Before we moved to Mexico, neither of us had ever heard of the messenger application called WhatsApp. That’s probably because the app is relatively unpopular in the U.S. and is only being used by about 8% of the mobile Internet users there.
I suspect that the people who belong to the 8% are using it to communicate with people abroad. The program is extremely popular in many countries across the globe, including Mexico. According to one statistic, WhatsApp is used by almost 70% of mobile Internet users in Mexico.
What it Does
WhatsApp is a free application that you download to your cell phone which allows you to make calls and send texts through an Internet or wi-fi connection. It does not use the minutes on your phone, so you can call anywhere in the world for free — provided that the person that you are calling has also downloaded the app. For more information, click HERE.
Although we have free unlimited calling to the U.S. from our cell phones, we use WhatsApp to call friends when we are at home because the cell signal isn’t very strong inside the condo. Since WhatsApp uses the wi-fi connection, the call quality is much better and we don’t have to keep asking, “Can you hear me now?”
Why It’s Useful in Mexico
Mexico is a very social country and relationship building is important. From the time we arrived, people that we met — whether socially or professionally — would ask if we had Whatsapp and were quick to exchange personal cell phone numbers. This seemed a little odd to me at first.
Back in the U.S., the only numbers in my cell phone were family members, friends, and a few coworkers. I never exchanged cell phone numbers with waiters, hotel managers, mechanics, store owners, cab drivers or doctors. Yep, you read that last one correctly — doctors.
I was surprised the first time that a medical doctor gave us his personal cell phone number and told us to contact him via WhatsApp with any questions or issues. Since then, we have added a couple more doctors to our list of contacts and here is the amazing part: when we text one of them — they respond.
We use WhatsApp on a regular basis to communicate with a wide range of contacts that we have now. For example, if we want to know if one of our favorite restaurants has fresh lobster that day, we ask the owner or a waiter directly via WhatsApp. Can you imagine if the restaurants in the U.S. worked this way? It makes me laugh just thinking about it.
I would like to share one relevant experience that we had on Christmas Eve last year. One of our air conditioners went out and although all of the businesses were closed, we were able to contact a technician directly through WhatsApp. He came to the house about an hour later and made the necessary repairs.
By the way, the service call on Christmas Eve cost us $200 pesos or about $10.30 USD. This is reason #1,752 to move to Mexico.
Let’s Wrap This Up
The social aspect of the Mexican culture is one of the things that we love most about this country. People are friendly, helpful, caring and quick to lend a helping hand. This free app will help you stay in touch with all of the wonderful people that you will be meeting on a daily basis.