Portugal (including the Azores and Madeira Islands) has three network providers operating in the country:
- MEO (formerly tmn)
- Vodafone (formerly telecel)
- NOS (formerly Optimus)
MEO is market leader with the best coverage in the country, followed by Vodafone in 2nd spot and NOS as smallest network.
2G is on 900 and 1800 MHz, 3G is on 2100 MHz with MEO and NOS and on 900 MHz with Vodafone. 4G/LTE was launched in 2012 on all three networks on the 800, 1800 and 2600 MHz bands. It already reaches the majority of population and is open for prepaid on all network providers.
All three networks are available too in the Portugese branches of The Phone House: store locator and Worten.
Top-ups can be made in every Payshop agency: store locator. Worten does top-ups as well (at least MEO deducts 0.60 € from the top-up, even if done in MEO stores). Minimum top-up is 5 € every 6 months (3 months with Lycamobile).
Portuguese SIM cards don't need to be registered. In the last years the prices for data have dropped considerably in the country.
MEO (formerly tmn)Edit
MEO, called "tmn" not so long ago and now owned by Dutch Altice Group, has the best coverage incl. 4G/LTE in the country: MEO coverage map and it gives it out to prepaid costumers without a surcharge. It is market leader with a 40% share. MEO implements Roam like home on most plans without restrictions.
The SIM card is available from MEO stores (store locators) or Phone House (see above) for 9.99 €. You can even order it online for free, but you have to send it to a Portuguese postal address. It includes 5 € for calls to other MEO lines, but not for data.
The sell different tariff lines called "Top", "Start", "Link" and "Flex", but that doesn't matter which base product you are on as the data packages are all the same.
Top-ups can be made in many shops e.g. Payshop that has many agencies in Portugal (see Basics).
Data feature packsEdit
MEO offers these monthly data packs open for 4G/LTE in Portugal and the EU/EEA:
- 200 MB: 5.49 €
- 500 MB: 7.49 €
- 2 GB: 12.99 €
- 6 GB: 21.49 €
- 15 GB: 30.99 €
Subscribe by texting the name of package to 12399. If you activate the LIGHT plan for the first time, 2 GB will be given to you as a free bonus on top of the regular 200 MB in an ongoing promotion. These packs recur every month and it is possible to go into negative credit, which will cause the internet to stop until a positive credit is reached again (even if an add-on is still valid).
You can check your data consumption and allowance anytime on your personal account. To query credit, call *#123*, this should return the "universal" credit that can be used for any calls and data plus the "extra" credit that is only valid for calls to MEO and fixed lines; the online credit information does not distinguish between the two, so is practically useless. The online usage information is not always recent (and in the case of add-on data might not even appear), so another way to query it is by calling this number (a message will come back): *#123*99#
The following add-ons called "plafond adicionais" can be booked on existing packs for more data, valid for 30 days:
- 200 MB: € 3.99
- 1 GB: € 7.99
- 5 GB: € 16.49
- 15 GB: € 26.99
To add volume, text EXTRA 200MB, EXTRA 1GB, EXTRA 5GB or EXTRA 15GB to 12399.
After pack data runs out (at least for the Start SIM card) it reverts to default rate of 1.99 € for 60 MB per day. Beware: the pack data runs out silently. SMS sent to inform you might be delayed and the online information of remaining data is not real-time either.
Combo plans Edit
Their combo plan is called TOP and contain a fixed domestic voice call, text and data quota. It's based on a weekly rate. That's why it can be the better alternative for visitors. You have to set your SIM to TOP plan from the beginning. It comes in two varieties for voice and texts:
- TOP 96: unlimited domestic calls to MEO and landlines included plus 100 mins/SMS to other networks for one week
- TOP TOTAL: 500 mins/SMS to all networks included for one week
Both options can be added by these data packages valid for one week:
- 200 MB: 2.80 €
- 1 GB: 3.30 €
- 3 GB: 4 €
This way you get cheaper prices for a weekly usage, but without the chance to upsize.
Tourist SIM Edit
MEO has introduced the Connected Holidays plans for tourists visiting Portugal for the summer season 2016 in two plans:
- Connected Holidays Smartphone: 60 mins voice, 500 SMS and 2 GB mobile internet for 15 €, valid for 15 days. Calls/SMS are domestic, to the EU, US, Canada, Angola, Brazil and Israel.
- Connected Holidays Data: SIM card costs 15 €, also valid for 15 days, and includes 15 GB (in promotions 30 GB) mobile data.
Both plans can only be topped up with 30 GB for another 15 days at 15 €. They are available only in a few MEO stores mentioned here (in the middle of the page).
Data-only SIM Edit
For modems and tablets, MEO has released new data-only SIM cards without voice called "Enjoy" at 15 € loaded with 15 GB (in promotions 30 GB) valid for 15 days. There is a FUP of 3.5 for EU roaming.
The "Enjoy" plans are topped up like this: for each 10 € top-up you are given 20 GB valid for 5 more days up to a max. of 36 days. Minimum top-up is 10 €. Billing increments is in 100 Kb units. Data will be shut off, if depleted or time has run out.
For Enjoy and Connected Holidays Data MEO states 30 GB data volume on their website, but some shops are reported to sell only 15 GB for a start. Try to print out the offer and show it in the shop.
More info Edit
- VolP and tethering are allowed and possible
- Website in Portuguese: http://www.meo.pt/
- APN: internet
VodafoneEditVodafone Portugal is the major competitor of MEO in the country with a 33% share and according to network test the best coverage and highest speeds on both 3G and 4G. It lets prepaid customers join their 4G network as part as an ongoing promotion for free. Note, that on top of the 2100 MHz they also have 3G on 900 MHz allowing for better indor coverage which is rare in Europe and not carried by all devices.
Vodafone applies Roam like at home in all other EU countries on all of their prepaid voice and data SIMs, but excludes roaming on the data-only SIMs.
The SIM cards are available in every Vodafone store: store locator for a few Euros and reloaded at agencies like Payshop (see above). To keep your SIM alive, you are supposed to make a top-up every 6 months.
Voice and data SIMsEdit
Their prepaid cards are called "Easy", "Up", "Directo" and "Yorn". Yorn is a youth plan for users up to 25 years and students only. Be aware that they don't sell you prepaid SIMs with a monthly fee (called mensalidade). Easy and Directo lines don't have data at all, but Easy charges a service fee of 1.50€ every 60 days. Up line has as a choice two combined packages:
- 11.99 € per month: 200 MB + domestic calls and texts
- 13.99 € per month: 1 GB + domestic calls and texts
- 17.49 € per month: 3 GB + domestic calls and texts
Domestic calls and texts includes either 1000 mins/SMS to Vodafone and 100 mins/SMS to other networks or alternatively 500 mins/SMS to all networks.
Default rate for data on all plans is €1.99 for 100 MB in 5 days in 3G up to 7.2 Mbps. Overuse is charged at €1.03 per 50 MB. These internet packages can be added to all prepaid voice and data lines on 4G/LTE too in up to 300 Mbps:
- 250 MB: 5.49 €
- 500 MB: 7.49 €
- 1 GB: 10.49 €
- 2 GB: 14.99 €
- 5 GB: 20.49 € (incl. Spotify Premium)
Subscribe by texting INTERNET <size of package> (digits only, don't add "MB" or "GB") to 1277. For example, texting "INTERNET 1" to 1277 will subscribe you to 1 GB package. The pack will renew automatically every week or month. To unsubscribe call 1277.
Data-only SIMs Edit
They sell the following data-only SIMs open for 4G/LTE up to 300 Mbps, that include data and SMS in Portugal only, but no voice. Starter packs are free and contain one of these two different tariff lines that can't be switched:
- Go: 15 GB for 15 days - € 15
- Go Light 15 hours for 90 days - € 15
Different top-ups can be made for the two Go tariffs. On the Go Plan you will always receive 30 GB and a time frame to use them, on the Go Light plan you will get unlimited data for the specified hours within 90 days.
|incl. 30 GB||for 90 days|
|10 €||5 days||10 hours|
|15 €||10 days||15 hours|
|20 €||15 days||20 hours|
|+ 5 €||+ 5 days||+ 5 hours|
|100 €||90 days||100 hours|
To check data balance, send SMS with the word "Go" to 1277. SIM card stays valid for 14 months after the last recharge. From June 2017 the data plans won't be offered for internatl. roaming.
Note that the data-only plans Go and Go Light don't offer international roaming.
Tethering is allowed. Android users can go to Settings > Mobile Networks > Access Point Names and edit the default APN from net2.vodafone.pt to internet.vodafone.pt keeping all the other settings intact.
- APN: internet.vodafone.pt net2.vodafone.pt vas.vodafone.pt
- Website in Portuguese only: http://www.vodafone.pt
NOS (fomerly Optimus)Edit
NOS, previously called Optimus, has the smallest network with a 20% share, but gives still good performance. All data tariffs now include 4G/LTE, but better check coverage before at their coverage map.
Their SIMs are sold in their stores (Locator) and can be topped up at many agencies like payshop (see above). Their basic pland is called "Livres".
- Tariff line "Livres" for 2.50 € with the same credit without a monthly base rate
- in promotions for free but without credit. The first 3 top-ups will get a bonus of 5 €.
It doesn't matter which SIM you buy, as you can add the same packages for data.
Voice and data SIMEdit
To all their prepaid voice & data SIMs these monthly internet packages can be booked:
- 250 MB: 2.99 €
- 500 MB: 4.99 €
- 1 GB: 7.99 €
To activate call 12300 for free. Packages will auto-renew after 30 days. To check data volume, enter *111#. Outside of packages, you surf on a rate on the daily rate of 1.29 € for 30 MB per day.
Data-only SIM Edit
Their data-only SIM called Kanguru Livre costs €2.50 and includes 24h of unlimited Internet. Afterwards you are able to choose between two plans:
- Livre S: 3 GB for 60 days: 15 EUR
- Live XL: "unlimited" for 15 days: 15 EUR
NOS reserves throttling of speed as a way to limit "unlimited", but doesn't specify this limit yet. You can top-up both lines with these add-ons.
|Price||Livre S: Volume||Livre XL: Validity|
|5 €||500 MB||2 days|
|10 €||1 GB||5 days|
|15 €||3 GB||15 days|
|20 €||5 GB||20 days|
|25 €||7 GB||25 days|
|30 €||9 GB||30 days|
The allowances for Livre S are valid for 60 days each. Livre XL is an unspecified "unlimited" data for the given period. Kanguru SIM cards stay valid for 90 days after the last top-up. These data plans are not open to internatl. roaming.
- APN: umts /or/ internet
- Website in Portuguese: http://www.nos.pt
LycamobileEditLycamobile Portugal is one of the first MVNOs in the country using the network of Vodafone on 2G and 3G only, no 4G/LTE so far.
SIM cards are available online on their website to be sent to a Portugese address for free, but it needs one week or longer until the cards arrive. Offline in some agencies like Payshop or People's Phone SIM cards can be purchased for € 5 with an prepaid amount of € 5 already topped up, but can be sometimes hard to find. Topping up is possible via credit card on their website. Alternatively you can do that by using a cash machine. For that you have to use a Portuguese bank card or try in their agencies, post offices, service stations. Of course you can also buy Top-up vouchers via cash or credit card at various locations like service stations, too. These shops often don't have nano SIM cards.
Data feature packsEdit
Default rate is 0.09 EUR per MB. This seems to be the only rate for EU roaming so far. Their domestic data packs are valid for 30 days:
|300 MB||5 EUR||*139*2005#|
|500 MB||8 EUR||*139*2010#|
|2 GB||15 EUR||*139*2025#|
|8 GB||40 EUR||*139*2035#|
Activation is by code. You will receive a confirmation message shortly after buying your plan stating that it has been applied to your account. You should wait for this message before starting to use your plan allowance.
Check balance by dialling *137# free of charge. They will automatically renew your plan once it expires. To cancel the auto renewal, you have two options: Dial *190# before the expiry date and follow the instructions or call customer services on 1632 from your Lycamobile or 26 500 16 32 from another phone (call charges may apply) before the expiry date. Note that any auto-cancellation requests made on or after the expiry date won't be accepted.
For more data, you can add these bolt-ons:
- 300 MB: 4.50 EUR, activation: *139*601#
- 500 MB: 7.50 EUR, activation: *139*602#
- 1 GB: 12.50 EUR, activation: *139*603#
The add-on package is only valid for the rest of the running time of the base plan.
- Website in English: Lycamobile
- APN: data.lycamobile.pt username: lmpt password: plus
- No tethering supported, doesn't work in an hotspot
- On some devices you may need to enable roaming even in Portugal for Lycamobile PT as it is recognized as a roaming SIM card
Portugal InternetEditis a company that provides rental of data SIM cards and mobile WiFi routers (MiFis), specifically targeted to visitors to Portugal.
The data SIMs and WiFi routers can be delivered to any place in Portugal including airports and hotels. Booking has to be made at least 2 workdays in advance. Delivery and shipping are free.
Data SIM Card Rental Edit
Portugal Internet rents data SIM cards that are already pre-configured and ready to use. The SIMs come in tri-sim format which makes them compatible with regular, micro and nano sizes. The data SIMs have unlimited traffic and use 4G/LTE network which allows a download speed of up to 50 Mbps. Retals are from 3 to 365 days. For rates see table below.
WiFi Hotspot Rental Edit
Portugal Internet also rents mobile WiFi routers (also called MiFis) that establish a 3G/4G internet connection and allow to connect up to 10 devices. The router gives speeds of up to 150 Mbit/s on 4G and 6-8 hours operating time on battery and includes unlimited mobile internet in Portugal. The price given in the WiFi Hotspot column includes WiFi Hotspot and Data SIM for rentals of 3 to 360 days.
|Duration||SIM card||WiFi Hotspot|
|up to day 3||5 € per day||7 € per day|
|day 4 to day 8||3 € per day||4 € per day|
|day 9 to day 16||2.50 € per day||2.50 € per day|
|day 17 to day 30||1.50 € per day||1.50 € per day|
|from day 31||1 € per day||1 € per day|
They use the networks of Vodafone and NOS. Their 4G/LTE network is avaliable in 80% and 3G in 99% of Portuguese territory. The networks FUP is not to block internet access, but to reduce the speed of connection once certain levels of traffic are reached. However, they don't disclose at what amount the speed is decreased.
- More infos on their website in English: http://www.portugalinternet.com