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Which operators offer communications services in Portugal?

As in many other European countries, Portugal has a liberalised communications market, which means that there are multiple operators offering services in competition.

Which is the best operator and communications service in Portugal?

Choosing the best operator and the best service/tariff will depend on your specific requirements and circumstances.
To choose the operator that most suits your needs and circumstances, consider what you value most in the service you want to contract, for example whether you are looking for:
  • the lowest price in the market;
  • fixed internet with the highest speed;
  • the most stable mobile network signal;
  • freedom to cancel your contract or switch operator at any time;
  • a large selection of TV channels and highest definition;
  • unlimited SMS and mobile data;
  • offers that are included in a bundle.
Before choosing a service, check the different offers on the market.
As well as price, pay special attention to other offer conditions that may influence your choice, such as:
  • what communications are included in the price;
  • which services are included in the monthly charge;
  • traffic/consumption limits;
  • whether or not you will be locked into a contract binding period; and
  • what level of network coverage the operator provides in the location where you want to use the service.

Where can I check the conditions under which each operator offers services?

Operators must make the conditions which apply to the offer and use of services available on their websites. This information must include:
  • the operator's contact details;
  • the services offered, their characteristics and quality levels;
  • prices, including communications volumes (restrictions on the use of mobile data, number of voice minutes, number of SMS), specific tariffs, cost of additional communications, numbers with special costs, special tariffs, additional costs, and terminal equipment costs;
  • Customer support services and how to contact them;
  • Binding periods and penalty charges in case of early cancellation;
  • Services available for users with disabilities;
  • Options to resolve any conflicts.

What should I watch out for when it comes to promotional campaigns?

Before contracting a service, check whether the advertised price is associated with a promotional campaign (e.g. waiver of the monthly charge, discounted monthly charge, free equipment or additional services/functions - video club, premium channels, streaming platforms, etc.). Check how long the advertised benefits last. These promotions are often temporary, so that when the promotion ends, the monthly charge will increase, and you will be charged the price of the tariff without discounts.

Promotional tariffs also usually require a commitment to a binding period, which means that if you want to cancel the contract before it ends, you may have to pay a penalty for not staying in the contract to the end.

Before contracting a service, the operator must provide you with all the information that is relevant to your decision and give you a summary of the main information of the contract in a format that you can keep, e.g. an email.

Should I choose services separately or as a bundle?

Even if only one of the communications services is important to you, for example the Internet, it may be more advantageous to contract a bundle of services, which may include TV, fixed and mobile phone services. Bundles typically offer services at more competitive prices than when contracted separately and offer other advantages, such as allowing several people in the household to use the mobile telephone service, simplified payment through a single bill, etc.

Always check which option is the best for you, particularly in terms of price and how you intend to use the services.

How do I know if the operator I choose provides coverage in the location where I want to use the service?

Before signing a contract with an operator, check whether the service you want has coverage at your address or in the place where you are going to use it. Operators provide online tools which, by entering your address and postcode, you can use to find out if the service you want is available at your address.

ANACOM also provides a platform GEO.ANACOM which you can use to check the coverage of fixed, mobile and satellite networks available at any specific point or address in Portugal.

Which communications operator has the best mobile coverage in Portugal?

Mobile Network Coverage refers to the geographical area covered by the mobile network of a service provider (mobile telephone service – voice, SMS and MMS - and mobile internet).
In Portugal, operators offer a good level of mobile network coverage and performance throughout the country.
However, levels of coverage may vary from operator to operator in different areas of the country, so you should always check which operator offers the best coverage in the place where you are going to use the service. To check coverage, go to GEO.ANACOM, which provides information about coverage levels offered by each operator at a specific address. On this platform you can see what technology is offered by each operator (5G, 4G, 3G) and the connection speeds available (download speed in Mbps).
When choosing an operator with the mobile telephone service that best suits your needs, you should consider whether you prefer:
  • a mobile phone tariff with calls, SMS and mobile data included every month;
  • to pay the mobile tariff with bills or by making top-up payments (pre-paid card);
  • to have unlimited mobile data.

Which communications operator has the best fixed coverage in Portugal?

Fixed Network coverage refers to the geographical area covered by the fixed network of a service provider (internet, TV and fixed telephone).

The fixed internet access service is provided in Portugal using 3 network types: fibre, ADSL and satellite.

Currently, fibre is the technology that provides the fixed Internet access service with the highest quality. Although fibre is generally available in most towns and cities in Portugal, it may not yet be available at your home (even if this type of coverage is available in your postcode). It may happen that the service exists on one street, but is not available on the next street, or is not available to all the houses on the same street.

If fibre is not available at the location where you want to use the service, there are alternatives that you may consider like ADSL connection, 3G, 4G or 5G (depending on the location) and satellite solutions.

Therefore, before contracting a fixed service, you should always check the network coverage at the specific address where you want to install it, including the door number.

There are also other factors to consider to make sure you receive a good quality service. For example, if the house where you want to use the service has very thick walls, it may be necessary to install one or more Wi-Fi repeaters for the signal to reach every room.

Television service 

The type of coverage you have at your home will influence the type of TV service you purchase. This means that, if you contract fibre services, your communications operator will offer higher definition and more options to choose from.

Before choosing the TV operator that best suits your needs, you should check the list of TV channels offered by each operator to see which channels will be able to receive.
If you don’t want pay TV, TDT (Digital Television) may be an option that is free of charge. In this case you only have access to seven Portuguese channels, in mainland Portugal and 2 additional regional channels when in Madeira and Azores islands. To receive TDT broadcast you need a TV with some technical specifications. Before purchasing any equipment make sure that you have direct access to TDT at your home.