Brazil is a world of its own. Very chaotic and not easy to handle for foreigners. Don’t expect anyone to speak or understand English. The state of the service industry and mobile providers in particular are reason for many complaints by locals too. But with a few guidelines, you can make it through the country, though prices for data on prepaid remain high compared to other Latin American countries.
- 1 Basics
- 2 vivo
- 3 TIM
- 4 Claro
- 5 oi
- 6 Algar Telecom
- 7 Sercomtel
- 8 Correios Celular
Basics[edit | edit source]
Operators[edit | edit source]
There are 4 national network operators, that share 97% of the mobile market in Brazil:
- Vivo (Telefónica Brazil, owned by Spanish Telefónica)
- TIM (owned by Telecom Italia)
- Claro (owned by Mexican América Móvil)
- Oi (On process of merging with the other operators)
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. In 2015 the first public MVNO started with Mais AD. 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. Porto Seguro Conecta, Brazil’s largest MVNO by subscribers, has announced in 2018 to shut down and transferring its 600,000-strong user base to network host TIM.
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.
Regulations[edit | edit source]
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 mandatory, you can face problems without one. For example, 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 and the process will take up much less of your time than it would in Brazil. A CPF can be beneficial for other purposes; for example some Brazilian car hire websites ask for it.
Frequencies[edit | edit source]
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|
|Vivo||850, (900, 1800@, 1900§)||850, 2100||700 (B28), 1800 (B3), 2600 (B7)|
|TIM||900, 1800||850, (900*), 2100||700 (B28), 850 (B5)#, 1800 (B3),
2100 (B1)#, 2600 (B7)
|Claro||900, 1800, 1900(=)||850, 2100||700 (B28), 2100 (B1), 2600 (B7), 1800 (B3)|
|Oi||900, 1800||2100||1800 (B3)*, 2600 (B7)|
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 for all of their prepaid plans without surcharges, but often throttle max. speed to 5 Mbit/s or similar.
Coverage and speeds[edit | edit source]
You have coverage in all states on the 4 major providers Vivo, TIM, Claro and Oi. This is also true to Nextel up to 3G thanks to a roaming agreement giving all of them a 3G coverage of 85-92% and a 4G/LTE coverage of 65-78% of population in 2018 according to OpenSignal. 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 four major players are pretty much on par. Vivo is the overall market leader by customers, thanks to a strong postpaid share, TIM and Oi are the prepaid leaders, TIM has the biggest 4G coverage and Claro leads in the 3G section and for 4G with the highest speeds, usually Claro have the faster 4G LTE, with multiple carrier aggregation support (B28+B3+B7+B7 ~220Mbps on good conditions), but they focus on higher frequency (B7) so beside being the fastest, they not always have the best reception indoors, this may improve with Nextel assimilation since they got bought by Claro.
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.
What speed is concerned OpenSignal and Ookla users measured the highest speeds with Claro at 28 Mbit/s and slowest with Oi at 10-12 Mbit/s in 2018. This is different from 4G coverage led by TIM, followed by Vivo and Claro.
Availability [edit | edit source]
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.
Recharges[edit | edit source]
You can refill accounts almost everywhere like in drugstores, supermarkets, newsstands, convenience stores, post offices or by online agencies like Recarga.com, iCelex and Onepay. Most prepaid SIM cards need to be topped up at least every 60 days to stay alive. Sometimes they’ll hand you a little card with a scratchable code that you’ll have to call a number and add the code or, most often, they’ll ask your 11-digit phone number and just top up like most places.
Registration[edit | edit source]
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
Voice Rates[edit | edit source]
Starting in 2015, in an effort to curb multi-SIM use, TIM and Oi have stopped charging differential tariffs for calls to other carriers for all their plans in November 2015. The other major carriers followed later and nowadays for most tariff lines there are no more intra-national roaming charges. They now mostly offer two rates: a cheaper rate for on-net calls within the same network nationwide and a more expensive rate for calls to all other national providers.
So it's not so important anymore where (or rather to which DDD region) your number is assigned, but still which operator you are using and to whom you place your call. Better stay within the same provider, if you are going to make a lot of calls to one particular number.
Rates still differ from state to state about 10% because of different taxation. Some providers offer special rates for rural areas. Due to the steep price differences between voice tariffs, you should be aware of two basic guidelines for voice calls (except on TIM and Oi):
Dialing rules (long-distance and international)[edit | edit source]
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.
Technical Details[edit | edit source]
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.
Mercosur roaming [edit | edit source]
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.
vivo[edit | edit source]
Vivo (pronounced like 'VEE-voo') is the largest mobile carrier in Brazil, which is owned by Telefónica from Spain and has 32% of the Brazilian market share in 2018. From their total of 75 million subscribers only 57% are using prepaid plans. It was the last operator to allow prepaid customers on 4G/LTE in 2015. Vivo is known to have the most reliable network at the highest rates in the country.
Vivo's network has national coverage and it became the brand for all consumer services provided by Telefónica in Brazil, which include broadband internet, TV subscription and fixed telephone lines.
Traditionally, Vivo operated a CDMA network but changed to GSM from 2007 on. Vivo has the best 3G coverage of the country’s operators covering 92% of the population and is on par with Tim for 4G/LTE with 77% in 2017: coverage Map
Availability[edit | edit source]
Vivo SIM cards are sold at many places. It's best to get them in their own branded stores, if you come from abroad: Store Locator
Recharge vouchers can be found all over the country ranging from R$ 12 for 30 days to R$ 50 for 120 days (some states / provinces may have exclusive options, like R$ 5, R$ 7 or R$ 60). Online on their website you can top up R$ 12-300 using credit cards or PayPal. Check balance by texting ‘SALDO’ to 8000 or by code *8000.
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.
Combo plans (Vivo Turbo)[edit | edit source]
Combo 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$ 7.99||7 days||2 GB||National unlimited, free WhatsApp, GoRead, NBA, Vivo Avisa (Notifies missed calls)|
|R$ 14.99||7 days||3 GB||National unlimited, free WhatsApp, NBA, GoRead Super Comics|
|R$ 14.99||15 days||3 GB||National unlimited, free WhatsApp, GoRead, NBA, Vivo Avisa (Notifies missed calls)|
|R$ 19.99||15 days||4 GB||National unlimited, free WhatsApp, NBA, GoRead Vivo Recado (VoiceMail)|
Free WhatsApp is to send messages, photos and videos (not for VoIP calls).
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 https://www.vivo.com.br/para-voce/produtos-e-servicos/para-o-celular/pre-pago/renovacao-parcial
Activation is through *9003.
Vivo Easy (Digital Plan):[edit | edit source]
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[edit | edit source]
- Vivo prefix code: 15
- APN: zap.vivo.com.br
- Website in Portuguese: http://www.vivo.com.br
TIM[edit | edit source]
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% or 56 million subscribers, 79.5% are using a prepaid plan. TIM is present in all Brazilian states. 85% of population are covered by 3G and 77% by 4G in 2017 on par with Vivo: coverage map .
Availability[edit | edit source]
SIM cards are sold at many places. It's best to get them at their branded stores (store locator) for registration.
Recharge vouchers of R$ 10, R$ 15, R$ 20, R$ 30, R$ 40, R$ 50 and R$ 100 are sold extending with a validity 30 to 180 days in banks, lottery agencies, pharmacies, supermarkets and other places. You can also top up using your credit card online (site TIM - "recarga express"), app "Meu TIM" or over the phone by typing *244 or *244#. You can check balance by typing *222#. There is an option to program auto-recharge when balance is low or by chosen a specific day.
TIM Pre Top:[edit | edit source]
Pre top is now the standard plan nationally. All plans give unlimited national calls to any operator and an extra internet quota to be used during evenings (from 00:00 to 06:00) which lasts for the duration of the package:
|R$ 15||2 GB||15 days||Whatsapp + 5Gb overnight|
|R$ 30||4 GB||30 days||Whatsapp + 12Gb overnight|
|R$ 40||5 GB||40 days||Whatsapp + 18Gb overnight|
To change to this plan, text 'TOPMAIS' to 4141.
Visitor TIM[edit | edit source]
Visitor TIM is their tourist SIM and may be hard to find, as it's for foreigners only. If you find it somewhere on the streets, activation process requires calling the code *144 and providing your name, passport number and temporary address in Brazil.
It's sold for R$ 50 and includes the same credit. For 7 days you can add a 1.5 GB pack of data plus TIM WiFi use for R$ 25. All national calls are R$ 0.50 per min and international calls R$ 1 per min using carrier prefix 41, all SMS are R$ 0.50.
For more data or beyond 7 days, you can text ‘WEB OK’ to 2500 and buy another 1.5 GB data valid for another week for R$ 25. More info in English: HERE
More info[edit | edit source]
TIM has the most advantageous tariffs for calling abroad, depending on the destination country (excluding TIM Visitor, that has special tariffs). To take advantage of these prices you must make a call using the prefix 41 when calling abroad.
- TIM carrier code: 41
- APN: timbrasil.br or tim.br
- Username and password: tim
- Website in Portuguese: www.tim.com.br
Claro[edit | edit source]
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.
3G coverage is on 91% of population and 4G/LTE 73% in 2017: Coverage Map
Availability[edit | edit source]
Claro SIM cards are sold at many places. It's best to get them at their store for immediate activation without a CPF (store locator).
You can add credit online by credit card or using vouchers sold in all Claro stores, supermarkets, pharmacies, lottery stores etc. Values of R$13 to R$100 are available. Enter voucher code like this *577*<voucher pin="">#. Check credit by typing *544#.</voucher>
Planos Pré [edit | edit source]
Their standard prepaid plan is called Prezão Diário, which gives you unlimited on-net calls, 10 min off-net calls, unlimited SMS on-net, 15 SMS off-net and 100 MB of internet (WhatsApp messages without discounting from quota), costing R$1.99 (billed after the first use), valid for the rest of the day (until 23:59:59)
This and other plans follows in the table below
|R$ 1.99||100 MB||24 hours||Whatsapp + unlimited intranet calls + 10 minutes to any operators|
|R$ 9.99||2 GB||7 days||Whatsapp + unlimited national calls|
|R$ 29.99||6 GB||30 days||Whatsapp + unlimited national calls|
Claro Flex[edit | edit source]
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 and a credit card, this is a hard one to get for foreigners, and won't be shown any further.
|R$ 39.99||12 GB||30 days||Unlimited Whatsapp + Instagram + Facebook + Twitter + Waze + Cabify + Claro Musica|
|R$ 49.99||14 GB||30 days||Unlimited Whatsapp + Instagram + Facebook + Twitter + Waze + Cabify + Claro Musica|
|R$ 69.99||20 GB||30 days||Unlimited Whatsapp + Instagram + Facebook + Twitter + Waze + Cabify + Claro Musica|
More info[edit | edit source]
- Claro carrier code: 21
- APN: claro.com.br
- Website in Portuguese: http://www.claro.com.br (you have to pick an address)
oi[edit | edit source]
Oi (the Brazilian word for 'hi') is the fourth largest mobile operator in Brazil that is currently owned by CorpCo, a joint venture with Portugal Telecom, and has 17% of the Brazilian market share. Of their total of 39 million subscribers, they have a high prepaid share. 81% are using a prepaid plan making Oi the number two on the prepaid phone market.
Oi network has national coverage and also offers additional services similar to other major operators, like fixed broadband connection, telephone line and TV subscription.
Oi may be the smallest of the big four, but it has the largest WI-FI network in Brazil with more than 1 million access points. Oi has furthermore a national roaming agreement with TIM closing some gaps due to its lower coverage. On its own resources, it covers 72% of the population by 3G and 55% by 4G in 2017: Coverage map. In November 2015 they stopped charging differential voice prices to other operators.
In 2019 Oi seems to be once again in financial difficulties, so that a shake up of the Brazilian market is expected.
Availability[edit | edit source]
Oi SIM cards are sold at many places. It's best to get them at their stores: store locator (select state, then city).
Top-up online by credit card or by vouchers sold at all Oi stores, pharmacies, supermarkets, banks or lottery shops. Top-ups are available from R$ 10 to R$ 200 giving 30 to 180 days of service.
You can check balance by typing *805.
Their prepaid plans differ according to region (DDD). In areas where they have a low market share, prices may be discounted. For their prepaid SIM you have 4 choices - all called "Oi Livre". Prices/data below in São Paulo state (DDD 11)
Oi Livre por dia[edit | edit source]
This is their new daily plan at R$ 1.29 for 60 MB and 30 SMS. You pay only on the day you are using internet. Voice calls R$ 0.99 to Oi (package with 300 min) or R$ 0.30 per minute to other domestic operators. Max. speed is 5 Mbps.
Oi Livre[edit | edit source]
This plan can be customized and is auto-renewed, according to its balance or top-up. It comes in three tariff lines and here are the basic rules:
|Oi Livre||Reload||Data||SMS||Voice to all operators||Validity|
|Standard||R$ 1||50 MB||30||20 mins||1 day|
|Ilimitado||R$ 1.42||158 MB||30||unlimited calls||1 day|
|Mais Intenet||R$ 2||250 MB||50||unlimited calls||1 day|
This means that on their Standard plan, you get for every R$ loaded, 50 MB data, 30 SMS and 20 mins voice time plus 1 day of validity. The others plans differ in allowances. Here are some examples of this scheme for usual top-up values:
|Oi Livre Standard Plan|
|R$ 10||500 MB||300||200 mins||10 days|
|R$ 14||700 MB||420||280 mins||14 days|
|R$ 20||1 GB + 1 GB||600||400 mins||20 days|
|R$ 30||1.5 GB + 2 GB||750||600 mins||30 days|
|Oi Livre Ilimitado Plan|
|R$ 14||1.3 GB||270||unlimited||9 days|
|R$ 20||2.1 GB + 1 GB||420||unlimited||14 days|
|R$ 30||3.2 GB + 2 GB||630||unlimited||21 days|
|R$ 45||4.6 GB + 2 GB||900||unlimited||30 days|
|Oi Livre Ilimitado Mais Internet Plan|
|R$ 14||1.7 GB||350||unlimited||7 days|
|R$ 20||2.5 GB + 1 GB||500||unlimited||10 days|
|R$ 30||3.8 GB + 2 GB||750||unlimited||15 days|
|R$ 60||7.6 GB + 2 GB||1500||unlimited||30 days|
Promotionally some area codes (DDD) have different values, Check out Oi's website for more information. R$ 20 top-ups give 1 GB and R$ 30 2 GB bonus valid only for 14 days.
By accessing "Minha Oi" app, minutes can be changed to data and vice versa: 1 min = 2 MB in the stardard plan, 10 mins = 1 MB in Ilimitado Plan and 7 mins = 1 MB in Mais Internet plan. Unused data rolls over to the next period, if the plan is renewed. Change of plans costs R$10. For out of DDD calls or other operators, you need to use Oi carrier code (see below). Unlimited use of more than one million Oi WiFis is included.
All times are based on calendar days in the time zone associated to your DDD. To add, change or teminate plan, type *880 or *3007.
Data overuse is charged at R$ 1 per 20 MB per day. To get more data, you have to wait for renewal or buy one of these add-ons:
|60 MB||until midnight||R$ 0.99||*4160|
|200 MB||until midnight||R$ 2.99||*41200|
|250 MB||7 days||R$ 3.99||*41250|
|400 MB||30 days||R$ 9.99||*41400|
|800 MB||30 days||R$ 19.99||*41800|
|1 GB||30 days||R$ 24.99||*4101|
|2 GB||30 days||R$ 39.99||*4102|
Oi WiFi Fon[edit | edit source]
Unlimited Oi WIFI Fon with more than 1 million access points is added for free to all Oi plans and packages. WIFI locator There, it’s graphically shown, how to get your access code too. If you have an regular Oi account that gives you Wi-Fi access, you can use the 'Oi WiFi' app (available for iOS and Android) and enjoy auto-connect.
In 2016 Oi has launched a pilot project to permit access to 2 million hotspots of its WiFi network, free of charge, for users of any operator. This service is part of Oi's strategy, which includes sponsored internet access. All those interested will have to download the Oi WiFi app, opt in to receive advertising and when accessing the internet will see an advertising banner. For the start, access is only possible on Android smartphones. Those who want to access the internet without advertising can buy passes using a credit card:
- R$ 5.79 for 1 hour
- R$ 8.90 for 24 hours
- R$ 19.90 for 30 days
More info[edit | edit source]
- Oi carrier codes: 31 (for area codes starting with 1, 2, 3, 7, 8 or 9), 14 (for area codes starting with 4, 5 or 6)
- APN: gprs.oi.com.br
- Username and password: oi
- Website (in Portuguese): http://www.oi.com.br
- Website for Oi WiFi in English: https://www6.wifioi.com.br/
Algar Telecom [edit | edit source]
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.
It has a daily and a weekly plan:
- Pro Giga Pré: daily plan at R$ 0.99 including unlimited WhatsApp, unlimited local calls and 100 MB of data. All overuse is at R$ 0.15 per MB or buy additional packages. Activation: text 'GIGA' to 123
- weekly plan at R$ 8.99 including 1 GB local data, unlimited local calls for 7 days. Activation: text 'SEMANAL' to 100.
For more data you can add 100 MB at R$ 0.99 or 300 MB at R$ 1.99 by texting '100' or '300' to 100.
In a short, as Algar is just a regional carrier (operating in a bunch of cities in the Triangulo Mineiro region and some little near cities around), this operator is not suitable for a traveler, and we recommend another operator above while roaming here, due to its very limited coverage.
- Algar carrier selection code: 12
- APN: ctbc.br Username: ctbc Password: 1212
- Website in Portuguese: http://www.algartelecom.com.br/
Sercomtel[edit | edit source]
Sercomtel, formerly Sercomtel Celular, is the smallest Brazilian mobile operator. It's a super local mobile operator based in Londrina, Paraná and only provides network coverage in the Londrina area; however, in 2009 Anatel gave Sercomtel licenses to expand services throughout the entire Paraná state. At the moment, Sercomtel has 0.02% of the Brazilian market share with only 52,000 subscribers.
Brazilian regional operator Sercomtel has introduced new prepaid plans with a weekly or monthly option:
- Livre semanal: 1 GB + 500 MB roaming data in Brazil for a week- R$ 9.
- Livre: 1 GB + 500 MB roaming data for a month: R$ 18 + R$ 0.43 for every day of use
As Sercomtel has very limited roaming, it's not recommended for travellers and it's market share remains below 0.5%.
- Sercomtel carrier selection code: 43
- APN: sercomtel.com.br Username and Password: sercomtel
- Website (in Portuguese): http://www.sercomtel.com.br
Correios Celular[edit | edit source]
The first viable MVNO in the country has started in March 2017 by the Brazilian Postal Offices (Correios). Correios Celular is a joint venture between the Post Office and EUTV, using the mobile network of TIM in 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE, but no international calls can be made and no international roaming is offered so far.
Availability[edit | edit source]
SIM cards by the state-owned company are available in mostly of post offices throughout major parts of Brazil (store locator) .
The SIM card is sold for R$ 10. You can top-up in post offices from R$ 20 to 180 valid for the same number of days. Check balance by *222# and check number by *221#.
Plans[edit | edit source]
The operator offers 4 monthly prepaid plans valid for 30 days:
|Alô 25||Unlimited||1.5 GB||R$ 25|
|Alô 30||Unlimited||3 GB||R$ 30|
|Alô 40||Unlimited||5 GB||R$ 40|
|Alô 50||Unlimited||9 GB||R$ 50|
|Alô 75||Unlimited||15 GB||R$ 75|
Voice calls are to all operators and DDDs. For overuse data is throttled to 32 kbps. Default data is R$ 0.10 per MB. WhatsApp use is not debited from the data allowance as long a plan is active and this includes VoIP calls too, but no video exchange. Unused data rolls over to the next month, if a new plan is bought.
For more data you need to top-up R$ 15 which is only available in post offices. By *223*1051# you can activate 750 MB for R$ 15. To check data balance, enter *225#.
More info[edit | edit source]
- it's still very much unknown, how and if this operator will be accessible to foreigners without CPF
- APN: internet.br
- Website in Portuguese: http://www.correioscelular.com.br/