The Space for Expatriates
OK, today’s “Moving to Cabo” question is about the costs needed to be put into the budget for communications such as cell phones and internet. Hmm… here goes….
The most common internet provider in Cabo is Telmex, our phone company. I’m sure there’s a way to get internet without a land line, but I couldn’t find it on their site. After all, Carlos Slim didn’t get to be the world’s richest man by missing any tricks. That said, the packages aren’t so awful. The basic package includes a land line with 100 local calls and 100 calls to the mainland per month and internet speed of up to 3 Mbps. The cost of this option is 389 pesos per month, or at today’s exchange rate of 14/1 that comes to about $28 US. You can also add another 2 Mbps for an additional 99 pesos, bringing the total to about $35 per month. Other plans with more speed, but also more calls, are available up to 1,200 pesos per month. I just found out this morning at our intermediate package includes 100 minutes to the US… I had no idea that was there but will find a way to use them up. You can check the details at: http://www.telmex.com/mx/hogar/paquetes.html
Their tech support line is 01800 123 2222, and they have English-speaking representatives.
VoIP (long distance)
Now the reason you wanted that high-speed internet connection is that you’re going to bring down a long-distance apparatus. Bob and I use Vonage, probably because that’s what we started with. MagicJack has a great number of fans down here, and I’m sure there are others available as well. You want to buy this IN THE STATES. Why? Well for one they are not specifically legal in Mexico (see note re Carlos Slim above), and even if they were you’d get a Mexican phone number. If you buy it in the States and bring it down you can have a number in your old area code so that granddaughters and friends can make a local call to you. You want that, right? Vonage plans seem to be around $25 US a month. Magic Jack costs only $20 per year and allows you to keep your current phone number. You can get more information on www.vonage.com and www.magicjack.com.
AHA! Now I’ve discovered how to get internet without a land line! Telcel, one of the two cell phone companies, offers stand-alone internet service. If you have your own internet card you can buy a plan from 300 to 600 pesos per month ($21.50 to $43 USD). I’m not terribly impressed by that, seems to me getting the land line isn’t that much more and I’m not sure how a lap-top with an internet card would interact with Vonage or MagicJack, consult your local grandchild to find out.
Back to cell phones. There are two providers: TelCel, also owned by Carlos Slim, and MovieStar. TelCel is the larger of the two. Nextel also runs a radio service, but my information is limited on it. TelCel offers a variety of options, from relatively inexpensive pre-paid plans to all inclusive phone and service rental plans. Just FYI, JA, the phone I was planning to send you was going to be a cheapo with a pre-paid credit and the phone number of the Green Angels pre-programmed. Figure you can always upgrade. The pre-paid cards are easy to get as they are sold in many stores in addition to TelCel Hell (their customer ‘service’ center). They come in increments of 100, 200 and 500 pesos, if you don’t use your credit in a certain amount of time they cut off your phone and you lose the credit. Gotta admire that man’s business sense. The rental plans charge your credit card automatically every month and include use of the phone plus minutes. Every month this triggers a call from the Fraud Detection Unit from CitiBank; since I’m consistently overcharged I figure that’s merited. Only the blackberry plan includes texting, the other plans limit you to only a few texts per month. Plans on their website vary from 197 pesos ($14) to over 2000 pesos ($143) per month. You’ll find more details on their website (http://www.telcel.com/portal/home.do) but in my experience you have to go in and talk to them and even then you probably won’t get exactly what you want. Sigh. MovieStar is your alternative; I couldn’t find their website at all.
So, that’s the phone/internet discussion. I’ll be posting more cost of living info next. Just remember to stay flexible. I’d budget for the mid-range but start with the smaller plans just for kicks.
Carol Billups is Broker/Owner of Cabo Realty Pros. She has enjoyed working with both buyers and sellers for over eleven years and still thinks hers is the best job on earth. She is also the real estate columnist for Los Cabos Magazine. You can read more of her articles on the website blog www.caborealtypros.com. You can reach her from the U.S. or Canada at 1-760-481-7694, or in Cabo at 044-624-147-7541. You can listen to our 24/7 broadcast on http://www.livecabo.net for a mix of happy music, weather reports and local information.
© 2012 Carol S. Billups