The main provider of telephone lines in Portugal is the formerly government-owned Portugal Telecom. Most other providers of telephone and internet services run their service through Portugal Telecom’s lines.
Portugal Telecom will provide a telephone line or if one is already in place you will need to contact them to get it reconnected. In urban areas this should take two or three days, but may take two weeks or more in rural areas.
You need to provide the following information to get a landline in Portugal:
- Full name
- Passport details/Identity Card details
- Proof of Address (Utility bills and/or Residency Card)
- Tax Number (NIF or CIF)
- Bank account details
Other providers of telephone services include:
The websites are only available in Portuguese.
The landline bill will be payable to Portugal Telecom with a separate bill to cover your call plan if you use a different service provider.
Portugal Telecom have used their position to dominate the internet market in Portugal, but new providers of internet services are now available and have brought prices down:
- AR Telecom
- Meo WiFi – wifi access to the internet. Free if you have Meo, but available separately
- PT Empresas
You need to be resident to sign up for a broadband package. Fibre optic fast services are available in some areas, but generally ADSL broadband will be available. A range of packages are available, including bundled packages with phone, internet and digital TV. It is always advisable to talk to friends and new neighbours to find out what packages are available and recommended.
Once you have selected an internet service provider, you will typically have to provide the following details:
- Your name
- Your permanent or temporary address
- Proof of residence
- Passport or ID information
- Telephone number
It is generally worth setting up a Portugal bank account before signing up as this can get you a better deal.
If you have an existing phone you can use it in Portugal provided it is a GSM phone, but even though you will not incur roaming charges if you have a contract in another EU country it will probably be worth getting a mobile phone in Portugal if you are making local calls. If you have a CDMA Mobile phone (still used by a few networks in the US) you will not be able to use it in Portugal.
The main providers of mobile phones in Portugal are:
As in most countries, you can get a SIM and top it up according to your usage. This is a simple solution, saves money against using a mobile from another country, but will cost more per call than a monthly contract.
You can obtain a SIM card at one of the mobile provider’s shops. You will need to provide an address, but do not normally have to provide proof of address, but may have to provide a copy of your passport or ID card. Your mobile phone may need to be unlocked to use a Portugal SIM card, but there are many shops offering this service.
Top up is possible at participating shops, by phone or at ATMs.
Taking out a monthly mobile phone contract in Portugal is a bit more complicated than the prepaid process. You need three things in order to sign a monthly contract:
- Tax number
- Valid ID
- Proof of address.
Expats can only therefore apply for a monthly contract after they have officially registered and received their residency permit.