Friday, June 17, 2005

Mexican Utilities - Telephone

Telmex is the Mexican telephone company. It takes months and months to get a new telephone line. When people start to build a new house they go and sign up for telephone service in hopes that by the time the house is finished a year later, they will be able to get a telephone. If you can manage to get a telephone number, and you know someone who knows someone who knows someone, there might be a way to find the installer in your area to connect the phone for you for a nice "tip."

Your phone service provides you with 100 phone connections per month then you start to pay for each additional connection. Basically that is 3 phone calls per day and if you are connecting to the internet via phone line.....well you can see that it adds up fast. The cost of the basic 100 calls per month is about the same as the monthly cost in the USA where there are no limitations on local connections.

So now you have a deal with regular outages. Maybe your phone is working but the phone of the person you are trying to call isn't working. Last year parts of the phone system here in San Miguel didn't work for months. After delegations of people when to Celaya to complain to TelMex District Management, the State Government AND the phone company got a lot of bad press, some needed repairs and upgrades started being done in the town. But it is still taking months to get a new phone line.

Another aspect of telephone service for those of us from the USA is keeping in touch with family and friends back in the States. Making traditional long distance international phone calls quickly becomes very expensive. VOIP (voice over the internet protocol) became available through services like Vonage and lots of us ex-pats signed up. For about $15/month you can buy 500 minutes of calls or you can sign up for unlimited minutes for about $25/month.

You can have a USA number that is dedicated to Vonage and your family and friends can call that number and it will ring through to your Vonage phone in Mexico. And you can call from Mexico just as if you were sitting in the phone area code you have chosen. Most of the time the sound quality is as good as if you were calling from next door. We make our internet connection through a cable modem but we have heard and problems have been reported in the news that if you are making your internet connection through the digital telephone lines that TelMex has narrowed the bandwidth and it isn't working as well. TelMex denies that they have done such a dasterdly deed. Another good thing about the VOIP service is that when the TelMex local phone system isn't working you can call friends here in San Miguel through their VOIP number.....and that also avoids getting another connection toward your 100 connections per month.

So much has changed in the last 5 years in regards to all the utilities that I am sure if I were to write this a year from now, it would be different and the phone service would be better. But today it is what it is.

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