Telcel Coverage in Mexico
Telcel is the leading provider with the most and best coverage in The Yucatan Peninsula, Quintana Roo and Mexico.
Monthly Cellular and Data Plans and Contract Plans
The Amigo Plan is month to month, with no contract required nor proof of address or credit. This is great for travellers, for people who want to control their phone budget or people will little credit. The SIM card and phone number is a one time fee of $150 pesos / $12 CND. The most 3G data you can get at one time is 3GB for $500 pesos / approx $40 CND. This includes some talk and text time plus bonus (gift) time to talk for free to other Telcel users. Or you can focus just on call time and pay as little as 1/2 peso per minute with a $500 peso top up. Another feature of The Amigo Plan is you can add up to 3 Mexican numbers in which the first 5 minutes of every call is free.
If you choose to go on a contract you get 10-40% discounts and can get up to 10GB of data at one time.
If you already own a GSM cellphone (with sim card) from North America, you can easily set it up with Telcel as long as the phone is unlocked from your previous provider. If you need to get a new cell for travelling, consider the iPhone 4S. The iPhone 4S is an international phone with amazing apps and features for travel such as GPS, offline world maps, email, an amazing camera and translation-language apps (WorldNomads Free Language App with Travel Insurance). Buy the phone outright so it's unlocked, do not get yourself into a contract at home because you can't use a phone that is locked on a contract internationally.
How to Set Up a Telcel Calling and Data Plan
Telcel locations are everywhere. Unfortunately in Tulum, Mexico Telcel does not have main branches. You are going to have some troubles if you do not speak spanish. There are Telcel retailers along Av. Tulum, the main road, but your best chance might be talking to the Telcel booth inside Chedraui supermarcado. If you can get to a main Telcel branch office in Cancun, Merida or Playa del Carmen, do that. The branch offices resemble North American banks and are typically located inside shopping malls with a few bilingual employees. You will find one at Gran Plaza and Altabrisa Mall, both in Merida. All you need to sign up for a month to month plan, is your unlocked cell phone and peso's or credit card for payment. If you use a credit card also bring your id for verification. You could also buy a new phone while you are there if you don't have an unlocked cell phone.
Adding Money for Minutes and Data to My Telcel Plan
Telcel kiosks are everywhere. You can top up your account at any kiosk, Telcel store or Telcel office and then text 5050 with the code for what plan you want. Keep in mind this text costs money so you need to have additional credit on your account to cover the cost of the text. You can go into the Telcel Office, pay and top up your account for no charge. The only problem is there might not be a Telcel office close to you. The minimum top up is 20 pesos.
San Felipe Life Blog has relevant information for The Yucatan and Quintana Roo about Telcel.
Step by step how to Check your Telcel Balance Online. This post is a little dated but the information was relevant as of March 2012. Some of the fee's listed have slightly increased but nothing too drastic. The miTelcel site is often down but its worth a shot to try and check here if you are having cell problems, you can get some questions answered in english.