Internet (3G/GPRS) on Prepaid SIM for Brazilian phone network
Replies: 10 - Last Post: Sep 25, 2012 5:32 PM Last Post By: danimal17
Aug 4, 2010 4:05 PM
Internet (3G/GPRS) on Prepaid SIM for Brazilian phone networkWe have an iPhone and a 3G dongle and can use these to connect to the internet while on the move, which is particularly handy - especially when some hostels have bad or non-existent Wi-Fi...
So far in South America there have been several countries (even Bolivia) where you can get a SIM card easily, and then activate internet (usually daily or weekly) by sending a message to a certain number.
Which network in Brazil has the best coverage (especially 3G)? Do any offer any good prepaid (=prepago?) plans for daily internet access? I heard Vivo might be a good choice, but I can't see any directions for activating daily internet access on their site.
Lastly, most places (Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Argentina) don't seem to need you to activate your SIM card with a local national ID card. Does Brazil? The reason I ask is that often registering with a foreign passport is slow/messy and if you get a 'friend' to use theirs, you need to know all their details if you call customer service.
Aug 6, 2010 3:51 PM
2I only know about Argentina and Brazil and from my experiences Brazil is a headache for travelers when it comes to SIMs (Prepaid or otherwise). You can buy a prepaid SIM from mostly anywhere in Brazil, but the problem is that you are going to need a CPF# (similar to US Social Security #) to activate it. If you are planning on staying in the country awhile it might be worth looking into getting one, but if not I would say forget it. Also unless you really need to connect online for work or something I would say just stick to using the free stuff or hitting up an inexpensive LAN house. I had a cousin who came to visit me here in Brazil once and spent most of hist time on Facebook and MSN chat i'm like dude are you serious.
By the way depending on what city you are staying you will sometimes find different places like cafes, bars, etc that have free WIFI access. Matter fact here in Rio de Janeiro the entire Copacabana beach has free wifi access...
Aug 16, 2010 6:31 AM
3Here are my findings after a couple of weeks here.
(summary: cheap but unreliable)
Connection details from: Prepaid Internet Brazil TIM
Registration/Activation: SIM card: R$5 or R$10. Got some Brazilian help registering the card, so somehow didn't need a CPF number. After about 10 minutes on the phone to TIM the assistant passed me over and someone at TIM spoke English to me, and asked for my details (name, date of birth, passport number, hotel name and address) and seemingly registered the SIM card (Chip) in my name.
Internet: Cheap (R$2.90 per 24 hours, but only 40 mb allowance) - unreliable and flakey though (trouble connecting, frequent disconnections, slow, with patchy 3G). 250mb package would not activate saying I was not eligible and pointing me to the tim.br website for more details. You get what you pay for. After your 40mb is used up, it will chew through whatever balance you have left at R$0.48 per mb, so best not to have too much balance on your card at any time if you are online.
Connection details: APN: tim.br, user: tim, pass: tim
Activation of net package (40mb/24h): R$2.90 - send SMS '24h' to 1616. On reply, confirm with '24h ok' to 1616
Activation of net package (250mb/24h): R$10 - send SMS 'TWDIA' to 4141. Would not work for me, saying I needed to check my eligibility with no further explanation.
Check balance (Saldo): Dial *222#
summary: nice fast internet, good promotion at the mo
Connection details from: Prepaid Internet Brazil Vivo
Registration/Activation: SIM card: R$5 or R$10. Pretty much the same as TIM above. Called Vivo and they wouldn't let me register with my foreign passport details, so I got the lady at the shop who sold me the SIM card to use her CPF, no hassles so far.
Promotion: this might just be at the moment (August 2010) but if you use a top-up (recarga) of R$12 (not less, not more) as your first recharge, it will give you R$20 per month each day for the rest of the month (?!?). I have yet to work out if this means effectively free internet for me each day for a month, since a day is R$12 and they are theoretically topping up the chip with R$20 each day.
Internet: (R$12 per 24-48 hours, supposedly 150mb but seems uncapped). Much, much faster and more reliable (1.8 megabit down, 0.45 megabit upload, here in Olinda) - good 3G coverage. In theory after 150mb are used, it will slow down to 0.12 megabit, but this hasn't happened after 24 hours of relentless usage (closer to 1GB). The 24 hour period goes to midnight the following night so this means you have at least 24 hours from the R$12.
Connection details: APN: zip.vivo.com.br, user: vivo, pass: (leave blank) - haven't tried using any random password yet, but it will probably work.
Activation of net package (150mb/24h): send an SMS with text 'DIARIO' to 8200. Confirm with reply 'SIM' to 8200.
Aug 16, 2010 2:17 PM
4The simple truth is that different companies work better in different cities or even different neighborhoods.
It's not a good idea to generalize your one-city findings to all of Brazil.
Aug 16, 2010 3:40 PM
5#5 It's not a good idea to butt in on a thread you obviously don't have a clue about, when all of your contributions have been to the effect of "you're a new gringo, if you lived here like I do, you wouldn't even carry a phone, nobody in Brazil has them cos they will definitely die at the next mugging".
The settings, costs and so on are Brasil-wide. The experience (quality) is based on a couple of states in the North-East of Brazil. The reason I posted it is because I asked the question and found out the answer myself. Other people will probably find this and think it's useful, I'm not so sure about your contributions though.
Let's see the rest of your APN settings, configurations and field reports then zerotres, off you go.
Aug 16, 2010 6:34 PM
6Notice that I'm not questioning your findings, but merely clarifying that you should not generalize. Is that offensive? Does it warrant a vicious response from you? You are free to post your findings, and I am free to "butt in" and point out that you should be clear about these results being specific to X city and Y neighborhood.
I use the internet every day for work. I have been using high speed and 3G internet for 3 years, 5 days a week, in Recife, Olinda and Jaboatão dos Guararapes, and can tell you from first hand experience that the services provided vary from neighborhood to neighborhood. Unless you know me personally, you have no reason to insult me by saying that I "don't have a clue".
Finally, I imagine that you have not read thru my 1300+ replies (nor do I expect you to; I haven't read your 28 replies), so I would encourage you not to draw conclusions about my "contributions" to this branch.
Edited by: zerotres
Aug 17, 2010 6:56 PM
7Sorry for jumping to conclusions and for being presumptuous about your contributions to this forum.
I think the point that you make that 3G reception and mobile performance vary from place to place, if not from neighbourhood to neighbourhood is very much valid.
Could you tell us a bit about the networks you use, what sort of performance you have had, anything you can add on best cost/performance or how to do things like get started, check balance etc?
Oct 24, 2011 12:26 PM
8honeymonster thnx for your input. I ve been looking like crazy to find a prepaid sim for IPAD, couldnt find anything south of Natal. Even Natal airport has nothing for travellers. I use a simcard cutter for my ipad in case I find no access to wifi.
If you have more experience you want to share pls post it
Sep 18, 2012 3:01 PM
9Just to add some recent experience to this. I bought a TIM SIM card easily at the office. Just need to bring your passport in when you go in to purchase the SIM card. Don't buy a SIM on the street, do it in the store, unless you have a CPF already you can use.
I bought an Infinity Pre-pago plan SIM, which charges you R$0.50 per day for pretty slow (300kbps) for about 30MB per day, then throttles you to 50kbps until midnight, but it never charges you any extra. If you then send a SMS with "AMODEM" to 1616 you can upgrade the plan to $R1.99/day for 80 megs at 1mbps, after which it throttles you until midnight, but still never charges you for overage. In real world I was unable to achieve 1mbps in Sao Paulo.
Sep 25, 2012 5:32 PM
I know this thread is old but i'm using TIM in Florianopolis it costs me about 50 Reais a month, I use the sim in my mobile phone and use the phone as a hot spot, its fine with 2 lap tops connected to it, reading emails, downloading movies and browsing the net. its not very reliable when trying to use the webcam on Skype and its far too slow to stream live British TV via VPNs, it might get 5 mins if i'm lucky then freeze.
I think TIM is the bigger provider of them all, TIM, Claro, Vivo etc etc all have monthly deals for around 30 Reais a month, TIM has a pre pay deal where you can have a pay as you go mobile sim and its 50 Brazilian cents a day extra if you use the internet. so this might be the best idea if your back packing around and can use WiFi in the hostel most days. then you still have gps and skype etc if your hiking or in the middle of nowhere, but coverage is a regional issue, mountains , wind or just Brazil itself can ruin everything..
As you go from north to south or vise versa you may need to change your APN settings too, there are 4 different settings so check online and write them down in case you get stuck with no connection.
Hope this helps someone..
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