I wrote this post last year about the iPhone coming to Mexico (if/when). The post still gets comments daily, most of which point out that indeed the iPhone is available in Mexico, albeit not officially supported by any of the major carriers.
I thought I’d follow up with some up-to-date facts:
- Yes, if you’re coming from the US and want to use your iPhone in Mexico, it’ll work on the Telcel network (edge). You’ll get voice and data.
- If you’re in Mexico, you can buy an iPhone, have it unlocked/chipped and use it on Telcel’s network and Movistar’s (assumably Movistar’s network is edge, also).
These are what 90% of the commenters seem to be saying. But no one is commenting on how the iPhone works once you actually get it up and on to the network. And more importantly, how much it costs to use the iPhone.
What I’m interested in are the following:
1. Typical voice and data costs for iPhone usage.
Voice and data in Mexico are both considerably more expensive then the US. This is compounded by the fact that iPhone users tend to spend a lot more time connected to the web then say Blackberry users. Data usage includes sms, email, browser, iTunes downloads and apps like iPhone’s You Tube and Google Maps apps. Assumably, if you use an iPhone in Mexico, your data usage is going to go up (way up). Apple seems to have anticipated this massive jump in usage and made deals with AT&T to create iPhone-specific accounts with lower data fees (and a flat-rate account as well, albeit expensive). Unsanctioned carriers don’t have any deals like this in place. You may be able to use the iPhone on Telcel’s network, but I assume you’re paying through the nose to use the data services. For those of us that don’t enjoy $200USD phone bills, until the data costs come down, it kinda hobbles the functionality. Imagine having the iPhone and not being able to use half of the features because if you do, your billing goes through the roof. Now imagine that the iPhone’s functionality just increased by 1000%. The recently released iPhone SDK will essentially create this order of magnitude of functionality.
2. The Pros and Cons of unlocking/chipping your iPhone
If you’ve unlocked or chipped your iPhone, do software updates work? One of the iPhone’s killer features is that you get regular software updates that enhance/fix functionality and add new features (how many Blackberry owners can say they get iPhone quality updates?). I honestly don’t know if chipping/unlocking the iPhone screws with updates. I’ve read no with unlocking, yes with chipping.
These seem to be the problem areas using the iPhone over non-sanctioned servers. I’m sure these questions are the same in every country/territory not-yet-blessed with an official carrier. If you’re using the iPhone on one of Mexico’s unsanctioned networks, let us know what your experience is, beyond unlocking/chipping and getting it running. What the operational cost is and how is the experience different, broken or less-then-optimal? Pull back the curtain for us and let us know what your typical bill is running and possibly even how much data usage has gone up, since being connected with an iPhone versus a Blackberry or Windows CE.
I’ll highlight any especially informative comments as they come in.
Update – interesting comments:
- Visual Voicemail does not work (as it’s a feature specifically programmed for the iPhone by AT&T (and presumably other official carriers do this as well).