Local Land Line Telephone Service was a Telmex monopoly in the Ajijic, Lake Chapala area, but a new option recently became available @ Lakeside — ILOX Telecomunicaciones.
There are many different long-distance plans available through Telcel and AT&T. Some people like the option of having a VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) plan, such as Vonage or Magic Jack, where it can be free to call the United States, Canada or anywhere else in the world.
The ILOX site says they have a network of more than 2,000 km in fiber optic and also a 1,300 km HFC coaxial network. In addition to agreements with third parties to achieve coverage at the national level with the highest quality, the ILOX network integrates HFC, FTTx and Wi-MAX architectures to benefit customers by delivering a service according to their needs.
Click on the logos to be taken to the Telmex or ILOX web sites.
Long Distance Calling
My clients who don’t already have an International calling plan are welcome to use the Vonage telephone in my office to call home when visiting here in Ajijic.
Cell Phone Service
As in the rest of North America, there exist a vast array of cell phone plans & services here at Lake Chapala. Of course, Telcel (a division of Telmex) is the most popular; however, AT&T moved to the area a couple of years ago to provide some better competition to Telcel. There are a few other providers–IUSACell, MovieStar, etc.– but the main providers are Telcel and now AT&T.
You have a choice of buying minutes with a card, or having your phone recharged at several convenient locations around the area, or you can purchase one of many different plans where you pay a monthly amount for–in some cases–unlimited minutes, as well as options for calling the US and Canada free of long-distance charges.
Some plans include the rental of the device, but you may also provide your own phone.
The link above will take you to a Telcel site that has been translated into English; though, it may be somewhat difficult to understand because at the time they’re struggling to update their plans to be more competitive due to the entrance of AT&T into their formerly-near-exclusive market. Obviously, the other link goes to the AT&T site.
There are two Internet service providers — Prodigy/Infinitum through Telmex (of course), and now ILOX.
Dial-up, DSL High Speed and Wireless are all available options. Click on the logos to be taken to their web sites.
If you want to use the Internet only occasionally (for email, etc.), there are numerous Internet cafes in the area. Most will help you set up an email address and give you some tutoring on its use.
Public Fax Machines
There are several places (including IShop & Mail) where you can send and receive faxes to the US or Canada at about $1.50 US. I am happy to provide this service for free from my office.
Mexican mail is rather slow and can be unreliable. Typically, mail sent through the Mexican Postal Service (Correos de Mexico) arrives at a US or Canadian address in two weeks to one month, but there are numerous horror stories of four to six month delays … or never. Currently, there is a major effort to upgrade the Mexican postal system, including new uniforms, etc. Click on the photo to be taken to their web site.
Probably the most popular option for sending and receiving mail in the Ajijic, Lake Chapala area is one of the commercial mail services (Handy Mail, IShop/I Box, or Sol y Luna).
They courier the mail from here on a daily or weekly basis to the US and Canada.
For receiving mail, they will set up a US address to which you can have mail sent, and then they ship it here to your private box at their facilities. The prices are reasonable. Click on the logos to be directed to their web sites.
The Lake Chapala Society offers free courier services for members only, in which volunteers heading north take a bag of regular-size letters with postage affixed, and drop them in a mailbox after crossing the border. There are usually one or two volunteers per week.
Most of the major overnight services are available here, too … including FedEx, UPS, and DHL.
Receiving Packages & International Shopping
In addition to the International mail box (IBox) mentioned above, IShop & Mail also offers a variety of other services, including:
- Personal or DIY shopping & shipping from dozens of your favorite web sites
- Office services, i.e. computer rental; Internet & Email service; Fax; Document Scanning; Color & BW copies; Office Supplies
- Import all items arriving in your Laredo IBox
- National and International Shipping
- Packaging services & supplies
There are also a few other options for receiving International packages. For example, Amazon.com is now in Mexico. There are “prohibited items” like medications, vitamins, firearms, etc., but otherwise, it seems to be similar to Amazon.com in the U.S., but prices of imported items will reflect the 16% importation tax, and will take longer to receive.