• Brazil

  • Buying a Sim Card in Brazil in 2022

    Are you planning your trip to Brazil and wondering what is the best way to stay connected? In this guide you can read everything you need to know for buying a prepaid sim card for Brazil. Find out where to buy a sim card, what to bring, up to date prices as per November 2022, the best 4G/5G network in Brazil, my recommendations, a vlog about my experiences and even info about international and e-sim cards for Brazil.

    The first thing I do when I get to a new country is buying a local prepaid sim card. It is the cheapest way to stay connected and get data on your phone. As I am a full time nomadic world traveler and also trying to visit every country in the world you can already find more than 200 prepaid sim card guides on Traveltomtom from all over the world: USA, New York, Miami, Europe, United Kingdom, Spain, Paris, Italy, Argentina, Buenos Aires, Chile, Lima, Peru, Colombia, Mexico, Dubai, Turkey, Qatar and many more.

    So next time you are planning your adventure abroad come check out Traveltomtom for the latest prepaid sim card advice for your holiday destination.

    My recommendation

    Traveltomtom recommends buying a Vivo sim card for Brazil. However, it is not as easy as you would think. Keep reading… 

    As buying a prepaid sim card in Brazil sincerely is a pain in the ass Traveltomtom recommends looking into international sim cards for Brazil. Check out my comparison of the best travel sim cards with data in 2022. These pre-activated global sim cards will be shipped to your home address before your trip.

    However, the easiest way to stay connected when traveling abroad in 2022 is an e-sim card.

    E-sim cards for Brazil

    Forget all the hassle of finding a nearby mobile phone store and swapping sim cards. E-sim cards make you arrange everything online and within just a couple minutes. You order an e-sim, you receive a code in your email with instructions, you apply the settings and you are connected within no time. Check out the following e-sim card deal for Brazil: 

    • 1 GB data for 7 days = $7 USD
    • 2 GB data for 15 days = $13 USD
    • 3 GB data for 30 days = $18 USD
    • 5 GB data for 30 days = $27.5 USD

    Click here to order the above Brazil e-sim card deal directly online or click on the link for more info.

    The above Brazil e-sim cards operate on the Vivo network. More about the best Brazil 4G/5G network below.

    On another website I found an e-sim card with more data, but also more expensive:

    • 6 GB data for 15 days = $39.90 USD

    Click here to order this e-sim card for Brazil directly online.

    Although e-sim cards are the easiest way to get connected, buying an international sim card for Brazil online will give you much better deals. More about it at the end of the article!

    Can tourists buy a prepaid sim card in Brazil?

    Yes, tourists are allowed to buy a prepaid sim card in Brazil however, without the help of a Brazilian local things get very complicated.

    Believe it or not but all local prepaid sim cards in Brazil need to be registered on someone’s CPF number. Basically, a personal tax identification number that is mentioned on a Brazilian ID card.

    So when buying a prepaid sim card in Brazil bringing your passport is not enough!

    A sincere pain in the ass, therefore I told you already in the beginning that staying connected in Brazil is ridiculously unorganised. It is about time someone in the government finally opens its eyes and provide a prepaid sim card service for tourists!

    So my advice is to beg any Brazilian friend for a photocopy of their ID-card with the CPF number on it if you really want to buy a prepaid sim card in Brazil.

    Mobile Internet Operators in Brazil

    There are 3 main mobile internet operators in Brazil: Vivo, Claro and TIM and all of them sell prepaid sim card deals with the above mentioned restrictions.

    When you read about my experiences buying a sim card in Rio de Janeiro or watch my corresponding vlog you can see that I actually found a Vivo store in Ipanema that allowed me to buy a prepaid sim card without a CPF.

    I am sure this Vivo store had some kind of workaround because every other Vivo, Claro or TIM store I tried in Rio de Janeiro AND Sao Paulo they would not let me buy a sim card without a CPF.

    Correios Celular

    On top of the 3 main mobile internet operators there is also a sim card that you can buy from the Post Office (Correios). They operate on their own network, but could unfortunately not find more info about it online. They only have a 3G/4G, there is no 5G signal available with a prepaid sim card from Correios Celular.

    I ended up buying a Correios Celular sim card, which after 3 days finally got me connected in Brazil. My experiences? Read below… 

    Where to buy a prepaid sim card in Brazil

    where to buy sim card in brazil

    International Airports on arrival

    In almost every country around the world you can buy a prepaid sim card on arrival at the airport, but NOT in Brazil. I flew into Sao Paulo Airport (GRU) and Rio de Janeiro (GIG) and tried buying a sim card, but without success.

    Rio de Janeiro GIG Airport

    When arriving at Rio de Janeiro GIG Airport you can only buy a sim card at the Drogerias Farmais, which is locates all the way on the other side of the arrival hall. When you get out of the international arrivals, walk straight towards the domestic arrivals. However, the same story applies here: only when you have a CPF number and only a sim card from Correios Celular.

    Sao Paulo GRU Airport

    buying sim card sao paulo airport gru

    At GRU Airport Sao Paulo there is a bookstore (Conveniencia Livraria) on the second floor, above the international arrivals hall where you could potentially buy a sim card. But only if you have a CPF on hand and only before 07.00 pm. On top of that it is a sim card from Correios Celular, the Post Office. 

    Shopping Malls

    The best place to buy a prepaid sim card in Brazil is at any of the bigger shopping malls and walk into a store of retail store of Vivo, Claro or TIM.

    Farmacies, Correios, book shops

    Some farmacies, book stores/kiosks and of course also the post office Correios itself sell prepaid sim cards of Correios Celular and TIM.

    Be prepared that English is very little spoken in Brazil. You will most certainly end up Google Translate to figure things out. But people in Brazil are very friendly and helpful.

    Prices prepaid sim cards in Brazil

    To make it easy $1 USD = approximately 5 BRL.

    Correios Celular

    correios celular brazil prepaid sim card

    A prepaid Correios Celular sim card cost 10 BRL. This is the fee for the registration. Then they offer the following data packages:

    • 1.5 GB data + 60 minutes = 25 BRL 
    • 3 GB data + 100 minutes = 30 BRL
    • 5 GB data + unlimited minutes = 40 BRL 
    • 9 GB data + unlimited minutes = 50 BRL 
    • 20 GB data + unlimited minutes = 75 BRL 

    All plans are valid for 30 days and inclusive of unlimited Whatsapp. That means if you used all of your data you can still use Whatsapp.

    Claro

    claro prepaid sim card brazil

    Buying a Claro prepaid sim card also costs you 10 BRL for the registration and they only offer 2 prepaid data packages:

    • 2 GB data for 7 days = 9.99 BRL
    • 6 GB data for 30 days = 29.99 BRL

    The Claro prepaid data packages include unlimited calling minutes in Brazil and Whatsapp. For more information check out the Claro Brazil website.

    TIM

    At TIM they also charge 10 BRL for the prepaid sim card registration and then you can choose from one of the following prepaid data package:

    • 9 GB data** + unlimited calls/text for 15 days = 15 BRL

    Sounds like a great prepaid sim card deal, but be aware that the 9 GB data is in fact 3.3 GB + 2 GB recharge bonus + an extra 3.7 GB loyalty bonus. For more info check out the TIM Brazil website.

    Vivo

    vivo prepaid sim card brazil

    A prepaid Vivo sim card also costs 10 BRL for the activation. At Vivo they have at least a couple different offers compared to the other mobile internet providers and plus their website is much more informative. Here are the data package deals of Vivo:

    • 3 GB data for 7 days = 11.99  BRL
    • 4 GB data for 7 days = 14.99  BRL
    • 4 GB data for 15 days = 14.99  BRL
    • 5 GB data for 15 days = 19.99  BRL

    All Vivo data packages include free Whatsapp and unlimited calling in Brazil. For more information check out the Vivo Brazil website.

    Best 4G/5G network in Brazil in 2022

    If you are traveling around Brazil then you want to make sure to stay connected to a data network even if you go off the beaten path. Distances are long in Brazil and you might end up traveling for many hours. Therefore let’s compare the 4G/5G network coverage maps of the main mobile internet providers in Brazil.

    Is there 5G in Brazil?

    Yes, there is 5G available in Brazil and the 5G network coverage in Brazil is actually pretty good compared to many other South American countries. Almost all popular tourist destinations in Brazil have 5G coverage.

    Claro 4G/5G network coverage map

    claro 4g 5g network coverage map brazil

    Tim 4G/5G network coverage map

    tim 4g 5g network coverage map brazil

    Vivo 4G/5G network coverage map

    vivo 4g 5g network coverage map brazil

    From the above 4G/5G coverage maps for Brazil we can clearly see that there is a very extensive mobile network available around the country for all the mobile internet providers. However, it is also easy to see that when comparing the mobile network coverage maps of the mobile internet providers in Brazil, Vivo has the best 4G/5G network in Brazil in 2022.

    As mentioned before there is very little information online available about the network coverage of Correios Celular. Fact is that they do NOT have 5G, but only a 3G/4G network. Based on my own experiences I was not completely satisfied with the network coverage as inside a building I often completely lost signal.

    Best prepaid sim card in Brazil in 2022

    In my above comparison of all the prepaid sim cards in Brazil, we come to the conclusion that based on the prices, the 4G/5G network coverage and my experiences: Vivo is the best prepaid sim card in Brazil in 2022!

    Therefore Traveltomtom recommends buying a Vivo sim card for traveling in Brazil. Although it my be easier to arrive prepared and get yourself an international sim card before your trip to Brazil. Check out how that works below.

    Order a sim card for Brazil online

    As you have seen it is a lot of hassle buying a prepaid sim card in Brazil. The best way to avoid all this is by ordering a sim card for Brazil online. And there are actually great deals available, better than the e-sim card deals for Brazil.

    These international sim cards with coverage in Brazil are pre-activated and will be send to your home address before your trip. It is plug and play! Check out the following Brazil sim card deals: 

    • 12 GB data for 30 days = $29.90 USD
    • 10 GB data for 14 days = $49.90 USD
    • 12 GB data for 1 year = $59.90 USD

    Click here to order one of the above Brazil sim card deals online or find more info in the link.

    Still interested in ordering an e-sim card for Brazil then click on the link and arrange everything online right now.

    My experiences buying a sim card in Brazil

    In the following vlog you can see what it was like trying to get a Brazil sim card in Rio de Janeiro.

    After trying multiple Vivo, Claro and TIM stores in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro in the first 3 days I basically begged someone in the post office in Leblon, Rio de Janeiro to let me buy a Correios Celular prepaid sim card. They used someone’s CPF for the registration and they made it work for me, so big thumbs up for willing to help a stranger out.

    Most of the time the Correios Celular sim card worked pretty well. I got a package with 20 GB data for about $17 USD so price-wise it wasn’t that bad either. The biggest bummer was the network strength and the internet speed. More often than desirable there was no or a very weak signal inside buildings, coffee shops, etc. which still made me depend on the WiFI.

    Anyway I was grateful that at least they let me buy a Correios Celular prepaid sim card without having a CPF number.

    I hope all the above tips for getting connected in Brazil, the info about the 4G/5G network coverage, the up to date prices as per November 2022 and my conclusion about the best prepaid sim card in Brazil were helpful for your upcoming trip.

    Let me know if you have any more questions and I am more than happy to help you out.

    Curious what it looks like trying to visit every country in the world? Go check out my Instagram account @traveltomtom and follow along. As of November 2022 I have visited more than 140 countries, so still a long way to go.

    Enjoy your trip to Brazil!