Mobile Data in Brazil is Cheap

Published: 3 Mar 2014

Last Updated: 9 Dec 2014

So, I guess you have been reading about how expensive everything is in Brazil. You might even have read that Brazil has the 2nd highest telecom rates in the world after South Africa. All this is true.

What is easy to forget is that telecom services have changed from being line switched network for voice to be a dumb pipe for IP packets.

Pricing in Brazil

Brazilian operators backed by the government have been in the forefront of reducing prices on mobile data connections.

There has been a revolution in Mobile data pricing in Brazil over the last years and both pre-paid and post-paid plans now have mobile data rates you can just dream about in USA or Europe. You will find below a table with price examples from different mobile operators.

Operator Price per Day Additional Info
Vivo BRL 0.33 Must be contracted for 30 days, cap on 200MB at 256 Kbit/s then reduced to 32 kbit/s
Oi BRL 0.33 Must be contracted for 30 days, cap on 100MB at 1 Mbit/s then reduced to 50 kbit/s
Claro BRL 0.39 Must be contracted for 30 days, cap on 300MB at 0.5 Mbit/s then blocked
TIM BRL 0.75 No contract. Cap on 10MB per day at 0.5 Mbit/s then reduced to 50 kbit/s

What’s the catch

Prices have decreased so have also the quality. Even in the metropolitan areas of São Paulo the mobile broadband quality is lower than what you would expect elsewhere in the world. High-latency and dropped connections are problems across all the carriers.

There is no question that the mobile operators at the moment are milking the last cents out of their 3G network before the large scale LTE roll-out.

Unlimited Plans

In the early days of Mobile Broadband in Brazil there were several unlimited plans sold for around about USD 25 a month.

These unlimited plans are now replaced with capped plans with a higher bandwidth. Plans are still advertised as unlimited, but the catch is that when you reach the monthly data cap the speed is downgraded to 56 kbit/s or less.

During the days of dial-up modems 56 kbit/s seemed like a great speed but today 56 kbit/s isn’t useful to anything else than having e-mail pushed to your mobile. Even Twitter feels slow at this speed.

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Article Author

Egil Fujikawa Nes

Egil Fujikawa Nes