A Rough Guide to Mobile Phones and Internet in Portugal

TMN; Mobile phone and internet provider in Portugal

 Mobile Phone

Like most countries Portugal has plenty of mobile phone and internet providers, but you still have to be careful which one you choose in order to get decent reception and overall value for money.

Our phones are unlocked so whichever country we go to we always pick up a pre-paid simcard. The best options we have come across in Portugal (for use between the two of us) is Moche; a subsidiary of TMN which gives us free calls and texts to other Moche users, along with very low costs to TMN users.

According to most phone sellers we’ve spoken to, Moche provides the best compromise between cost and reception and everywhere we’ve been so far our phones have had signal.

You can top the credit up at certain phone shops and newsagents, or, if you have a Portuguese bank account you can recharge them at an ATM.

Mobile Broadband

For mobile internet we have two different dongles and providers; TMN and Kanguru Optimus. The principle is that if one dongle is weak or without signal, the other should work.

Both dongles cost the same, €9.95 but the TMN came with €5.00 worth of credit whereas the Kanguru came with only €1.

KANGURU Optimus; mobile broadband provider in Portugal.

KANGURU Optimus; mobile broadband provider in Portugal.

Prepaid mobile internet in Portugal works a little differently in that you pay for time rather than bandwidth which has pros and cons. If you’re a heavy user (for work perhaps) then it will get quite costly each month. One hour of use costs €1.00 so if you’re going to need to use it a lot then you may want to explore some of Vodafone’s deals.

The plus side is that you can abuse your dongle as much as you want; make Skype calls, download things, stream video, etc without racking up a massive amount of expense.

One problem I have encountered with both dongles is that they don’t work with Linux (Ubuntu 12.04). There are forums available but I haven’t been able to fix mine on the Linux notebook as yet.

So far both dongles have worked very well and the Portuguese 3G networks are very fast and efficient.

Please leave comments or questions n the box below.

2 thoughts on “A Rough Guide to Mobile Phones and Internet in Portugal

  1. Nice website! I recently moved to Portugal and appreciate your helpful stories, and places that we should check out. I am looking into getting wireless internet and liked your review. I saw that the TMN plan charges units in 5 min. increments. Does that mean that when you are online it counts your time in 5 min increments until you reach the hour (like if you have an hour of usage left and log on for 10 minutes then you have 50 minutes left) or does it mean that once you are on for more than 5 minutes you get charged the hour? Optimus has a similar thing but theirs says 15 minute increments. I am thoroughly confused, any thoughts?

    • Hi Oscar,

      Firstly, thanks for checking the site out.
      I now using both TMN and Optimus (the latter on a wi-fi hotspot) and for TMN you are charged each 5 minutes, meaning that if you buy 10 euros worth of credit you get 10 full hours of use, regardless of whether you log off after 20 minutes (for instance). Same applies to Optimus but as you rightly say, you are charged for each 15 minutes of use.
      The Optimus system works very well in all areas, including many rural places.
      I hope you enjoy this beautiful, diverse and friendly country.
      Best regards.

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