Prepaid Data SIM Card Wiki

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There are 3 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)

Furthermore, there are some regional providers:

  • Algar Telecom (formerly CTBC) in parts of Minas Gerais state
  • Sercomtel in parts of Paraná state (state owned, in privatization process)

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. The first viable MVNO Correios Celular has started in 2017 by the Brazilian Post Office (Correios) in the Sao Paulo region to spread nationwide using TIM's network.

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 Física) number was often asked for, which corresponds to a tax ID or Social Security Number, which 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 your 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.

Although a CPF is not always mandatory, you can face problems without one. In January 2024, multiple Vivo shops in Rio de Janeiro were refusing to sell a SIM card without a CPF. Furthermore, Vivo's smartphone app doesn't work without a CPF and a lot of public wifi networks, for example in shopping centres, require a CPF to be entered. If you can easily visit a Brazilian consulate in your home country, then a CPF can be obtained free of charge, more easily than in Brazil, and taking less time than the subsequent task of buying a SIM card at a network's shop in Brazil. A CPF can be beneficial for other purposes; for example some Brazilian car hire websites ask for it.


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 every state (or even by area code in some cases).

Operator 2G GSM (MHz) 3G/HSDPA (MHz) 4G (MHz and bands) in FDD-LTE 5G DSS/NSA/SA
Vivo 850, (900, 1800@, 1900§) 850, 2100 700 (B28), 1800 (B3), 2300 (B40), 2600 (B7) n3, n7, n28, n78, 258
TIM 900, 1800 850, (900*), 2100 700 (B28), 850 (B5)#, 1800 (B3),

2100 (B1)#, 2300 (B40), 2600 (B7)

n3, n7, n28, n40, n78, 258
Claro 900, 1800, 1900(=) 850, 2100 700 (B28), 2100 (B1), 2300 (B40), 2600 (B7), 1800 (B3) n7, n40, n78, 258
Algar 900, 1800 850, 2100 700 (B28), 1800 (B3) n40, n78, 258

The 700 MHz (B28) frequency 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's now expected to start in 2018 and to be fully employed by 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.

850# and 2100#: 850 MHz (B5) for LTE is only available in the countryside and in remote regions. 2100 MHz (B1) is currently only available in the Sao Paulo Metro Area.

(900, 1800@): Vivo's 900/1800 MHz frequency for 2G 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 for 3G is only used in the Sao Paulo Metro area to boost coverage and network performance.

1900(=): Claro owns a 1900 MHz block on some states exclusively for WLL usage, legacy from a old company acquired by them. This block used to be a CDMA1x carrier in the past, and went to GSM some time after.

All operators have now opened 4G/LTE and 5G for all of their prepaid plans without surcharges. The contracts garantee the max. speed of 5 Mbit/s in 4G networks, althought its possible to get very much higer rates.

Coverage and speeds[]

You have coverage in all states on the 3 major providers Vivo, TIM and Claro. 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 three major players are pretty much on par. Vivo is the overall market leader by customers, with 35,1% of market share in the end of 2022. Claro is in second place with 32,4% of market share, and TIM in third place with 31,5%.

TIM has the biggest 4G and 3G coverage, followed by Vivo and Claro. According to Opensignal, Claro has the 4G with the highest speeds, but TIM has the most reliable signal.

Vivo have the fame of having the best coverage, what was true on the past and maybe still is on some rural areas, but today on most places Claro and TIM have similar coverage and on Claro example usually faster data speeds on LTE.

TIM may have the biggest LTE coverage, but on several places the speed isn't that great on pre-paid, most of times a 3G connection from Claro or Vivo will be faster speed than TIM LTE.

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.

Availability []

SIM cards are called chips and cost around R$ 5-15, mostly without credit. You can get one at 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 sometimes give a local address (like a hotel address). Try to make clear that you need a prepaid SIM card which is called chip pré-pago (pronounced locally: sheepy 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 drugstores, supermarkets, newsstands, convenience stores, post offices or by online agencies like, iCelex and Onepay. Most prepaid SIM cards need to be topped up at least every 75 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, most often, they’ll ask your 11-digit phone number and just top up like most places.

If you don't topup your number under the deadline, your line might be cancelled after that (it can take a little more time to cancel, depending on the operator). If so, you'll need to buy a new simcard from an operator.


While newsstand and street sellers offer SIM cards too, you'd better go to an official store with your passport (or South American ID card), 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 (like your hotel's), and a local phone number in order to activate over the phone.

The regular registration with CPF is shown HERE. During registration you can select your area code - called DDD, like in the US. 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). In some cases the carrier automatically selects the area code of where you are.

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 text message is sent showing the total credits available for that card. These numbers are: Vivo: *8000 Claro: *544#  TIM: *222# and Oi: *804

Dialing rules (long-distance and international)[]

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 at the bottom of each operator.

The government is taking some actions towards to make this system simpler, by revoking the rule of using the long-distance operator in some cases (since this rule never made any sense anyway). Also, all the mobile operators since 2019 can complete your calls by dialing 0-aa-nnnn-nnnn (example: 0 (11) 3333-3333, to call a fixed number in Sao Paulo from another area code).

Also, for foreigners using cellphones in roaming, the standard dialing rule applies, as +cc-aa-nnnn-nnnn (eg: +46 31 00000), to call from Brazil to a random number in Sweden.

Technical Details[]

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.

International roaming friendliness and blocking of bootleg or stolen cellphones[]

Brazil has no limitations regarding mobile phone importing, usage of foreign devices in their networks or either "permanent" roaming by individual persons. So, as long as you use a certified cellphone (which passed by ANATEL, FCC, CE or equivalent certifications) and it's registered in the international GSMA database as any cellphone, you won't face any issues using your phone there.

However, bootleg phones produced by shady manufacturers, mobile phones that were stolen in another country, and others might be blocked when roaming or being used in a Brazilian operator, since ANATEL has approved a law to block such phones from Brazilian mobile networks since 2019. Usually, before the lockdown, Users with suspicious phones would recieve a message from the operator informing them that their cellphones are irregular and will be blocked for use in Brazil after 75 days.

If you stay for a short time in Brazil, that wouldn't be a problem. But if you plan to stay for a longer time, it's better to look for any operator store or call ANATEL to try to fix the situation, or even buy an Brazilian cellphone (Just make sure the mobile phone or device is from an authorized store or dealer).

This blocking was very controversial at the time, and since then, it might act in your line or not. However, as long as your cellphone is from a reputable brand or manufacturer, you're fine.

Mercosur roaming []

The countries of the Mercosur Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay have agreed in 2019 to implement a "roam like at home" scheme similar to the EU. After this deal is approved by all local parliaments operators must not charge additional fees for roaming between the bloc’s member states, and must apply the same tariff conditions that apply in the user’s home state for local outgoing calls, SMS and data.

Chile roaming []

In 2021, the Brazilian government is voting an international roaming agreement with Chile and its in a final phase of the process to become a law. The international roaming between Brazil and Chile will be "like home" when this law starts to be efective. Chile already approved their side of the agreement in 2019 and now is waiting for the Brazilian government.



Vivo (pronounced like 'VEE-voo') is the largest mobile carrier in Brazil, which is owned by Telefónica from Spain and has 38,9% of the Brazilian market share in 2018. From their total of 98 million subscribers only 40% 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 97,1% of the population and is behind TIM for 4G/LTE with 95,5% in 2022: 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. If you need an eSIM, then it cannot be obtained outside Vivo branded stores, but in January 2024 multiple Vivo branded stores in Rio de Janeiro refused to supply eSIMs on the basis that they are available only to postpaid customers and not prepaid customers, despite an option in the Vivo app to switch a prepaid line to an eSIM while in a Vivo store.

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.

You may also use 3rd party agencies like, or others. Note using a 3rd party usually incurs a processing fee, and there are some scam sites out there.

If you fail to recharge, your line will be cancelled and you will not be able to use it at all, even to receive SMS. Within 180 days of cancellation, recharging will immediately reactivate your line. Recharging on the Vivo web site usually requires receiving a validation SMS, which you cannot do if your line is cancelled. Bear in mind that if you have any recurring services on your line such as Vivo Turbo that you did not cancel, then any credit that you add will immediately cause a renewal of those services. Therefore be sure to cancel any recurring services before your line becomes disconnected in case you decide to reactivate the line with a recharge.

Prepaid plans (Vivo Turbo)[]

The prepaid plans are called Vivo Turbo (for activation text ‘TURBO’ to 9003). There are options with different validity (considering DDD 011 - São Paulo):

Price Validity Data Calls & Texts & WhatsApp & more
R$ 15 10 days 4 GB National unlimited SMS and calls

Free WhatsApp usage

GoRead, Skeelo Super Light, Babbel and Hube Jornais

R$ 17 15 days 5 GB National unlimited SMS and calls

Free WhatsApp usage

GoRead, Skeelo Light and Babbel

R$ 20 15 days 6 GB National unlimited SMS and calls

Plus 6GB for YouTube traffic Free WhatsApp usage

GoRead, Skeelo Light, Babbel and Hube Jornais

R$ 30 30 days 10 GB National unlimited SMS and calls

Free WhatsApp usage

GoRead, Skeelo Intermediário, Babbel and Hube Jornais

Free WhatsApp zero-rating includes sending and receiving messages, photos, videos, audio notes and video VoIP calling.

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 daily data add-ons for more data or renew the Turbo plan by texting "ANTECIPE" to 9003.

If you fail to top up with the value of the plan (or more), you'll have an "partial" renewal of the plan, proportional to the balance that you got at that moment in your line. You can check all the values and data packages here

Activation is through *9003.

Vivo Easy (Digital Plan):[]

There's an additional plan which is activated using the special Vivo's Easy app, available for iPhone and Android devices. This plan has no validity or due date, and you can assemble your own line by buying spare packages for everything (from calls to facebook or international calls and roaming packages).

Since this plan is intended to be signed up only using a CPF number and a credit card, this is a hard one to get for foreigners, and won't be shown any further.

More info[]



TIM (pronounced like 'cheem'), owned by Telecom Italia, is the prepaid leader in the country. It’s the overall no. 3 with a total share of 24,8% or 62 million subscribers, 56,4% of its customers are using a prepaid plan. TIM is present in all Brazilian states and leads in coverage, with 98,9% of population covered by 4G/LTE and 91,7% by 3G in 2022.Coverage map .

TIM is also the only official carrier to cover the Comandante Ferraz station, on Antartica, using satellite uplinks and a special Nokia-Siemens 4G equipment. (


SIM cards are sold at many places. It's best to get them at their branded stores (store locator) for registration. If you need an eSIM, you can only get it in branded stores.

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.

Prepaid plan[]

TIM Pré Top One is now the standard plan nationally. The internet quota depends on the top-up amount, but all options give unlimited national calls to any operator and free WhatsApp usage - valid only for messages, photos, videos and audio notes. VoIP calls (video and audio calling) are not included and uses the main data balance.

Topping up R$17 or more gives you 2GB extra data ("bonus recarga").

Recharge Data Validity
R$ 15 6,2 GB (2,5 GB + 3,7 GB “bonus degustação”) 10 days
R$ 17 10,5 GB (3,5 GB + 5 GB “bonus degustação” + 2GB "bonus recarga") 15 days
R$ 20 11 GB (4 GB + 5 GB “bonus degustação” + 2GB "bonus recarga") 17 days
R$ 25 12,1 GB (5,1 GB + 5 GB “bonus degustação” + 2GB "bonus recarga") 22 days
R$ 30 13,6 GB (10,6 GB + 5 GB “bonus degustação” + 2GB "bonus recarga") 30 days
R$ 40 16,7 GB (11 GB + 3,7 GB “bonus degustação” + 2GB "bonus recarga") 30 days
R$ 50 19,7 GB (14 GB + 3,7 GB “bonus degustação” + 2GB "bonus recarga") 30 days


More info[]

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: or
  • Username and password: tim
  • Website in Portuguese:



Claro (pronounced like 'CLAH-row') is the third largest mobile operator in Brazil owned by Mexican América Móvil. It has kept a 25% of the Brazilian market share making it no.2 in the country. Of their total of 59 million subscribers, 74% are using a prepaid plan.

Claro's network has national coverage and similar to Vivo, Claro offers additional services, like fixed broadband connection, telephone line and TV subscription.

4G/LTE coverage is on 91% of population and 3G is on 96,6% in 2022: Coverage Map


Claro SIM cards are sold at many places, including news stands, pharmacies and some small supermarkets. It's best to get them at their store for immediate activation without a CPF (store locator).


You can purchase a eSIM with a prepaid plan in Claro's website, but a CPF number is mandatory. You can also get an eSIM in Claro branded stores.

Top Up[]

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>

Online top up also gets you up to 2 GB bonus valid for 7 days.

Prepaid Plan[]

Their standard prepaid plan is called Prezão, which gives you unlimited national calls, unlimited SMS and data. Is it possible to get weekly or monthly packages.

The follows in the table below (valid for São Paulo, DDD 11, and Rio de Janeiro, DDD 21). In some regions, these plans may be cheaper.

Price Data Validity Extras
R$ 17,00 8 GB 15 days WhatsApp

Unlimited national calls

Unlimited SMS to Claro numbers and 300 SMS for other companies

R$ 29,99 12 GB + 3 GB for YouTube 30 days WhatsApp

Unlimited national calls

Unlimited SMS to Claro numbers and 300 SMS for other companies

R$ 34,99 12 GB + 5 GB for TikTok 30 days WhatsApp

Unlimited national calls

Unlimited SMS to Claro numbers and 300 SMS for other companies

R$ 34,99 12 GB + 5 GB for Free Fire 30 days WhatsApp

Unlimited national calls

Unlimited SMS to Claro numbers and 300 SMS for other companies

Claro Flex[]

There's an additional plan which is activated using the special Claro Flex app, available for iPhone and Android devices. This plan have some packages as below. Since this plan is intended to be signed up only using a CPF number, this is a hard one to get for foreigners.

Price Data Time Extras
R$ 34,99 8 GB + 2 GB for Youtube and Waze 30 days Unlimited national calls

Unlimited Whatsapp

R$ 39.99 15 GB + 5 GB for TikTok, Instagram, Youtube, Waze, Facebook and Twitter 30 days Unlimited national calls

Unlimited Whatsapp

R$ 49.99 20 GB + 5 GB for TikTok, Instagram, Youtube, Waze, Facebook and Twitter 30 days Unlimited national calls

Unlimited Whatsapp

R$ 59.99 30 GB + 5 GB for Free Fire, TikTok, Instagram, Youtube, Waze, Facebook and Twitter 30 days Unlimited national calls

Unlimited Whatsapp

More info[]

Algar Telecom []

Algar Telecom

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 (B3) is refarmed for 4G/LTE. It only covers around 1-2% of the national population in these areas in 2017.

There's only one monthly plan:

  • Pré 30 dias - R$10/month: 8 GB+unlimited at evenings, valid for 30 days with unlimited local calls.

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.

Other operators and MVNO[]



It has been privatized in Feb/2021 and sold out to an investiment fund, which is working to change the company. During this process, and considering its size and uncertain, those plans won't be shown any further and its here only for historical reasons and because it was an revelant company, although it's tiny size.

  • Sercomtel carrier selection code: 43
  • APN: Username and Password: sercomtel
  • Website (in Portuguese):

Correios Celular[]


The first viable MVNO 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 mostly of post offices throughout major parts of Brazil (store locator) . It's uncertain if this operator is available for foreigners, therefore we just inserted it here as a reference.

More info[]

  • it's still very much unknown, how and if this operator will be accessible to foreigners without CPF
  • APN:
  • Website in Portuguese: