These days, it might seem that without the internet, the world would stop turning. And it’s especially true during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. Whether you need to communicate with your boss, have a meeting with a client, or chat with friends and family, you need a solid and stable connection. So how is the internet connection in Portugal?
Internet in Portugal
In 2013, Bloomberg rated Portugal on the seventeenth spot out of twenty for the fastest internet in the world. About 64% of the population have stable access to the internet (which is this low due to differences in internet use among seniors). Despite that, Portugal is one of the few countries in Europe with almost full internet coverage inside its borders.
The highest internet speed you can get in Portugal is 1 Gbit/s, but your standard service provides about 350 Mbit/s, and fibre optic internet is still in the process of being implemented. When it comes to finding a stable and fast internet connection, Portugal has you covered.
Internet providers in Portugal
There are many different internet providers in Portugal of various sizes, but choosing the right one for you will depend primarily on what you’re looking for. If you’re hoping to get internet data for your phone, you’ll first need to sign up for a phone plan (usually a monthly fee), part of which will be a certain amount of data you can use per month. The largest providers in this area are MEO, NOS, and Vodafone, each with their specific plans and deals.
Getting internet for your mid-term rental is a different story. Firstly, there is a much bigger variety of internet providers (NOS, MEO, and Vodafone also provide internet for homes and businesses, but there’s also Claranet, Cabovisão, or ARTelecom). Secondly, they sometimes have a phone + internet package in one deal, making it hard to compare prices easily, but in general, a long contract for a Wi-Fi will be about €1 per day.
Thirdly, different companies cover different areas, although there is often a rich overlap, so you should always have at least some choice. And lastly, if you have any problems with your internet provider, you can contact an independent telecommunications watchdog group called ANACOM.
Free Wi-Fi in Portugal
Before you really settle in and secure your phone plans and internet access, you may want to enjoy the beginning of your few months living abroad and connect to some free Wi-Fi. If you’re staying in one of the larger cities, like Lisbon or Porto, then you may be surprised at how many free Wi-Fi hotspots are all around you. Alternatively, it is by now a common practise by most cafés, restaurants, and bars to have access to free Wi-Fi, though you may need to ask the staff for a password to connect. And when all else fails, you can always hop into the nearest public library which should all have free access to wireless internet as well. Portugal indeed provides you with a real borderless experience.