All those who, like us, have decided to make Portugal their new country of residence sooner or later have had to face the issue of the telephone operator.
The information we provide in this article is naturally subject to change as the options and proposals in this field are extensive. However, some general rules will certainly be useful.
To begin with, it's necessary to clarify what “Roaming” means.
ROAMING IN PORTUGAL: What it is and how it works
When I am abroad and I turn on my mobile phone which contains a SIM card of an EU number, the smartphone automatically starts searching for network coverage, commonly called "signal", both for calls and for data traffic (internet). Since my EU operator does not have coverage in that area, it relies on another local operator through which I can use my mobile phone for all its functions. Until recently, this operation, which is called ROAMING, had an additional cost in any country in the world.
On 15 June 2017 a European Community law entered into force which states that telephone operators cannot apply additional costs if the person is in one of the 26 countries of the European community * plus three extra (see the complete list below).
So, to sum up, if I arrive in Portugal I can, at no extra cost, call a phone that is physically located in Italy, a Portuguese phone and a Portuguese landline and use the internet according to my normal data plan exactly as if I were in my own EU country.
Caution : not all operators do this operation automatically! Therefore it is a good idea, before leaving your home country, to call the customer service and make sure that roaming is active on your phone and on your card. Also, make sure how long it will be valid for since some companies allow it for a limited period only.
* COUNTRIES WHO ARE MEMBERS OF THE EUROPEAN COMMUNITY
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Czech Republic, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Hungary
COUNTRIES WHO ARE NOT MEMBERS BUT IN WHICH THE RATE REMAINS UNCHANGED
Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway