What is Time Air? How Does it Work? (2023)

Time air, also known as airtime, refers to the defined period during which telecommunication companies manage the services provided to users based on the amount paid for it . It is commonly used in prepaid plans, where users are not obligated to make monthly payments or commit to fixed terms. Instead, they can recharge their account when the previous plan expires or when they have sufficient funds, with a maximum validity period of six months.

To enjoy the benefits of prepaid telecommunication services, such as calls, messages, internet data, and social media access, users need to recharge their account. Here are the different methods available for purchasing time air from popular telecommunication companies in Mexico:

Purchasing Time Air from AT&T

AT&T offers various convenient methods for purchasing time air:

  1. Online: If you have an active AT&T account, you can easily recharge your time air online. Simply provide your mobile number and password on the AT&T website or app. Enter your debit or credit card details, and the recharge will be completed .

  2. Establishments: Visit any of the 200+ AT&T partner establishments, such as Oxxo, Farmacias del Ahorro, Farmacias Guadalajara, Tiendas 3B, and more. Provide your phone number and the desired recharge amount to the cashier, and they will process the transaction.

  3. Banks: Participating banks, including Afirme, BanBajío, Banco Azteca, Bancomer, Banjercito, Bankaool, Banorte, CI Banco, Citibanamex, HSBC, Inbursa, IXE, Santander, and Scotiabank, allow you to recharge your time air through ATMs or at the bank's counter.

  4. Customer Service Centers: If there is an AT&T customer service center nearby, you can visit it to recharge your phone. The staff will assist you in completing the transaction .

Purchasing Time Air from Movistar

Movistar, like other telecommunication providers, offers various options for purchasing time air:

  1. Online: Recharging your Movistar time air online is simple. Visit the Movistar website from any browser and navigate to the "Recarga" (Recharge) section. Fill in the required details to complete your purchase.

  2. Establishments: If you find yourself at an Oxxo or Seven Eleven store and need to top up your balance, simply ask the cashier for a recharge. Provide your phone number and the desired recharge amount, and they will process the transaction. This convenience extends to most chain stores across the country, including local convenience stores .

  3. Banks: When using an ATM, you will find an option to recharge your Movistar balance. Additionally, you can visit the bank's counter and request a recharge. The staff will assist you in completing the transaction.

  4. Customer Service Centers: While less common due to the availability of other recharge methods, you can visit a Movistar customer service center if one is conveniently located. The staff will be able to assist you with your recharge .

What is an Esquema de Cobro?

An esquema de cobro refers to the billing scheme used by telecommunication companies for their prepaid and postpaid plans. It determines how charges are applied to different services, such as calls, data usage, and social media access. Some companies charge per minute or per second for calls, while others have fixed rates. The same applies to data allowances for internet and social media usage, which are available as long as the plan's balance remains valid.

Understanding the billing scheme is crucial for users to know the benefits they receive with each recharge, the duration of the services, and whether it is advantageous to opt for a plan with a longer validity period. Comparing plans and their billing schemes can help users find the most suitable option based on their usage patterns and needs. Online plan comparison tools can assist in determining the best plan for individual users .


Time air, or airtime, is a defined period during which telecommunication companies manage the services provided to users based on their payment. It is commonly used in prepaid plans, allowing users to recharge their accounts as needed. AT&T and Movistar offer various methods for purchasing time air, including online platforms, establishments, banks, and customer service centers. Understanding the billing scheme, known as esquema de cobro, is essential for users to make informed decisions about their plans and services.

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