Internet Service Lake Chapala and Surrounding Areas
Internet access is a must-have for everyone, expats count on it for several reasons. What do I know about Internet access? I actually started the first ISP Lakeside back in 1997.
Internet History Lakeside
Back in 1995, there were only a couple of Internet service providers that offered dial-up service in Guadalajara, this required a long-distance call which was expensive. Most people would dial-up long enough just to send and receive email and hang up.
In 1997 I began offering Internet service in Chapala, Ajijic and San Antonio; eliminating the need of a long-distance call, and it has progressed rapidly over the years.
Today, there are several ISPs that offer internet service, but one of the big concerns from most people is reliability and speed.
Most people coming from other countries are spoiled with fast internet connectivity and expect things to be the same in Mexico. And, while speeds have increased, the speeds in Mexico are not as fast or, in some times, as reliable.
Before choosing an internet provider, the first thing you have to ask yourself is what are your requirements. Most people have basic requirements and use it for:
- Streaming TV such as Netflix, Roku, Amazon Fire or IPTV.
- Checking email.
- Surfing the Internet.
- VOIP communication using Skype, Vonage.
- FTP (File transfer).
- Trading stocks with special software.
- Working online.
- Remote access VPN.
There are many scenarios and every person may have different requirements. Most people mostly need internet for the first three items on the list. TV streaming and VOIP being the two things that require a little more speed and reliability.
The Need for Speed
I have always found this a little exaggerated. Ever since I can remember, people lakeside have always insisted on wanting fast internet speed. The problem is that often wanting faster internet may compromise reliability.
ISP’s Lakeside offer Internet speeds between 5-100Mb
We started here with 28,800 dial-up connections and now have internet download speeds that range between 5Mb-100Mb – but this does not mean all ISPs offer reliability.
Below is a list of ISP’s Lakeside
Telmex is the privately-operated, Mexican phone company; owned by the infamous Mogul Carlos Slim. At one point in time (while I still offered internet service) Telmex was my biggest competitor.
Telmex began offering Internet service back in 2000 and has the biggest Internet subscriber base in Mexico.
Telmex Infinitum offers ADSL speeds ranging between 5-200 Mb, unfortunately, the higher speeds are not yet available Lakeside. On average, people are getting 5-10 megs with an upload of 800Kbps -1Mb.
There are some areas that are getting 20 and sometimes higher, while other areas may only get 2Mb.
While customer support from Telmex was not the best, I personally feel that their tech support has improved. When you call up (in Spanish) they have a good ticket system, and should you experience an outage, they usually respond within 2 days – many times sooner.
English support is limited but is available; which is a welcomed advantage for those who don’t speak the language.
Telmex Infinitum Price
The basic Infinitum price is $389.00 pesos ($21.00 U.S.D), this includes unlimited local, national and international calls with unlimited internet of 5mb-10mb. In order to contract Telmex, you need a phone line.
If you don’t have a phone line, you will need to sign up for the service at the local Telmex office. The local office is located on the highway in Ajijic. The address is
If your Spanish is not very good, they usually have at least one person that speaks English in the office.
You can contract Telmex service online or at any local Telmex office. If telephone lines are available, the service can be installed within a few days. However, if there is a shortage of telephone lines, it can take weeks.
One of the benefits I love about Telmex is that you can set your account to receive your bill online and it can be paid with a credit card. This is a plus for many expats who want to keep their account active all year long.
- Most reliable service lakeside.
- Decent Internet speeds ranging from 5-20mb; depending on location.
- Easy to get as long as phone lines are available.
- Includes free long distance and international calls.
- Not available in all areas.
- Requires phone line for internet service.
Telcel is the primary cell phone provider in Mexico; the formal company name is America Movil. Telcel offers cell phone service with contract plans, however, most people use the prepaid phone cards.
Telmex at home service offers speeds of up to 10mb. The modem costs $1700.00 pesos (90.00 U.SD). This gives you a 100 gigabytes of data transfer per month. The monthly service cost is $399.00 pesos.
Your service quality all depends on signal quality from the tower. Since there is a data cap, this service might not be the best option for those who do a lot of data transfer or TV streaming.
People who live in an area where no other service is available may want to consider this option.
Telcel does allow you to buy more data if you require more.
- Coverage is available in most areas.
- Internet speed of 10mb.
- A good option when nothing else available.
- Not practical for those that do a lot of streaming or heavy downloads.
- The modem needs to be purchased.
ATT formerly IUSACELL is a cell phone company that offers internet just like Telcel. A phone line is not required, however, you do need to purchase a special modem to use their service.
The cost for the modem is $2100.00 pesos ($116.00 U.S.D). You can choose from two packages; one is their basic 5mb package which costs $300.00 pesos (17.00 U.S.D) or their 10mb package for $400.00 ($22.00 U.S.D)
With either package you get a 100gig of data transfer and can purchase additional bandwidth, should you exceed the monthly quota.
What we have found is that coverage with AT&T can be spotty and is not available in some areas. The best way to confirm is by asking around or purchasing a basic prepaid phone service – this will give you an idea of coverage.
- Affordable internet that does not require a phone line.
- Easy setup.
- Discounts available if you purchase with a cell phone plan.
- Limited coverage.
- Requires the purchase of a modem.
Wizz Cable Internet
Wizz is a cable TV and Internet provider – the company was formerly known as Telecable.
This is a service that has been known to have their fair share of issues. I mentioned it here because it may be the only option for some people, but it’s not the best.
At the time of this article, the company was offering TV, phone service and 5mb internet service for $330.00 pesos ($18.00 U.S.D). They have another package with TV, phone service and 10mb internet for $380.00 pesos ($21.00 U.S.D).
Ilox Cable Internet
Ilox is the new kid on the block, the company boasts fiber-optic connections, but it’s simply cable internet with speeds that range anywhere between 15mb-300mb.
There have been mixed feelings about their service, many people signed up and paid in advance; some of them have been installed, others have not.
From a few of the local message boards and forums, people seem to be happy. However, there are some who have not had the speeds promised. This could be specific to the area where they live, so I am going to take a “wait and see approach” on their service.
Pricing ranges from $399.00 pesos (22.00 U.S.D) for 15mb-25mb; this includes voice and data. 50mb-75mb $599.00 pesos ($33.00 U.S.D) pesos and $250mb -300mb $999.00 pesos (50.00 U.S.D).
- Offers high-speed internet via fiber optic.
- Reasonably priced.
- TV service with Spanish channels available.
- Not available in all areas.
- Issues with speed due to the wireless modem installed.
This is a brand new service and at the time of me writing this article, I have contracted the service – but as of yet, have not had it installed. The service is available (so far) in Jocotepec, El Chante and I believe Chapala.
The basic internet service cost $249.00 for 10 meg service via fiber optic. The company also offers 20,30, and 50mb packages. Once I have the service installed I will add my comments on price, service, and reliability; so expect an update soon.
Update August 25th, 2019
I must say that I am very pleased that I have had Unet Telecominternet installed.
I contracted the service on the 11th of July and they promised that it would be installed within days of signing the contract. The service was installed 12 days later, however they did call to tell me they were running behind. The installation took about 2 hours, they ran the fiber optic cable and installed a fiber modem.
The installers are professional and very accommodating. They asked me for my username and password and set up the wifi. A couple of hours after they left we had a power outage after the power came back on I had no internet service. I called Unet the following day and they said they would be out to fix the issue.
The installers cam back out two days later and fixed the issue, since then the service has been solid.
I contracted the 10 meg package and have been getting 10/10 down so I am very pleased with their service.
Unet Telecom pricing starts at $249.00 pesos a month (14.00 U.S) per month and the price goes up according to the megs ordered. I have found the 10Mb package works great and its a bargain.
Choosing an Internet Provider
For most people, the Internet is just as important as electricity and running water, especially for those who are still working or need to communicate back and forth with friends and family.
Some people can tolerate a few days without internet, however, others cannot afford to be without it. If this is you, I would recommend having two internet providers. This way, if one service fails, you always have a backup.
Choosing where you live carefully
While this may seem like a dramatic statement, if you have a business or you rely heavily on the internet, it’s important that you ask your realtor about internet service availability and reliability. He or she should have a good idea about the services and reliability available in your area.
Many homes may already have at least one service installed. If this is the case, there is no harm in asking if other internet providers are available in the area, in order to ensure you have redundancy in the event one of the services fails.
If you have other questions please use our contact form and we will be more than happy to answer any questions you have.
I have lived in the Lakeside area for over 46 years. I came down with my parents who retired here in 1974 so I have been spoiled with an incredible childhood and the wonderful Mexican culture.
I know Lake Chapala better than most and love to share my knowledge about the area and help newcomers understand the culture, and what it's like to live here.
I am a sales agent for Coldwell Banker and my goal is to help you find your dream home in one of the best areas in Mexico.