Getting SIM cards in Brazil is fortunately easy and cheap. More specifically, acquiring a Brazilian SIM card only requires shelling out 10 BRL or about 1.80 USD. The mobile data rates are also quite inexpensive, as the average price of 1 GB of data is less than $1. As if that wasn’t enough, you can get a mobile connection regardless of whether you’re a resident, citizen, or international tourist. They are available in official stores, partner stores, grocery stores, kiosks, and online, with limited restrictions.
One thing to keep in mind is that to purchase a SIM card locally, you must have a CPF (Cadastro de Pessoa Física) — the local tax ID. Only the Brazilian natives can have a CPF. Therefore, tourists must request a SIM card on account of their passport number. There is one more important restriction. You must comply with regulations regarding SIM card registration. CDMA SIM phones don’t work in Brazil, so you need to own or buy a phone that supports GSM SIM cards. Luckily, they’re by far the most popular version.
Brazil has four major wireless carriers offering prepaid SIM services — Vivo Brazil, Claro Brazil, TIM Brazil, and Oi. Besides that, Brazil has more than 20 MVNOs (Mobile Virtual Network Operators). These MVNOs operate in 1 or multiple states in the country, but the 4 major players remain the most popular and dominant among the masses. Let’s talk about them in detail.
1. Vivo Brazil
Vivo Brazil, commonly referred to as Vivo, is the largest wireless carrier in the country. The word “vivo” translated into Portuguese means “alive”. It is a brand of Telefônica (Spain) and has the second-fastest internet speed in Brazil. The carrier has vast coverage throughout the country, close to Claro’s. You can get one of their SIM cards for a minimum price of 10 BRL and find them alongside top-up vouchers at Vivo stores, partner stores, electronics, and grocery stores across the country.
Top-up options available for Vivo SIM are as follows: 10 BRL, 15 BRL, 20 BRL, 30 BRL, 40 BRL, 50 BRL, and 100 BRL. You can recharge using international debit and credit cards online and through the Mue Vivo app as well. Vivo offers two data-featured packages, i.e., Vivo Pré Turbo and Planos Elegíveis. The former is a combo plan offering minutes, SMS, and data, while the latter is a data-only plan. It operates on 2G, 3G, 4G/LTE, and 5G NR frequencies.
2. Claro Brazil
Claro is one of the best SIM cards in Brazil in terms of network coverage. Like Vivo, the carrier operates on 2G, 3G, 4G/LTE, and 5G NR frequencies. You can buy a Claro SIM card for a minimum price of 10 BRL from any official store. Additionally, you can also find the item in local kiosks, pharmacies, and even at the airport. Claro top-ups are available for 10 BRL, 13 BRL, 15 BRL, 20 BRL, 25 BRL, 30 BRL, 35 BRL, 40 BRL, 50 BRL, and 100 BRL.
Its top-up vouchers are easily available at different stores, and you can also recharge them online using your international credit and debit cards. You can also check your Claro SIM balance or reload it using the Minha Claro Móvel app. There are two data-featured plans available in Claro. One is Claro Prezão (combo of data, voice minutes, and SMS) while the other one is Pacotes Adicionais Claro Pré (data-only plan).
3. TIM Brazil
TIM Brazil, officially recognized as TIM Brasil, is the third-largest network operator in the country. It is majorly owned by an Italian telecom company named Telecom Italia. This mobile network provider offers 2G, 3G, 4G/LTE, and 5G connectivity to its customers, as well as the top-of-the-line 4G/LTE connectivity in the country. A TIM SIM card is also available for as low as 10 BRL. The SIM card and its top-ups are available in official TIM stores, pharmacies, kiosks, and airports. Its top-ups can be activated for 10 BRL, 15 BRL, 20 BRL, 30 BRL, 40 BRL, 50 BRL, and 100 BRL. Through the MUE TIM app, you can top up and check your balance anytime and anywhere.
You can also get a TIM eSIM for the same price as a regular TIM SIM card, though an embedded SIM only works with some specific devices, like the iPhone X series. TIM offers just one prepaid plan, named TIM Pré Top. Its price is 15 BRL and provides 8 GB of data and 9 GB of night data (12 AM-6 AM seven days a week). It also comes with unlimited local voice calls and SMS, Unlimited Deezer Go, and validity of only 15 days.
Oi is the smallest of all four major wireless carriers in Brazil. Until 2007, its name was Telemar, after which it brandished the current one. The word “oi” translates to “hi” in Portuguese. It is the cheapest option for Brazilian subscribers, especially on a postpaid SIM plan. The company offers 2G, 3G, 4G, and 5G connectivity in the country. Unfortunately, its coverage area isn’t on par with the three carrier giants in Brazil. Oi’s 4G/LTE is also quite weaker than its counterparts. Luckily, the SIM card price begins at 10 BRL and the item is available in official stores, partner/reseller stores, kiosks, pharmacies, airports, and more.
TIM Brazil’s top-up vouchers are also easily available in nearly all stores in the country. Their costs are as follows: 15 BRL, 20 BRL, 30 BRL, 60 BRL, and 100 BRL. You can recharge your account with international debit and credit cards. Moreover, you’ll gain up to 3 GB of data as a bonus (with 7 days validity) if you top up online or use the Minha Oi app. Finally, this mobile network provider only has a single data-oriented plan called Internet Móvel.