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 network 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 (covers many states, but uses the Vivo's network in roaming in some of them)
- Algar Telecom (formerly CTBC) in Minas Gerais state
- Sercomtel in Paraná state
MVNOs have been pretty useless in Brazil so far. Up to 2015, they catered 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 Correios Celular has started in March 2017 by the Brazilian Post Office (Correios) in the Sao Paulo region to spread nationwide soon using TIM network. Other new MVNOs are announced for 2017 as well.
Finally, a company currently offer 4G/LTE subscriptions only to fixed connections through modems:
- SKY (acquired by AT&T)
Sky operates 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, 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.
The mobile industry in Brazil is organized according to area codes called DDD. Mind you the same provider can be on different frequencies according to their licenses in each state (or even by area code in some cases) you are in.
|Operator||2G GSM (MHz)||3G/HSDPA (MHz)||4G (MHz) in FDD-LTE|
|Vivo||850, (900, 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), 1800 (B3)|
|Oi||900, 1800||2100||1800 (B3)*, 2600 (B7)|
|Nextel||N/A(!)||2100||800 (B26)%, 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.
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 RJ and São Paulo SP.
(900, 1800@): Vivo's 900/1800 Mhz frequency is available only in the Minas Gerais state, legacy from the Telemig Celular (former mobile telco acquired by the spanish operator back in 2007)
(900*): TIM's 900 MHz on 3G is only used in Sao Paulo to boost coverage and network performance.
800 (B26)%: Nextel is planning to refarm this frequency from its iDEN network to LTE. Their 2G network is currently in a shutdown process on most of their coverage area, leaving just some major cities with iDEN signal currently active. This refarming is completed in March 2018 when the old iDEN network will be shut down.
N/A(!): Nextel uses a currently phasing out iDEN 800 network across the country.
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 giving all of them a 3G coverage of 85-92% and a 4G/LTE coverage of 73-77% of population in 2017. The two local providers Algar Telecom and Sercomtel 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. Sometimes they’ll hand you a little card with a scratchable code that you’ll have to call a number and add the code or they’ll ask your phone number and just top up like most places.
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 is known to have the most reliable network at the highest rates in the country.
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 92% of the population and is on par with Tim for 4G/LTE with 77% in 2017: coverage Map
Vivo SIM cards are sold at many places. It's best to get them in their own branded stores, if you come from abroad: Store Locator
Recharge vouchers can be found all over the country ranging from R$ 12 for 30 days to R$ 50 for 120 days (some states / provinces may have exclusive options, like R$ 5, R$ 7 or R$ 60). Online on their website you can top up R$ 12-300 using credit cards or PayPal. Check balance by texting ‘SALDO’ to 8000 or by code *8000.
Prepaid Plans (Planos Pré) Edit
Plano Pré Diário is now the new standard tariff. The starter pack comes with R$ 10 bonus valid for 3 days.
The default rate is a separate daily rate: one for voice and another for data and SMS. It's charged only on the days you are using each service:
- R$ 1.49: unlimited intra-network calls (outside of DDD using prefix 15)
- R$ 1.49: 100 MB data, 300 intra-network SMS, 15 SMS to other domestic operators
- R$ 1.49: 10 minutes off-net calls (landline or mobile)
Prepaid Internet (Internet Pré) Edit
These are their data options:
- daily package: This is their default data plan. R$ 1.49 for 100 MB per calendar day. Using all data of the pack, 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:
- 60 MB for R$ 3.49, activation: text 60 to 1515
- 200 MB for R$ 6.99, activation: text 200 to 1515
Add-ons are valid for max. 7 days or until the monthly package has run out.
Combo plans – Vivo Turbo Edit
Combo plans are called "Vivo Turbo" (activation: text ‘TURBO’ to 9003). There are options with 7, 15 or 30 days validity:
- R$ 7.99: 7 days, 500 MB data, unlimited calls and texts to Vivo network.
- R$ 8.99: 7 days, no data, unlimited calls and texts to Vivo network, 200 mins to other operators.
- R$ 9.99: 7 days, 1 GB data, unlimited calls and texts to Vivo network.
- R$ 14.99: 7 days, 2 GB data, 40 local minutes to call any mobile operator and unlimited calls and texts to Vivo network.
- R$ 9.99: 15 days, 1 GB data, unlimited calls and texts to Vivo mobile lines.
- R$ 39.99: 30 days, 1.2 GB data, unlimited calls and texts to Vivo numbers, 25 local minutes for other mobile operators.
Prices/data above in São Paulo state (DDD 11). In some provinces of Brazil (where Vivo is not the first in market share) you will get slightly more data or more voice minutes for other operators.
You can add Internet Pré data add-ons for 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: 1st month: 50 MB bonus, 2nd month: 100 MB bonus, 3rd month: 150 MB bonus, from the 4th month on: 200 MB bonus.
In combos Turbo R$9.99, R$14.99 and R$39.99, if you recharge R$30 or more, you earn 1GB extra (valid for 7 days only).
Monthly prepaid data-only (Pré Mensal) Edit
For tablets and modems Vivo sells Pré Mensal. This is a data-only SIM, but not such a good deal as you can only book the monthly packages and add-ons mentioned under Internet Pré shown above. It costs R$ 19.90 for 400 MB.
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. 85% of population are covered by 3G and 77% by 4G in 2017 on par with Vivo. Coverage map .
SIM cards are sold at many places. It's best to get them at their branded stores (store locator) for registration.
Recharge vouchers of R$ 10, R$ 15, R$ 20, R$ 30, R$ 40, R$ 50 and R$ 100 are sold extending with a validity 30 to 180 days in banks, lottery agencies, pharmacies, supermarkets and other places. You can also top up using your credit card online (site TIM - "recarga express"), app "Meu TIM" or over the phone by typing *244 or *244#. You can check balance by typing *222#. There is an option to program auto-recharge when balance is low or by chosen a specific day.
TIM sells data plans in daily or monthly packages (TIM Pré Internet) as well as voice and data combos on a weekly or monthly base (TIM Pré Internet + Minutos).
TIM Pré Internet Edit
This is TIM's data (and SMS) offer based on daily or monthly packages. Tariffs and offers may differ slightly from state to state. Max. speed is 1 Mbit/s on 3G and 5 Mbit/s on 4G.
- daily packages (based on a calendar day from midnight to midnight) - called "TIM Pré Infinity Web":
- 100 MB: R$ 1.49 - activation: WEB100
- 250 MB: R$ 1.99 - activation: WEB250
- 500 MB: R$ 3.49 - activation: WEB500
- 1 GB: R$ 4.99 - activation WEB1GB
To activate text code to 4141, go online to your personal account or call *222 or *144#.
Daily packages include a data allowance only charged when you use internet and unlimited WhatsApp and SMS to all operators. For more data you can upsize at same rates, for activation text "MAIS100MB", "MAIS250MB", "MAIS500MB" or "MAIS1GIGA" to 4141.
- monthly packages (for 30 days) - called "TIM Pré Smart Web":
- 500 MB: R$ 19
- 1 GB: R$ 29
- 3 GB: R$ 59 (Tim Music by Deezer included)
- 5 GB: R$ 69 (Tim Music by Deezer included)
To activate, text code "TIMPRE" to 4140, go online to your personal account or call *222 or *144#. The monthly bundles are auto-renewal. To cancel, text code "SAIR500", "SAIR1GB", "SAIR3GB" or "SAIR5GB" (according to the pack) to 4141 or call *222.
The monthly packages don't contain SMS, but WhatsApp use and some audio streaming. If you use more without any allowance, internet will be blocked. For more data you can either upsize: 150 MB at R$ 5 for 7 days - activation: "MAISWEB"' to 2000 (TIM Pré Smart Web 500 MB and 1 GB) or "MAISWEB" to 4141 (TIM Pré Smart Web 3 GB and 5 GB).
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.
Recently, TIM started to sell a new timed data plan called TIM Pré Facebook, which is more like a nightown plan. It gives you unlimited Facebook access (video calls not included), 15 GB of data package to be used from midnight to 8am for any use, everyday, and only 50 MB to be used at anytime for R$ 9.90 per month. Activate by texing 'FACE' to 4141.
TIM Pré Internet + Minutos Edit
This is their standard combo product with voice, data and SMS. Tariffs and offers may differ slightly from state to state. Max. speed is 1 Mbit/s on 3G and 5 Mbit/s on 4G. It's a weekly or monthly combo offer, that is available in three packages:
|R$ 7||7 days||100 mins||150 MB|
|R$ 9.99||7 days||unlimited (any Brazilian operator)||1 GB + up to 1 GB bonus|
|R$ 14.99||7 days||unlimited (any Brazilian operator)||1.5 GB + up to 1 GB bonus|
|R$ 39.99||30 days||550 mins||2.5 GB|
All options above offer WhatsApp messages without discounting from quota. On options R$ 9.99 and R$14.99 you can make WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger voice calls (as well messages) without discounting from data quota too.
To activate text code "TIMPRE" to 4140 and choose plan, go online (site or app "Meu TIM") or call *222 or *144. All packages auto-renew after one week or month. To cancel, call *222 or go online. All packages include unlimited SMS to all domestic operators.
As a promotion TIM adds a bonus to the R$ 9.99 and R$ 14.99 plans, if you have enough credit charged at the end of the week for automatic renewal. It starts with 250 MB (for the 1st week), 500 MB (for the 2nd week) and goes up to 1 GB (for the 3rd week and beyond), depending on how long you're auto-renewing the plan.
You can upsize data by two add-on packs:
- 100 MB for the rest of the day: R$ 1.49, for activation text 'WEBDIA' to 4141
- 150 MB for 7 days: R$ 5, for activation text 'MAISWEB' to 4141
Visitor TIM Edit
Visitor TIM is their tourist SIM and may be hard to find, as it's 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's 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 per min and international calls R$ 1 per 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 special tariffs). To take advantage of these prices you must make a call using the prefix 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.
3G coverage is on 91% of population and 4G/LTE 73% in 2017: 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$100 are available. Enter voucher code like this *577*<voucher pin="">#. Check credit by typing *544#.</voucher>
Planos Pré - combo Edit
Claro has a plan called Claro Prezão in five formats (three with data included):
- Prezão Muito Mais: R$ 9.99/week (for 7 days) with 1 GB data, unlimited SMS to Claro and 100 SMS to any national operator, unlimited calls to any Brazilian operator (using the carrier code 21) and some special OTT services, like free WhatsApp traffic, and Claro Video and Claro Musica without discounting from quota.
- Prezão Ilimitado: R$ 14.99/week (for 7 days) with 2 GB data, unlimited SMS to Claro and 200 SMS to any national operator, unlimited calls to any Brazilian operator (using the carrier code 21) and some special OTT services, like free WhatsApp traffic, and Claro Video and Claro Musica without discounting from quota.
- Prezão Muito Mais (Mensal): R$ 34.99/month (promotionally R$14.99/month for some area codes - check Claro's website) (for 30 days) with 3 GB data, unlimited SMS to Claro and 300 SMS to any national operator, 300 minutes to any local operator (same DDD) and unlimited calls on-net (using the carrier code 21) and some special OTT services, like free WhatsApp traffic, and Claro Video and Claro Musica without discounting from quota.
- Prezão Fala Mais e Prezão Fala Mais (Mensal): looks like combos above, but no data included. To access internet, add daily or monthly packages (see below).
The packages auto-renew after validity (week or month), if not stopped online or by calling *525 before.
Planos Pré - daily or monthly packages Edit
Their standard prepaid plan is called Prezão Diário, which gives you unlimited on-net calls, 10 min off-net calls, unlimited SMS on-net, 15 SMS off-net and 100 MB of internet (WhatsApp messages without discounting from quota), costing R$1.99 (billed after the first use), valid for the rest of the day (until 23:59:59).
Data needs to be added on Toda Hora prepaid plan by packages (can be added if you used all quota too). You have the choice of daily or monthly packs, all including zero-rated WhatsApp use (no VoIP):
- daily packages (valid until midnight, local time) - includes unlimited SMS on-net, 15 SMS off-net:
- 100 MB: R$ 1.39
- 200 MB: R$ 1.99
- monthly packages
- 300 MB: R$ 7.99
- 500 MB: R$ 13.99
- 1 GB: R$ 21.99
- 2 GB: R$ 29.99
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 number two 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 55% by 4G in 2017: 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$ 14 to R$ 200 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 4 choices - all called "Oi Livre". Prices/data below in São Paulo state (DDD 11)
Oi Livre por dia
Daily plan: R$ 1.29: 60 MB and 30 SMS. You pay only on the day you are using internet. Voice calls R$ 0.99 to Oi (package with 300 min) or R$ 0.30 per minute to other domestic operators.
Oi Livre Edit
This plan can be customized and is auto-renewed, according to its balance. As basic rule R$ 1 buys 50 MB, 30 SMS and 20 mins to all operators (1 day validity), up to R$ 30 (30 days validity). To activate send SMS to 1910 or dial *1910. Examples:
|R$ 1||50 MB||30||20 min||1 day|
|R$ 14||700 MB||420||280 mins||14 days|
|R$ 20||1 GB||600||400 mins||20 days|
|R$ 30||1.5 GB||900||600 mins||30 days|
Promotionally, instead R$ 1/day (R$ 30/month), some area codes (DDD) have different values, like R$ 0.46/day (about R$ 14/month - named "Oi Livre A") or R$ 0.66/day (about R$ 20/month - named "Oi Livre B"), giving even more data volume (86 MB and 120 MB/day, respectively) than the original "Oi Livre". Check out Oi's website for more information.
By accessing "Minha Oi" app, minutes can be changed to data and vice versa: 1 min = 2 MB. Unused data rolls over to the next period, if the plan is renewed.
Oi Livre Ilimitado Mais Internet Edit
The same system: as basic rule R$ 2 buys 260 MB, 50 SMS and 1440 mins to all operators. The customized plans auto-renew according balance for R$ 2 (1 day validity) up to R$ 60 (30 days validity). To activate send SMS to 1911 or dial *1911. Examples:
|R$ 2||260 MB||50||1,440 mins||1 day|
|R$ 14||1.7 GB||350||10,800 mins||7 days|
|R$ 30||3.8 GB||750||21,600 mins||15 days|
|R$ 60||7.6 GB||1500||43,200 mins||30 days|
Minutes can be changed to data and vice versa only using "Minha Oi" app: 40 mins = 1 MB. Unused data rolls over to the next period, if the plan is renewed.
Oi Livre Ilimitado
Looks like the plans above: as basic rule R$ 1.42 buys 158 MB, 30 SMS and 30 mins to all operators. The customized plans auto-renew according balance for R$ 1.42 (1 day validity) up to R$ 42.60 (30 days validity). To activate send SMS to 1904 or dial *1904. Minutes can be changed to data and vice versa using "Minha Oi" app: 1 min = 2 MB. Unused data rolls over to the next period, if the plan is renewed.
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.
For more mobile data, you can add these data packages, bought online or by texting 'Oi':
|250 MB||1 week||R$ 3.99||*41250|
|400 MB||1 month||R$ 9.99||*41400|
|600 MB||1 month||R$ 14.99||*41600|
|800 MB||1 month||R$ 19.99||*41800|
|1 GB||1 month||R$ 24.99||*4101|
|2 GB||1 month||R$ 39.99||*4102|
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:
- 60 MB: R$ 0.99, for activation, dial *4160
- 100 MB: R$ 1.59, for activation, dial *41100
- 200 MB: R$ 2.99, for activation, dial *41200
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 24 hours
- R$ 19.90 for 30 days
More info Edit
- Oi carrier codes: 31 (for area codes starting with 1, 2, 3, 7, 8 or 9), 14 (for area codes starting with 4, 5 or 6)
- APN: gprs.oi.com.br
- Username and password: oi
- Website (in Portuguese): http://www.oi.com.br
Nextel used to be a provider offering iDEN technology which is not compatible to GSM. In 2010 they started to build a so far limited 3G network and in 2014 4G/LTE launched in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo on 1800 MHz. In many other places they still rely on roaming with Vivo. On its own resources it covers 47% of the population with 3G and only 5% with 4G/LTE in 2017. It's old iDEN-based network was shut down in 2018.
Nextel began to accept prepaid users through a new plan called Happy, for which the user can customize his own allowances using their app (for Android or iOS). Moreover, the user can change packages, refill using prepaid vouchers or credit cards or even cut off/cancel their line using this app.
The SIM card is available in their stores within their coverage areas (locator) for R$ 10. This plan is only applicable on its 3G/4G network, and won't work with iDEN mobile phones. It can be a little tricky for visitors to subscribe to this plan, since it's only available in the area codes (DDD) of São Paulo 11, 12, 13, 15, 19 and Rio de Janeiro 21, 22, 23, 24 so far.
The plan is controlled by an app (available in Google Play and App Store). You can download the app first, configure the plan and buy the SIM card (chip) through the app. It will be delivered in your adress in Brazil in 4 working days.
Happy by Nextel Edit
Happy offers unlimited calls and SMS, free national roaming, and messaging apps (such as WhatsApp, Messenger and Telegram) without discounting from quota. The following package combinations for its 3G/4G data:
- for 7 days:
- 1 GB: R$ 9.99
- 2 GB: R$ 17.99
- for 30 days:
- 4 GB: R$ 39.99
- 8 GB: R$ 69.99
- 12 GB: R$ 89.99
More info Edit
- Website for Nextel: http://www.nextel.com.br /
- Website for Happy by Nextel: http://www.sejahappy.com.br
- Carrier code: 99
- APN: wap.nextel3g.com.br
Algar Telecom 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), in 2017 1800 MHz is refarmed for 4G/LTE. It only covers around 1-2% of the national population in these areas in 2017.
It has a daily and a weekly plan:
- Pro Giga Pré: daily plan at R$ 1.49 including unlimited WhatsApp, unlimited local calls and 100 MB of data. All overuse is at R$ 0.15 per MB or buy additional packages. Activation: text 'GIGA' to 123
- weekly plan at R$ 8.99 including 1 GB local data, unlimited local calls for 7 days. Activation: text 'SEMANAL' to 100.
For more data you can add 100 MB at R$ 0.99 or 300 MB at R$ 1.99 by texting '100' or '300' to 100.
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 is not suitable for a traveler, and we 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
- Website in Portuguese: http://www.algartelecom.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 licenses to expand services throughout the entire Paraná state. At the moment, Sercomtel has 0.02% of the Brazilian market share with only 52,000 subscribers. As it has very limited roaming and charges are surcharge for it, it's not recommended for travellers and it's market share is below 0.5%.
Brazilian regional operator Sercomtel has introduced new prepaid plans with more monthly data and no price increases. On the Livre plan internet access is now charged per month, with customers getting 1 GB valid for 30 days at R$ 18. Two weekly packages can be added: 300 MB at R$ 4.99 and 800 MB at R$ 6.99.
- Sercomtel carrier selection code: 43
- APN: sercomtel.com.br Username and Password: sercomtel
- Website (in Portuguese): http://www.sercomtel.com.br
Correios Celular Edit
The first viable MVNO in the country has started in March 2017 by the Brazilian Postal Offices (Correios). Correios Celular is a joint venture between the Post Office and EUTV, using the mobile network of TIM in 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE, but no international calls can be made and no international roaming is offered so far.
SIM cards by the state-owned company are available in post offices throughout major parts of Brazil (store locator) . They started in the metropolitan regions of Sao Paulo, Braslia and Belo Horizonte, in June 2017 Rio de Janeiro was added. As of November 2017 the SIM is sold in the states of Brasilia, Sao Paulo, Campinas, Ribeirao Preto, Santos, Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte, Governador Valadares, Minas Gerais, Para and Santa Catarina. The goal is to reach all Brazilian states at more than 3,600 locations and 12,400 counters by the end of 2018.
The SIM card is sold for R$ 10. You can top-up in post offices R$ 30, 90 or 180 valid for the same number of days. Check balance by *222# and check number by *221#.
The operator offers 4 monthly prepaid plans valid for 30 days:
|Alô 30||100 mins||1 GB||R$ 30|
|Alô 40||200 mins||3 GB||R$ 40|
|Alô 60||300 mins||5 GB||R$ 60|
|Alô 90||400 mins||8 GB||R$ 90|
Voice calls are to all operators and DDDs. For overuse data is throttled to 32 kbps. Default data is R$ 0.10 per MB. WhatsApp use is not debited from the data allowance as long a plan is active and this includes VoIP calls too, but no video exchange. Unused data rolls over to the next month, if a new plan is bought.
For more data you need to top-up R$ 15 which is only available in post offices. By *223*1051# you can activate 750 MB for R$ 15. To check data balance, enter *225#.
More info Edit
- it's still very much unknown, how and if this operator will be accessible to foreigners without CPF
- APN: internet.br
- Website in Portuguese: http://www.correioscelular.com.br/