Mobile Telephones

Find out how to get yourself a mobile cellular phone in Brazil...

Competition between the mobile phone operators in Brazil is fierce, with each company constantly offering promotions to attract new clients.

Clients can choose between "pay-as-you-go" (pre-pago) and "pay monthly" (pos-pago) packages. Check the individual operators for current promotions and to find the package best suited to specific requirements.

The documents required to obtain a mobile phone line (irrespective of which company a person chooses), as stipulated by the telephony regulatory body ANATEL (Agência Nacional de Telecomunicações), are as follows:

  • Proof of identity: RG (Brazilian national ID); Brazilian Driving License; Professional license (bar association or medical board for example) or RNE (foreigner’s ID registration number)
  • Individual taxpayer's number (CPF)
  • Proof of residence: utility bill relating to the area in which the mobile phone line will be operative

For subscribers wishing to obtain a monthly plan subscription, the required documents also include: proof of payment of their current property tax (IPTU); a copy of their lease contract demonstrating proof of residence for at least another 12 months (for those renting property); vehicle ownership and licensing documents; pay slip or pension plan for the current month; current cable TV bill; and letter of confirmation of current residence from a hotel or flat service (for applicants without a fixed permanent abode).

The list of documents for a monthly plan is obviously quite extensive and potentially challenging to a non-Brazilian native, meaning that most foreigners in Brazil tend to opt for the "pay-as-you-go" (pre-pago) plans.

Each of the operators have high street stores in most major cities (addresses can be confirmed on their respective websites), and these are the easiest and most widely used means of following through the process of document presentation and form-filling required to obtain a mobile phone line.

Mobile telephone companies

  • TIM
    : *144 from a TIM-account mobile phone, 0800 741 4141 from a land-line or (11) 2847 6144
  • Claro
    : 1052, International Customer Service number: 0800 036 0707
  • Vivo
    : 1058, International Customer Service number: (11) 3056 8628
  • Oi
    : 1057

Lost/stolen mobile phones

All mobile phones have a unique code, the IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) code. This belongs to the handset and is associated with the SIM (Subscriber Identification Module) card, which holds the telephone number assigned to a customer.

  • A SIM card - holds the telephone number and memory. Access can be protected by personalizing the card with a four-digit PIN number
  • An IMEI number - this is a mobile telephone's unique identification number

The IMEI number provides protection if a phone is lost or stolen. The IMEI code is clearly shown on the paperwork at time of purchase. Note it down and keep it separate from the telephone.

Alternatively, enter *#06# into the telephone to display the IMEI number.

In the event of the loss or theft of a mobile phone, the procedure with each of the operators is the same and is really very straightforward. Call the customer services number of the service provider, follow the instructions in order to speak to an operator and provide them with the mobile phone number relating to the device which has been lost. The company will open a report and will give the client a protocol number for future reference. However, from the moment the request to block the line is registered, the number may not be used and the person will not be charged for any calls made following this moment.

A police report is not necessary either for the blocking of the line or its future reactivation if the mobile phone is stolen. However, for insurance purposes, such a procedure will be necessary.

The blocked mobile phone number can be easily reactivated when purchasing a replacement mobile, without any need of the protocol number or proof of previous deactivation.