How to buy a chip for an unlocked phone in Brazil.

Buying a SIM card in Brazil? It’s not an easy task to get a prepaid card there


Are you traveling to Brazil? Are you planning to watch the World Cup 2014?

Sorry… I have news that are not very good.

I am a Brazilian living in Canada and due to family reasons I need to travel to Brazil in the near future. I don’t want to pay roaming rates.  I have an iPhone 4S that I bought unlocked from Apple, so I plan to use it there.

It surprises me that the Brazilian Operators don’t have information in English, instructing tourists on  know  to buy a chip. The websites are all in Portuguese, and this is one of the difficulty tasks that you will find.  Maybe you will have to learn Portuguese before traveling there? Ah… this looks like a joke, he?

If  Brazil is hosting an important event like the World Cup Soccer Games, it should be mandatory that the tourists can find reliable information easily, meaning that:  All Telephone Operators should have information in English on their websites.

As Portuguese is my native language, I was able to read the necessary steps  to buy a prepaid mobile chip in Brazil.

Guess what?!?!?!

It’s necessary to have a CPF (CPF is the equivalent to the SSN in the US, or the  SIN in Canada).  This will not be a “big deal”  for me, because I do own a CPF.  But… how it will work regarding  tourists????  How a tourist will get a Brazilian CPF? This is simply ridiculous!

I have been traveling to more than 25 countries, from London to St Barths _ a small island in the Caribbean, and everywhere I go buying a SIM card is  a very simple process.

Ok… once in Switzerland I had to fill a form giving my temporary address and identification numbers. Same in France.  Anyway, in most of the countries I visited,  I was able to buy my prepaid cards  (SIM cards) in supermarkets, kiosks, even in pharmacies.  Not in Brazil.

Everything in Brazil is away too complicated. Looks like the laws are made in a way they can be broken.

It will be no surprise for me if  “companies”  will be created before the World Cup proclaiming that they can “lend”  you a CPF number if you pay a “small fee“.  It’s a shame, but I guess this will happen. They will advertise something like “Tourists, come to our place to buy your mobile SIM card. We have CPF numbers that you can borrow for a small fee“.

On the other hand, one of the most common crimes in Brazil, called “Sequestro Relâmpago”  (“lightning kidnapping”)   is conducted from inmates, who control their “criminal army” from inside the jail using….. guess what????? A MOBILE PHONE!!!

Yes, mobiles in Brazil are difficult to obtain if you are a  foreigner.  For traffickers and killers living inside and  outside prisons, they are very easy to get.

Good luck!

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About CeciliArchitect

World Traveler ~ Photographer ~ Social Media Specialist ~ Tourism Vancouver Certified Specialist ~ Independent Tour Manager and Events Coordinator ~ Blogger ~ Architect & Interior Designer (in my previous life)
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2 Responses to How to buy a chip for an unlocked phone in Brazil.

  1. Thiago says:

    Such a shame.
    The World Cup and the Olympics will be a disaster.


    • Infelizmente tenho que concordar com você. Desde já fico com vergonha dos milhares de turistas que terão celulares, ingressos e documentos roubados. Se for ‘só” isso até que estaria bom, o pior é a violência que leve a ferimentos sou até mesmo morte. Torcendo aqui para que dê tudo certo, mas acho muito difícil….


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