SIM Cards and Mobile Plans in Portugal

Written By Lara Silva

If you just moved to Portugal, getting a Portuguese phone number is quite handy, even if you have an EU phone number. Having a Portuguese phone number will help you navigate Portuguese life, set up mobile banking, and download useful apps such as for healthcare and more. 

Even if you are just visiting Portugal, a pre-paid SIM card might still be necessary. If you do not have an EU phone number, you don’t want to be dealing with all of those roaming costs. If you’re coming from the EU, you can enjoy your data package from back home roaming free!

Whatever the case, you’re probably in the dark when it comes to the best mobile plans and mobile operations. We have everything you need to know about sim cards and mobile plans in Portugal so that you are connected 24/7 on your next visit.

Luckily, Portugal has an excellent mobile network, using the GSM network for its mobile communications. Most of Portugal has access to 4G connectivity and even 5G in larger cities. 

Mobile Operators in Portugal

The most popular mobile operators in Portugal are MEO, Vodafone, and NOS, with MEO having over 40% of the market share in Portugal. Other mobile operators include WTF and Yorn.

To find the best mobile operator for you, we recommend contacting these operators and finding out what packages they are offering at the moment, as these can differ. Just make sure to compare packages before making a decision. 

Portuguese Phone Numbers

Portuguese phone numbers have nine digits. Mobile phone numbers also start with a 9. If you want to call a Portuguese phone number from abroad, you always need to include Portugal’s country code beforehand (+351).

Photo by Timur Repin (Unsplash)

Getting a Portuguese Phone Number

You have two options for getting a Portuguese phone number and getting connected in Portugal. You can either opt for a prepaid SIM card or sign up for a mobile contract. 

If you are only visiting Portugal short-term and cannot use your mobile plan from back home roaming free, then purchasing a prepaid SIM care is the best option. This is also a great option while you wait for your NIF to switch to a mobile contract later on.

However, if you are planning on staying in Portugal longterm, a mobile contract might be the right option.

Prepaid SIM Cards for Visits 

A prepaid SIM card is the easiest way to get a Portuguese phone number and some data without any long-term commitment, which is essential if you are visiting.

In Portugal, most prepaid SIM cards come with a limited amount of calls, texts, and data. It’s, however, relatively easy to top up more data. MEO, for example, has a 5G data SIM card with 1000 minutes for €10 a month. 

Despite the flexibility, these prepaid SIM card plans tend to be more expensive than a mobile contract, as calls, data, and texts are more expensive. 

Where to buy prepaid SIM cards in Portugal?

All mobile operators in Portugal offer prepaid SIM cards. You need to compare packages to see what the best deal is for you. You can also usually buy prepaid SIM cards at Portuguese supermarkets or convenience stores, as well as online.

To sign up, you will only need to provide an ID. The SIM card will come loaded with credit, and you can usually add credit online or at an ATM.

Photo by Manik Roy (Unsplash)

Mobile Contracts

If you are moving to Portugal, a mobile contract is probably your best bet as you can get more affordable deals. Most contracts are around 24 months. However, there are also some without any time limit, but these are more expensive. 

Your mobile contract will include an allowance of call minutes, texts, and data, which could be unlimited. If you also need an internet and TV connection, make sure to ask about this as you can get a discounted package for everything. 

However, keep in mind that there are a series of things you will need to start a mobile contract with a provider in Portugal, such as a tax identification number (NIF).

How to get a mobile phone contract in Portugal

To get a mobile phone contract in Portugal, you can usually either head to the retail outlet of a network in person or sign up online. Most workers speak English in major cities so doing this in person also works great.

To sign up, you will need:

  • ID
  • Proof of address
  • NIF 
  • Bank account details

Some mobile networks require you to have a Portuguese bank account. Therefore, before even getting a mobile phone contract, you should obtain your NIF and open a bank account in Portugal. Doing this during your first week in Portugal is recommended. 

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  1. We are going to Portugal on holiday for 6 weeks. What must I buy to have a portuguese cellphone number while in Portugal?


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