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Mexico


Paynefanbro
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I saw there was a thread for Central Mexico but I just decided to create a new catch-all thread for all Mexico roaming.

Where I Was

I visited Costa Maya Port, Mahahual, and the Mayan ruins at Chacchoben. Since I'm visiting on a cruise, I had my phone in airplane mode to avoid cruise roaming charges but as soon as we docked I turned off airplane mode and was greeted with strong signal and a text from T-Mobile welcoming me to Mexico with a message that I could use my phone at no extra charge.

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Networks & Speeds

There were two networks available at the cruise port at Costa Maya. The first is Telcel which is the giant of the Mexican telecom industry, having the largest and fastest network in the country. The second network was the Red Compartida which is a shared network commissioned by the Mexican government that is being built out using Band 28 spectrum by a company called ALTÁN Redes so that they can bring carrier competition to the most underserved regions the country. 

Sidenote: AT&T Mexico's coverage map shows that they have coverage in Costa Maya Port and Mahahual but in reality it's just roaming on the Red Compartida.

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My phone defaulted to Telcel and even though the Red Compartida shows coverage available on their coverage map, my phone wouldn't connect to it. This is likely because it was never intended to operate as a standalone network that anyone could connect to. The fact that I was never able to connect to it was not a problem as speeds were insanely fast on Telcel. I was seeing peak download speeds of 250Mbps and peak upload speeds of around 50Mbps+

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Coverage

I have become so accustomed to having coverage everywhere whether native or roaming that seeing my phone drop out of coverage completely for about 30 minutes as we took the one road out of Costa Maya Port (Carretera a Mahahual) to go to Chacchoben really baffled me. The area that the highway goes through is a protected mangrove-like area with a near-zero population for about 30 miles so it's not worth it for any carrier or even the Red Compartida to actually cover. Eventually you reach Highway 307 and have contiguous LTE coverage that is super fast, with peaks speeds of over 200Mbps.

According to all of the coverage maps, I should have had coverage at Chacchoben however I couldn't get my phone to connect to the network there at all. Checking the iOS network selector, I saw Telcel listed which indicated that my phone was seeing the network however  it may have been too weak to establish a connection to it or Telcel's network was blocking me from connecting. Shortly after leaving there and getting back on the highway though I saw my phone connect to 3G and then LTE, providing those same 200Mbps speeds in plenty of areas that I would consider to be super rural.

Summary

I can see why Telcel often refers to their LTE network as 4.5G. Speeds in the Costa Maya region of Quintana Roo were insanely fast and comparable to the lowband 5G networks and the best LTE network speeds you'll find in the U.S. However, it looks like Telcel may be overstating their coverage a bit so there may be some areas where you'd expect coverage but it just doesn't exist.

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  • 6 months later...

I have a house about 40 miles north of Cabo San Lucas B.C.S and Telcel is the dominant provider there.  I used to see Movistar network there on Sprint sim but now with Tmo R15 its Telcel or AT&T that i have never connected to.    Telcel has 5x5 B5, 20x20 B66 LTE and the usual UMTS on air there.    LTE is fast when I can connect to it.   The coverage also seems a little overstated there according to the map.    I am just happy to have usable service there.  

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