(July to October 2017) The first island we arrived at in the Azores, is Flores Island. It took us 14 days of sailing from Bermuda. The only SIM Card available in Flores Island was an “UZO” SIM Card. It was sold at the local post office. (CTT)
In bigger Azorean islands, there are other kinds of SIM Cards such as MEO and Vodafone. Most cruisers seem to use the “MEO SIM Card”.
Free WiFi is widely available in the center of each town and most of the marinas in the Azores and also in the Madeira Islands, run by the government. The Free WiFI speed is good and very reliable in the central area in town. However, I prefer to use the internet at my own desk without being disturbed. Besides, being at sea for 14 days, I had matters to take care of at my desk online.Arriving at the next bigger island, I thought about buying a new SIM Card from MEO but I didn’t. I continuously used the UZO SIM Card by adding more money and calling the customer service to renew the data plan.
***My Experiences with Prepaid UZO SIM Card***
- Initial Purchase Price: 15 Euros – Cash Only. It gave me a SIM Card (Portugal Phone Number) and 15 Euro balance amount on the phone number.
- Price of Internet Data Plan Options: 1GB Data Plan (7.99 Euros), 200MB for Month Data Plan (2.99 Euros), 60MB Data for 24 Hours Plan (1.99 Euros) – I started with the 1GB data plan and kept renewing it.
- Call Price: About 10 Cents/Minute
- Text Message Price: About 10 Cents/Message
- APN (Access Point Name) Setup for Data Plan: Name–>TMN Internet (*Make sure entering the upper and lower case correctly and a space in between.) APN–>internet (all lower case)
- Balance Check Code: *#123# (This is to check the current monetary balance left on the phone number.) *#123*99# (This is to check the data balance. it sometimes worked and other times not.)
- Data speed was good on most of the islands.
- It is important to keep the PIN number (provided with the SIM Card) because it requires you to enter it each time after turning the phone on again after it was completely turned off.
- All instructions (Brochure, Phone Menu, or Simplistic UZO Website) are only in Portuguese. It was a little difficult to setup or renew the data plan. Since I did not understand the Portuguese instructions, I had to call a client service number directly at 707-960-000 or 808-960-000 and ask for an English speaking person. It worked out good but it also cost about 10 cents/minute for setup and renewal. Sometimes I was on hold for a while which cost by minute. Despite the cost, I figured it is a sure way to renew.
- For recharging the amount, I went to the Post Office on the Azorean islands and recharged more money (Accept Cash Only). On a bigger island, the waiting line is long in the post office. Make sure to get a waiting ticket to get served, from a Kiosk inside of the Post office.
- After my data was all consumed, one time, it automatically renewed to a more costly data as you go plan until it used all of the money balance left on the phone number. The other time, I had to call to renew. Again, not understanding Portuguese, it is difficult to figure out the reasons but the best way was to call the customer service (requesting an English speaking person) or just accept the minor issues.
- I was surprised this SIM Card continuously worked even in the Canary Islands until the balance ran out. Later, I found out, starting July 2017, all data plans work in the European Countries without costing any extra.
- In the Canary Islands, I could have renewed this UZO SIM Card but I decided to buy a new Spanish SIM Card because (1) UZO SIM Card is not English language friendly and (2) I can understand Spanish more than Portuguese Language.