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. MVNOs only have a small margin with 2% share in Portugal. Lycamobile is the most sucessful, phone-ix less and Vectone mobile has been closed in 2018.
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 couple of 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 custumers without a surcharge. It is market leader with a 40% share.
The SIM card is available from MEO stores (store locators) or Phone House (see above). Their usual prepaid SIM card is branded MEO Top 96 and is sold at 9.99 € including 5 € credit preloaded and 3 GB of data. You can alternatively order a SIM online for free, but you have to send it to a Portuguese postal address.
The sell different tariff lines called "Top", "Start" 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
Default rate is 1.99 € for 250 MB per day. MEO offers these monthly data packs open for 4G/LTE in Portugal and the EU/EEA:
- 250 MB: 5.99 €
- 500 MB: 6.99 €
- 1 GB: 9.99 €
- 5 GB: 14.99 €
Subscribe by texting the name of package to 12399. These packs recur every month and it's 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#
After pack data runs out it reverts to default rate of 1.99 € for 250 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.
For social media and streaming up to 10 GB per month you can add:
- Messaging pack (WhatsApp, Skype, Viber, iMessage, Facetime, Hangouts): 6.99 €
- Social pack (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Tumblr, Linkedin, Pinterest): 6.99 €
- Video pack (YouTube, Netflix, Periscope, Twitch): 6.99 €
- Music pack (Spotify, Google Music Play, Soundcloud, TuneIn): 6.99 €
- Email & Cloud pack (Gmail, YahooMail, SapoMail, Google Drive, OneDrive, Amazon Drive, iCloud): 6.99 €
The first activation of any of these media or streaming packs is free. Check consumption by *#124#. These special packages will auto-renew, if not stopped. They are valid only in Portugal and not for roaming.
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 starting with the summer season 2017 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 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 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 30 GB valid for 15 days. There is a FUP of 4.1 GB 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.
EU roaming Edit
MEO has implemented EU roaming on most plans without volume restrictions (except where mentioned in the text). Note that from September 2017 you have to top up at least 7.50 € to activate roaming on your account. This does not apply to SIM cards bought before that date. MEO SIM cards are almost impossible to be topped up from abroad.
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 indoor 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 limits consumption of the Vodafone Passes and excludes all internatl. roaming on their 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. However, when purchasing at Lisbon Airport there are some limits; for example, the Vodafone You tariff is only available as a starter kit for 10 € fixed to the 3GB, 500 minutes/SMS, and Chat Pass combination for 4 weeks (EU roaming FUP is 5GB on this combination). In order to change to a different tariff, even from day 1, a whole new monthly or bi-weekly fee has to be paid. However, changing your combination and paying the fee resets allowances; it's possible to use up the initial pack and then change to your preferred combination, resetting all your allowances.
Voice and data SIMsEdit
Their prepaid cards are called "Easy", "World" and "Directo". 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.
World plan has reduced international call rates and 500 MB internet per month for 12.99 € and Vodafone Directo is the base plan without a fee, but you have to make 3 consumptions in three months to keep it alive.
Tourist SIM Edit
Vodafone also offers a package for tourists, called Vodafone Travellers: 5GB, 500 domestic minutes/SMS, and 30 minutes/SMS to the EU (when in Portugal), USA, Canada, Brazil, Angola, Australia, and New Zealand, valid for 30 days for 20 €. Data and domestic minutes/SMS are valid in EU roaming.
Data feature packs Edit
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 called Aditivos 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.
Vodafone You Edit
In February 2018 'Vodafone You' plans were introduced giving customers the possibility to create their own tariff, according to their needs. Customers can choose from 200 MB to 5 GB of data per month, and from 500 to 5,000 minutes/SMS. Bundles are valid for two or four weeks. They can also add sets of applications from different categories - Chat, Music, Social and Video - that come with unlimited data for an additional fee, as offered under the Vodafone Passes. These options are available:
|Data||Mins / SMS||Time||Price||Vodafone Passes|
|200 MB||included: 500
1000: +1 €
2000: +2.50 €
5000: +3.50 €
|6 €||optional (for 1-5 GB packs):
Chat Pass: +1 € (included
in 3 and 5 GB packs)
Music Pass: +1.50 €
Social Pass: +1.50 €
Video Pass: +2.50 €
|1 GB||7 €|
|3 GB||8.50 €|
|5 GB||10 €|
|200 MB||included: 500
1000: +1 €
2000: +2.50 €
5000: +3.50 €
|12 €||optional (for 1-5 GB packs):
Chat Pass: +3 € (included
in 3 and 5 GB packs)
Music Pass: +3 €
Social Pass: +3 €
Video Pass: +5 €
|1 GB||14 €|
|3 GB||17 €|
|5 GB||20 €|
Passes are available as add-ons for data packages of 1-5 GB. They are not unlimited and include these apps:
- Chat Pass: up to 10 GB per month for WhatsApp, FB Messenger, Skype, Viber, Facetime, iMessage, Hangouts, Message+, Call+ (no VoIP calls included, Chat Pass already included in 3 GB and 5 GB packages)
- Music Pass: up to 12.5 GB/month for Apple Music, Spotify, Google Play Music, SoundCloud
- Social Pass: up to 12.5 GB/month for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Tumblr
- Video Pass: up to 15 GB/month for YouTube, Twitch, Netflix, Periscope, TV Vodafone
All options can be customized on your online profile or by app.
Note that when roaming in the EU, these passes (and thus your total data usage) are further limited by a FUP, determined by the specific combination you have selected, and usage beyond will incur a 0.74 c per MB (7.40 € per GB) charge. Check here to see what the combined FUP is for your particular combination. Note that this FUP applies to all usage combined, and the roaming allowance is offered separately from your domestic allowances.
Additionally, the number of minutes affects the FUP limit as well, so purchasing more minutes than you need will allow you to use more data in EU roaming without a surcharge.
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 including 30 GB for 15 days: 14.99 €
- Go Light including 15 hours of usage during 90 days: 14.99 €
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.
|30 GB for||validity of 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 both 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: 3.99 €
- 500 MB: 6.99 €
- 1 GB: 9.99 €
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 a high 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
- Livre 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
phone-ix (by CTT) Edit
Phone-ix was the first MVNO in Portugal. It started in 2007 on the MEO network, that it resells in 2G and 3G, no 4G/LTE. It's operated by CTT (Correios de Portugal), the Portuguese Postal Services.
Nowadays, their rates seem outdated and not competive anymore. So better stay away. In 2018 they announced to switch from MEO to the Vodafone network with potentially better deals around.
You can get their SIM card in many CTT stores, postal offices and at some PayShop agents. Starter plan of the SIM is called Igualix (see below) for 10 € with the first plan included.
You can top-up in every CTT store or at PayShop agents from 5 €. Check balance by *#123#.
Data feature packages Edit
Phone-ix offers 4 different combo packs called Igualix, Groupix, Trintix and Segundix. The starter pack is on Igualix with a monthly fee of 10 €. You can change to Trintix or Segundix for a plan without base rate by calling 1692. A plan change is free, but takes up to three days.
You can start data service by login to your personal account, call 12929 or cutsomer service at 707922922. When you activate that, the daily rate will be active:
- daily rate: 1.11 € for up to 24 hours and 15 MB, beyond internet will be blocked.
You can add these packages:
- Aditivo IT Light: 100 MB for 30 days: 5.50 €
- Aditivo IT Super: 300 MB for 30 days: 10.50 €
- Aditivo IT Plus: 600 MB for 30 days: 15.50 €
Packages can be activated on your online profile or by calling 12929.
More info Edit
- APN: internet.phone-ix.pt
- Website in Portuguese: http://www.phone-ix.pt
LycamobileEditLycamobile Portugal was the second MVNO in the country that started in 2012 using the network of Vodafone on 2G and 3G only, no 4G/LTE so far.
It's the most successful MVNO so far and if you don't need LTE or EU roaming, it can give good rates.
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. Their data packs are valid for 30 days and valid only in Portugal, not in EU roaming:
|300 MB||5 EUR||*139*2005#|
|1 GB||6 EUR||*139*2010#|
|3 GB (1 GB bonus)||15 EUR||*139*2025#|
|8 GB||30 EUR||*139*2035#|
Activation is by code. The 1 GB bonus is given only for online purchase. 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#
- 1 GB: 5 EUR, activation: *139*602#
- 2 GB: 10 EUR, activation: *139*603#
The add-on package is only valid for the rest of the running time of the base plan.
EU roaming Edit
Lycamobile doesn't give out allowance of their data packages for roaming in the EU. Instead the roaming price stays on the domestic default rate of 9c per MB.
In the meantime they have opened up a fraction of the data allowance of their "national" combo packages for EU roaming:
|National XS||1 GB||200 mins||50||10 €||*139*1001#|
|National S||1 GB||500 mins||100||12 €||*139*1002#|
|National M||2 GB||500 mins||100||15 € (#)||*139*1003#|
|National L||4 GB||200 mins||50||20 € (#)||*139*1004#|
|National XL||5 GB||500 mins||500||30 €||*139*1005#|
(#) = package is discounted by 50% if you activate it for the first time with a new SIM card.
All allowances can be fully used in roaming. For all online purchases of National packages a 1 GB bonus is given out that can't be used for roaming.
- Website in English: http://www.lycamobile.pt/en/home
- 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
Vectone Mobile Edit
Vectone Mobile by UK Mundio Mobile was the lastest arrival on the scene that started 2013 on the Optimus, now NOS network. It's said to have attracted only a few thousand users.
Vectone Mobile Portugal has informed the National Communication Authority (ANACOM) that it ceased operating on 4 July 2018, prompting the regulator to insist that the MVNO must give its users a three-month window within which to port their number to an alternative provider.
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., no roaming. 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