Internet in Portugal

Setting up internet in Portugal

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Getting connected to internet in Portugal is often a priority after you move to Portugal. Read how to get internet access in Portugal.

The amount of people who used internet in Portugal was lower than other parts of Europe but it has been catching up since massive upgrades in both the cable and DSL sectors in past years.

Portugal Telecom has largely controlled the DSL market but, due to the past changes in regulatory rules, other companies have entered the market and made pricing more competitive. Most internet providers in Portugal have concentrated on increasing broadband speed and offering better services. Cable has also grown considerably in the past decade, mainly due to the efforts of supplier ZON Multimedia.

While you are waiting to get your Portugal broadband connected, you will find many internet cafes and WiFi hotspots around the country. There is a brilliant service funded by the Portuguese government called Espaco Internet which enables everyone to surf the internet for free in certain spaces, regardless of whether they are a resident or are simply visiting.

Broadband in Portugal is called banda larga and it is widely considered to function better than broadband services in the UK due to the fact that Portugal was one of the last countries to embrace broadband technology and thus has a system with newer design and technology. Due to the geography and industries in Portugal, telecommunications companies sometimes use the country to trial the latest industry developments. As a result, you can sometimes find the latest internet devices on the market in Portugal before they arrive in UK shops.

Internet in Portugal

If you live in a major city such as Lisbon or Porto, it’s easy to take out a high-speed broadband package, although fibre optic internet is still very much in the process of being rolled out, with the aim that around three million homes will be able to use fibre optic by the end of 2016. Otherwise, you may need to sign up a for telephone in Portugal first.

You can ask friends and colleagues for their Portugal broadband recommendations before signing up for internet in Portugal, particularly if you are looking for the best package deal for telephone, television and internet.

NOS, Meo, ARTelecom and NOWO (formerly Cabovisao) are among the most well known internet providers in Portugal, although there are several ADSL and broadband providers in Portugal:

  • Vodafone
  • CLIX
  • Telepac
  • Claranet

How to connect to internet in Portugal

You typically can’t subscribe to an internet package in Portugal without first being a resident.

While fast fibre optic broadband is available in some areas, ADSL broadband requires a phone line. Portuguese internet providers offer a range of broadband packages (sometimes offering bundled deals with telephone and digital television), so it can pay to thoroughly research the best deal for you, especially as you’ll need to subscribe to the service on a minimum term contract.

If your contract has run out and you’d like to cancel, you’ll have to give one month’s notice to your provider, usually in writing.

Although getting internet in Portugal is often a necessity, before you do so you might consider opening a bank account in Portugal first; without one, you may find some deals are set at higher fees. This is similar to the UK where you pay more if you don't use direct debit.

When you have decided on an internet provider, you will typically have to fill out a Formulario de Adedao, or subscription form, with the following details:

  • Your name
  • Your permanent or temporary address
  • Proof of residence
  • Passport or ID information
  • Telephone number

Mobile broadband and using WiFi

In addition to home internet, Portugal has a massive network of WiFi hotspots throughout the country, including at hotels, football stadiums, green public spaces and airports among others. You can access Wifi using Portugal's MEO WiFi internet service through hotspots dotted around major cities. It’s also possible to buy internet dongles on a prepaid or contract basis, which allow you to surf the web when out and about. These can be fairly expensive, however, and are only as good as the signal in the area you’re attempting to use them.

Many people also use mobile broadband in Portugal, which can be useful when you just move to Portugal and have not made a decision about accommodation or signing up for a static broadband contract.

Complaining about internet providers

If you have an issue with your internet provider, you can contact ANACOM (Autoridade Nacional de Comunicações), the independent telecommunications watchdog based in Lisbon.



Updated 2017.

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3 Comments To This Article

  • Joe posted:

    on 20th April 2018, 16:22:12 - Reply

    what ever you do dont use MEO. They're the worst out of them all. I just got my MEO adsl 24mbps installed at my home. I ran a speed test that showed 12mbps, which is not a problem, however the problem is it only delivers 1.6mbps. the results it shows in the test is a complete lie. trust me when i say this company is the worst ive seen. Im currently getting legal advice on how to get out of this 2 year contract.
  • Bruno posted:

    on 11th November 2015, 19:09:43 - Reply

    Now there's a website that rents data SIM Cards and Wifi / Mifi Hotspots with unlimited traffic. It's a good option for getting internet everywhere in Portugal. With low cost prices, they have options starting in 3 days time.

  • Keith posted:

    on 4th March 2013, 22:26:05 - Reply

    [Edited by moderator. Please post (elaborate) questions on Ask the Expert or on our Forums. If you have questions for the Expatica staff, please contact us directly.]