Staying Connected in Portugal: A Guide to Mobile Internet Options
Traveling to Portugal brings with it the necessity of staying connected, whether you want to share your experiences, navigate new places, or stay in touch with loved ones back home.
When it comes to mobile internet options for travelers in Portugal, there are several viable options to choose from depending on your needs, budget, and the duration of your stay. Before choosing a mobile internet option, make sure to check the coverage of the provider in your location. Also, ensure your mobile device is compatible with the SIM or e-SIM card, especially if you are purchasing it online. Keep in mind that while most providers offer English services, some websites may only be available in Portuguese.
Local Prepaid SIM Cards
There are four main providers that offer prepaid SIM cards in Portugal: MEO, Vodafone, NOS, and Lycamobile. Each provider offers different options, but generally, you can get between 5GB to unlimited data, with some offering minutes for calls and SMS. Prices range from €9.99 to €35.00 for 30 days. If you plan to travel to other European countries, make sure the SIM card has free EU roaming included. Free EU roaming means that you can use your Portugal SIM card in more than 30 countries in Europe at no extra cost.
e-SIM cards are a more modern alternative to physical SIM cards and can be ordered online. There are options for both local e-SIM cards valid only in Portugal and international e-SIM cards valid in more than 70 countries. Prices for Portugal-only e-SIM cards range from $4.5 USD for 1GB to $32 USD for 20GB. For international e-SIM cards, prices range from $24.90 USD for 10GB to $49.90 USD for 20GB.
International Prepaid SIM Cards
International prepaid SIM cards can be useful if you’re planning to visit multiple countries. These SIM cards are pre-activated and will be shipped to your home address before your trip. A typical offer is a SIM card with 20GB data and unlimited calls in Europe for $49.90 USD.
Mobile Internet Dongles
If you’re planning to stay in Portugal for at least a month but not long enough to warrant getting a broadband connection, a mobile internet dongle could be a good option. These are portable devices that provide internet access and usually offer unlimited internet. Prices for 30 days are typically around €30-40, excluding the cost of the dongle, which is typically around €30 as well.
If you’re planning on staying in Portugal for at least a year or two, you should consider getting a mobile phone contract, especially if you’re looking for unlimited mobile data. Contracts usually last for 2 years and offer a range of data options, from a minimum amount to unlimited data. Some networks offer two pricing structures for unlimited data: a slower option (usually around 10 mbps) and a faster, more expensive option (usually around 1 gbps). Calls and texts are usually unlimited as well with unlimited internet plans. Vodafone is considered the best for those that plan to travel because it already has a network in other countries.