Telcel’s unfair prices on internet package refills

In Mexico, Telcel' s most expensive internet refill package gets you less gigs for your buck than all the other, cheaper packages.

Being a gringo in Mexico is no easy job. Aside from the mysterious culture that inhabits the country’ s soul, one also has to deal with the odd business logics dominant South of the 30th parallel North.

Since I moved to Mexico, 2 singular traits redefined my consumption of internet:

  1. 4G connections are far more reliable for work connectivity purposes than regular Wifi networks. Everything that’s landline-based in Mexico is a mess. Living in an upscale neighborhood is not a guarantee that your internet network is up-to-date. Some neighborhoods do not have modern internet infrastructures (thus no banks can move there for example) and the internet feels like a 56K modem.
  2. Mexico and infosec do not blend well. Private companies gather loads of personal data all the time. Private neighborhood-watch companies are all over the place, managing the infinity of gated residential areas that characterize Mexico’s urban landscape. All plaque numbers and driver IDs are scanned and saved in seemingly unsecured systems. Mexicans consumers are not in a stage where they care about personal data collection, so companies do not feel the need to provide pricey extra-secured systems. I do not have a monthly mobile plan in Mexico because I do not trust Telcel/Telmex’ ability to secure my data. I have a simple refill SIM card.

Every time I refill my Telcel SIM, here are my options:

I am a heavy user of 4G network. On average, I consume 15-20 gigs per month. By looking at the screenshot above, one should feel assaulted by incoherence (note that I don’t care about the day limits on packages because I systematically consume them before they expire.):

  • I go for the $500 (pesos) package for 8 gigs.
  • However, I am losing gigs by picking the largest package because if I were to buy the $200 and $300 packages, I’d get 8.5 gigs for the same price (instead of 8) !
  • If I bought 4 x $150 packages, I would pay 20% more ($600 instead of $500) but I would get 25% more gigs (10 instead of 8). Same if I bought 2 x $300 packages.
  • If I buy 3 x $200 packages, I would pay 20% more ($600 instead of $500) but I would get 30% more gigs (10.5 instead of 8).

You get my point: Telcel’s most expensive internet plan has less gigs for your buck than any of the other plans suggested. How weird is that?

I guess Telcel’s marketing team went for a high-shelved pricey product to make the other ones look more attractive economically, but since I pay with a foreign visa every time, I get costly bank foreign fees, thus I cannot make more small payments for the cheaper and more gig-effective internet packages, because the potential savings would be swallowed by bank fees.

Telcel, if you could please lay out a rational pricing system for internet packages, where the highest payer also gets the best offer, that would make your service so much more… Normal.

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