Brazil is a world of its own. Very chaotic and not easy to handle for foreigners. Don’t expect anyone to speak or understand English. The state of the service industry and mobile providers in particular are reason for many complaints by locals too. But with a few guidelines, you can make it through the country, though prices for data on prepaid remain high compared to other Latin American countries.
There are 4 national operators, that share 97% of the mobile market in Brazil:
- Vivo (Telefónica Brazil, owned by Spanish Telefónica)
- TIM (owned by Telecom Italia)
- Claro (owned by Mexican América Móvil)
- Oi (Brasil Telecom, incl. Amazônia Celular)
Furthermore, there are some regional providers:
- Nextel (no prepaid)
- Algar Telecom (formerly CTBC) in Minas Gerais state
- Sercomtel in Paraná state
Nextel has an own very limited coverage on 3G and 4G/LTE in some cities on 1800 MHz, but is not mentioned further as they don't offer prepaid plans on the market.
MVNOs have been pretty useless in Brazil. Up to 2015, they cater almost exclusively for M2M companies (for tracking vehicles, portable credit card machines or insurance companies) like the biggest MVNO Porto Seguro Conecta using TIM network. In 2015 the first public MVNO started with Mais AD. The first viable MVNO is announced to start in February 2017 by the Brazilian Post Office (Correios) in the Sao Paulo region to spread nationwide soon using the TIM network.
Finally, two companies currently offer 4G/LTE subscriptions only to fixed connections through modems:
- On Telecom
- SKY (acquired by AT&T)
Both companies operate on the 2600 MHz TDD-LTE band and don’t show intention of extending their services to mobile devices. Services are available only to select regions like some municipalities of the São Paulo state at On Telecom, while SKY is available in DF and certain states of the North, Northeast and South East regions. As they are not for prepaid, they are not mentioned any further.
Up to 2012 the mobile market was hardly accessible to foreigners. To get a prepaid SIM card in Brazil, a CPF (Cadastro de Pessoa Fisica) number was often asked for, which corresponds to a tax ID or Social Security Number, that only Brazilian residents have.
The government relaxed rules in 2012 for the Football World Cup: mobile providers were encouraged to accept passport data from foreigners instead of only CPFs. This makes it nowadays much easier for travelers to get a local SIM card.
It took a while until the shops implemented the new rules, and it still can raise eyebrows when you tell them that you want to get you SIM card without having a CPF (“não tenho CPF”). But some of the employees are familiar with it by now (see Registration below) as long as you show your passport.
Besides GSM in 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE, other systems are in use too, like iDEN and CDMA/EVDO. But they are slowly phased out and stay incompatible to GSM. The mobile industry in Brazil is organized according to regional zones called DDD. The same provider can be on different frequencies according to their licences in the state you are in.
|Operator||2G (MHz)||3G/HSDPA (MHz)||4G/LTE (MHz) FDD-LTE|
|Vivo||850, 1800, (1900§)||850, 2100||700 (B28), 1800 (B3), 2600 (B7)|
|TIM||900, 1800||850, (900*), 2100||700 (B28), 2600 (B7), 1800 (B3)#|
|Claro||900, 1800||850, 2100||700 (B28), 2600 (B7),|
|Oi||900, 1800||2100||700 (B28), 2600 (B7),|
|Nextel||800 (iDen)||2100||1800 (B3)|
The 700 MHz frequency on band 28 for 4G/LTE is being gradually deployed as soon as analog TV has left this band. As it has been delayed a few times, realistically it is only expected availability in 2018 or after 2020.
(1900§): Vivo's 1900 MHz frequency has been realigned to 3G (as uplink for 2100 MHz) in most parts of the country and is used for 2G only in the Northeastern region.
(900*): TIM's 900 MHz on 3G is only used in Sao Paulo to boost coverage.
1800 (B3)# = LTE on 1800 MHz (B3) is only avaliable by TIM in some cities like Rio de Janeiro or Curitiba, other cities use 2600 MHz (B7), Nextel has LTE only in 1800 MHz in Rio de Janeiro and acquired frequencies to operate in the São Paulo (only in DDD 11).
All operators have now opened 4G/LTE for all of their prepaid plans without surcharges.
You have coverage in all states on the 4 major providers Vivo, TIM, Claro and Oi. This is also true to Nextel up to 3G thanks to a roaming agreement. The local providers at the end of the list only have a very limited coverage in their own region and are not recommended for travelling.
The 4 major players are pretty on par. Vivo is the overall market leader by customers, thanks to a strong postpaid share, TIM and Oi are the prepaid leaders, TIM has the biggest 4G coverage and Claro leads in the Mobile Broadband section with the highest speeds.
As a golden rule: The richer your area is, the better your coverage and speed will be. This applies on a state-wide as well on a local level to all providers. As you know, the gap is huge in Brazil ranging from non-existent to hyper speed. For more infomation, check each provider.
SIM cards are called chips and cost around R$ 8-10, sometimes discounted a R$ 5 in promotions mostly without credit. You can get it a many locations, but better stick to the mobile provider shops, as they can do or may help with registrations without CPF. There you need to show your passport and give a local address (like hotel address). Try to make clear that you need a prepaid which is called pré-pago (pronounced: preh pah go).
Claro and TIM sell tourist SIM cards which are not available for local residents. Generally, they give good rates, but have been proven to be hard to find sometimes.
You can refill accounts almost everywhere like in operator stores, drugstores, supermarkets, newsstands, convenience stores, post offices or by online agencies like Recarga.com, iCelex and Onepay. Most prepaid SIM cards need to be topped up at least every 60 days to stay alive.
While newsstand and street sellers offer SIM cards too, you'd better go to an official store, if you don’t have a CPF. Otherwise, you need to contact the operators special service for non-Brazilian residents, which require to give passport data, a local address (can be your hotel), and a local phone number in order to activate over the phone.
The regular registration with CPF is shown HERE. During the registration process you can select your telephone region called DDD, which the card number will be assigned to like in the US. It does not make any difference for data, but a huge one for voice rates. Generally, you should select the region where you are going to use it most, if you want to make domestic voice calls (see voice plans).
Some SIM cards come preloaded with credit which can be checked by the user by calling a specific number provided by the operator from which a SMS message is sent showing the total credits available for that card. These numbers are: Vivo: *8000 Claro: *544# TIM: *222# and Oi: *804
Voice Rates Edit
While all data allowances are the same nationwide, voice rates differ enormously. That’s why most Brazilians have more than one SIM card and often dual-SIM phones.
Generally, calls are very cheap as long as you stay within the same network and the same area code called DDD (around R$0.25 per call). Long-distance domestic cellular calls remain cheap if you use the prefix of your provider and stay within the same network (see dialing rules). Local landline calls mostly stay reasonable (at around R$0.70 per call), but get quite expensive outside of your prefix area.
On the other hand all calls between networks, even local, and landline calls to other regions are very expensive (at around R$2 per min). For long distance calls, special dialing rules apply (see below). Furthermore, you will face incoming roaming charges if you answer a call when you're not in the same city or state where your line was activated (i.e., when you're outside your local area).
Update: In an effort to curb multi-SIM use, TIM and Oi have stopped charging differential tariffs for calls to other operators for all its plans in November 2015.
Rates differ from state to state about 10% because of different taxation. Some providers offer special rates for rural areas. Due to the steep price differences between voice tariffs, you should be aware of two basic guidelines for voice calls (except on TIM and Oi):
- get you SIM card (assigned to) the region (DDD), where you are going to use it most
- use the same provider, if you are going to make a lot of calls to one particular mobile number
Dialing rules (long-distance and international) Edit
The Brazilian system for long-distance and international dialing is relatively unusual and somewhat confusing, insofar as the choice of the carrier determines the actual sequence to be dialed.
To dial a long-distance number within Brazil, one needs to use a carrier selection code to choose which long-distance carrier will be used. The carrier selection code is specified before the area code; so, to actually place a call, one should dial 0-xx-aa-nnnn-nnnn, where xx is the two-digit carrier selection code, aa the area (= DDD) code and nnnn-nnnn the local number.
This is true to international calls as well. The sequence is 00-xx-cc-aa-nnnn-nnnn where cc stands for the country code. More info about dialing rules HERE. The carrier selection codes are given in the respective section of each operator.
Technical Details Edit
Tethering is allowed and possible on all plans, as well as VoIP calls. Operators sometimes don’t allow their prepaid voice & data SIM cards to be used in a modem or tablet. But it works anyway and the same rates are charged for Mobile Broadband plans.
There are some areas where service suddenly drops or slows down due to congestion. When you are unsatisfied with the service in your area, there is not much hope in complaining. Better get a new SIM of a competitor instead. When shopping around, always ask about promotions.
Vivo (pronounced like 'VEE-voe') is the largest mobile operator in Brazil, which is owned by Telefónica from Spain and has 28.5% of the Brazilian market share. From their total of 73 million subscribers only 57% are using prepaid plans. It was the last operator to allow prepaid customers on 4G/LTE in 2015.
Vivo's network has national coverage and it became the brand for all consumer services provided by Telefónica in Brazil, which include broadband internet, TV subscription and fixed telephone lines.
Traditionally, Vivo operated a CDMA network but changed to GSM from 2007 on. Vivo has the best 3G coverage of the country’s operators covering 88% of the population. It started 4G/LTE in 152 cities so far, covering 52% of population in 2015. Coverage Map
Vivo is known to have the most reliable network at the highest rates in the country. Right now, it’s the only of the major providers, that doesn’t offer a tourist SIM but may come up with one for the Olympics in 2016.
Vivo SIM cards are sold at many places. It's best to get them at their stores: Store Locator
Recharge vouchers can be found all over the country ranging from RS$10 for 30 days to R$60 for 120 days. Online on their website you can top up RS$10 to RS$300 using credit cards or PayPal. Check balance by texting ‘SALDO’ to 8000 or by USSD code *445.
Prepaid Plans (Planos Pré) Edit
Vivo toda hora is their standard tariff. Starter comes with RS$2 bonus valid for 4 days. Variations are Vivo Dia and Vivo Noite with reduced rates for calls during day or nighttime. All starters come with 4 days internet included from your smartphone. For rural areas, they have special tariffs.
Also, now you can buy some additional packages for extra-network calls to any telephone nationalwide. Being then:
- 30 minutes to any national telephone for R$ 4.99/week (act: text FALE30 to 1515)
Prepaid Internet (Internet Pré) Edit
These are their data options:
- Daily package: This is their default data plan. R$0.99 for 15 MB per calendar day. Max. speed is 500 Kbit/s. Beyond 15 MB, data traffic will be blocked.
- Monthly packages with a max. speed of 5 Mbit/s:
- 250 MB: R$ 17.99, activation: text 250 to 1515
- 400 MB: R$ 23.99, activation: text 400 to 1515
- 600 MB: R$ 29.99, activation: text 600 to 1515
Daily packages are only charged, on days you are using data. Monthly packs auto-renew after one month, if you have enough credit. To stop, text ‘CANCELAR’ to 1515 for free. You can add more data on the monthly packages:
- 50 MB for R$2.99, activation: text 50 to 1515
- 100 MB for R$5.99, activation: text 100 to 1515
Add-ons are valid for max. 7 days or until the monthly package has run out.
Data + voice + text – Vivo Turbo (formerly Vivo Tudo Turbo) Edit
This is a weekly rate in 3 denominations.
- R$ 7.99: 200 MB data, unlimited calls and texts to Vivo network, activation: text ‘PRE’ to 9003.
- R$ 9.99: 500 MB data, unlimited calls and texts to Vivo network, activation: text ‘PRE’ to 9006.
- R$ 19.99: 1 GB data, unlimited calls and texts to Vivo network, 25 local minutes for other operators activation: text ‘SEMANA’ to 9003.
In northeastern provinces of Brazil you will get slightly more data. Also, you can earn up to 200 MB more per month, if you recharge your phone with R$ 35 per month or more, following the line:
- First month: 50 MB bonus
- Second month: 100 MB bonus
- Third month: 150 MB bonus
- From the fourth month on: 200 MB bouns
You can add Internet Pré data add-ons for more data.
Monthly prepaid data-only (Pré Mensal) Edit
For tablets and modems Vivo sells Pré Mensal. This is a data-only SIM, but not such a good deal as you can only book the monthly packages and add-ons mentioned under Internet Pré shown above. It costs R$ 19.90 for 400MB.
More info Edit
- Vivo prefix code: 15
- APN: zap.vivo.com.br
- Website in Portuguese: http://www.vivo.com.br
TIM (pronounced like 'cheem'), owned by Telecom Italia, is the prepaid leader in the country. It’s the overall no.2 with a total of 66 million subscribers, 79.5% are using a prepaid plan. TIM is present in all Brazilian states, covering 90% of the national territory by 2G. 74% of population are covered by 3G and 34% by 4G in 2015. Coverage map .
SIM cards are sold at many places. It's best to get them at their stores: Store Locator
Recharge vouchers of $15, $20, $35, $50 and $100 are sold extending validity 30 to 180 days. You can also top up over the phone by typing *241# and using your credit card. You can check balance by typing *222#.
TIM only sells voice and data on a daily (based on a calendar day 12:00 am to 11:59 pm local time) or weekly base, no monthly packages. In November 2015 they stopped charging differential tariffs for calls to other operators for all of their plans.
Infinity Pré Edit
This is their standard prepaid product. Tariffs and offers may differ slightly from state to state. Max. speed is 1 Mbit/s on 3G and 5 Mbit/s on 4G.
The default rate is a separate daily rate for voice and data/SMS, charged only on the days you are using it:
- R$ 0.99 – for voice including up to 300 mins intra-network calls (outside of DDD using prefix 41), other vo
- R$ 1.29 – for data including 50 MB data plus “torpedos” = SMS to all networks.
For more data, you choose one these daily or monthly packages (again based on a calendar day) called Infinity Web which can be added by refills:
- daily packages (based on calendar day):
- 50 MB: R$ 0.99 - activation: 'WEB50' to 2000
- 100 MB: R$ 1.99 - activation: 'WEB100' to 2000
- 200 MB: R$ 2.99 - activation: 'WEB200' to 2000
- upsize at same rates - activation: 'MAIS50', 'MAIS100' or 'MAIS200' to 2000
- monthly packages (for 30 days):
- 500 MB: R$ 19 - activation: '500MB' to 4141
- 1 GB: R$ 29 - activation: '1GB' to 4141
- 3 GB: R$ 59 - activation: '3GB' to 4141
- 5 GB: R$ 69 - activation: '5GB' to 4141
- upsize: 150 MB: R$ 3 for 7 days - activation: 'MAISWEB' to 4141
- renewal ahead of time: 'MAIS<Package>' to 4141
To activate, text code without ' ' to the respective number or go online to your personal account. For overuse standard rate of R$ 0.99 per 50 MB and day is charged.
TIM enables its prepaid customers to keep their internet connection going even after they have used up all data in their package by reducing the browsing speed. You can opt in online or by *144 for all daily plans only. This service is promoted for free (regular price: R$ 0.29). You will be able to use data until midnight at max. 30 kbps, if you have surpassed your daily quota.
For WhatsApp you can add their Turbo WhatsApp: 30 days of unlimited WhatsApp usage (without VoIP calls) plus 50 MB data: R$ 12. To activate, text 'ZAPZAP' to 5225.
Infinity Turbo 7 Edit
In November 2016 TIM introduced the Infinity Turbo 7 weekly prepaid add-on for all prepaid plans. It contains 700 MB for 7 days (limited to 100 MB per day), unlimited TIM calls, as well as unlimited SMS, audio, images and videos on WhatsApp. The price for the package is R$ 9, without recurring renewal. You can activate it by texting 'TURBO7' to 5225.
TIM Pré Edit
This is a new weekly or monthly combo offer, that is available in three packages:
|TIM Pré 150||R$ 7||7 days||100 mins||150 MB||PRE150|
|Pré Classic||R$ 8||7 days||unltd. TIM||250 MB||PRECLASSIC|
|TIM Pré 500||R$ 10||7 days||100 mins||500 MB||PRE500|
|TIM Pré 1GB||R$ 35||30 days||400 mins||1 GB||PRE1GB|
Included voice calls (using code 41 outside of own DDD) are to all domestic operators, except Pré Classic. To activate text code to 4141 or go online. All packages auto-renew after one week or month. To cancel, call *222 or go online. You can upsize data by two add-on packs:
- 50 MB for the rest of the day: R$ 0.99, activation: WEB50 to 4141
- 150 MB for 7 days: R$ 3, activation: MAISWEB to 4141
All Pré packages include unlimited SMS to all domestic operators. Only the Pré 500 doesn't, that includes a free Deezer Premium subscription instead.
Infinity Web Edit
For tablets and laptops, TIM sells their Infinity Web offer with data only, no voice. Starter pack includes 100 MB as SIM-only or for R$99 with an USB dongle. The daily and monthly packages mentioned above at Infinity Pré can be added here too.
Visitor TIM Edit
Visitor TIM is their tourist SIM and may be hard to find, as it is for foreigners only. If you find it somewhere on the streets, activation process requires calling the code *144 and providing your name, passport number and temporary address in Brazil.
It is sold for R$50 and includes the same credit. For 7 days you can add a 1.5 GB pack of data plus TIM WiFi use for R$25. All national calls are R$0.50/min and international calls R$1/min using carrier prefix 41. All SMS are R$0.50.
For more data or beyond 7 days, you can text ‘WEB OK’ to 2500 and buy another 1.5 GB data valid for another week for R$25. More info in English: HERE
More info Edit
TIM has the most advantageous tariffs for calling abroad, depending on the destination country (excluding TIM Visitor, that has specific tariffs). To take advantage of these prices, the user must make a call using the code 41 when calling abroad.
- TIM carrier code: 41
- APN: timbrasil.br or tim.br
- Username and password: tim
- Website in Portuguese: www.tim.com.br
Claro's network has national coverage and similar to Vivo, Claro offers additional services, like fixed broadband connection, telephone line and TV subscription.
Claro has the best coverage on 4G/LTE in the country right now. It covers 44% of the population in 142 municipalities. 3G coverage is on 81% of population in 2015: Coverage Map
Claro SIM cards are sold at many places. It's best to get them at their store for immediate activation without a CPF.
You can add credit online by credit card or using vouchers sold in all Claro stores, supermarkets, pharmacies, lottery stores etc. Values of R$13 to R$100 are available. Enter voucher code like this *577*<voucher PIN>#. Check credit by typing *544#.
Planos Pré - weekly combo Edit
In 2016 Claro released their new Claro-Pré weekly combo plans in two sizes:
- Claro 250: R$ 7.99 with 250 MB data, unlimited SMS to all operators, unlimited on-net calls, unlimited WhatsApp use for 7 days. Activation: text 'CLARO250' to 2006
- Claro 800: R$ 9.99 with 800 MB data, unlimited SMS to all operators, unlimited on-net calls, Claro video gratis, and unlimited WhatsApp and Claro Musica for 7 days. Activation: text 'CLARO800' to 2006.
The weekly packages auto-renew after 7 days, if not stopped online or be calling *525 before.
Planos Pré - daily or monthly packages Edit
Their standard prepaid plan is called Toda hora. Most calls are charged at around R$1.65 per min. In some areas special places for rural areas or night plans are offered. Some voice prices may vary according to different taxes.
Data needs to be added on Toda hora by packages. You have the choice of daily or monthly packs, all including zero-rated WhatsApp use (no VoIP):
- daily packages (valid until midnight, local time)
- 30 MB: R$ 0.99 - includes unlimited texts
- 45 MB: R$ 1.29 - includes unlimited texts
- 65 MB: R$ 1.99 - includes unlimited texts
- monthly packages
- 150 MB: R$ 6.90
- 300 MB: R$ 12.90
- 600 MB: R$ 19.90
- 900 MB: R$ 27.90
Packages can be activated on your personal account or by typing *1052#. Data is up to 4G/LTE and 5 Mbit/s. It will be shut off, when having reached the quota. Then all packages (daily or monthly) can be purchased new, even ahead of time. Activate by *1052#.
Tourist SIM - Claro 2016 Edit
Claro has launched a special promotion aimed at foreign visitors to the Rio Olympic and Paralympic Games. The "Claro 2016" plan includes voice and data services, as well as access to WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter without discounting data traffic. In order to adhere to the promotion, foreign visitors must purchase a prepaid card at any Claro point of sale, register data from their passport and send a SMS to the number 1052 with the message CLARO2016. The plan costs BRL 100 and includes 4 GB internet, unlimited calls and SMS on-net, as well as 10 minutes of international calls.
This tourist plan can only be activated by foreigners. For more information, call English-speaking customer service at 1052.
More info Edit
- Claro carrier code: 21
- APN: claro.com.br
- Website in Portuguese: http://www.claro.com.br (you have to pick an address)
Oi (the Brazilian word for 'hi') is the fourth largest mobile operator in Brazil that is currently owned by CorpCo, a joint venture with Portugal Telecom, and has 18% of the Brazilian market share. Of their total of 47 million subscribers, they have a high prepaid share. 81% are using a prepaid plan making Oi the #2 on the prepaid phone market.
Oi network has national coverage and also offers additional services similar to other major operators, like fixed broadband connection, telephone line and TV subscription.
Oi may be the smallest of the big four, but it has the largest WI-FI network in Brazil with more than 1 million access points. Oi has furthermore a national roaming agreement with TIM closing some gaps due to its lower coverage. On its own resources, it covers 72% of the population by 3G and 31% by 4G in 2015: Coverage map. In November 2015 they stopped charging differential voice prices to other operators.
Oi SIM cards are sold at many places. It's best to get them at their stores: Store locator for RJ (for other regions change state on top left).
Top up online by credit card or by vouchers sold in all Oi stores, pharmacies, supermarkets, banks or lottery shops. Top ups are available R$12 to R$500 giving 30 to 180 days of service.
You can check balance by typing *805.
Their prepaid plans differ according to region (DDD). In areas where they have a low market share, prices may be discounted. For their prepaid SIM you have the choice between a 10-30 day plan, a weekly or a daily charge:
- Oi Livre (can be customized from R$ 10-30):
- R$ 10: 500 MB, 300 SMS and either 150 mins to all dom. operators or 3000 mins to Oi and landlines for 10 days
- R$ 20: 1 GB, 600 SMS and either 300 mins to all dom. operators or 6000 mins to Oi and landlines for 20 days
- R$ 30: 1.5 GB, 900 SMS and either 450 mins to all dom. operators or 9000 mins to Oi and landlines for 30 days
- Weekly plan Oi Livre por semana: R$ 10: for 500 MB, 300 SMS and 100 mins to all operators.
- Daily plan Oi Live por dia: R$ 0.99: 60 MB, 30 SMS, no voice time (R$ 0.30 per minute for calls). You pay only on the day you are using internet.
The weekly and 10-30 day rates auto-renew, the daily plan doesn't. All times are based on calendar days in the time zone associated to your DDD. To add, change or teminate plan, type *880 or *3007. Change of plans costs R$10. For out of DDD calls or other operators, you need to use Oi carrier code (see below). Unlimited use of more than one million Oi WiFis included. Data overuse is charged at R$ 1 per 20 MB per day. On Oi Livre unused data rolls over to the next period, if the plan is renewed.
For more mobile data, you can add these data packages, bought online or by texting 'Oi':
|75 MB||1 week||R$ 3.49||Oi to 6475|
|200 MB||1 month||R$ 9.99||Oi to 64200|
|400 MB||1 month||R$ 19.99||Oi to 64400|
|600 MB||1 month||R$ 24.99||Oi to 64600|
|1 GB||1 month||R$ 34.99||Oi to 64950|
All monthly packages auto-renew. To cancel, type *6499. When data quota is used up, data will be shut off. Unlimited Oi WiFi is added. To get more data, you have to wait for renewal or buy one of these add-ons valid for one day only until midnight by typing *880:
- 20 MB: R$ 0.99, for activation, text Oi to 6420
- 50 MB: R$ 1.49, for activation, text Oi to 6450
- 100 MB: R$ 2.49, for activation, text Oi to 64100
Oi WiFi Fon Edit
Unlimited Oi WIFI Fon with more than 1 million access points is added for free to all plans and packages. WIFI locator There, it’s graphically shown, how to get your access code too. If you have an regular Oi account that gives you Wi-Fi access, you can use the 'Oi WiFi' app (available for iOS and Android) and enjoy auto-connect.
In August 2016 Oi has launched a pilot project to permit access to 2 million hotspots of its WiFi network, free of charge, for users of any operator. This service is part of Oi's strategy, which includes sponsored internet access. All those interested will have to download the Oi WiFi app, opt in to receive advertising and when accessing the internet will see an advertising banner. For the start, access is only possible on Android smartphones. Those who want to access the internet without advertising can buy passes using a credit card:
- R$ 5.79 for 1 hour
- R$ 8.90 for 1 day = 24 hours
- R$ 19.90 for 1 month = 30 days
More info Edit
- Oi carrier code: 31 (for area codes starting with 1, 2, 3, 7, 8 or 9 - includes Rio de Janeiro)
- Oi carrier code: 14 (for area codes starting with 4, 5 or 6 - includes Brasília)
- APN: gprs.oi.com.br
- Username and password: oi
- Website (in Portuguese): http://www.oi.com.br
Algar Telecom (formerly CTBC Celular)Edit
Algar Telecom belongs to the Algar Group and operates a small mobile network (formerly called CTBC Celular) in the central inland of Brazil. The company is based out of Uberlândia, Minas Gerais and has 0.4% of the Brazilian market share. From their total of 1.1 million subscribers 71% are using their prepaid plan.
While they operate for business customers in some centers, private customers on prepaid are restricted to a small area mostly in the state of Minas Gerais. Without roaming in other places, they are not recommended for travellers. In 2016 they switched on 4G/LTE on 700 MHz (band 28).
By today, they just sell only one prepaid plan, which consists in some on-demand separate bundles:
- R$0.26/min for calls to Algar phones (fixed or mobile), being local or long distance;
- R$0,99/day an 50mb internet package (which caps to 128kbps when surpassed. Additionally, you can buy a new 100mb (R$0,99) or 200mb (R$1,99) package valid for 24 hours.
- R$ 0.50/day for a package with unlimited SMS for any Algar phones (0.26/SMS for any other carriers)
In a short, As Algar is just a regional carrier (operating in a bunch of cities in the Triangulo Mineiro region and some little near cities around), this operator it's not friendly to a traveler, and we do recommend another operator above while roaming here, due to its very limited coverage.
- Algar carrier selection code: 12
- APN: ctbc.br Username: ctbc Password: 1212
- Homepage: www.ctbccelular.com.br
Sercomtel, formerly Sercomtel Celular, is the smallest Brazilian mobile operator. It's a super local mobile operator based in Londrina, Paraná and only provides network coverage in the Londrina area; however, in 2009 Anatel gave Sercomtel license to expand services throughout the entire Paraná state. At the moment, Sercomtel has only 0.02% of the Brazilian market share with only 52,000 subscribers. As it has very limited roaming, it is not recommended for travellers. In their different prepaid plans data is charged at R$ 0,99 for the day. You will only get 50 MB and will be throttled to 128 kbps thereafter.
- Sercomtel carrier selection code: 43
- APN: sercomtel.com.br Username and Password: sercomtel
- Website (in Portuguese): http://www.sercomtel.com.br
Mais AD Edit
Mais AD is Brazil's first real MVNO. It started operations in October 2015 on the Vivo network in 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE (see Vivo above). It is run by the Brazilian arm of the Assembly of God, the country's biggest Pentecostal church with 23 million members.
The operator is recruiting volunteer assembly members to sell the SIM cards door to door and pastors are promoting them during services. In addition there are 45 physical sales points (list). They have national coverage in all states, but have started their marketing in the state of Sao Paulo only. Start-up price is R$ 9.90 without any credit.
Their SIM card will come with exclusive content related to the Assembly of God and the bible as well as religious apps. To top up, you can use any Vivo voucher. To check credit, type *2300.
They sell the exactly same prepaid rates as Vivo (see above). So there is not much advantage, in choosing them instead of their network operator, as it is not clear whether Mais AD can handle registrations without a Brazilian CPF.