Just like in all modern cities phone calls and internet in Rio is available in many ways. It may not be what you are used to, it’s often slow and expensive, but it works. Computer equipment is expensive due to high taxes, prices are almost double from the US. The system of broadband is not on a hi-tec level. For what you pay here for a 1 MB connection you would get about 100 MB in Sweden…
Internet in Rio
There are only a few internet cafes around these days. The prices vary but in general it is an reflection of the neighbourhood, ie. it’s cheaper in less exclusive areas. In Copacabana the price can be almost half of what you have to pay say in Ipanema. The services vary a lot in quality, some have headphones prepared for Skype. Wireless is quite common, most hotels and hostels offer it as well as restaurants like Devassa. Along the city beaches Linktel offer free WiFi.
This is a rather complicated matter. The phone system Brazil is full of operators and codes, what goes in one state does not apply in another. Hence this info is for Rio de Janeiro only. It’s good to know that fixed phone numbers start with a 2 a 3 or a 4, mobile numbers with a 7, an 8 or a 9. Free number start with 0800 and 0300 numbers are pay numbers and almost cost as much as call to a mobile. I’m gonna separate this in to two sections. The first one is:
To start with I have to stress the fact that the cheapest phonecalls you make over the internet, services like Skype have drastically improved and it is by far the best option. Making regular phonecalls from Rio is expensive. In the phone places it’s sometimes ridiculous, the rates in Copacabana tend to be the best. You can also buy international calling cards in some newsstands, they are usually a decent deal.
The easiest is to buy a regular callingcard (31) in a newsstand. You can use it in any of the blue phoneboots. Just stick it in and follow the instructions on the card. For local phonecalls (in the area 21) you just dial the 8 or 9 digit number and it should work. If you are calling another area code start with 031 then add the area code without a zero and then the number. For São Paolo it should be 031 11 xxxx-xxxx. To make a lokal collect call you can just dial 9090 before the number, it works also on public phones.
How to dial from the cellphone you brought with you varies. It’s easiest to verify with your service provider at home, some phones actually don’t work. It’s real easy to buy a Brazilian rechargeable credit chip, the price is around 30 R$, you can buy scrape off cards with credit in most newsstands. I think that the best operator is TIM since SMS to anywhere in the world cost the same as local SMS, you can also receive and make international phonecalls (that is not the case with for instance Vivo). You can also buy a mobile for an affordable price there. You’ll find stores in shopping malls and along the main commercial streets, you need your passport to become a client.