This is reeeeally not going to be interesting to many people… but for the sake of the few that I know it might save some headache, here’s the step by step walk through (complete with screen shots!) of how I get our Telcel Banda Ancha to work.
Step 1: Know your phone number
This might sound strange, but today when I went to get our Banda Ancha working again (since we’re leaving the land of wi-fi and joining that strange place we hear about called “the anchorage” on Saturday!!), I realized that I was stuck at step one — I didn’t know our phone number. When you buy your Banda Ancha you get a little sim card and if you’re smart you write down the phone number that’s associated with it… but I hadn’t, so I had to head to the Telcel store.
The interesting thing about this was that at the Telcel store I discovered something new about SIM cards here — if you don’t use them (ie add money to your account) for 6 months, your SIM chip expires. Since the last time I used ours was 7 months ago, I had to buy a new SIM (125 pesos = $10).
Once you’ve got your phone number, plug in your Banda Ancha and go to www.telcel.com. If you’re doing this for the very first time, you’ll need a wifi connection — otherwise if you have some credit on your account, you’ll be able to get there on the Banda Ancha connection.
When you get there, click on “Mi Telcel” (right hand side)
This will take you to a page that looks like this and says “Registrate en Mi Telcel” — this is basically where you will sign up for a Telcel account. Once you have a Telcel account (ie a password that goes with your phone number) you can add funds to your account by credit card, purchase internet packages, etc:
This is where you need to know your phone number! Enter it here, and then click on the “Enviar” button. This is going to send a text message to your Banda Ancha program. I know this program looks different on PCs, but here’s what it looks like on my mac:
By clicking on the “SMS” tab, I can see my text messages. Lo and behold, Telcel has texted me! And they have sent me my “clave” (pin) which is what I need for the Telcel website. In my case, it was “0900”. Make note of this number, and then go enter it in the Telcel site where it now says “Clave”:
Now that you have proven that this phone number really is yours, you need to create your account. Basically you fill in your info, create a “Contrasena” (password — which must contain at least 7 letters and one number) and away you go. This new password is what you will use in the future to login to your Telcel account — which will make future re-charges much easier and faster!!
Make sure you un-check the box though or you’ll get Telcel’s junk emails and promotions.
Success! And we get this nice little message that tells us our Telcel account creation has been successful. Now click on that link and “Ir a Mi Telcel” where we can move on to Step 2 of this lovely process 🙂
Step 2: Add some money to your account!
Welcome to “Mi Telcel”! If you already have credit on your account (as I did) then your balance will show up on your account page:
So, a few quick things about this page. We’ve got the account balance, which is called “Saldo Amigo”, of 550 pesos. We’ve got our cell number (mine is that 622 number) and we’ve got this big button that says “Recarga Saldo”. That’s what we want to click on now to add some funds to our account. Note that if you already have funds, you can skip to Step 3.
So first I’m going to choose the type of payment (“Una Vez” in this case, since I don’t want to sign up for a monthly contract), my phone number, and the amount (in pesos) that I would like to add to my account. The account will keep track of what amount I pay for and use, so if I buy lots of credit now and then only sign up for a small internet package, I will have a credit on my account.
Next I’m going to enter my credit card information, and this step can be a little fussy. In the past I’ve had issues with my Canadian credit card, and have had to use Jon’s American one. I think the problems usually stem from the address not matching up exactly, but I tried a few different postal codes and finally made up some numbers for that line, and my card went through fine.
To save myself the trouble of entering my credit card info again (and because I’m one of those people that trusts the internet ;)) I’m clicking on the button above “Deseo garder los datos…” so that Mi Telcel will remember my credit card info, and I won’t have to enter it all again in the future. You don’t have to do this.
Okay, I get a happy little message that says I’ve successfully added credit to my account, and I’m ready to move on to Step 3!!
Step 3: Give me internet baby!!
Finally, we’re getting down to the good stuff. Money in the account, Telcel account created, we’re ready to buy an internet package. Go back to “Inicio” and click on “Internet Telcel” (either link will work):
At this point you need to decide two things: how much internet (in GB or MB) do you need, and how long do you need it for? In my case I need a lot of internet for work, and I need it for as long as possible — so I’ll choose the 3 GB package that is good for 30 days, and costs $399 pesos.
Note that you can buy as small of a package as 100 MB for one hour for 12 pesos — but after one hour, whatever MB of data you haven’t used will disappear.
At this point you have two more decisions to make — do you want your internet to be activated immediately, or at a future date (I chose a future date as we have wifi until Saturday) AND do you want to automatically have Telcel re-purchase this same package when your package expires? I have never done this, as I’m somewhat afraid I won’t know how to turn it off… but you definitely could if you know you want internet for a while and don’t want to go through this process again!
Click on “Activar Servicio” and that’s it, you’re done! You’ve got internet!
But let me tell you one last thing… 🙂
I don’t actually fully understand how this works, so if anyone can enlighten me I’d love to learn, but when you purchase Telcel credit (“Saldo Amigo”) through your “Mi Telcel” account, you will also be given “Saldo Regalo” (literally, “gift balance”). One way you’ll know this is Telcel will send you a text message saying it:
The interesting thing about this “Regalo” money is that after you internet package expires (in my case, 30 days from Saturday), you can use your “Regalo” balance to browse the internet. The price per MB is higher — and I don’t know exactly what it is — but in general I’ve found that I can get an extra few days of internet out of my “Regalo” money before I’ve burned through it all.
And why is this important? Because it means that once your internet package expires, you can still go online and use your Banda Ancha connection to buy your next internet package — so you’re not stranded needing a wifi connection or Telcel store. Plus free money is always cool 🙂
Phewf… I think that’s it! Hopefully this helps someone somewhere, and if not… it’ll be my reminder of how to do it next month 🙂