Statue in Porto

Buying a SIM Card in Portugal

In Get Connected by Dave Dean78 Comments

Last updated: 15 June 2016.

As a travel destination, Portugal has a lot going for it. Blessed with great weather, beautiful architecture, relatively low cost of living and a long coastline that provides high-quality beaches and even higher-quality seafood, it’s surprising that areas outside the Algarve aren’t even more popular with international visitors

While public Wi-fi is available, it’s not especially widespread. The good news that if you want to stay connected during your time in the country, picking up a local SIM card is reasonably inexpensive and extremely straightforward.

Here’s what you need to know.

Companies


  • We recommend Vodafone for most travellers

There are three cell networks in Portugal, operated by MEO, Vodafone and NOS. The best coverage is with MEO, followed by Vodafone. NOS has the smallest network.

All three networks offer LTE to prepaid customers on the 800,1800 and 2600 bands, as well as 3G on the standard 2100 band used throughout Europe.

How


Purchasing was incredibly simple — in fact, it’s possibly the easiest SIM card purchase I’ve ever made.

Flying into Porto airport, there was a small Vodafone store in the arrivals hall. The woman behind the counter spoke excellent English, and offered various options depending on whether I wanted calls, texts and data, or just data.

Within about two minutes, I had purchased a micro SIM card, installed it in my phone and had a working data connection. The card came with 100MB of data included, and I received an SMS within fifteen minutes informing me the main data package had been added. There was no need to show my passport or other identification.

Lisbon airport also has a Vodafone kiosk in the arrivals area, and stores are readily available in the downtown areas of Lisbon, Porto and other major centres.

The APN settings were pre-filled, and I didn’t need to touch them. If you do need to enter them, they’re as follows:

Name: Vodafone Net2
APN: net2.vodafone.pt
Proxy: iproxy.vodafone.pt
Username: vodafone
Password: vodafone

 

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Costs


Back in June 2015, I paid €2.50 for the data-only SIM card, and €12.50 for 1GB* of data, valid for 30 days.

If I’d wanted calls and texts as well, the SIM card would have cost 10 euros (including the same amount of call and text credit), and a 1GB data package would have set me back another €10.49.

A couple of other data-only packages were available for those on short trips — 10 euros bought 2GB of data over three days, €12.50 got you 4GB over seven days.

A year later, in June 2016, the deals have improved. You can now get 500 SMS or national call minutes, plus 1GB of data, for €13.49 with the ‘Up’ package. If you need more data, you’ll pay an extra four euros to get 3GB instead.

Check the latest packages and pricing here (Portuguese).

*An important note: Vodafone Portugal aggressively rounds up per-session data usage to the nearest MB. Over time, this makes a big difference — I received an SMS saying my “1GB” of data had run out when my phone told me I’d only used 613MB!

Topping Up


You can buy top-ups at any Vodafone store, which you’ll find one or more of in major towns and cities (there’s a store locator here). Payshop locations, of which there are approximately 4000 in Portugal, can also help you out.

 

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Coverage and Data Speeds


I was very impressed with Vodafone’s 3G network anywhere I tried it — the download speed was similar to that shown in the screenshot below no matter where I tested it, and I rarely had less than full signal outside.

Inside stone buildings the data network would occasionally drop to EDGE, but I always had signal of some sort.

Portugal SIM card speed

Vodafone 3G speeds in Porto

Check out our guides to buying SIM cards in many other countries here.

As a travel destination, Portugal has a lot going for it -- and that includes the ease of staying connected. Here's how to buy a local SIM card.
About the Author

Dave Dean

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Founder and editor of Too Many Adapters, Dave has been a wanderer for nearly 20 years and a geek for even longer. When he's not playing with the latest tech toy or working out how to keep his phone charged for just a few more minutes, he can probably be found sitting in a broken down bus in some obscure corner of the planet.

Comments

  1. If you’re after data only and know you consume a lot, better go for the Meo SIM. They offer 15GB/7 days, supposed to be 25EUR! I found the package when looking for Portugal data packages, but I didn’t try it on site, as our location was supposed to have WIFI (what a joke :(), so I left my MIFI at home.
    Meo link: https://www.meo.pt/internetfortravellers/en

    1. Author

      That looks like a good deal if you’re not in the country for long and use a lot of data, or if you’ll be sharing it with other people via a hotspot/Mifi.

      As I discovered when I had to top up near the end of my three weeks in the country, Vodafone also has a 7 day/4GB offer for €12.50, for short-term visitors with more moderate data needs that don’t want to spend quite as much — but since it’s subject to the same aggressive rounding-up as the other plans, you won’t get the full 4GB out of it. On the other hand, I was very surprised to see that data kept working for a few days when I went to Spain — so that’ll be a bonus for some travellers.

      Thanks for the info!

  2. I’m flying into Lisbon Airport for a week in Lisbon. I’ll come in on a Saturday, and leave the Sunday of the following week, 9 days. I expect I will use more data than voice/text, as it is primarily for looking stuff up on the go, GPS, email and booking/checking in for reservations. What’s the best deal for me, and can I get it at Lisbon Airport or is it better outside the airport? I have a Motorola Droid Razor M I will be using for this.

  3. Hi Dave,

    Just to let you know. There is now a company in Portugal that rents Wifi hotspots, and sells prepaid data SIM cards, specifically to tourists and non-Portuguese residents, that don’t require any contract.
    Traffic options goes from 1GB to unlimited.
    They are called Portugal Internet, and you can find them at http://www.portugalinternet.com
    They deliver to the hostel or it can be picked-up at the airport.

  4. Hi,

    Do you know if I can find a Vodafone store in Lisbon airport to buy a sim card or MEO ?

    Thank you !

  5. I am flying into OPO and will be spending 18 days in Europe, 5 of which will be spent in Portugal. Will a Vodafone SIM purchased in Portugal still work for the same rates in the other countries I will be visiting (Germany, Czech Republic, Denmark)? I don’t need much, just would like to be able to access a map with my data and make a few in-country phone calls. Thanks!

    1. Author

      You won’t get quite the same prices in those countries, but this page suggests you’ll only pay an extra 3 euros/day to roam in Germany and Czech Republic — after that, you’re on the same rates as you would be in Portugal.

      Denmark isn’t listed on that page, and it’s much more expensive as a result — 6c/min for incoming calls, 23c/min for outgoing, 7c/min for outgoing SMS and a painful 25c/MB for data. Those are euro cents by the way, not US cents.

  6. Thanks for this – this is great.
    I’ll be spending about 6 weeks in Porto and Minho region in March/April 2016 and am looking at SIM options.
    It’s good to know Vodaphone have a store at the airport and are helpful.
    I’m sure they have deals going on all the time, so I will check what’s the best option for me when I get there; for phone, text and internet.

    Thanks once again for sharing.

  7. That’s the best article I could find, this is brilliant, first search, first hit! We are going to Portugal for 5 days and need data, and we land in Porto. It’s great to have it all prepared already!

    Thanks!

  8. We will travel to Lisbon then to Porto in May and will purchase a SIM card for our unlocked Motorola MOTO G phone. The SIM card needs to be cut to fit into the SIM slot on the phone. We were able to find a place that cut the card when we were in Copenhagen, Denmark last year.

    Will it be easy to find a place to cut the SIM card to fit in Lisbon, Cascais, Estoril area?

    1. Author

      You may not need to get the SIM card cut down. I believe all models of the Moto G so far have used micro SIMs, which is the same as what I was using at the time I wrote this article. The Vodafone salesperson at Porto airport asked which type I needed, and provided the correct one without needing to cut it down. I’d be very surprised if other official Vodafone stores didn’t offer the same thing, and probably any other store that sells Vodafone SIMs as well. I can’t speak for other SIM companies, though.

  9. Dave,
    My wife and I are traveling to Portugal for about 10 days, Spain for 3 days, Italy for 13 days and France for 14 days. We plan on using SIM cards for our iPhones. I was wondering; can we use SIM cards from one country in another country or do we have to buy new SIM cards for each country?
    Phil

    1. Author

      Some prepaid SIM cards let you roam internationally with them. Usually it’s not cost-effective to do so, but some of the providers in the EU do offer cheap (1 or 2 euros/day) roaming to other EU countries. Given you how long you’ll be in Portugal, Italy and France, it probably makes sense to buy local cards there anyway, but if you can roam in Spain, you should.

      If you’re going from Portugal to Spain, you may find you can roam with a prepaid Vodafone Portugal SIM. That’s what I did — I didn’t expect it to work, but it kept going for a few days after I arrived in Madrid. I think it was burning through the data allowance I already had, with some kind of surcharge compared to if I’d have been using it in Portugal, but either way, it was a welcome surprise!

      Don’t rely on this without checking, though — my experience was around a year ago, and anything can change. Ask the person at the Vodafone store/counter specifically about roaming in Spain (and I guess elsewhere too).

  10. Hello there fellow travelers. Just to give my 2cents here, I recently traveled to Portugal (Feb 16) and I flew with TAP. The inflight magazine had,as one of many offers, an only Data SIM card from MEO. €15 for 15gb during 15days. Easy to remember. And I from what I can tell and remember from previous times there, prices went down amazingly. I had it with me when I got of the plane already but I assume it’s easy to find anywhere else. OPO doesn’t have MEO store unfortunately. While inflight I inserted card on my iPhone and as soon as I landed and turned it on I had 4g conectivity. Easy, effortless and speed is very good. For those visiting more than one country there was also another offer from another company I don’t remember the name, that gives us internet connection no matter where you are. But of course is more expensive. Although It relieves us the bother of checking for data plans in every country we go to. But I remember doing the math and it was very expensive compared to any offer you can get locally. What I don’t know is if it’s worth, comparing that product vs local SIM card plus roaming fees.

  11. Hi Dave,

    Thanks for your efforts so we all benefit from your postings. I am planning to spend about 45 days in Northern Spain and Portugal this coming Spet. (2016). I am not sure how up to date your postings are since technologies changes so fast.

    I am from Canada and using iPhone 5 and 5S (my wife’s), any suggestion how we should go about getting text, some data and international voice at the least expensive way. Any suggestion would be appreciated.

    1. Author

      Thanks Louis!

      In Spain, I’d check out both Orange and Vodafone (run their sites through Google Translate if necessary), and see what the right mix is for you. Base packages are pretty similar, but depending on what you need in the way of international text and calls, that might swing you one way or the other.

      In Portugal, it’s between Vodafone and MEO. It’s easier to get set up with Vodafone, since there are kiosks in (at least) the Lisbon and Porto airports, but at the moment, you’ll get a slightly better deal on data with MEO, and somewhat better coverage.

      You’ll be happy with either of the options in either country, however, and base prices will be similar. You can also roam between Spain and Portugal with some, if not all, of the companies listed, for 1-3 euros a day. If you’re spending most of your time in one country and only a few days in the other, that might also be an option.

  12. Hi Dave,
    Thanks for the super helpful post! I will be in Portugal/Europe starting Sept. 2 until around mid January spending a semester abroad. Would the data plan you spoke of work outside Portugal? I would only be interesting in the data package. If so do you know if there is a more affordable package for more long term as opposed to month by month? Thanks!

  13. Hi

    Thanks so much for all this info.

    I am arriving in Lisbon (from Australia) next Saturday and touring around Portugal for just over 3 weeks. I want a SIM card for texting and making calls within the country but also to text home. But I also want some download for looking up info and maps etc. I have an iPhone 5. Will the Vodafone sim work for me?

    Will replacing my current sim mean I lose all the info on my phone?

    Thanks for the help.

    1. Author

      Hi Jo,
      Yes, as long as your phone is unlocked, the Vodafone SIM will work for you. If you’re not sure whether it’s unlocked (especially if you bought your phone at a discount from your mobile company in Australia), it’s best to get in touch with them to check that out. Most will unlock phones that are off-contract without a problem.

      Your apps etc won’t be affected by changing SIMs. Your contacts should be saved on the phone rather than your Australian SIM, so they shouldn’t be affected either.

  14. Hi!
    I’m flying into Seville in 2 weeks via Lisbon (originating from Boston) on TAP. I have a 70 minute layover between flights in Lisbon, and will likely be picked up within an hour of landing in Seville by a shuttle to go to a retreat center an hour south in the countryside. I would like to get a SIM card so I can call my family back home in the states, if needed (my father in terminally ill), but don’t think I’ll be able to get one on the ground in Spain. Would it be a good idea (or a financially bad idea) to get the SIM in Lisbon for my trip during my layover? I can’t find anything online telling me there’s a vodafone or other SIM card retailer within the Seville airport (if you know, please inform me!), so this may be my chance. I was recommended to get the “Welcome to Spain” SIM from vodafone on amazon, but I can’t justify paying $44 in express shipping to ensure I get it before my trip. I’ve been looking on eBay, but am unsure of reliability. Please help me, if possible.

    Thanks!

    1. Author

      Hi Sam,
      I’m not aware of any SIM stores at Seville airport, so if you can’t get definite confirmation of that, you’ll need a different approach. Vodafone Portugal has a basic cheap roaming plan across the EU – 90c per day for “a daily 10-minute package for outgoing calls, 10 minutes for incoming calls, 10 SMS and 50 MB to access the Internet on your phone.” That’s on top of whatever the SIM and local call/text/data package costs, and there’s no mention of international call costs, so you’d need to ask about that (or use Skype etc).

      Failing that, I suspect your other options are to ask the retreat to sort out a SIM for you, get a local SIM shipped to the retreat, or find an international SIM company that can get a SIM to you in time and has cheap calling rates to the US, and use it sparingly!

  15. Hi Dave,
    Thanks for the helpful post!

    We’ll visit several places, starting from Lisbon, afterwards Nazare, Porto, Syntra, car already rented, as well as apartments booked.
    All we need, during the trip, is to make several calls to property holders and get internet for GPS use only.
    Tell me please, what kind of SIM we need to buy in such case, if 3GB package will cover our needs?
    Thanks in advance,
    Oleg

    1. Author

      I’m not sure, sorry – you’ll need to confirm with the salesperson before purchasing if that’s something you require.

  16. Hi Dave,
    Traveling to Porto for 10 days – we will have an iphone 4S and 5S.
    i expect some call to US while we are there, but also in country call, and lots of map/translate/uber/internet usage.

    Wifi at hotel.
    I’ll be using thethe 5s at work location for 5 days 4s will be used extensivly around porto by wife to get around..

    plan to take your advice and purchase SIMs upon landing at OPO. Any specifc advice or reccomendations for that scenario?

    1. Author

      Nope, nothing special about this scenario. Ask what the best deal is when you’re purchasing — you may find a cheaper option if you only need it for a week, for instance. In any case, you shouldn’t need to pay more than 20 euros for a SIM and call/data package regardless.

  17. I’m traveling to Lisbon in May with friends and will take a train/bus to Santiago (& return to Lisbon). I have an Android one plus phone from China which uses T-mobile, but not really supported by them. We’d like to have coverage just for train and bus reservations while in Lisbon and Santiago. From these posts it seems an MEO via vodaphobe is the best option. Our flight arrives at 5:55 am so airport acquisition is probably out of the question. I was hoping to have phone service (texts/E-mail) available before landing. Guess I’ll see if senior citizens can muster sympathy from the local community.

  18. Hi Dave,

    Hope you can help me. It seems I can’t find this information anywhere. My family will visit Portugal and I recommended them to take the Vodafone Up Total package. In addition to few local phone calls and mobile internet, they will most likely need to make calls to Canada quite few times for short amount of times. What is the price for calls to Canada from Portugal on that package ? And how does it work to put additional money in your Vodafone account once you activated the Vodafone Up Total package ?

    Thank you so much of you can help. Your website is a great source of information, and very useful, keep it up !

    Regards,

    Pat

    1. Author

      Hi Pat,

      This page suggests your family will pay 1.65 euros/min to call Canada (and several other countries). That’s expensive, so I’d strongly suggest using Skype Calling or Google Hangouts to reduce the cost to a fraction of that. Google Hangouts, in fact, should make calls to US and Canadian numbers free. We wrote about setting that up here — it’s a couple of years old, so some of the screens may have changed, but the basic approach remains the same.

      Adding extra credit can be done at time of purchase, or at any time afterwards from a Vodafone store or Payshop location in Portugal.

  19. Hi Dave,

    I’ll be heading over to Portugal in a few days, landing in Lisbon and staying for about 10 days.
    I think I use a decent amount of data/ day (social media, iMessage, apple music, GPS), what would be the best option? And also, does MEO have a location at Lisbon Airport? i feel like that might have the best rate, but I would need the sim card before going to pick up the rental car, and would be using the data for GPS also throughout the 10 days.

    thanks in advance,

    Nala

    1. Author

      MEO’s coverage is a little better and deals are similar, and sometimes better, than Vodafone. The reason I still recommend Vodafone for visitors is because as you’ve found, MEO doesn’t have stores at the airport, so it’s much easier to get set up with Vodafone as soon as you arrive. If you need to get a SIM before leaving the airport, that’s who you should go with. Staff will be able to advise on the best current data package for your needs.

  20. I,ll be staying in Porto for 4 days then heading to the Azores
    Will the sim I buy in Porto work in the Portuguese azores

  21. Hi Dave
    We love all your posts. They have helped so much in planning our move to Portugal. What company and plan would you recommend for someone planning to stay?
    We have a Samsung Galaxy S6 that is unlocked
    Thanks for all your posts-they are so appreciated.

    1. Author

      Thanks Elizabeth. I used MEO for a few months, and was happy with the service etc. The SIM was free when I got it. I topped up 15 euros each month, on a Flex 96 plan — I bought a 2GB data package for 13 euros, then just paid standard rate for the few calls and texts I made. If I headed elsewhere in the EU, I added a bit more credit, and used the 0.99/day light roaming plan. It all worked well.

  22. Hi Dave

    I am traveling to Lisbon for 4 days then heading Sevilla for another 4 days. Is there a plan/provider that is a good option for the duration of my trip? Plan to use it for maps, uber, web browsing and very light social media.

    Thanks in advance!

    1. Author

      Hi Victor,

      For that relatively short period of time, it won’t make a great deal of difference which provider you choose. Since Vodafone has a kiosk in Lisbon airport, has reasonable weekly packages, and inexpensive roaming to Spain (and elsewhere in the EU), that would be my pick.

  23. I m flying to Faro and will be in Portugal for almost 5 mnths
    During this time I need to make regular conference calls upto 6hrs a week maybe ) on zoom and use What’s Ap and email
    Also I ll need to text and call in Portugal occasionally
    I was thinking to use Portugal internet for my laptop and I phone and then bring a basic mobile to put a SIM card in for texts and calls since the I phone will have a data only card in it from Portugal internet
    Does this sound like a good plan and can you recommend a SIM card for a modest amount of texts and calls that I can pick up in Faro of in Uk before I leave ?
    Surahbhi Uk

    1. Author

      Since Portugal Internet is a data rental service, you’ll be paying a lot to use it for five months. Personally I’d just get a normal (ie, calls, texts and data) prepaid SIM from MEO when you arrive in Faro, with the largest data package they sell, and put it in your phone. Tether your laptop to your phone to use that data for conference calls as needed, if you don’t have good Wi-fi access, and just use your phone normally otherwise. You’ll need to buy the SIM in Portugal.

      1. This is what I ve found … do you know any better options for a 5 month period ?

        Portugal internet 1.4 euro day
        for data only (mifi and SIM card) so for Pc and I phone

        MEO SIM card data only
        for tablets and routers
        1euro a day plenty data but N/A since I have an I Phone and PC

        MEO sim for calls texts and 2G data for smart phones
        1euro a day 15days but not enough data

        MEO router with 30G
        55Euro for 15 days so very expensive
        Does anyone have experience of Portugal internet ?

      2. Author

        I don’t have any more information for you, really – you’ll need to find out about Wifi speeds and availability as mentioned above, then make your decision from there. Good luck!

  24. Thank you for your reply…
    Portugal internet charge a euro a day for unlimited broadband
    SIM cards that I see when I search on line offer only what seems like not enough data for conference calls which use I think the same amount as streaming movies … is that correct ? and I felt that I d need unlimited data in order to make as much as 6 hrs of conference calls each week … or ?
    Do you know if MEO do a card with unlimited data or do you know how much I d need for this amount of zoom calls weekly ?

    1. Author

      Well, they charge 1 euro a day after the first month. The starting price is 5-6 euros/day. In other words, you’ll pay 80+ euros for the first month, and 30 euros/month after that.

      With any provider, you need to check what unlimited actually means — often, speeds are throttled after a certain number of gigabytes per day/week/month, which would typically make it too slow for conference calls. Portugal Internet say that in its case, unlimited does mean unlimited at full speed, which is a positive aspect.

      As for how much data a conference call uses — if it’s video-based, yes, it will use a similar amount to streaming movies. If it’s audio-only, it’ll be a fraction of that. I haven’t used Zoom, so can’t comment on its data usage specifically.

      The question you probably need to answer is whether you’ll have fast-enough Wifi available in your accommodation or wherever you plan to work in Faro. If so, you’ll likely use that for your conference calls, and the cell data doesn’t matter anywhere near as much. If not, then you need to find a truly unlimited, high-speed cell data plan that can accommodate your requirements.

      If you’re happy with the costs of Portugal Internet, go for it. Just bear in mind that in addition to the costs above, you’ll either need to use Skype/WhatsApp/etc for calls and texts, or get a SIM card for your phone and pay for a voice/text plan as well.

  25. Dear Dave,
    Your site is a godsend. For the record when I do a search on this subject I always find international companies agreeing to provide SIM cards mailed to me or for pick up. I am reluctant to transact on internet but am tempted; especially for China where the package includes VPN, very essential there. Impossible to get the VPN locally in China and their package is complex.
    Turning to Portugal. Will be visiting Lisbon and staying there for one month from mid-May.. Would like to have a data card with 4/5 GB capacity so because the better connectivity MEO should be the way to go. Unfortunately their site is in Portuguese so cannot find their outlets. No big issue. I also need to make long distance calls to Singapore. Using an unlocked iphone 5s and an unlocked ipad.
    Should I buy a data card and a separate SIM card for long distance calls?
    Thank you very much.

    1. Author

      There are MEO outlets all over Lisbon, including all the shopping malls, so you won’t have a problem finding one. Just put ‘meo’ into Google Maps when you get there, and you’ll see a bunch of different stores.

      I wouldn’t get two SIM cards. Just buy a standard SIM with calls, texts and data, then buy whatever package best suits your requirements (or go on the Flex96 plan, then add enough credit for a separate data package plus a few euros for calls and texts). For long distance calls, I pretty much always use Skype these days — call quality is fine if your 3G/LTE speed is high enough, and per minute rates are typically quite a bit cheaper than paying whatever the mobile phone company wants to charge you.

      1. Thank you Dave for all your help. We have Verizon and they said a 3G Sim card would work. I hope we find the right one when we go to Portugal tomorrow.
        Carol

  26. Good article, very informative.

    I gave up on worrying about internet in Portugal. I have a Three Network SIM card from the UK which has “Feel at Home”, allowing me to use my UK call, SMS and data allowance in several countries around the world (including Portugal). While this is convenient, it doesn’t allow tethering, and it only gives me 3G (I’ve never seen it connect to a 4G network).

    I am astonished that mobile data within the EU is so horrendously expensive and complicated, and (to put it bluntly) so antiquated. I say this as someone who spends a considerable amount of time each year visiting the Russian Federation, where for 300 rubles (about €4.70) I get super fast unlimited 4G+ for 30 days. If you want to see how fast 4G+ is, so a search on YouTube for “4G+ Moscow”. I manage to download large files from my corporate servers at 9MB/s (that’s 9 megabytes per sec, not 9 megabits per sec).

    EU data plans/data SIM offerings are a complete joke. Way overpriced, way too slow.

  27. Hi Dave,

    Perhaps you’ll know better than I. It’s been some time since I moved to Canada from Lisbon, and it’s the first time I’m going home in almost 10 years.

    I’m going to need a sim card for my unlocked iPhone once I arrive in Lisbon. Will be there for 30 days, but require everything: call, text (as I know as soon as I land, I’ll be bombarded with family and friends trying to connect and get together and keep in touch while home) and data (mostly for gps and emailing). But I’m worried a small MB or GB rate won’t be enough. (I’m a realtor, and looking to stay connected to my clients while I’m away through email in order to avoid international calling rates. On my plan here, I easily go through about 5GB a month in data). I used to be on a post-paid plan, which provided me with everything I need, however seeing as I’ll only be there for 30 days, I won’t be able to reconnect my previous plan from home. However, it seems the only pre-paid options available through TMN (now MEO) and Vodafone, either provide all three in a package but require monthly top-ups, or only provide either phone and sms, or data, without the obligation of monthly top-up.

    Any thoughts for the amount of time going, and having the ability of utilizing everything?

    Thanks in advance!

    Katia

    1. Author

      Hi Katia,

      Your Portuguese is undoubtedly better than mine, but take a look at this MEO page — https://www.meo.pt/telemovel/tarifarios/pre-pagos/top. From what I gather, the ‘Top Total’ plan gives you 500 local minutes/texts, plus 3GB of data, for the month. If that’s not enough data, you can also add 10GB for particular types of use (music, video, cloud, etc), and I think you can also add extra general data as well (https://www.meo.pt/internet/internet-movel/telemovel/pre-pagos).

  28. Hi Dave, just wondering what you would recommend for our trip to Portugal. We have an unlocked iphone, a locked phone and an ipad wi-fi only. We will be in Portugal for 45 days and will need data mainly for emails, gps, facebook and we like to unwind and watch some tv or youtube videos at the end of the day. Would you recommend a sim card? We were thinking of renting the mobile WIFI but not too sure who to go with and we were hoping to finding something with unlimited data so that we could watch our videos without having to worry. Any suggestions?

    1. Author

      There are few options if you want unlimited Internet. The only major player offering it is NOS, where it’ll cost about a euro per day. They can limit speeds if they think you’re over-using the service, although there’s no info I’ve found about what ‘overuse’ looks like in practice.

      Portugal Internet is a Mifi rental service with unlimited data, but it’s pretty expensive for longer-term use.

      If you don’t really need unlimited data, then a large data package with any of the major companies will be fine, and you can go with the recommendations and comments on this article.

      You can use your iPhone as a hotspot for your other devices, but be aware it quickly drains the battery if you’re doing it a lot. If that’s likely to be an issue, perhaps look at renting or buying a Mifi instead, if it’s not too expensive. It’s really dependent on how you plan to use your devices.

  29. Hi Dave,

    My friends and I are visiting Lisbon in a week and will stay for 5 days, I am looking at the Connected Holidays plan (15 euros) provided by MEO and wonder:
    1. Does the plan already included a SIM card so I don’t need to purchase separately?
    2. if the data plan only sim card will work on a smart phone (i.e. Google Nexus, Blackberry and iPhone 6).
    2. Do I still need to get a SIM card separately if I am getting the Connected Holidays plan?
    3. Should I order online and mail to where we will be staying or it’s easy to get it later when we are in town. Coz some websites said I need to pay extra for a SIM card or order it online for free.

    I am hoping you can provide some insights as I have been researching for a while and still not quite sure. Looking forward for your reply! Thanks in advance!

    1. Author

      Hi Esther,

      1. This page suggests the SIM card is included, which makes sense for tourist plans like this.
      2. That page markets the data SIM at tablet owners. Typically it will also work in a smartphone, but I’ve had problems (in the US, not Portugal) with staff refusing to sell/activate data SIMs if you’ll be using it in a smartphone. I’m in Lisbon at the moment, so if I get a chance I’ll swing by one of the places you can buy it (see below) and ask for you. I’ll update this comment if there’s anything to add.
      3. You don’t need to order online, but that ‘Connected Holidays’ package isn’t available in all stores. Details are on that page — of the MEO stores, the Chiado location is the most central, but it’s also easy to find FNAC stores in any shopping mall.

      1. Author

        I haven’t had a chance to go into the FNAC or MEO store yet — but based on Lynne’s comment yesterday, it looks like those data SIMs work in phones just fine. There are no other 15 euro / 15 day / 30GB Vodafone plans that I’m aware of, so it’s likely to be the Connected Holidays package that she’s using.

  30. Dave – we arrived in Lisbon last week and purchased 3 data SIM cards from Vodafone (15 Euros for 15 Days with 30 GB) – quick and easy BUT decided to visit Spain and the minute we crossed the border we were unable to access data. Our phones picked up Vodafone ES and showed either a 3G or 4G connnection but we were unable to use them – we had data roaming turned on … any magic button or number to call?

    1. Author

      I don’t know whether that data package is meant to be enabled for international roaming or not, so you’ll need to pop into a Vodafone store (or contact customer service via one of the ways listed on the website) to see what the story is. No magic buttons that I know of, sorry!

  31. Hi Dave

    The information you provide on this site is awesome. A question if I may, I have been living in Colombia for the past 2 1/2years and the internet is pretty much free in every cafe, resturant or public place its great. I am going to Porto in November for 2-3months and I have a Huawei unlocked phone which I purchasd here. I am gong to need a data package for my computer and phone. I will only be using whatsap and the internet on my phone and internet on my computer. What do you sugges in regards to the best provider and $ value for money for my needs during this time ?

    1. Author

      If you don’t have wi-fi available for your laptop (in your accommodation or elsewhere), perhaps look at the unlimited package from NOS, then tether your laptop to your phone when you need to use the Internet. If you only really need data on your phone, then the suggestions in this post (and the comments) should work for you. Just pick a data package that covers your expected requirements, from whichever company you prefer.

  32. Hi Dave,

    My wife and I just came back from a 2 week trip to Europe. We landed in Lisbon and while we were walking inside a mall, went inside a cell store and asked the clerk for a Sim card for my phone. He sold us a MEO Sim card for 20 euros. Since we were in a hurry, I did not ask how much GB’s we were getting. Anyway, he placed the Sim in my phone and we left the store. Moments later I had internet service. I was able to connect just about everywhere we went around Portugal. We also traveled to Spain and Italy and had internet service all the time. The only minor issue was that sometimes I had to reboot the phone to reconnect but that was just a couple of times. The MEO service was great and would definitely use it again next time I visit Europe.

    1. Author

      Thanks for the trip report! MEO is a good choice, if you’re happy to wait until you get into town, rather than needing/wanting to buy at the airport. It’s the company I use when in Portugal for extended periods.

  33. Hi Dave, I have a question. I am traveling over the year a few times to Portugal. Usually between 3 and 14 days each time. I have a very small internet bundle in my own country since I always use wifi hotspots, so my data is empty really soon. The place I am usually staying does not have wifi in the rooms.

    I am looking for a good Portuguese sim only card (or a fixed subscrition for a year or so), mainly for internet access (facebook/whatsapp/google maps/email etc) preferable with a wifi hotspot in the Algarve. What would be the best for me ? I have a seperate phone which I can use overhere, so it can be a fixed card. I don’t want to go first to a phone store everytime I arrive. Hope you can advise

    1. Author

      Your situation is quite specific, so I don’t know which provider will be best off the top of my head. All the major mobile companies (ie, those with physical stores) in Portugal offer Wi-fi hotspots and data-only SIMs, so it’ll come down to finding one which has reasonable pricing, and a long expiry period for the SIM so it won’t be deactivated if you don’t use it regularly.

      Next time you’re in Portugal, I’d suggest setting aside a bit of time to go to a shopping mall or similar place where all the major mobile companies have a store, explain your situation to the staff in each one, and let them suggest the best prepaid option for you. After that, all going well, you shouldn’t have to go back into a phone store again — just top up the SIM/hotspot online or by phone before, or when, you arrive back in Portugal each time.

  34. Hi Dave. I’m traveling in a motrohome and need internet. I am not near wi fi outlets so can you suggest a Sim that will give me at least 12 to 15 gb a month for my unlocked phonene..thanks.trish

    1. Author

      MEO and Vodafone both have data-only packages that offer (at least) 15GB of data for 15 euros, but only last 15 days. If you need longer, you can extend the duration with Vodafone by paying 5 euros for each additional 5 days of validity, up to 90 days for 100 euros. More details here (in Portuguese).

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