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Data and Phone Plans

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Posts: 7
Premium Member
Topic starter
(@gmgraves)
Member
Joined: 1 year ago

Hi all,

Is there a consensus as to the best way to handle data and phone upon arrival in Portugal?  I have read of some using Google Voice to keep their American phone number.  Has anyone had experience with VOIP in Portugal?  Is it reliable?

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Posts: 4
Community Member
(@vitor)
Member
Joined: 6 months ago

If I enter Portugal, in Lisbon, with my Samsung phone on a T-Mobile account, will I have service? or... do I need to get a new sim card or switch to a different carrier?... maybe a "burner" phone?

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4 Replies
Community Member
(@antonio_f)
Joined: 11 months ago

Member
Posts: 369

@vitor You'll have to check with you operator if they have roaming in Portugal (I'm almost sure they have), and if so, if there are any costs. If you intend to stay, my advice is to obtain a SIM from a portuguese operator, to use here. Get a pre-paid card, in the beginning, so if you don't like the service, just change to another one. If you get a contract one, usually lasting 2 years, you can't break it without heavy penalties.

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Community Member
(@vitor)
Joined: 6 months ago

Member
Posts: 4

@antonio_f Obrigado. I’m not sure if it’s going to work or not but I think T-Mobile, which is my company, would. however I think the best thing would be, once I get there, if it doesn’t work, I would need to get a card. I can’t get an answer from T-Mobile one way or another even though I have a overseas plan. thank you for your answer

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Premium Member
(@ericj)
Joined: 2 years ago

Member
Posts: 147

@vitor I also use T-Mobile along with International Roaming.  When I was recently in Lisbon, I was able to get phone service but data was unreliable.  I bought a prepaid data SIM at MEO and used that for data while having text availability, etc. though T-Mobile.  Hope that helps...

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Community Member
(@vitor)
Joined: 6 months ago

Member
Posts: 4

@ericj yes, it does.. thank you.

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Posts: 44
 Curt
Community Member
(@curt)
Member
Joined: 3 months ago

I read that recent iphones have a "virtual" sim card in addition to the physical one. This is supposed to allow two phone numbers on one phone at the same time. But when I landed in Porto I had no service. So in the airport I bought a Vodafone sim card.

Ultimately my US Verizon service started working again, so now I switch the sims manually when needed. I switch back to my US number when I have to do something like was mentioned about US banks and verification texts. I can also make free calls to the US with the Verizon sim if I'm connected to wifi. 

It's a hacked semi-solution. It would be interesting to know if anyone with an iphone has successfully used the virtual sim capability.

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2 Replies
Premium Member
(@sunil)
Joined: 10 months ago

Member
Posts: 70

@curt I believe the feature you're referring to is known as "eSIM". I haven't used it personally, but my colleague doesn't like to carry two phones (one for work and one for personal) and so he has activated the eSIM function on his iPhone so that he can use his personal AT&T phone number on his work phone (which I think uses Verizon). It all works seamlessly, by his account!  I've also know a couple of folks that did a similar thing when traveling to have both their US phone and a foreign SIM active at the same time whilst abroad. Looks like some info about using it is here: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT212780

-Thea

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 Curt
Community Member
(@curt)
Joined: 3 months ago

Member
Posts: 44

@sunil thanks! Yes that is exactly the thing I'm trying to do. When I landed in Porto I asked Vodafone about setting up a plan using eSIM and they said they could only help me with a physical SIM card plan instead. Also it was impossible (really, even for 2 Vodafone stores) to install the Vodafone app on my iphone. Apple simple won't allow that app to download/install. So I think what I need to do is get in touch with Vodafone support and see how to get set up on eSIM. Thanks for the info and especially that you know someone who indeed has this feature working on their iphone. Very helpful, thank you.

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Posts: 7
Premium Member
Topic starter
(@gmgraves)
Member
Joined: 1 year ago

I may be wrong but I don't believe Vodafone offers an eSIM.  Google "best eSIM options for Europe" and you can see a list of available companies and ratings.

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2 Replies
 Curt
Community Member
(@curt)
Joined: 3 months ago

Member
Posts: 44

@gmgraves thanks for helping me out. I just checked to see and they apparently do (link to Vodafone about eSim). The only thing I found untrue on that page was this: "Ter eSIM é mais fácil com a Vodafone." The Vodafone store in Porto couldn't do it. But I can see it will be possible at some point. Thanks again for commenting and helping out on this, I really want to get this feature to work if I can.

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 Curt
Community Member
(@curt)
Joined: 3 months ago

Member
Posts: 44

Just to follow up on the eSIM thing...

I went to another Vodafone store in Porto and they were able to set up the eSIM using my existing PT phone number. If I understood correctly, the reason the first Vodafone store couldn't do it was that I did not yet (at that time) have a PT phone number/plan. But now, since I have an existing PT phone number and plan they were able to set up the eSIM. And it was actually pretty easy for them to set it up. 

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Admin
(@jonesdn2020)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 1 year ago

We have had a Google voice number since 2010 so we switched all our accounts to that number. We had it as a alternative number for years. We had ATT cell phones. We ditched ATT when we arrived in Lisbon and went with Vodafone since our apartment had fiber with Vodafone available. The Vodafone plan included 200/100 Fiber, TV box with HBO Max included plus other perks, 2 cell phone plans with unlimited everything. With a 2-year contract it is roughly 86 euro a month and no installation charges.  

We used Vodafone in the US on their cheap 3 euro a day plan that included 100 minutes, 100 MB data and 50 SMS and that was OK.

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Posts: 73
Community Member
(@daveinva)
Member
Joined: 1 year ago

I had trouble getting the Vodafone app also as it always said "not available in your country" even though I was in the Azores at the time. I even tried a VPN set to a Portuguese server and same thing. I finally ended up downloading the apps APK file from the developers site on my PC then transferring it to my phones download folder and installed it that way (sideloading) bypassing Google Play Store. It works fine (except its Portuguese only) and it even gets updated.

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Admin
(@jonesdn2020)
Joined: 1 year ago

Illustrious Member
Posts: 698

@daveinva I use the Vodafone website since it will translate. I do need to verify the Vodafone app does not have a language setting to allow English. We downloaded the Continente app and after translating to the point we actually found the language settings and changed the app to English.

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