Connecting to Success: A Guide to Internet and Connectivity When Working in Mexico
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November 29, 2023
6 min read
The Significance of Internet and Connectivity for Working in Mexico
The internet has become an integral part of our daily lives, connecting us to a vast world of information, resources, and people. It has revolutionized the way we work, learn, communicate and interact with each other.
For us nomads, internet connectivity is even more critical as it directly impacts our productivity and success.
As one of the largest countries in Latin America with a thriving business environment, Mexico's economy relies heavily on internet-based technologies such as e-commerce, online services, cloud computing among others. In addition to that, the recent COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the shift towards remote working arrangements making a reliable high-speed internet connection even more imperative.
Mexico has made significant progress in the development of its internet infrastructure over the years. However, it still lags behind many developed countries. According to a report by the World Bank, only 47.7% of Mexico's population had access to the internet in 2019.
The government has launched several initiatives to improve internet connectivity across the country, including building more fiber optic cables and expanding broadband coverage to rural areas. Despite these efforts, there are still significant disparities in access based on location and socioeconomic status.
How Mexico Compares
Compared to other countries in the region, Mexico's internet infrastructure is relatively underdeveloped. According to Speedtest Global Index, as of May 2023, Mexico ranks 87th globally for mobile network speeds and 71st for fixed broadband speeds. That is actually down from August 2021, where they ranked 74th and 71st respectively.
While better than most in Latin America, neighboring countries such as Canada and the United States have much higher average speeds for both mobile and fixed broadband networks.
However, some Latin American countries such as Chile and Uruguay have surpassed Mexico in terms of internet infrastructure development.
Internet Service Providers of Mexico
The popular ISPs in Mexico
Mexico has a variety of ISPs to choose from, including Telmex, Totalplay, Axtel, and Megacable. Telmex is one of the oldest and most established ISPs in Mexico, with the largest coverage area across the country.
Totalplay is another popular ISP that offers a wide range of services including high-speed internet, cable TV and telephone services. Axtel is gaining popularity for their fiber-optic internet connections and Megacable offers competitive prices for their services.
Comparison of their services, prices, and coverage areas
While you normally will not need a sim card or ISP for working remotely, you may be interested in having one for your apartment or house.
When it comes to choosing an ISP in Mexico, there are several factors that you should consider. The first factor is the type of connection they offer such as DSL or Fiber optic.
Telmex provides both types of connections but only Fiber-Optic in some areas. Totalplay provides only Fiber Optic connections which is highly preferred option anyways.
Price can be another factor to consider when choosing an ISP as some may offer better rates than others based on plan type or duration of contract. For example Telmex has several plans with different speeds at varying rates whereas Axtel provides specific plans based on use case with different speeds at fixed price points.
Coverage areas also differ from provider to provider; while some cover larger areas across the country like Telmex does, other providers may offer better coverage in specific regions like Totalplay's dense coverage around urban areas which includes high traffic cities like Mexico City and Monterrey.
Mobile Data Services: Stay Connected on the Go
When it comes to staying connected on the go, mobile data services can be a lifesaver, especially if you don't have access to Wi-Fi. Mexico has several mobile service providers that offer a range of data plans to suit different needs.
Mobile Data Services Available in Mexico
The major mobile service providers in Mexico include Telcel, Movistar, and AT&T. These companies offer prepaid and postpaid plans with varying amounts of data at different speeds. The cost of each plan varies depending on the provider, but generally speaking, prepaid plans tend to be cheaper than postpaid plans.
You really won’t have to worry about this unless you plan on staying extensively in Mexico. I found that using the wifi in my room or at a coffee shop is sufficient, especially considering that most American sim cards give you data here as well.
The Search for Reliable Wi-Fi Networks
When it comes to finding reliable Wi-Fi networks in Mexico, the options can be somewhat limited. Many public spaces such as cafes and restaurants offer free Wi-Fi, but the quality can vary greatly.
Additionally, certain areas of Mexico may have better Wi-Fi connectivity than others, so it's important to try to research if you can. I found out the hard way that there was no connectivity beyond cell service when I went to Mazlamitla.
When working remotely or from home in Mexico, it's a good idea to have a backup plan in case of connectivity issues. This could include using mobile data services or having a backup internet connection. My internet usually drops a couple of times a week. Luckily it’s rarely a long issue but it does happen and you should plan on it…even though it’s when you least expect it.
In Guadalajara and Mexico City you will have access to free WiFI at bus stops and even on some buses. Most malls nowadays also have free Wifi connections as well as the airports. You should be covered for most of your journey, especially in larger cities or tourist areas.
Internet Speeds in Mexico
How does Mexico's internet speed compare to other countries?
Mexico's average internet speed is much slower than the United States and Canada. According to Ookla's Speedtest Global Index, Mexico ranks 82nd in the world for download speeds with an average speed of 40.30 Mbps. This is significantly lower than neighboring countries such as the United States and Canada which have average speeds of 124.57 Mbps and 150.71 Mbps respectively.
Factors that affect internet speeds
There are several factors that affect internet speeds in Mexico, including infrastructure, network congestion, and service provider capacity. The quality of infrastructure plays a crucial role in determining the maximum possible speed of an internet connection.
Network congestion is an issue sometimes and can result in slower download and upload speeds for everyone on that network, especially in coffee shops or public spaces.
Even though internet speeds in Mexico may not be as fast as some other countries, just about anyone will be able to work from here as a nomad. Of course be prepared for some hick-ups along the way.
As a nomad, I know the internet and connectivity are crucial when working. With the rise of remote work and digital nomads, having reliable internet access has become a priority for many professionals. While Mexico's internet infrastructure still has room for improvement, there are many viable options available for those looking to work remotely.
Overall, Mexico offers a variety of options for reliable internet access and with the increasing demand, improvements will continue to be made. So whether you're working remotely from the beaches of Playa del Carmen or running a business from Mexico City, staying connected shouldn’t be an issue. Check out our top places to work remote in Mexico.