Use Cell Phone In Brazil for Travelers 2024: How To Do It?

Use Cell Phone In Brazil for Travelers 2024: How To Do It?
Use Cell Phone In Brazil for Travelers 2024: How To Do It?

Do you know how to use cell phone in Brazil when traveling? This guide helps tourists affordably access Brazil’s telecom network. Then, people can use different options for getting a prepaid SIM to call, text, and use data without racking up roaming fees. Let’s find out together!

I. Highlights of Phone Compatibility, Frequencies, and Networks in Brazil

I. Highlights of Phone Compatibility, Frequencies, and Networks in Brazil - Use Cell Phone In Brazil
Highlights of Phone Compatibility, Frequencies, and Networks in Brazil

Here are some information about the phone compatibility, frequencies, and networks in Brazil:

  • Brazil uses GSM/UMTS networks on 850/900/1800/1900MHz. Most North American and European phones will work but ensure your device is quad-band/multi-band.
  • Major carriers are Claro, TIM, Vivo, and Oi with widespread coverage even remotely. Tourists can buy a local SIM for cheaper rates than international roaming.
  • Smartphones purchased locally are often carrier-locked, but unlocked devices can use any network. Both 3G and high-speed 4G LTE are extensively available in major cities and towns.
  • GSM is used for voice/text, UMTS/HSPA+ for 3G data, and LTE for high-speed connectivity. Dual-SIM phones combine local and international lines.
  • WiFi calling and messengers help stretch data and work around sporadic coverage. Roaming is expensive but the service overall is reliable.

II. Will My Cell Phone Work In Brazil?

Yes, you can use cell phone in Brazil. However, your phone must support the frequency bands of at least one of these major providers to work in their network in Brazil, and support of multiple bands provides broader compatibility and coverage.

Here is a table summarizing the frequency band details of major cellular providers in Brazil:

Provider5G Bands4G Bands3G Bands2G Bands
Vivon40 (2300), n78 (3500)B1 (2100), B3 (1800), B5 (850), B7 (2600), B28a (700), B40 (TDD 2300)B1 (2100), B5 (850)B2 (1900), B3 (1800), B5 (850), B8 (900)
Claron7 (2600), n40 (2300), n78 (3500)B1 (2100), B3 (1800), B5 (850), B7 (2600), B28a (700), B40 (TDD 2300)B1 (2100), B5 (850)B3 (1800), B8 (900)
TIMn3 (1800), n7 (2600), n28a (700), n78 (3500)B1 (2100), B3 (1800), B5 (850), B7 (2600), B28a (700)B1 (2100), B5 (850), B8 (900)B3 (1800)

III. Do I Need An International Plan In Brazil?

Yes, you can use an international plan in Brazil if you want. You can use cell phone in Brazill to access free wifi but it is difficult for you to stay connected whenever you go because you need to stay near a Wi-Fi hotspot. So, using an international plan may be a good option. However, the data fee is quite expensive and it is hard to avoid data roaming fees.

Here are some pros and cons of using your cell phone in Brazil to decide  whether you need an international plan:

  • Brazil uses GSM networks that are compatible with most North American and European phones. However, you’ll want to confirm your phone works on Brazilian frequencies.
  • It’s generally not worthwhile to use your regular wireless plan in Brazil due to high international roaming fees. Call/data rates can be 10x normal costs.
  • The best option is to purchase a prepaid SIM card for a local carrier like TIM, Vivo, or Claro once you arrive. SIM cards are widely available and cost $5-10.
  • Prepaid Brazilian SIMs allow you to make local calls, send texts, and use data on the carrier’s network without roaming charges. Plans start at around $5-10/GB.
  • Be aware your US/Canadian number will not work in Brazil without an international plan. Get a cheap Brazilian number with a local SIM so people can contact you.
  • WiFi is readily available if you need to call home using apps like WhatsApp, FaceTime, or Skype to avoid cellular rates.

So in summary, an international plan is unnecessary in Brazil as long as you purchase a prepaid SIM for local connectivity. This is significantly more affordable than using your regular wireless service.

IV. What Are the Options To Use Cell phones In Brazil For Tourists?

What Are the Options To Use Cell phones In Brazil For Tourists?
What Are the Options To Use Cell phone In Brazil For Tourists?

There are several options for tourists to use international plans. There are eSIM, SIM cards, and pocket wifi.

1. eSIM Plan for Brazil

Suitable Providers:

  • Vivo – One of the largest carriers in Brazil and offers eSIM support on many newer iPhone models.
  • Claro – Another major carrier that has eSIM activation for various phones like Google Pixel and Samsung Galaxy phones.

Pros of eSIM for Brazil:

  • Convenient activation directly on your device without a physical SIM card.
  • Can have multiple eSIM profiles from different carriers for better coverage.
  • No need to find a store to purchase a nano-SIM upon arrival.
  • Easily transfer data/balances when trying different plans.
  • Works with dual-SIM phones so you can keep your home number active too.


  • eSIM support depends on your phone model and carrier. Not all are compatible yet.
  • Plans and availability of temporary eSIM plans for tourists may be limited compared to physical SIM options.
  • You need a stable internet connection for initial activation and profile downloads which may not always be possible right away.

You can buy an eSIM directly from carriers or via online providers such as Gigago. Plus, tourists are able to visit mobile stores in Brazil’s major airports Upon arrival like Guarulhos (São Paulo), and Galeão (Rio de Janeiro). The staff will help with eSIM activation and purchasing short-term plans. Besides, SIM vending machines or local phone stores are also other ideal places to buy eSIM.

2. International SIM card for Brazil

Here are some details about using international SIM cards for cellular service in Brazil:

Suitable Users:

  • Short-term travelers (1-3 weeks) who need reliable data and calls.
  • Those with unlocked international phones are compatible with Brazilian frequencies.

Where to buy:

  • SIM cards can be purchased online from providers like RedPocket, and Lycamobile before travel or bought upon arrival at major airports in Brazil like São Paulo and Rio.


  • Hassle-free activation using existing number.
  • Data and call rates are fixed with no roaming charges.
  • Multi-country plans offer flexibility for regional travel.


  • More expensive than local Brazilian SIM cards long term.
  • Coverage dependent on provider’s partnerships is not best nationwide.
  • Not usable for long stays or as a primary number in Brazil.

So in summary, international SIMs are convenient for short trips but a local physical/eSIM is the cheaper and better option for extended Brazil travel.

3. Pocket WiFi

Here are the key details about using a pocket WiFi device in Brazil:

Who is it suitable for:

  • Tourists traveling in a group who can share the cost.
  • Those staying for an extended period (1 month+) where it may work out cheaper.
  • People who need reliable internet access beyond just a smartphone.

Where to buy:

  • Rental providers ship to your Brazil address.
  • Can pick up devices at airports upon arrival via partners.


  • Strong, stable internet for up to 5 devices simultaneously.
  • No need to purchase separate SIM cards.
  • Unlimited data plans are available.


  • Higher upfront cost than individual SIM cards.
  • Need to return device which adds shipping fees.
  • Coverage depends on the provider’s network, not necessarily the best.

V. Will My Local Network Work In Brazil?

Will My Local Network Work In Brazil?
Will My Local Network Work In Brazil?

Most likely possible. Your local cellular network from your home country will normally not work in Brazil without additional setup. Here are a few key points:

  • Brazil uses different cellular technologies and frequencies than most other parts of the world. Your phone must support the frequencies used in Brazil to work on local networks.
  • Even if your phone has compatible frequencies, your cellular plan from your home network will not include service in Brazil by default. You’ll be roaming without a roaming plan.
  • Roaming charges for using your regular cellular service in Brazil can be extremely high – frequently $1-2 per minute or text and $10-20 per MB of data. This makes it very expensive.
  • To avoid roaming charges, you can purchase a prepaid SIM card from a local Brazilian network like Claro, TIM, or Vivo once you arrive. These are very affordable starting at around $5-10.
  • With a local SIM, your phone number will be Brazilian and you can make/receive local calls and use data at reasonable prepaid rates.

VI. Gigago eSIM – An Alternative To Get Internet In Brazil With Your Cell Phone

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

We could say that eSIM is the best option because it is very easy to buy and set up. Moreover, there are diverse plans for you to select depending on your needs and budget.

So, Which Brazil eSIM plan should you choose for your trip? You can refer to the Brazil eSIM plan from Gigago eSIM – one of the top online eSIM providers.

Buying a Brazil eSIM from Gigago will be extremely easy and fast. Customers will receive a QR eSIM code via their email to activate eSIM. Plus, the price is also reasonable.

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. Extra Tips To Use Cell Phone in Brazil

Here are some quick tips for using your cell phone in Brazil:

  • Unlock your phone before travel
  • Download translating apps like Google Translate
  • Purchase a portable charger
  • Learn some basic Portuguese
  • Text more than call due to data plans
  • Use WiFi calling when possible
  • Coverage varies by city and carrier
  • Keep your phone secure, and be wary of scams
  • Save emergency contacts
  • Check international plans and insurance
  • Follow regular safety precautions

VIII. FAQs about Use Cell Phone in Brazil

Will my US/Canadian cell phone work in Brazil?

It depends on the network bands supported. Most phones will work but a local SIM is needed to avoid roaming charges.

How can I make calls back home from Brazil?

Use WiFi calling if enabled, or messaging apps over WiFi. Or purchase a Skype credit pack or international calling app.

What cellular networks are available?

The major networks are Vivo, Claro, and TIM. They offer 4G/LTE coverage in major cities and develop 3G/4G networks nationwide.

IX. Conclusion

In conclusion, using a local prepaid SIM card or an eSIM is the most affordable and convenient option for travelers to stay connected when visiting Brazil. It is not too complicated to use a cell phone in Brazil. You just need to purchase an eSIM or SIM card and remember to avoid expensive roaming charges.

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