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Your mega guide to the best prepaid SIM cards for traveling in Cape Verde
Buy a local SIM card and save on your phone bill.
Not only does Cape Verde have great beaches and surfing spots, it has some of the best SIM card deals available to help you reduce the cost of your phone bill while traveling. You can buy 1GB of data from Cape Verde’s leading telco provider for as little as CVE490 (CAD$6.40). So, whether you’re planning a short trip or an island tour, check out the best SIM card options available at finder.com/ca.Prices last updated 17 Jun 2017
There are two main telco providers in Cape Verde: CV Móvel and t+ (or T-Mais). Both operators go through a strict approval process before being allowed to operate on the island and they compete to offer the best deals. These services have been tried, tested and trusted by both locals and travelers alike. According to OpenSignal’s country map, Cape Verde has good network coverage in the capital of Praia, but it can become a bit weaker as you venture out to the far reaches of the main island and beyond.
Roaming rates on Cape Verde are good compared to your rates at home. Both operators sell prepaid credit, which allows users to take advantage of cheap offers and deals. The operators offer relatively good network coverage, providing 2G and 3G wireless services, and it’s unlikely you would be able to get any better coverage on your own phone at home. 4G/LTE services are being tested and are unfortunately not yet available. Locals call their SIM cards “chips” and they can be purchased and registered anonymously without any form of identification or a passport check. Credit can be purchased from official stores, supermarkets and at the international airport. Below, we’ve broken down each telco provider to highlight exactly what’s available during your visit to Cape Verde.
CV Móvel is Cape Verde’s market leader and offers the best network coverage of the two providers. Both 2G and 3G services are available, although the 3G service is quite scarce across the island for both providers. Prepaid SIM cards can be purchased from any store displaying a CV Móvel sign, including most supermarkets, tobacconists and newsagents. SIM cards can be purchased for CVE200 and come with a CVE200 balance. There are two options for purchasing a prepaid SIM card: You can either upload a data pack onto a voice SIM or you can purchase a data-only SIM called Net Móvel 3G. Standard, mini or micro SIM cards are also available.
The standard default data rate is CVE8 per MB. The following prepaid SIM cards are available and are called “Net N@ Mon 3G”:
|Volume||Valid for||Price||To activate||Add ons|
|10MB||1 hour||CVE50||Text 2000|
|20MB||24 hours||CVE90||Text 2010|
|200MB||7 days||CVE440||Text 2015|
|1GB||30 days||CVE500||Text 2020||1GB: CVE300|
|1.3GB||30 days||CVE690||Text 3140|
|2GB||30 days||CVE800||Text 2040||2GB: CVE590|
|5GB||30 days||CVE1,250||Text 2090||5GB: CVE990|
For the plans above, the maximum speed is 2Mbps/512Kbps, but 14Mbps/5Mbps is available for the 2GB pack. The overuse rate is charged at CVE5 per MB. Send an SMS to the numbers mentioned above to activate the plan. All packs renew automatically, so in order to cancel, text “DESACTIVAR” to the same number you used to activate the plan.
Net Móvel 3G data-only SIM cards are also available:
- Surf 3G pré-pago Base: CVE1,890 for 6.5GB, valid for 30 days.
- Overuse: CVE4 per MB.
- Maximum speed: 7Mbps/1Mbps.
- Surf 3G pré-pago Livre: No data included, SIM is free.
If you would like more data than mentioned above, the following add ons can be purchased:
|25MB||Valid for 24 hours||CVE40|
|500MB||Valid for 30 days||CVE350|
|1GB||Valid for 30 days||CVE490|
|3GB||Valid for 30 days||CVE850|
|6GB||Valid for 30 days||CVE1,650|
|10GB||Valid for 30 days||CVE2,500|
Overuse is charged at a rate of CVE7 per MB. Maximum speed is 2Mbps/1Mbps. The 6GB and 10GB packs are faster at a speed of 7Mbps/3Mbps. Once you make your purchase or select your data add on, the service will be available immediately.
T-Mais is the other provider on the island and it has a very small market share. Its network can be problematic and it’s not compatible with many handsets, so make sure you do a market scan before purchasing. However, prices are good and if you intend on spending most of your time in the capital, then this could work out to be extremely cheap for you.
SIM cards can be purchased from any store displaying a t+ sign. SIMs cost CVE100-CVE200 and come with a credit balance of CVE50. Make sure to ask for a 3G SIM card, because the retailers tend to hand out 2G SIM automatically, which can be quite restrictive. Standard, mini and micro SIM cards can be purchased from almost anywhere and nano SIM cards can be cut to fit using a SIM punch. Download speeds are up to 14.4Mbps, with upload speeds reaching 512Kbps.
Data packs can be added to the standard voice SIM card, with the following rates available for the first and subsequent activations:
|Data volumes||Valid for||Price||To activate|
|1st activation||2nd activation||3rd activation|
|20MB||20MB||20MB||24 hours||CVE50||Text “d” to 707|
|30MB||50MB||70MB||24 hours||CVE70||Text “d3” to 707|
|250MB||500MB||750MB||7 days||CVE250||Text “s” to 707|
|1GB||1.25GB||1.5GB||30 days||CVE500||Text “m1” to 707|
|2GB||2.5GB||3GB||30 days||CVE800||Text “m2” to 707|
|3GB||6.25GB||7.5GB||30 days||CVE1,250||Text “m3” to 707|
Overuse is charged at a rate of CVE6 per 10KB. Dial #707# to check your balance.
There are also Viva+ data-only SIM cards available:
|Data volumes||Valid for||Price||To activate|
|1st activation||2nd activation||3rd activation|
|25MB||25MB||25MB||24 hours||CVE40||Text “d” to 707|
|40MB||60MB||80MB||24 hours||CVE50||Text “d4” to 707|
|500MB||600MB||700MB||7 days||CVE350||Text “s” to 707|
|1GB||1.25GB||1.5GB||30 days||CVE490||Text “m1” to 707|
|3GB||3.5GB||4GB||30 days||CVE850||Text “m3” to 707|
|6GB||6.75GB||7.5GB||30 days||CVE1,650||Text “m6” to 707|
|10GB||12GB||14GB||30 days||CVE2,500||Text “m10” to 707|
Text the appropriate code to 707 to activate. Dial #707# to check your balance. Plans will auto-renew unless cancelled.
- The primary language spoken in Cape Verde is Portuguese. If you don’t know the language, you may want to download Google Translate onto your phone before you travel. The good thing about Cape Verde, though, is that it is very tourist-friendly and English is widely spoken.
- Locals call a SIM card a “SIM” or a “chip”.
- Ask the retailer to set up your SIM card for you, as they will know how to do it. If not, follow the instructions we have highlighted above or go to the official operator website to seek advice.
- Remember, it’s always better to get things done early, before stores get too busy.
TripAdvisor is well known for its reviews, hotel bookings, flights and holiday planning, but it also has many user comments that can help guide you through the SIM cards that have been tried and tested in Cape Verde. Here are some top tips from TripAdvisor users:
- “SIM cards are low cost with the same amount of call time added. It can be slightly more expensive to call abroad from Cape Verde using a local SIM, but it’s still decently priced. You’ll need to check that your phone is unlocked before you leave.”
- “Both t+ or CV Móvel are good in my opinion. You can get a signal right across the island.”
- “CV Móvel SIM cards are low cost for pay-as-you-go services. I usually add a little credit to my phone and the Internet lasts a long time. Admittedly I don’t use it continuously.”
Both operators require you to have a SIM-unlocked, GSM-compatible international phone. To double check that you have this phone, or to find out whether it’s possible to unlock your device, contact your provider before you leave.
- Good value for money
- No ID needed to purchase or register the SIM card
- Prepaid credit available when required
- No in-store contract needed
- SIM could be compatible with your current phone
- Cheap handsets are sold in store
- No devices offered with the SIM card packages
- SIMs can only be used with SIM-unlocked GSM phones
- 4G is not yet available
- Coverage can be weak at times
Both operators offer roaming in South Africa, but we wouldn’t recommend using their SIMS there, as it will be extremely expensive. We suggest using these SIM providers only on the island and purchasing a new SIM card once you reach the mainland.
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