Moving to Mexico does not mean you have to drop out of touch with your family and leave your Facebook friends behind. Modern communication technology throughout the country ensures generally inexpensive and easy access but finding the right Internet option in Mexico that meets your needs and fits your budget can take some time.
To provide you with a clear picture of what some of your options are, we looked at the five types of Internet services available in Mexico, some of the fastest Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and also checked in with several expats to see what services they are using.
Whether you have an online business, Skype with family and friends or spend time on social media, you want to make sure you get the fastest Internet speed available at the most reasonable price with limited downtime. A lot depends on what local options are offered.
Before we take a look at specific companies, you should know what types of Internet services are available in Mexico, depending upon your location. Rural areas have fewer options and large cities many options.
DSL service is delivered via telephone lines by your local phone company and generally offers slower download and upload speeds than other delivery forms, but at a reasonable price. The use of landlines also may increase connection quality and reliability.
Cable service from local cable television companies usually provides reliable and fast Internet connections and is particularly well-suited for users who watch a lot of streaming services like Netflix. The major downside for cable is that you often compete with your neighbors who have cable, which slows things down when everyone uses the Internet at the same time, especially in the evening.
Mobile Internet services are fast-growing as more users access the Internet via smartphones and tablets. You can also use your mobile device as a hotspot for your computer. Mobile is usually fast but requires a data plan in addition to voice. If you go over your data plan, it can be costly.
Satellite is often the only solution for those who live in rural areas. Internet service is usually bundled with television programming. Although not the best choice, it can be faster than DSL or dial-up service. Also, during inclement weather, service may be interrupted.
Fiber-optic technology is the fastest technology, providing speeds up to 25 times faster than DSL or cable. Fiber-optic is perfect for heavy users of the Internet, but its availability is limited often to larger cities that have a fiber-optic infrastructure. Although this service is not available everywhere, the government of Mexico, in partnership with private telecommunication companies, has ambitious plans for expansion.
Tom Lang, an expat from Lake Chapala who telecommutes for two U.S. companies as a health coach several days a week, told us he would love to have a fiber-optic option for his work.
“Fiber-optic would be ideal, but it is not yet available in our area,” Lang said. “Satellite is too expensive, so Telcel was the only option. I tried to get DSL service from Telmex, but they said they were not accepting new customers because they lacked enough infrastructure and capacity when I applied.”
The future, though, looks bright for wider fiber-optic coverage in the country. The government of Mexico is tasked under the country’s new Telecom Law to build a nationwide fiber-optic backbone network, called Red Troncal. The government is organizing an international public-private partnership to bring the dream of fast Internet to the majority of the country.
For example, wireless broadband developer Cobalt Holdings has plans to build a fiber-optic network in the northern part of the state of Quintana Roo to serve Cancún and the Riviera Maya.
Your Internet service options in Mexico are completely dependent upon who your local ISPs are. In about 80 percent of the country, Telmex is available to provide DSL and fiber-optic (not in all areas) service. Most cities usually offer a mix of cable, satellite, mobile and DSL services from local ISPs. Internet services are often packaged with television and telephone services. Mexico City, Guadalajara, Monterrey, and other larger cities and tourist centers offer the fiber-optic option.
Once you determine what ISP options are available, you can decide which company makes the most sense for your specific needs, including speed, reliability, quality and cost.
Here are a few larger companies that operate in many regions of Mexico:
Telmex, based in Mexico City, covers most of the country and offers DSL and fiber-optic (in selected areas) Internet services. Telmex is among the most popular Internet providers in Mexico.
No current speed test data is available to compare the major ISPs in Mexico, but we found the Netflix ISP Speed Index, a measure of primetime Netflix performance when Internet traffic is the heaviest. The August 2018 test provides a comparison of major ISPs. It ranked Telmex Infinitum fourth out of nine ISPs tested in Mexico with an average speed index of 3.54.
Telmex packages range from broadband speeds of 10 Mbps a month for $389 pesos to 200 Mbps a month for $1,500 pesos. These packages also include television service as well as telephone service.
Cindy Dahl, an expat from Cabo San Lucas, is a current Telmex customer who uses the company for both telephone and Internet services. “I pay less than US$30 a month for their services,” Dahl said. “I have been using the Telmex fiber-optic option and it is very fast!”
Axtel is headquartered near Monterrey and is the second largest landline telephone service provider in Mexico. The company offers telephone, Internet, television and VPN services.
Axtel’s Xtremo Internet service ranked second on the Netflix ISP Speed Index, with an average index of 3.80.
The company offers packages beginning at $429 pesos for 35 Mbps, $550 pesos for 100 Mbps and $1,289 pesos for 200 Mbps.
Totalplay is headquartered in Mexico City and provides fiber-optic Internet connections to over 20 major cities in Mexico, including Mexico City, Guadalajara and Monterrey, the three largest cities.
It was no surprise that a fiber-optic ISP would rank number one on the Netflix ISP Speed Index with an index of 3.89.
Totalplay offers packages ranging from 30 Mbps for $629 pesos to 500 Mbps for $1,709. The other top three packages offer 100 to 300 Mbps and range in price from $1,000 to $1,509 pesos. All of these packages include television and phone service, as well.
They also include an HD decoder and a WIFI access point that allows customers to have easy access to popular applications such as Netflix, YouTube, and Crackle.
Mexico City-based Izzi is a telecommunications company owned by Grupo Televisa with coverage in over 50 cities in Mexico, including many areas in Baja California.
Izzi ranked third in Netflix’s speed test with an index of 3.56. Packages start at $520 pesos for 10 Mbps and $650 pesos for 20 Mbps. Izzi’s best offer is $850 pesos for 50 Mbps. All of the Internet packages also come with television and telephone service.
Other top-rated ISPs you may want to consider, if available in your area, are Cablemás, Megacable or Telecable.
Internet options differ from region-to-region in Mexico, just as they do in other countries, but with new developments in the now deregulated telecommunications industry, Mexico could be expecting better access to more reliable networks. Google, for example, now has built 60 WIFI hotspots in 45 cities in the country, according to PC Magazine. Google is expected to have over 100 by the end of this year.