Internet providers in Yucatán — A guide to finding the right service

Internet connectivity in Mexico has improved greatly in the past decade. Service is more reliable and there are more options available than ever before. But even in larger cities such as Mérida or Cancún, some areas are much better served than others when it comes to the amount and quality of options available.

We all want the best bang for our buck when it comes to internet services, but price is not always everything. Following is a list of the different types of Internet providers you are likely to encounter in Yucatán. 

Connected broadband

There are several types of connected broadband services. The main difference between them is the type of material used to transfer data between the service provider and your residence. 

Broadband services are most common around Mexico, as the infrastructure is abundant. Photo: Courtesy.

DSL — or Digital subscriber line is one of the most common forms of broadband connections. It is delivered via phone lines by telecommunication companies and generally offers good speed at a competitive price. The service usually travels through old cable installations, which can slow it down.

Cable Internet services delivered by cable television companies are particularly well-suited for people who enjoy both streaming and watching cable television, as they offer fairly good bundles of the two. The service tends to be fairly reliable but is unlikely to offer you speeds comparable to other types of providers, as it is reliant on a copper cable network. 

Fiber-optic technology is the fastest option available, providing speed up to 25 times faster than DSL or cable. It is perfect for heavy users, but its availability is often limited to larger cities, as it requires sophisticated fiber-optic networks to operate. 

Satellite Internet

Satellite tends to be one of the few options for those living outside major cities or out in the countryside. They operate, as the name implies, by sending and receiving data packets from satellites via a receiver. 

Satellite services offer different packages, with the most expensive options usually offering greater speeds. They are sometimes bundled with television channels, at an additional relatively small fee.

A pair of SpaceX Falcon Heavy boosters make a simultaneous landing after launching the first Falcon Heavy rocket into orbit in February 2018. Photo: SpaceX

The downside is that signal problems are common, especially during stormy weather. Rain, or even strong winds, can interrupt the service. Although not the most reliable choice, when conditions are ideal it can even be faster than DSL or mobile internet options.

Companies such as Star Link and Amazon are currently spending billions of dollars to launch microsatellites into orbit, which they hope will one day offer truly global high-speed internet coverage. Star Link is already offering an alpha versión of its service in many regions, including Mexico. Although speeds are already quite good, the company is promising to improve them further while simultaneously reducing subscription costs.

Mobile Internet

Mobile Internet services are fast-growing, as more users access the Internet via smartphones and tablets. In Yucatán, this is an attractive option when spending short periods of time elsewhere, like the famous “Temporada,” or summer months at the beach.

This service will allow you to use your phone as a hotspot for any device. 

As most people have data on their phones, it’s a great backup to get you out of a bind, but it’s not a great idea to rely on it for extremely heavy use. Although it is usually fast, going over your data plan can be costly, so this option is not recommended for streaming long hours of music or video.

If you are traveling through Mexico, you may consider buying a sim card for 50 pesos and purchasing 200 pesos worth of data — which comes around to 2GB. This way, you will be able to stay connected with everyone back home without subjecting yourself to roaming fees.

Now, let’s talk about payment and providers. 

Right off the bat, expect to pay at least 400 pesos with most major providers. Remember that the availability of services is likely to vary, even within city limits. 

Telmex is among the most popular Internet providers in Mexico, as it covers most of the country. Its services include DSL and fiber-optic — in areas with the needed infrastructure. Their packages range from broadband speeds of 20 Mbps for $389 pesos a month to 200 Mbps for around $999 pesos a month. They also have options which include television and phone services.

Telmex placarded vehicle during a fiber optic installation. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht

Axtel is the second largest landline telephone provider in the country. They offer telephone, Internet, television, and VPN services. Their packages begin at around $449 pesos for 35 Mbps, $709 pesos for 100 Mbps, and $1,289 pesos for 200 Mbps.

Totalplay provides fiber-optic Internet connections in major cities and cosmopolitan areas. It is just now becoming a popular option in Mérida, as it is not yet available in different parts of the state. Ther packages range from 30 Mbps for 629 pesos to 500 Mbps for 1,709 pesos. They also include an HD decoder and a WiFi access point that allows customers to have easy access to popular sites such as Netflix, YouTube, and Crackle.

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Verónica Garibay Saldaña is a Mexican columnist, communications major, and poetry enthusiast. Sign up for the Yucatán Roundup, a free newsletter, which delivers the week's top headlines every Monday.