Data Roaming in Brazil & Alternatives to Get Internet 2024: Which Option to Choose?

Data Roaming in Brazil & Alternatives to Get Internet 2024: Which Option to Choose?
Data Roaming in Brazil & Alternatives to Get Internet 2024: Which Option to Choose?

Data roaming in Brazil allows travelers to use their mobile devices to access the internet and consume mobile data while traveling abroad. For international travelers visiting Brazil, understanding data roaming options is crucial to avoid unwanted charges while staying connected.

This article provides travelers with information on data roaming costs, plans, and tips for using mobile data safely without incurring massive bills. Let’s take a look!

I. Overview of Data Roaming in Brazil for Tourists

Tourists can refer to some key points to consider when it comes to data roaming in Brazil:

  • Check rates with your provider before travel to avoid surprises
  • Consider getting a local SIM for cheaper local rates rather than roaming
  • Be conservative with data usage as it can rack up bills quickly
  • Turn off auto-download and background data on apps
  • Ensure roaming is enabled on your device before travel
  • Have local provider contacts stored in case you need to purchase more data
  • A global roaming plan offers set daily/monthly limits instead of paying per MB used

II. How Data Roaming in Brazil Works?

How Data Roaming in Brazil Works - Data Roaming in Brazil
How Data Roaming in Brazil Works? – Data Roaming in Brazil

Roaming allows you to use your regular cell phone number while traveling in Brazil instead of getting a new Brazilian number. Your home wireless carrier will charge you roaming fees to access the cell networks in Brazil. Fees vary by carrier but usually cost $0.50-$2 per minute for calls, $0.25 per text, and $5-$15 per day for data.

You need to make sure to contact your home carrier before your trip to enable international roaming and understand their roaming fees and policies in Brazil. Some carriers may need to “unlock” your phone as well.

Wireless coverage in Brazil is good in major cities but spotty in rural areas. 3G/4G networks are common in cities but some areas only have 2G. Service can be slow due to high demand. Using Wi-Fi whenever possible is recommended to avoid high roaming data fees from your home wireless carrier. Many hotels, restaurants, and airports have free Wi-Fi.

The major mobile operators that provide data roaming in Brazil services for tourists are

  • TIM: One of the largest operators in Brazil. TIM has extensive 3G and 4G coverage nationwide. They partner with foreign carriers to allow roaming services.
  • Vivo: Another top operator with widespread network coverage across Brazil. Vivo supports roaming from hundreds of foreign operators.
  • Claro: Claro owns wireless spectrum in numerous countries, allowing seamless international roaming with supported networks. They have reliable coverage in major Brazilian cities and towns.
  • Oi: While smaller than the big 3, Oi still provides national roaming access through partnerships. Coverage is best in Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, and other large metropolitan areas.
  • Nextel: A regional CDMA-based operator focused around São Paulo. Has agreements with certain North American carriers to enable roaming for their subscribers.
  • Sky Mobile: A subsidiary of Claro offering postpaid and prepaid plans. Sky allows domestic and international roaming access through Claro’s network footprint.

III. Roaming Charges in Brazil – Is It Expensive?

Yes, it is expensive. The cost of data roaming in Brazil can vary depending on your home carrier, but generally speaking, roaming in Brazil is considered expensive compared to other countries.

Call rates are typically $1-2 per minute to make calls when roaming. This is significantly higher than domestic call rates in Brazil. Data roaming is pricey, usually $5-10 per day for a small data package of about 100-500MB. Using navigation or streaming can burn through data quickly.

Texting costs around $0.25 per text when roaming. Again, the cost is much higher than local text rates in Brazil. Prepaid data SIM cards are available for cheaper and provide better rates than roaming. But you need an unlocked phone to use a local SIM.

The fee of data roaming in Brazil is typically calculated when using your cell phone in Brazil:

  • Calls – Per minute/second at rates of $0.50-2+ per minute.
  • Texts – Flat fee of $0.15-0.25 per text.
  • Data – Daily $5-15 fee to enable roaming + additional billing per MB over full megabytes (rates $5-10/MB).
  • A minimum daily/monthly charge may apply even if no services are used.
  • Taxes of 5-20% on top of base roaming rates.
  • Overage charges if package limits are exceeded due to prohibitively high per-unit rates. 

IV. How to Activate Roaming Service for Brazil in Your Cell Phone?

To activate data roaming in Brazil, please follow the following steps:

  • Contact your carrier before travel and enable international roaming.
  • Verify your phone is unlocked.
  • Turn on roaming in your phone’s network settings.
  • Pack a travel charger.
  • Consider a short-term roaming plan for lower rates.
  • Use wisely and connect to WiFi when possible.
  • Notify your carrier upon returning home to deactivate roaming.

V. How to Avoid Roaming Charges When Traveling to Brazil

Here are some tips to avoid high roaming charges in Brazil:

  • Buy a local SIM for cheaper call/data rates. Ensure your phone is unlocked.
  • Use Wi-Fi whenever possible at hotels, cafes, malls, and airports.
  • Download maps/content before your trip via Wi-Fi.
  • Sign up for messaging apps like WhatsApp for free texting.
  • Consider data/calling passes for discounted roaming bundles.
  • Turn off cellular data when not in use to prevent background charges.
  • Use a VPN to bypass roaming and encrypt data traffic.
  • Keep trips brief to limit total roaming fees.
  • Contact your provider in advance about Brazil-specific offers.

VI. Brazil eSIM – Alternative to Data Roaming in Brazil to Get Internet

Gigago eSIM – An Alternative To Get Internet In Brazil With Your Cell Phone
Gigago eSIM – An Alternative To Get Data Roaming In Brazil With Your Cell Phone

eSIM is an embedded SIM card built into your device, no physical SIM card is needed. You can activate international plans directly on your phone via your carrier’s app without needing a local SIM. Moreover, eSIM plans are often cheaper and more convenient than traditional roaming but costs can still be high compared to local plans.

If you would like to buy an eSIM, buying online is a great way. You can consider getting one from Gigago – an eSIM online provider. Gigago provides several Brazil eSIM plans for tourists to choose from. Moreover, Gigago’s Brazil eSIM cost is affordable for everyone.

You can refer to some eSIM options from Gigago below:

For Brazil, Gigago offers multiple data plan options, starting from 1 GB for 7 days with $6.00 . What is great about Gigago’s Brazil eSIM is that its plans’ costs are diversifying, varying between $6.00$46.00 . Thus, it does not matter how Internet users you are and how long your trip is in Brazil, there is always an option for you with Gigago.

VII. How to Turn Off Data Roaming When Traveling in Brazil

According to your mobile operating system, there are different ways to turn off data roaming in Brazil.

1. Turn off international roaming on Android When Traveling in Brazil

Turn off international roaming on Android When Traveling in Brazil
Turn on/off international roaming on Android When Traveling in Brazil

To turn off international roaming on an Android phone, travelers traveling in Brazil can follow these steps:

  • Open the Settings app on your Android phone.
  • Tap “Network & Internet” or “Wireless & networks” depending on your device.
  • Select “Mobile network” or “Cellular networks”.
  • Toggle the switch next to “Data roaming” to the off position. This will disable cellular data roaming.
  • You can also toggle the switch next to “International roaming” to off to disable all cellular connectivity while abroad.
  • To make voice/SMS roaming calls, go into “Call settings” and toggle “Calls while roaming” off.
  • For receiving texts abroad, go into “SMS settings” and toggle “Roaming SMS delivery” off.
  • Consider putting your phone in “Airplane mode” when not using WiFi to disable all connection types.
  • Be sure to turn roaming back on before returning home or you won’t have service.

2. Turn off international roaming on iPhones

Turn off international roaming on iPhones
Turn on/off international roaming on iPhones

For iPhones, please refer to the following steps:

  • Go to Settings > Cellular.
  • Toggle the switch next to “Roaming” to the OFF position. This will disable cellular data and voice roaming.
  • You can also disable just data roaming by toggling “Data Roaming” OFF.
  • To prevent receiving text messages abroad, go to Settings > Messages and toggle “Roaming Message Forwarding” OFF.
  • For additional protection, enable “Airplane Mode”. This will turn off all wireless connections.
  • Consider enabling “Wi-Fi Calling” if supported by your carrier. This allows phone calls over WiFi to avoid cellular charges.
  • To use cellular service in Brazil, buy a local SIM card and insert once roaming is turned off.
  • Be sure to turn roaming back ON before returning home or you won’t have cellular service.


What are typical data roaming rates in Brazil?

Most carriers charge a $5-15 daily fee just for enabling roaming, plus $5-10 per MB of data used over the included amounts. Rates can be expensive.

How can I avoid costly data roaming fees?

Use WiFi whenever possible, enable a VPN, limit background data, and consider purchasing a local SIM with a data package instead.

Will I be charged roaming fees if I don’t use any cellular data?

Even if no data is used, you’ll still usually be charged the daily access fee for having roaming enabled on your phone.

IX. Conclusion

Being aware of high roaming fees is important for people traveling to Brazil. To avoid costly charges in Brazil, you should remember to turn off cellular data roaming, and using only WiFi is another option. Moreover, eSIM will be another option for you to avoid data roaming in Brazil. If you have any problem, contact us for more information.