In our previous utilities series, we delved into water and waste services. Today, we're shifting gears to explore the world of communications in Portugal. In this digital age, staying connected is more vital than ever, especially if your work depends on reliable internet and phone services. Whether you're a digital nomad, a remote worker, or simply someone who values staying connected, join us as we navigate the process of setting up essential modern-day services.
CHOOSING YOUR PROVIDERS
Before diving into the details, it's crucial to identify which service providers are available at your address. While the three major providers, MEO, NOS and Vodafone, offer extensive coverage in urban areas, it's wise to double-check for peace of mind. Let's take a look at some of the major mobile telephone operators in Portugal:
- MEO - MEO is one of the leading mobile service providers in Portugal, offering a range of plans and packages to suit your needs.
- NOS: NOS is another popular choice, known for its extensive network coverage and diverse offerings.
- Vodafone: Vodafone is a global giant in the telecommunications industry and provides a wide range of mobile services in Portugal. - NOWO: NOWO is a relatively new player in the market, focusing on affordable mobile services.
Under these major mobile operators, you can also find several respective sub-brands:
- Yorn (Vodafone): Yorn is known for its youth-oriented plans and offers special deals for younger customers.
- Lycamobile (Vodafone): operates as a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) on the Vodafone network. It offers a range of affordable mobile services and international calling options.
- WTF (NOS): another youth-oriented sub-brand with customized mobile plans and services
- WOO (NOS): WOO operates as a MVNO and offers services focusing on value and customer’s flexibility.
- UZO (MEO): another MVNO that provides cost-effective mobile services with flexible plans and options to suit various user requirements.
- MOCHE (MEO): Moche is MEO Portugal's youth-oriented sub-brand, catering to the younger generation with tailored plans and special features designed for their unique needs and preferences.
Once you've confirmed availability, you'll have the option to select between postpaid and prepaid plans.
POSTPAID VS PREPAID
- Postpaid Plan: Typically pricier, postpaid plans require a credit check as you're billed at the end of the billing cycle. These plans often come with unlimited calls/texts and various data options.
- Prepaid Plan: A more budget-friendly option, prepaid plans require upfront payment before you can use the services. Features may be more limited depending on your chosen company.
When selecting a phone plan, be prepared to provide identifying documents such as your passport or residence card as proof of identity.
e-SIM PROVIDERS IN PORTUGAL
For those looking for the convenience of an eSIM in Portugal, several providers offer this modern solution.
MEO, NOS, and Vodafone, as well as their youth-oriented brands, Moche and Woo, provide eSIMs to prepaid customers.
With an eSIM, you can easily switch between different mobile plans without needing a physical SIM card. This flexibility is particularly handy for travelers or anyone seeking a hassle-free way to manage their mobile services. Simply check with your preferred provider to see if eSIMs are available for your plan and device, making your mobile experience even more convenient.
4G AND 5G CONNECTIVITY IN PORTUGAL
When it comes to connectivity, Portugal offers a mix of 4G and emerging 5G technologies. 4G connection is widespread throughout the country, ensuring fast and reliable mobile data access in most areas. Whether you're exploring historic cities, picturesque villages, or scenic countryside, you'll likely enjoy seamless 4G coverage.
For those looking for even faster speeds, 5G is on the horizon. While 5G is gradually making its way into the Portuguese telecommunications landscape, it's currently primarily available in select urban centers. As this next-generation network continues to expand, you can expect to experience lightning-fast internet speeds and enhanced connectivity in more areas across the country.
Keep an eye out for updates on 5G availability in your region as you set up your communication services in Portugal.
FIBER SPEED IN PORTUGAL
When it comes to fiber-optic internet, Portugal offers impressive speeds. According to the Ookla Speedtest Global Index, as of March 2023, the average download speed for fixed connections in Portugal is 132.39 Mbps, with upload speeds at 90.03 Mbps. This robust fiber infrastructure ensures that you can enjoy high-speed internet access for all your online activities, from streaming and gaming to remote work and video calls.
CONNECTION TO THE COMMUNICATION NETWORK
The first step in setting up your communication utilities is research. You can directly contact telecom providers to compare connectivity and service prices, helping you determine the most suitable option. You can also use ANACOM’s website to help you compare tariffs
While there is no legislation mandating minimum service quality or maximum installation times, this information should be provided in your contract. If the provider fails to meet these contract deadlines, you have the right to submit a complaint. If a service can't be provided due to inadequate coverage, you can cancel the contract and request a refund of any sums paid.
If you move to a location with existing telephone or internet service, you're not obligated to choose the same provider. Explore market offers by contacting different providers or using the tariff comparison application on the website of the National Communications Authority (ANACOM).
Providers often run promotional campaigns offering incentives for joining their services. However, signing a contract as part of a promotion may require you to commit to a minimum term (loyalty period) with that provider. Terminating the contract prematurely could incur penalties or equipment return requirements.
ABOUT LOYALTY PERIOD
What is the loyalty period (período de fidelização)?
It is the period during which the consumer undertakes not to cancel the contract he entered into with the operator or change the agreed conditions, under penalty of incurring charges. In exchange, the operator offers you more advantageous conditions, such as discounts on monthly fees, cheaper equipment, offer of the value of installing the service or equipment rental, offer of extra channels or free call packages, etc. Information on the loyalty period must always be provided to consumers in writing or in another medium that they can keep when they contract a service. Since May 25, 2019, users have also been able, during the course of the contract, to know the information regarding the end date of the loyalty period and the amount to be paid for the cancellation of the contract through the invoice. To do so, simply ask the operator to send you the invoice free of charge with the minimum level of information defined by ANACOM.
What is the maximum length of the loyalty period?
The maximum duration is 24 months. Exceptionally, operators may establish additional loyalty periods up to a limit of 24 months, with their express consent, in cases where contractual changes imply the updating of equipment or technological infrastructure. This rule came into effect on July 17, 2016 and only applies to consumers – natural persons who use the service for non-professional purposes.
More information can be found on the consumer portal.
SWITCHING INTERNET PROVIDERS
Before switching providers, cancel your previous contract. When doing so, ensure you:
- Know the advance notice required for cancellation.
- Determine the exact termination date and remaining payment obligations.
- Understand the necessary information to include in the cancellation request.
- Identify any required attachments to the request.
- Know the available means and contact details for submitting the cancellation request.
- Are aware of your loyalty period status.
Upon correctly submitting the cancellation request, the provider must confirm receipt within 5 days, specifying the contract termination date and your rights and obligations post-cancellation. In cases of incomplete requests, providers must inform you of missing information within 3 working days. Failure to provide the missing information within 30 working days necessitates restarting the procedure.
After canceling your contract, you can sign a new one with another provider. Explore market offers and use ANACOM's tariff comparison tool for guidance.
More information can be found on the consumer portal.
SET UP : PHONE CONNECTION
When moving to a property without an existing phone line, you typically need to set up one through MEO, regardless of your chosen provider. Be aware that you may still need to pay the line rental even if you don't select MEO as your provider.
The sign-up process may take several weeks, so start early. For properties with an existing phone line, you can transfer the account or sign up for a new contract with your chosen provider. Ensure you read the contract terms carefully.
When signing up for a landline provider in Portugal, prepare to provide:
Identification (most likely a Passport)
Proof of address
NIF (número de identificação fiscal /fiscal number)
Bank account details
Activation may take a few days, and you'll be notified when it's complete. Moving within Portugal might allow you to transfer your contract and phone number, but it may take longer than expected.
SET UP : INTERNET CONNECTION
Portugal has a good internet network, with widespread fiber coverage. If your location lacks fiber connectivity, alternatives like ADSL and satellite internet are available, particularly in rural areas.
Choice of provider and connectivity depends on your location. Some providers offer a local availability search on their websites. In rural areas, visiting a provider outlet might be necessary to verify network availability.
Once you've selected a provider, tariff, and any additional services like TV subscriptions, follow these steps:
1. Plug in your router for existing installations.
2. For new installations or phone line setups, contact your provider to discuss timelines and options.
You can complete the sign-up process online or in person at a provider's retail outlet. In-person sign-ups may require Portuguese language skills.
During registration, expect to provide proof of identity and residence (NIF number) and bank details for payments. Activation fees may apply. Internet contracts in Portugal typically run for 24 months and can be challenging to terminate unless leaving the country. Make an informed choice when signing up.
If moving within Portugal, contact your provider with your new details and moving date. Start this process well in advance to avoid unexpected disruptions.
GET A VPN
When moving abroad, it’s more important than ever to maintain your privacy and security while surfing online. For many expats living in Portugal, this means getting a Virtual Private Network (VPN). VPNs can help you browse with more anonymity and privacy wherever you are in the world. They can also help unblock online content, letting you access your favorite sites and platforms from home and abroad.
Some of the VPNs available in Portugal include:
PAYING YOUR BILLS
Regardless of what internet provider you sign up with, you will typically need to pay for your telecoms bills on a monthly basis. Therefore, you’ll need to sort out a monthly automatic collection (direct debit) or a bank transfer when you sign up for your contract.
Other methods may be available, but you’ll need to contact your provider to find out more. The easiest way to ensure that you don’t face any unexpected issues while setting up these payments is to open a local bank account. This will also make life a lot easier in the long run.
COMPLAINING ABOUT COMMUNICATIONS SERVICES
When you have a problem with communications services, you should contact your provider directly to try to find a solution. If the provider does not reply, or you are not satisfied with the reply, you can make a complaint in the online complaints book or physical complaints book in the providers shops. If you still are unable to find a solution, you can turn to:
Arbitration centers or justices of the peace are recommended as they provide a quicker, cheaper solution and their decisions are equivalent to those made by a court.
If you have an issue with your internet, TV, or landline phone connection in Portugal, your first point of contact should be your provider. Each provider has its own complaints process. You can find information about this on your provider’s website. However, should you have an issue with the company itself, or your initial problem has not been dealt with appropriately, you can contact the regulatory body. In Portugal, this is ANACOM (Autoridade Nacional de Comunicações), the independent telecommunications watchdog based in Lisbon.
PROBLEMS WITH YOUR PROVIDER?
Problems with using services can be exhausting. On this page you will find advice on what to do to overcome them. The law does not give ANACOM powers to resolve problems between service users and providers, but there are entities that can help you.
FOLLOW STEP BY STEP WHAT WE OFFER YOU
CONTACT YOUR PROVIDER: Your provider usually is interested in resolving the situation. Check the providers website or service invoices, for example, for the means of contact you can use. Please note that customer support calls may incur charges. Alternatively, you can go to a store and raise the issue with an employee.
MAKE A COMPLAINT If your provider does not resolve the issue or if you are not satisfied with the solution proposed, file a complaint in writing. You can do this through the means of contact provided by your provider or use the complaints book (in a store or on the Internet). Try to be objective in explaining the problem.
USE ALTERNATIVE CONFLICT RESOLUTION If your problem still hasn't been resolved, go to a Consumer Conflict Arbitration Center or a Justice of the Peace who will decide who is right. These means are faster, cheaper and as safe as the courts.
ASSISTANCE SERVICES - Useful resources
For more information or if you need help, please contact ANACOM (Autoridade Nacional de Comunicações) – Portugal’s telecoms regulator:
Phone: 800 206 665, at working days from 9h to 16h
Setting up communications services in Portugal is a manageable task with the right information and preparation. Stay connected and enjoy seamless communication in this beautiful country!
Hope this article was helpful, any questions you might have feel free to contact us! We are always available at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need any assistance ;)