An Overview of the 3 Internet Service Providers in the Algarve

These 3 Internet providers have packages galore, offering Internet, television and phone packages. We focus here on one particular type of Internet service in the Algarve, which is offered to people who are unable to take advantage of being connected via underground high speed cables (or above ground cables). Overhead cables cannot guarantee good Internet speeds, particularly in rural (out of town), locations in the Algarve. This is where Vodafone, MEO and NOS provide a ‘fixed wireless mobile’ solution, a mobile router used at the property to provide the Internet service. Note that there are also ‘mobile’ services available. True to their name, these are ‘real mobile’ services which supply you with Internet wherever you are, (not just in the Algarve but the whole of Portugal). They generally offer a downloadable data allowance of 30GB per month, and are not ‘fixed’ to your property, so are ideal for being on the move... There is also ‘pay as you go’. An example of this would be Vodafone’s €1 for one hour’s Internet.

This insight has come about, since Vodafone earlier this year (June 2017), decided to change the conditions of their ‘fixed mobile Internet’ service. Previously the amount of data which could be downloaded each month was unlimited, but they have now capped the downloadable limit to 100GB per month, and it is having an effect on how people can use the Internet... Ask the ‘right’ questions in their stores and you’ll discover that a lot of people aren’t that happy about this...

 

We highlight a few points, make a few suggestions and encourage you to compare, so you find the best of the Internet service providers in the Algarve.

 

Firstly, if you haven’t already signed a contract with whichever company, (and whatever type of Internet service, cable or wireless), it is very important to read the terms of cancelling the contract. If you’ve been sold “up to a certain speed” and on installation day you only receive a fraction of that speed, you must know where you stand. This could be a ‘painful’ two year contract that you’ll have to put up with.

Make sure you have it in writing, an agreed amount of time to test the equipment at your property. It’s not just the download speed, but the reliability throughout the day. Don’t settle for... “it’s a busy time of the day”. That may be the case with one Internet service provider, but it may not be for the others.

Did you know that wireless Internet can be almost non-existent in July and August in the Algarve ?? Ask around... many, many people suffer bad connections and give up trying to use the Internet for anything ! The usual ‘excuse’ is....”tourists”. The population of the Algarve swells in these months and everyone seems to want to use the Internet. A little moan to Vodafone, and they were kind enough not to charge for one of those months !

Back to your ‘trial period’... If you do have to cancel your contract whilst testing the service, and you’ve paid for any equipment (like a router), make sure you get everything refunded... Everything. You don’t need a ‘credit note’, you need a refund ! Our experience wasn’t that good with NOS and their router, so read the terms. What seems like the best Internet service in the Algarve, might not be until you read the terms and conditions...

 

If your Internet service is capped at 100GB of data per month, as is the case with Vodafone, when signing a contract be sure to ask for your daily data usage to be itemised along with your bill. With Vodafone this is not automatic and you won’t necessarily be asked if you’d like it included. It’s free and with your monthly bill (via email), you’ll see how much data you’ve consumed each day. Correction... you’ll see how much they say that you have used each day...

Why is this important ?  Well, with only 100GB limit each month, you’ll want to keep a close eye on your daily usage. As soon as your 100GB limit is reached... that’s it !...You’ll have to wait for your month’s billing cycle to start again before you have the freedom of the Internet again. You will be automatically re-connected again, but only when your billing cycle re-starts. If you do reach your 100GB limit, you can pay extra to get online again, but who wants to start paying extra ?

Note: if you didn’t ask for your daily usage to be itemised when you signed your contract, don’t worry, you can activate this in store. You won’t get an itemised breakdown from the previous months used, but at least it’ll be included with your future bills.

Without wearing this point a little thin, whatever company you decide to contract with, you must check that their stated usage is accurate. There are apps available which shows you how much data you have downloaded in a day/month, but even without those it is easy to cross-reference those daily amounts... with your diary. Look carefully at your daily usage. 100GB per month is equivalent to 3.28GB per day, every day. That’s a lot of data to download each and every day, and with Vodafone bills, we’ve seen daily usages of anything between 4 and 13GB... A Day !  We have to question how reliable this is, and to rub salt into the wound, that’s in July and August... when almost any member of Vodafone staff will tell you that’s almost impossible !

Don’t accept that it’s probably your mobile phone updating it’s software. If in doubt let your phones update themselves using their own data allowance. Just keep an eye on your usage, you could pay dearly...

Well done NOS...

You’ll get differing accounts from Vodafone and MEO why their mobile contracts are capped at 100GB per month. Anything from ‘company policy’ to it’s ‘the law’.... Perhaps worth asking which law this is, but if they can’t offer it, why not talk with NOS !

For a lesser amount than the other two mobile Internet providers, NOS can offer a “fixed mobile” UNLIMITED download, no it wasn’t a spelling mistake.... UNLIMITED download, each month for just €22.99 per month, (as at November 2017). It’s a 2 year contract, and you can use your mobile router at three addresses in Portugal. Competitors will claim that NOS coverage is not that great, but you’ll be testing the service, so you’ll be the judge of that.

In November 2017 the deal is that you pay €20 for the router, but you are only charged €2.99 for the first month’s usage.

So, for a “fixed mobile” Internet service with a true unlimited download, (with no slowing of the download speed), talk to these 3 Internet service providers, listen carefully to what each has to say, and you’ll probably come to realise that only NOS can offer an UNLIMITED download.

 

MEO does have a solution if you take on a wireless TV package. That will give you an unlimited Internet download, it will cost you more each month, with TV channels and a fixed house phone (with so many free minutes of calls), and there are similar offers from NOS. However, Vodafone don’t offer any wireless TV packages, so there’s still no solution from Vodafone...

 

Check out these 3 Phone & Internet service providers in the Algarve

Read the ‘small print’ and if it’s ‘capped’... check, and check again.

 

In October 2017 we looked at MEO’s TV package, and look at what we found...

We walked into 3 MEO shops (on the same day), in 3 shopping malls in the Algarve. Faro, Olhão and Tavira.

We enquired about the same package in each of these MEO shops. We gave them a postal code so they could identify the installation area and were amazed at the difference in price, for exactly the same package. The only similarity was the package itself, an unlimited Internet download, 90 channels of television and a house phone offering so many  free minutes of calls, and a minimum two year contract. From here on, it gets a little interesting...

For exactly the same Internet service, phone and tv package, the Faro MEO shop offered us a €10.00 discount each month on their brochure price of €48.99 each month, for the first year. That’s a nice saving in the first year of €120.00  The second year would then revert to the brochure price of €48.99 per month. Still, that’s a nice saving from Faro Meo, or is it ?

From there we enquired at the Olhão MEO shop. They offered exactly the same package for only €34.99 per month and for the whole 2 year contract. So, if you were happy with the €120.00 saving at Faro, signing up in the Olhão shop would have saved you a further €216.00 over the same 2 year period.

Lastly, the Tavira MEO shop. No discount was offered, just their brochure price of €48.99 per month, for the full two year contract. Comparing the Olhão MEO shop and the Tavira MEO shop, there was a staggering €336.00 difference over the 2 year contract...

Upon re-visiting the shops, and asking why there was such a difference in prices between them, each shop merely explained that they had their ‘own deals’....

So, to make sure you are going to be signing up with the best Internet service provider in the Algarve, just to be on the safe side, it makes no sense to rush and sign up with the first shop you walk into. If you have time, enquire at as many shops as you can.... and save as much as you can !

 

Stop !.... Before you renew that contract... Beware and Compare.

It appears that the phone and Internet service providers (in the Algarve at least), would very much like you to renew your contract with them, and not necessarily compare the market with the other phone and Internet service providers. A very small increase in your monthly bill (in exchange for an additional service), can result in them tying you into another 2 year’s contract. It maybe an excellent deal, but considering you’ll be tying yourself to a provider for a further 2 years, you owe it to yourself to take a look at who’s offering what.

Be careful, particularly if your Portuguese isn’t that good... you might unknowingly be renewing your contract !

We are all used to ‘telesales’, sales staff calling with special offers and Vodafone is no exception. When contacted by one of their telesales staff, the highlight of the ‘phone deal’ was to increase the download limit from 500MB per month to 5000MB (5GB) per month, and all for just a couple of Euros more. We asked what was necessary to accept this deal... which incidentally would start a whole new 2 year’s contract. It appears that by just confirming your name, address and fiscal number, that is sufficient. Nothing to sign, not even a visit to a shop. So, if whilst chatting and getting all excited about the tremendous benefits that a new deal (contract) can offer, be very careful when confirming any personal details, as that might be ‘interpreted’ as being a “yes please re-start my contract for another 2 years !”

In December of this year, Vodafone in Faro also told us that you can also renew your contract by replying to sms texts that they send their clients, so be careful...

 

MEO seems to offer a deal, which gets better as time goes by !... How does adding thousands of available minutes and texts to your phone, in your TV, Internet and Phone package sound ?... and all for just a couple of Euros more each month.

Sounds good... but the following week... the same offer, but instead of adding the couple of Euros, or not adding a couple of Euros (which meant it would have been free)... they would now include the same deal and REDUCE the overall monthly bill by a couple of Euros !... Now, how’s that for wanting to keep you as a customer for the next 2 years ?

More to follow, as we keep our eyes on these Phone and Internet service providers in the Algarve...

 

Phone and Internet service providers in the Algarve, Portugal

MEO, Vodafone & NOS

We highlight some of the things you should know...

 

mobile phone services Algarve, Portugal

Mobile Phone and Internet services

in the Algarve, Portugal

mobile internet services Algarve, Portugal