Using a Mobile Phone in Portugal

Every time I’ve set up my GSM mobile phone with a new SIM card (see What is a SIM card?) previously, it’s involved a somewhat complex process. For Croatia and France I ordered before traveling from Telestial and the complication was mostly in the time and expense (about $60 to get started each time). For the U.S. (T-Mobile) and Switzerland (United Mobile) I bought SIM cards once in-country, and there was, in both cases, lots of paperwork and showing of ID, and it took about 30 minutes. It took about the same amount of complication to get a Rogers SIM in Canada.

Last night I walked into the FNAC outlet at Norteshopping, picked up an Optimus SIM card package from the rack, paid 9,90 EUR at the checkout and walked out. It took about 2 minutes. This morning, Catherine walked up to the local post office and did something similar, for the same cost, and ended up with an UZO SIM card.

For both of us the process of getting our mobile phones working was: insert SIM card and turn on phone.

Both the Optimus and UZO packages had the phone number and PIN for the SIM card included in the pack. We didn’t have to dial up anyone to register or activate service; it just worked.

So we’re now both toting Internet-surfing, call-making mobile powerhouses (I’m carrying my Nokia N70 and Catherine’s got my old T610). Of course we’ll mostly just end up calling each other to see if we need anything from the bakery on our way home (although if you dial up Reinvented and “press 1 for Peter,” you’ll ring through automagically to Portugal too; I’m just waiting for my first telemarketing call).