in Cozumel for his own personal use, he seems to think they are cheaper here.

 

I know usually the cheapest way is an upgrade from your provider, but buying one and taking it to cozumel for his useage I don't know. He wants the latest Motorola cellphone.

 

Would appreciate any thoughts on this matter


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#2 mstevens

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 03:42 PM

It is absolutely possible to get a phone in the US and use it in Cozumel.

Phones, like most personal electronics, are almost always cheaper in the US.

There are several "latest Motorola" models (over half a dozen).

Overall, the best bet is going to be a SIM-unlocked GSM phone so it can be used on the Telcel network. Most carriers sell devices SIM-locked to the carrier and won't unlock them during the subsidy period, and the cost of a SIM-unlocked phone is much higher if it's even available. "No contract" doesn't mean "SIM-unlocked", but you can likely get a "no contract" phone unlocked by a 3rd party. For ATT or T-Mobile (which have devices that work very well on the Telcel network), the Moto X without a contract is $399. I really don't know if they sell them SIM-unlocked or how you would go about getting one SIM-unlocked. Note that sometimes "unlocking" for Android phones refers to unlocking the bootloader and doesn't necessarily refer to a process that would let someone use another network's SIM in the device.

Motorola does sell some models unlocked directly, such as the Motorola G (which I'm not sure would count as the "latest" but is a very decent phone) for $179 which is a very good deal.
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#3 Coz2wonder

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 04:01 PM

check out a couple of the local sites for phones...there are tons of them.

 

Buying and Selling: https://www.facebook...92570384139840/

 

Cozumel Market: https://www.facebook...27482724052040/


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#4 DanB

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Posted 25 April 2014 - 06:33 AM

One of my friends who lives in Cozumel asked me the same question a year or so ago.  I was just coming up on my contract renewal so I got myself the new iphone (4s at the time) and gave him (for the cost of my upgrade) my older iphone 4.  There are places in Cozumel were they can unlock your sim card for you.  The phone has been working great for him since he got it.  The only issue we had is that I neglected to fully clear all of my info from the phone (I left my icloud account and password).  One day I went to make a phone call and all my contacts were gone.  Instead there were a whole bunch of Mexicans there instead of my contacts. I recognized some of the names and realized what had happened. Luckily I had backedup my contacts to my computer so I changed the password to my icloud account so that his phone would not be able to connect to it, and then restored my contacts.  Things have worked well for both of us since then.

 

We also sent emails to many of my friend's faithful divers to contribute older smart phones that they had and no longer used.  We got a couple of droid-based phones and I delivered them during my next trip.  I think these got distributed to other family members and were unlocked by the same people who unlocked his iphone 4 for him.

 

Strangely - ATT (who is my service provider) has an odd policy about unlocking their phones.  Once you have completed your 2-year committment, they will unlock your phone for you.  However, as soon as you replace it (with a new phone you got from them for re-upping), they consider that phone no longer in service with one of their contracts and will not unlock it.  So if you unlock it (thus making it unworkable on the ATT network) you go for some period of time without a phone until you re-up your service and get a new phone.  Not sure what they are trying to accomplish with this.


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#5 marlinfishing

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Posted 25 April 2014 - 03:03 PM

One of my friends who lives in Cozumel asked me the same question a year or so ago.  I was just coming up on my contract renewal so I got myself the new iphone (4s at the time) and gave him (for the cost of my upgrade) my older iphone 4.  There are places in Cozumel were they can unlock your sim card for you.  The phone has been working great for him since he got it.  The only issue we had is that I neglected to fully clear all of my info from the phone (I left my icloud account and password).  One day I went to make a phone call and all my contacts were gone.  Instead there were a whole bunch of Mexicans there instead of my contacts. I recognized some of the names and realized what had happened. Luckily I had backedup my contacts to my computer so I changed the password to my icloud account so that his phone would not be able to connect to it, and then restored my contacts.  Things have worked well for both of us since then.

 

We also sent emails to many of my friend's faithful divers to contribute older smart phones that they had and no longer used.  We got a couple of droid-based phones and I delivered them during my next trip.  I think these got distributed to other family members and were unlocked by the same people who unlocked his iphone 4 for him.

 

Strangely - ATT (who is my service provider) has an odd policy about unlocking their phones.  Once you have completed your 2-year committment, they will unlock your phone for you.  However, as soon as you replace it (with a new phone you got from them for re-upping), they consider that phone no longer in service with one of their contracts and will not unlock it.  So if you unlock it (thus making it unworkable on the ATT network) you go for some period of time without a phone until you re-up your service and get a new phone.  Not sure what they are trying to accomplish with this.

 

Maybe more money?


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#6 cvchief

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Posted 28 April 2014 - 08:50 AM

I don't know that that is exactly correct.  I had my Iphone 4s stolen in Coz. I remote wiped and locked it and got a new 5s.  Then I recovered my 4S from the thief.  With Sprint, they will never unlock an iphone to work on a US carrier, but they will unlock the sim card slot for non-us carriers.  However it just had to be active on the line.  So I had to switch back to the 4S and then wait for the unlocking to happen, then switch back to the 5S.  I think it is more that it need to be active so they can send the cr*p to it to unlock it.  BE CAREFUL with the on island peeps that unlock phones.  I think alot of the Iphones are just being jailbroke which creates other issues.  Also had a friend get his bricked that way.

 

However the 4S is TERRIFIC on Telcel.  All my email apps and so forth are there and working from the get go. Heck I leave it on alot in the US and it roams on ATT.  Doesn't cost me a thing.  (not using it.)

 

(As a side note, my 4S was part of the original Iphone Sprint started with.  After I went through all the switching cr*p, the last tech told me my phone had an unlocked simcard slot from day one.)


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#7 Tax_Accountant

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Posted 10 May 2014 - 08:09 PM

My husband and I both bought really cheap TelCel phones and a USB internet stick when we went to Leon GTO this year. Everything was less than $100, and worked great while we were in Mexico. We just added minutes when we needed to, and brought them back home with us. When we go back to mexico, we will charge them and add minutes again. I got a cheap Nokia and his was a cheap Motorola, very low-end but sturdy and fine for phone calls and short texts. We have Verizon in the states and the "Foreign Data" plans are highway robbery. 


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#8 KAC

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Posted 11 May 2014 - 05:26 AM

When we go back to mexico, we will charge them and add minutes again.

That will work for you as long as you add minute within a six month period. After six months, you will have to buy a new sim chip as they won't re-activate it with a 6 month or older sim chip.
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#9 cvchief

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Posted 11 May 2014 - 06:58 AM

I use the telcel online website to charge mine occasionally to keep it active.  It roams on the ATT network so I can turn it on and get the recharge email.

 

I think Doc Stevens suggested setting up a very small recurring charge on telcel to make it painless and automatic.


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#10 Tax_Accountant

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Posted 11 May 2014 - 12:26 PM

After six months, you will have to buy a new sim chip as they won't re-activate it with a 6 month or older sim chip. 

 

Thanks for this information-- I didn't know this. But we should be fine, the girl at Telcel that sold us the phones actually gave us two extra Sim cards for free, and I didn't really understand why. I guess that's the reason. THe phones were honestly so cheap, and so are the minutes (at least compared to our Verizon bill, which tops $200 a month). We turned off our iPhones cellular data in Mexico but we were able to use them over WiFi no problem throughout Mexico. Overall I think we spent only 60 bucks in minutes; they allow you to add minutes in 11-dollar increments. 

 

FYI, when we went to the consulate in Juarez, we were there for 2 weeks, and that close to the border the iPhones picked up enough signal from America that we were able to use them as phones (but not over 3G for internet use) without any roaming charges.


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#11 mstevens

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Posted 11 May 2014 - 05:01 PM

Yeah, if you set up an account at mitelcel.com (which may need to be done in Mexico since they send confirmatory text messages*), you can set up an automatic 50 peso monthly recharge and not only keep your number but also have enough credit in your account to be usable. You *might* be able to set up an account from within the US. One tip is that debit cards don't work (even if they work as credit cards). Up to a point, expired credit is magically resurrected each time you recharge. For example, 50-peso recharges only last for 2 weeks, but my monthly automatic recharge ends up never wasting any credit because it's brought back to life with each recharge. 20 pesos is the smallest recharge you can do, and expires after a week.

 

Telcel is infuriatingly vague about how long you can let a SIM go unused without using your number. It's not official, but most people report they can go up to 6 months. I haven't heard anyone say they've been able to go longer.

 

Unless the spare SIM cards are registered and have their own numbers assigned to them, they're useless. In any event, they'll expire if unused just like your "main" SIM.

 

*For example, Sprint will only unlock the SIM slot for international use, so within the US my Telcel SIMs don't work. A phone bought from Telcel will probably roam fine (but expensively) in the US.


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#12 mstevens

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Posted 11 May 2014 - 05:23 PM

cvchief, your Sprint iPhone 4S is quite rare (and more valuable than my old "normal" Sprint 4S)!

 

A very small number of them were true unlocked phones and can be used anywhere, including in the US, with any SIM. Normally, Sprint only unlocks the SIM slot for foreign use. In fact, they claim it isn't even possible for them to unlock it for use within the US. Any replacement 4S you get will be locked within the US no matter what.


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#13 cvchief

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Posted 13 May 2014 - 01:34 PM

Well they did say something about the early sprint 4s being unlocked accidentally from the get go. 

 

But wouldn't any of them work as long as the sim was Telcel?  I thought it was just not unlocked for US carriers, not locations?  Like unlock on sprint iphones means only sprint or Non-US sims?


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#14 cvchief

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Posted 13 May 2014 - 01:35 PM

Hey, MS, since you are up on it:

 

My telcel online account has three phone numbers on it.  The first is used to log in.  That first one is the stolen sim I never got back.  The 2 and 3 are the phone we use.  You have any idea how to switch 2 to the primary on the account?


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#15 mstevens

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Posted 13 May 2014 - 07:36 PM

cvchief, Sprint's locks are location-specific. Thus, our Telcel SIMs won't work in our Sprint phones within the US. My impression is that they're desperate to avoid people using phones bought from them on ATT or T-Mobile's networks.

 

Telcel's procedures mystify me, so I have no idea to do what you want. I'll bet it would involve going to a Telcel Client Service Center, and probably not the Telycom shop on 2 Nte but a "real" one. When my son misplaced his phone and we used the website to suspend his line it took amazing amounts of effort to get it re-enabled even though we had the special code they provide for this. We ended up having to go to Playa del Carmen, which if there's any hope of retrieving your number is likely what you'll need to do.


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