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2 Best Prepaid SIM Cards in Cape Verde (Cabo Verde): Buying Guide

Cape Verde (Cabo Verde) – known for being one of the six Portuguese-speaking countries in Africa, its tropical islands, and lovely weather.

The country consists of ten islands, of which one is uninhabited.

While in Cape Verde, you can visit one of the many volcanoes, such as Pico do Fogo.

Or you can visit lagoons and caves, including Buracona.

Or perhaps exploring deserts, like Deserto de Viana, is something for you.

And, of course, you can just chill on the beach and enjoy the beach life.

Just be aware that posting videos of you chilling on the beach can be expensive when roaming internationally because international roaming can be expensive.

That is why you are better off getting a local SIM card, like a Cape Verdian one, so that you can enjoy local rates.

Fortunately, SIM cards are inexpensive in Cape Verde.

You can get a Cape Verdian SIM card for 100 CVE (1 USD) from CVMóvel and Unitel T+/T-Mais by Unitel in their stores. Unitel T+/T-Mais by Unitel also sells a 3G SIM card for 200 CVE (2 USD). SIM cards are not available at Sal/Amílcar Cabral International Airport nor Boa Vista-Aristides Pereira International Airport.

Unlike many Caribbean nations, which also pride themselves in their pristine beaches, the cost of travel in Cape Verde is quite low.

And that is also visible from the SIM card prices. And I can already tell you that the cost of mobile data is not too bad either.

In this guide, I will tell you everything you need to know about buying a SIM card in Cape Verde. Let's do this.

Buying a SIM Card in Cape Verde Guide (logos of Unitel T Mais (T+) & CVMóvel)

Original publication: 20th of June 2020. Last updated: 8th of November 2021


Table of Contents

Can You Buy a SIM Card in Cape Verde (Cabo Verde)?

Anyone living or visiting Cape Verde can buy a Cape Verdian SIM card without restrictions.

You need a phone that supports the frequencies used in the country (preferably all of them to have the most optimal experience while in Cape Verde).

Moreover, you need to have a SIM-lock-free device.

Where Can You Buy a SIM Card in Cape Verde (Cabo Verde)?

You can get a Cape Verdian SIM card in CVMóvel and Unitel T+/T-Mais by Unitel stores. It is not possible to get SIM cards at Sal/Amílcar Cabral International Airport nor Boa Vista-Aristides Pereira International Airport.

You can expect to pay the the following for Cape Verdian SIM cards:

  • CVMóvel (By Cabo Verde Telecom): 100 CVE
  • Unitel T+/T-Mais by Unitel: 100 CVE & 200 CVE
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Can You Use Your Phone in Cape Verde (Cabo Verde)?

Cape Verde uses GSM technology for mobile communications. CDMA phones will not work in Cape Verde. If your phone has a SIM card slot, then it supports GSMA (99% of the phones do support GSM nowadays).

Traditional European frequencies are used in Cape Verde, which are mostly used in ITU Regions 1 and 3 (Africa, Asia (including the Middle East), Europe & Oceania).

The Americas (North-, Central– & South America + the Caribbean – ITU Region 2) use American Frequencies, which differ from the European ones.

ITU Regions Map
By Maximilian Dörrbecker (Chumwa) – Own work, using this file by Denelson83, CC BY-SA 2.5

If you bought your phone in Africa, Asia, Europe, or Oceania (ITU regions 1 and 3), you should not experience any issues with using your phone in Cape Verde.

If you purchased your phone in the Americas (ITU Region 2) and have a low/medium-end device (without Tri-Band or Quad-Band) support, then there is a possibility you cannot use your phone when in Cape Verde or can only use slower networks (3G or 2G).

If you have a medium/high-end device with Tri-Band or Quad-Band support, you can use your phone in Cape Verde (to some extent) – also on 4G/LTE.

Mobile Operators, Networks & Frequencies in Cape Verde (Cabo Verde)

Cape Verde has two mobile network operators:

  • CVMóvel (by Cabo Verde Telecom)
  • Unitel T+/T-Mais by Unitel)

The following frequencies are used in Cape Verde:

  • 2G: 900 MHz
  • 3G: 2100 MHz
  • 4G/LTE: 800 MHz (Band 20)

You can learn more about frequencies in the video below.

To check whether your phone will work in Cape Verde, check out this page by Will My Phone Work (may be outdated or inaccurate at times).

Again, make sure your phone is unlocked. Otherwise, you will not be able to use any SIM card except the one from your home operator (meaning you have to roam internationally or buy another unlocked phone that does support the frequencies listed above).

If you want to learn how international roaming works, this guide explains it in-depth. If you wonder why it is often so expensive to roam, this article explains the hidden reason they do not want you to know.

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5G NR in Cape Verde (Cabo Verde)

5G NR is not available in Cape Verde as of 2021, and the Cape Verdian government has not made any indications of when it will auction 5G licenses.

Best SIM Card in Cape Verde (Cabo Verde)

If you want to buy a SIM card in Cape Verde, I recommend going with CVMóvel. It has the best coverage and the best variety in plans and packages.

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SIM Card Registration in Cape Verde

SIM card registration, with the use of your personal information (such as your passport), is not required when buying a SIM card in Cape Verde.

Cape Verde (Cabo Verde) Mobile Internet Prices & Insights

Flag of Cape Verde (Cabo Verde)

In Africa, the cost of mobile data can be prohibitive, more than 20 USD per 1 GB.

In other African countries, however, the cost is just a few cents.

So, how expensive is mobile data in Cape Verde?

On the more expensive side, for regional standards, but still average.

The average price for 1 GB of data in Cape Verde is 4.78 USD, below the African average of 5.80 USD. The world average is 4.07 USD.

The country is in the top 15 African countries with the highest average mobile data costs.

But you will see things can be much worse.

Normally, I show you some data about mobile data speeds about the particular country I am covering.

Unfortunately, there is not much aggregate data about mobile download and upload speeds in Cape Verde.

But, I can already tell you something (shocking, perhaps).

The maximum mobile download speed in Cape Verde is 14 Mbps.

Many African nations that have much faster speeds than this (even on 3G), so what is going on in Cape Verde?

Is it because the country consists of various islands?

Maybe, but not really either.

Both CVMóvel and Unitel T+/T-Mais by Unitel actively throttle mobile internet speeds (for prepaid customers).

The most expensive plans, with the most generous allowances, have the highest allowed maximum speeds.

Anything cheaper, and your speeds will be (significantly) reduced.

Normally, mobile operators and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) meter or throttle speeds because of the lack of bandwidth.

And this is especially the case for (remote) island nations (without access to submarine cables).

However, Cape Verde is linked to four intercontinental submarine cables, and it has three submarine cables connecting its domestic islands.

So, bandwidth is not the issue here.

While I am still on the quest to find out why speeds are so slow, even for regional standards, I just want you to be aware of this before getting disappointed.

In terms of coverage, reception is good on all the main islands.

4G/LTE still does not reach 50% of the population.

But since you will not enjoy proper 4G/LTE speeds in Cape Verde, it should not matter if you are on 3G or 4G/LTE anyway.

With cheap SIM cards, average mobile data rates, good nationwide coverage, but (extremely) slow mobile data speeds, you should have a decent network experience in Cape Verde.

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Currency in Cape Verde (Cabo Verde)

2000 Cape Verdean Escudo Bank Note
© Bank of Cape Verde/Banco de Cabe Verde

Cape Verde uses the Cape Verdean Escudo with the symbol CVE (which will be used throughout this article).

However, prices in Cape Verde are listed in just $ or Esc. For example, 25 CVE = $25/25 Esc.

For reference, below are some exchange rates between CVE and USD (US Dollars – Rounded):

  • 1 CVE = 0.01 USD
  • 10 CVE = 0.10 USD
  • 100 CVE = 1.00 USD
  • 1000 CVE = 10.50 USD
  • 10 000 CVE = 104.60 USD

For up-to-date CVE:USD exchange rates, search CVE to USD on Google, or replace USD with the currency you use.

If your credit/debit card charges you foreign exchange fees, get yourself a Wise Borderless Account and Debit Card.

Their fees are MUCH lower than banks, and credit card companies charge you (and Wise is transparent about their fees, unlike banks).

I have saved literal THOUSANDS of Euros, my main currency, when using Wise abroad when traveling compared to my debit and credit cards. Open a Wise account FREE!

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Cape Verdian Prepaid SIM Cards

Below, I will guide you through CVMóvel and Unitel T+/T-Mais by Unitel, and go through:

  • Background information
  • Mobile coverage
  • SIM card types, prices, and availability
  • Recharge/top-up information
  • Combo plans, data plans, and special packs (such as social media packs) 

With that being said, let's see what Cape Verde has to offer to us.


CVMóvel

CVMóvel Cape Verde Logo
© CVMóvel

CVMóvel is the largest mobile operator in Cape Verde.

It is the mobile brand by the partially stated-owned Cabo Verde Telecom, which is partly owned by Portugal Telecom.

CVMóvel uses the following frequencies:

  • 2G: 900 MHz
  • 3G: 2100 MHz
  • 4G/LTE: 800 MHz (Band 20)

This is what you will learn about CVMóvel:

* Coverage
* How to Get a CVMóvel SIM Card & SIM Card Price
* Topping-Up Options & Methods
* Internet Packages
* APN Settings

Coverage – CVMóvel

CVMóvel has the best coverage in Cape Verde.

It has reception on the main islands, while the island called Santiago has the best 4G/LTE coverage.

Nationwide 4G/LTE reception is about 40% of the population.

Here is CVMóvel's 2G and 3G coverage map:

Below is a coverage map produced by Speedtest:

SIM Card Price – CVMóvel

You can buy a CVMóvel SIM card for 100 CVE with 50 CVE credit in CVMóvel stores. It is not possible to get CVMóvel SIM cards at neither Sal/Amílcar Cabral International Airport nor Boa Vista-Aristides Pereira International Airport.

CVMóvel Cape Verde SIM Card
© CVMóvel
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Top-Up, Recharge & Balance Check – CVMóvel

CVMóvel top-up vouchers are sold in CVMóvel stores, kiosks, gas stations & grocery stores.

The following top-ups are available:

Top-UpValidity
50 CVE – 499 CVE30 days
500 CVE – 1199 CVE45 days
2000 CVE – 4999 CVE90 days
5000 CVE =>150 days
CVMóvel Cape Verde Cupões de Recargas Top-Up Cards
© CVMóvel

When you top-up more than 3000 CVE, you can get up to a 15% credit bonus:

Top-UpOn-Net Bonus
3000 CVE – 4999 CVE10% bonus
5000 CVE =>15% bonus

If you want bonus minutes with your recharge, consider Recargas Turbo (Turbo Recharge), giving you up to 60 free local minutes:

Top-UpBonus MinutesValidity
250 CVE15 minutes (6 days)30 days
350 CVE30 minutes (8 days)30 days
700 CVE60 minutes (14 days)45 days
CVMóvel Cape Verde Recargas Turbo Top-Up Cards
© CVMóvel

To top up your CVMóvel SIM card, dial *1882VoucherCode# or call 188 and follow the instructions.

For example, if your voucher code is 123456, you would dial *1882123456# (without a * or # sign between 1882 and the Voucher Code, indeed).

You can also tell the salesperson how much credit you want, your phone number, pay, and they will top up your SIM card with the POS system.

Dial *#123#, call 188, or call 1881 to check your CVMóvel balance.

You can also top up and check your balance on the Nha CVMóvel (My (?) CVMóvel) app (Android/iOS).

CVMóvel Cape Verde Nha CVMóvel App
© CVMóvel

Packages, Plans, Bundles & Offers – CVMóvel

CVMóvel has three data-featured plans:

Click on the links above to jump to the plan you are interested in.

Serviço Recarga Megas (Data Recharge Service) – CVMóvel

The Serviço Recarga Megas (Data Recharge Service) is not a traditional plan. Instead, it converts top-ups into data instead of credit.

CVMóvel Cape Verde Serviço Recarga Megas Data Top Ups Banner
© CVMóvel

To convert a top-up into data, dial 1882VoucherCode*2 (example: Voucher Code is 123456, dial 1882123456*2):

Top-UpData
50 CVE – 499 CVE167 MB – 1663 MB
500 CVE – 1999 CVE2000 MB – 7996 MB
2000 CVE – 2999 CVE10 000 MB – 14 995 MB
3000 CVE – 3999 CVE25 000 MB – 33 325 MB
4000 CVE – 4999 CVE44 444 MB – 55 544 MB
5000 CVE =>62 500 MB =>

It is unknown whether speeds will be restricted with Serviço Recarga Megas or not (unlike other CVMóvel plans).

CVMóvel Cape Verde Serviço Recarga Megas Data Top Ups
Netmóvel – CVMóvel

Netmóvel plans are data-only bundles with speeds up to 7 Mbps.

The following Netmóvel plans are available:

PricePlanDataSpeed (Download/Upload)Validity
40 CVENetmóvel Dia25 MB2 Mbps/1 Mbps24 hours
350 CVENetmóvel Mensal Mini500 MB2 Mbps/1 Mbps30 days
490 CVENetmóvel Mensal Light1000 MB2 Mbps/1 Mbps30 days
850 CVENetmóvel Mensal3000 MB2 Mbps/1 Mbps30 days
1650 CVENetmóvel Mensal Premium6000 MB7 Mbps/3 Mbps30 days
2500 CVENetMóvel Platinium10 000 MB7 Mbps/3 Mbps30 days
CVMóvel Cape Verde Netmóvel Plans
Net N@ Mon 3G – CVMóvel

The Net N@ Mon 3G are data-only bundles with speeds up to 14 Mbps.

The following Net N@ Mon 3G are available, which can be activated by sending a (blank) SMS to the specified service number:

PricePlanDataSpeed (Download/Upload)ValidityActivation Code
50 CVENet N@ Mon Hora10 MB2 Mbps/512 Kbps1 hourSMS to 2000
90 CVENet N@ Mon Dia20 MB2 Mbps/512 Kbps24 hoursSMS to 2010
440 CVENet N@ Mon Semanal200 MB2 Mbps/512 Kbps7 daysSMS to 2015
500 CVENet N@ Mon Base1000 MB2 Mbps/512 Kbps30 daysSMS to 2020
690 CVENet N@ Mon  Base Livre1300 MB14 Mbps/5 Mbps30 daysSMS to 3140
800 CVENet N@ Mon Plus2000 MB3 Mbps/512 Kbps30 daysSMS to 2030
1250 CVENet N@ Mon Premium5000 MB14 Mbps/5 Mbps30 daysSMS to 2090
CVMóvel Cape Verde Net N@ Mon 3G Plans

APN/Internet Settings – CVMóvel

  • Name: CVM
  • APN: internet-aac OR internet
  • Username: leave blank OR cvmovel
  • Password: leave blank OR cvmovel

Note: leave anything not mentioned above untouched.

Jump back to the Table of Contents.

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Unitel T+/T-Mais by Unitel

Unitel T Mais (T+) Cape Verde Logo
© Unitel T+/T-Mais Unitel

Unitel T+/T-Mais by Unitel is the other mobile operator in Cape Verde.

It is the local division of Unitel from Angola.

Unitel uses the following frequencies:

  • 2G: 900 MHz
  • 3G: 1800 MHz
  • 4G/LTE: 800 MHz (band 20)

This is what you will learn about Unitel T+/T-Mais Unitel:

* Coverage
* How to Get a Unitel T+/T-Mais Unitel SIM Card & SIM Card Price
* Topping-Up Options & Methods
* Internet Packages
* APN Settings

Coverage – Unitel T+/T-Mais by Unitel

Unitel T+/T-Mais Unitel has extensive coverage throughout Cape Verde.

It has reception on the main islands, while the island called Santiago has the best 4G/LTE coverage.

Below is the Unitel T+/T-Mais Unitel coverage map:

SIM Card Price – Unitel T+/T-Mais by Unitel

You can get a Unitel T+/T-Mais Unitel SIM card for 100 CVE (SIM Voz) or 200 CVE (3G Cartão) in Unitel T-Mais stores. It is not possible to get CVMóvel SIM cards at neither Sal/Amílcar Cabral International Airport nor Boa Vista-Aristides Pereira International Airport.

Unitel T+ T-Mais by Unitel Cape Verde Voz SIM Card
© Unitel T+/T-Mais Unitel
Unitel T+ T-Mais by Unitel Cape Verde 3G SIM Card
© Unitel T+/T-Mais Unitel

Dial *111# to access the Unitel T+/T-Mais Unitel menu.

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Top-Up, Recharge & Balance Check – Unitel T+/T-Mais by Unitel

Unitel T+/T-Mais Unitel top-up vouchers are sold in Unitel T-Mais stores, kiosks, gas stations & grocery stores.

Unitel T+ T-Mais by Unitel Cape Verde Recargas Top Up Cards
© Unitel T+/T-Mais Unitel

The following top-ups are available:

Top-UpValidity
50 CVE – 499 CVE15 days
500 CVE – 1499 CVE30 days
1500 CVE =>45 days
Unitel T+ T-Mais by Unitel Cape Verde
© Unitel T+/T-Mais Unitel

You can also tell the salesperson how much credit you want, your phone number, pay, and they will top up your SIM card with the POS system.

Dial *111# and select option 1 to check your Unitel T+/T-Mais Unitel balance.

You can also top up and check your balance on the My Unitel – Unitel T+ app (Android/iOS).

Unitel T+ T-Mais Cape Verde My Unitel - Unitel T+ App
© Unitel T+/T-Mais Unitel

Packages, Plans, Bundles & Offers – Unitel T+/T-Mais by Unitel

Unitel T+/T-Mais Unitel has two data-featured plans: Unitel T+ Plan (combo for the youth) & Planos de Internet no Telemóvel/Mobile Internet Plans (data).

Unitel T+ Plan – Unitel T+/T-Mais by Unitel

The Unitel T+ Plan is combo plan for youngsters between 12 and 30 years old with data, minutes & SMS.

Dial #707# to activate Unitel T+ Plan:

PricePlanDataLocal MinutesLocal SMSValidity
50 CVEPlay Dia150 MBUnlimitedUnlimited1 day
150 CVEScore1000 MBUnlimitedUnlimited7 days
500 CVEHigh Score5000 MBUnlimitedUnlimited30 days
Planos de Internet no Telemóvel (Mobile Internet Plans) – Unitel T+/T-Mais by Unitel

The Planos de Internet no Telemóvel (Mobile Internet Plans) are data-only bundles.

Dial #450# to activate Planos de Internet no Telemóvel:

PriceDataValidity
50 CVE20 MB1 day
70 CVE30 MB1 day
250 CVE250 MB7 days
500 CVE1000 MB30 days
800 CVE2000 MB30 days
1250 CVE5000 MB30 days

APN/Internet Settings – Unitel T+/T-Mais by Unitel

  • Name: T-Mais
  • APN: tmais

Note: leave anything not mentioned above untouched.

Jump back to the Table of Contents.

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Other Ways to Use the Internet When Traveling in Cape Verde (Cabo Verde)

Getting a Cape Verdian SIM card is the best way to stay connected in the country.

However, for some, getting local SIM cards is not an option. For example, if you have a SIM-locked device.

Luckily, there are other ways to get online when in Cape Verde.

However, these methods may be more expensive than getting a SIM card from the local mobile operators.

International Roaming

International roaming is the most convenient way to stay connected when traveling in other countries because you do not have to buy a new SIM card, have to deal with SIM card registration regulations, nor have multiple phone numbers to deal with.

However, international roaming has proven to be expensive in many cases, especially compared to buying local SIM cards.

That is why many travelers are not fond of international roaming.

International roaming has its pros and cons. However, it is important to know how it works.

This in-depth guide explains it all.

Find out whether your mobile operator has attractive roaming rates for Cape Verde here.

Using an International SIM Card or Travel SIM Card

International SIM cards are SIM cards made for the traveler in mind.

Using them is often cheaper than international roaming. However, they are almost always more expensive than using a local SIM card.

There are many other advantages and disadvantages of getting international SIM cards, which you can learn about here.

Using a Mobile Hotspot (Pocket WIFI)

Mobile hotspots, or pocket WIFI, are small devices that connect to the local operators of the country you are visiting.

Mobile hotspots are ideal for families or those traveling in a large group, as they allow you to connect multiple devices to one hotspot without the need of each traveler having to buy a SIM card.

You can either buy a mobile hotspot or rent one.

Using Free WIFI Networks

Using free WIFI connections is the cheapest way to stay connected because they are free.

The major downside of trying to use WIFI hotspots is that you will have to locate them, and they are not available on every corner in Cape Verde.

Make sure to protect your internet traffic with a VPN so that hackers cannot steal your personal data.


The Preferred Way to Stay Connected When Traveling in Cape Verde

Getting a SIM card from CVMóvel would do you well when considering a Cape Verdean SIM card.

Local Prepaid SIM Card in Other African Countries

Visiting other countries in Africa? Check out my Africa SIM card buying guide, covering other African countries, such as:

Going to other places around the world? Then you should also check out my sim card buying guides for other destinations around the world.

Next Steps to Enhance Your Travel Experiences

Looking for the next steps to enhance your phone travel experiences? Here is what to do:

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Looking for the best companies and gadgets to enhance your travel experience? Check out my travel resources page for the best companies to use when you travel!

Save money with international SIM cards, on plane tickets, bus rides, cruises, and accommodation.

Besides that, I also list services and items I use to make my life easier – and I believe they will help you too!

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If I can start a business about something I am passionate about (phone travel), then you can do it too!

Learn About Your Phone Travel Options

You can buy local prepaid SIM cards, international SIM cards, mobile hotspots, or roam internationally.

Each of these options has its pros and cons. Learn more about them, and find the best option for you.

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