Buying a Prepaid SIM Card in Cape Verde Guide

Logos of Telecom Operators in Cape Verde: CV Móvel & Unitel T+

Cape Verde, which is officially known as Cabo Verde, is a wonderful island in West Africa. The isand is famous for the weather, volcanos, and nature.

Often, mobile data is expensive on island nations because those nations often have to rely on satellite links, which are expensive. However, Cape Verde is linked to several submarine cables, which makes internet much faster than satellite internet and cheaper.

You are probably aware that roaming with your provider can be expensive in many cases, which is why many travelers prefer to buy local SIM cards, like a Cape Verdean one.

Mobile data rates are not extremely expensive for African standards, but still cheap compared to the world average.

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

Telecom Operators, Networks, and Frequencies in Cape Verde

Cape Verde Flag

Cape Verde has 2 telecom operators:

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

Both operators have 2G and 3G networks. CV Móvel has a 4G/LTE network. Unitel T+ was awarded a 4G/LTE license after a trial but has not rolled out a 4G/LTE network yet.

The following frequencies are used by the Cape Verdean operators:

  • 2G: 900 MHz & 1800 MHz
  • 3G: 2100 MHz
  • 4G/LTE: 800 MHz (Band 20)

The Best SIM Card in Cape Verde

If you want to buy a SIM card in Cape Verde, then both CV Móvel and T-Mais are good options. CV Móvel has the best coverage throughout Cape Verde. However, speed restrictions apply to their data packs. At the same time, T-Mais does not restrict speeds, which makes them a good option for those who want unrestricted speeds.

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SIM Card Registration Regulations in Cape Verde

Unlike most countries in West Africa, you do not have to register your passport details when buying a SIM card in Cape Verde.

Currency in Cape Verde

Cape Verde uses the Cape Verdean Escudo with the symbol CVE (which will be used throughout this article). Prices in Cape Verde are listed in $. For example, 25 CVE is $25. 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 = 10.15 USD
  • 10 000 CVE = 101.35 USD

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

Cape Verdean Prepaid SIM Cards

Below, I will guide you through CV Móvel and Unitel T-Mais and go through:

  • Background information
  • 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 CV Móvel and Unitel T-Mais have to offer to us.

CV Móvel

CV Móvel Logo

CV Móvel by Cabo Verde Telecom is the largest operator in Cape Verde. They also have the best coverage throughout Cape Verde. CV Móvel’s 4G/LTE network covers 40% of the population.

You can buy a CV Móvel SIM for 100 CVE in CV Móvel stores or any store that has a CV Móvel sign displayed at their storefront. The SIM card comes with 50 CVE in credit. Recharge vouchers are sold 50 CVE with, apparently, no limit. If you top-up amount is between 3000 CVE and 4999 CVE, you will get a bonus of 10% on your recharge. For any recharge amount of 5000 CVE or more, you will get a bonus of 15%.

CV Móvel Mobile Internet (Net N@ Mon -Internet No Telemóvel)

CV Móvel has internet packages called Net N@ Mon -Internet No Telemóvel, which are data-only bundles. All these plans come with speed restrictions. They come in the following variants:

PriceDataSpeeds (Download / Upload)ValidityActivation (SMS to Number)
50 CVE10 MB2 Mbps / 512Kbps1 hourSMS to 2000
90 CVE20 MB2 Mbps / 512Kbps24 hoursSMS to 2010
440 CVE200 MB2 Mbps / 512Kbps7 daysSMS to 2015
500 CVE1000 MB2 Mbps / 512Kbps30 daysSMS to 2020
690 CVE1300 MB2 Mbps / 512Kbps30 daysSMS to 3140
800 CVE2000 MB14 Mbps / 5 Mbps30 daysSMS to 2030
1250 CVE5000 MB14 Mbps / 5 Mbps30 daysSMS to 2090
You send a blank SMS to the number in question.

Do note that all packages auto-renew if there is enough credit. To stop auto-renewal, text DESACTIVAR to the activation number. For example, if you purchased the 500 CVE plan, you would text DESACTIVAR to 2020.

CV Móvel Data-Only SIM Card (Net Móvel 3G) Packages

CV Móvel sells 2 data-only SIM cards:

  • Surf 3G Pré-Pago Livre: “Free,” but requires a data package
  • Surf 3G Pré-Pago Base: 1890 CVE: 6.5 GB for 30 days (7 Mbps download / 1 Mbps upload)

The following Net Móvel 3G packages are available:

PriceDataSpeeds (Download / Upload)Validity
40 CVE25 MB2 Mbps / 1Mbps24 hours
350 CVE500 MB2 Mbps / 1Mbps30 days
490 CVE1 GB2 Mbps / 1Mbps30 days
850 CVE2 GB2 Mbps / 1Mbps30 days
1650 CVE6 GB7 Mbps / 3Mbps30 days
2500 CVE10 GB7 Mbps / 3Mbps30 days

You can activate a Net Móvel 3G package by topping up the amount needed for the package. For example, if you want the 850 CVE plan, you would top-up 850 CVE, and the plan would automatically be activated.

CV Móvel APN Settings

In most cases, your phone will retrieve the correct APN settings automatically. If you need to enter it manually, then you need the following details (do not add anything not mentioned below):

  • APN: internet-aac
  • Username: cvmovel
  • Password: cvmovel

RELATED GUIDES:

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T+ (T-Mais by Unitel)

Unitel T Mais (T+) Logo

T+, which is also known as T-Mais by Unitel, is the smallest operator in Cape Verde. Their coverage is worse than the one of CV Móvel. Although T-Mais has been awarded a 4G/LTE license after a 3-month trial, it seems 4G/LTE has not officially been rolled out by Unitel T+.

T+ SIM cards are sold for a maximum of 200 CVE in T+ stores and other stores that have a T+ sign. The SIM card comes with 50 CVE in credit. It is recommended to specifically ask for a 3G SIM card because retailers tend to give 2G SIM cards by default.

Unitel T+ Mobile Internet

With T-Mais, you get more data by activating a data plan multiples (which does not have to be on the same day). These benefits may not be useful to many travelers, as they tend to purchase a data bundle that covers their whole trip. Still, it is something to be aware of. Below are all the available data packages:

PriceData 1st ActivationData 2nd ActivationData 3rd ActivationValidityActivation (SMS to 707)
50 CVE20 MB20 MB20 MB24 hoursd
70 CVE30 MB50 MB70 MB24 hoursd3
250 CVE250 MB500 MB750 MB7 dayss
500 CVE1 GB1.25 GB1.5 GB30 daysm1
800 CVE2 GB2.5 GB3 GB30 daysm2
1250 CVE3 GB6.25 GB7.5 GB30 daysm3

T-Mais Data-Only SIM Card (Viva+) Packages

T-Mais has a data-only SIM card, called Viva+, which comes with the following bundles:

PriceData 1st ActivationData 2nd ActivationData 3rd ActivationValidityActivation (SMS to 707)
40 CVE25 MB25 MB25 MB24 hoursd
50 CVE40 MB60 MB80 MB24 hoursd4
350 CVE500 MB600 MB700 MB7 dayss
490 CVE1 GB1.25 GB1.5 GB30 daysm1
850 CVE3 GB3.5 GB4 GB30 daysm3
1650 CVE6 GB6.75 GB7.5 GB30 daysm6
2500 CVE10 GB12 GB14 GB30 daysm10

Unitel T+ APN Settings

In most cases, your phone will retrieve the correct APN settings automatically. If you need to enter it manually, then you need the following details (do not add anything not mentioned below):

  • APN: tplus OR tmais

Other Ways to Use the Internet When Traveling in Cape Verde

Getting a Cape Verdean SIM card is probably the cheapest way to connect to the internet when traveling in Cape Verde. However, you can also:

Mobile Hotspots

Mobile hotspots are battery-powered wireless router that allows you to connect your phone, laptop, or tablet without needing multiple SIM cards for those devices to be connected to the internet. They are excellent for those traveling in groups, like friends or family.

You can either buy a mobile hotspot (like the ones I cover in this article) or rent them. As a solo traveler, I barely get a mobile hotspot for myself. When I do, I rent them from Travelwifi, which covers 130+ destinations for as little as $7/day, or Skyroam, which also covers more than 130 destinations, and data starts from $8/day. You can get a discount with Skyroam by using coupon code PHONETRAVELWIZ upon checkout.

Travelwifi banner
Skyroam banner

International SIM Cards & Travel SIM Cards

International SIM cards and travel SIM cards can be a convenient way to stay connected when traveling around multiple countries. Many countries require those buying local prepaid SIM cards to go through a registration procedure, unlike in Cape Verde.

Although I love to collect SIM cards, many do not. So having one SIM card that covers all the destinations you are visiting can be a blessing. I recommend four companies that sell international SIM cards or travel SIM cards:

  • Surfroam: my go-to SIM card when I arrive in a new destination and do not have a local prepaid SIM card yet. Airport WIFI is usually slow, and I am impatient and need to be connected right away. Data for as little as €0.01/MB (or €10.24/GB) in over 200 destinations. Read my Surfroam review.
  • SimOptions: a travel SIM card reseller that sells AMAZING travel SIM cards, covering multiple destinations, for reasonable prices. I have tried multiple SIM cards from SimOptions and have always been satisfied. Check out my review covering SimOptions SIM cards.
  • SimCorner: a travel SIM card reseller, but they also sell local SIM cards of the destination you are visiting and deliver them to your home, which is rather unique. See my SimCorner review.
  • OneSimCard: the ultimate international SIM card. It works in every corner in the world, and you can even buy multiple numbers from different countries and use them on ONE SIM card. A game-changer! See my article analyzing OneSimCard.

Roaming

Roaming with your provider is the most convenient way to stay connected when traveling because you can keep using your SIM card and do not have to buy a new one. However, roaming often results in expensive bills, but that does not always have to be the case. Your operator may offer attractive roaming packages, but it will most likely be more expensive than buying a local prepaid SIM card and getting a data package from a local operator.

I have an article explaining why roaming is so expensive. I also have many articles covering the roaming options of operators around the world, and make a verdict saying roaming can be worth it or not. Finally, I discuss many phone travel tips to keep your phone bills low when traveling.

Free WIFI Hotspots

Using free WIFI connections is the cheapest way to connect to the internet because you do not have to pay anything. However, free WIFI hotspots can be unsecure and unreliable.

You can find many some WIFI hotspots in Cape Verde, but they can be slow at times. Additionally, public WIFI hotspots are unsecure. They are a prime target for hackers to steal your data and use it for illicit purposes, which is why I ALWAYS use a VPN on open WIFI connections (and even on private ones, even at home).

What a VPN does is creating an encrypted tunnel between your device and the hotspot so that your data will stay private. I use NordVPN, and you can get up to 70% off when you get a NordVPN subscription. Get your subscription now!

The Best Way to Stay Connected When Traveling in Cape Verde

Getting a SIM card from CV Móvel (best coverage) or Unitel T+ (no speed restrictions) would do you well when considering a Cape Verdean SIM card.

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Local Prepaid SIM Card in Other African Countries

Going to other countries in West Africa? Check out my West Africa SIM card buying guide, covering other West African nations, such as:

Be sure to check out this guide covering all African countries, such as these popular African travel destinations:

Otherwise, I have many guides covering countries all over the world. Get my SIM card recommendation sheet by signing up for my newsletter!

What is next?

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

Book Your Flight for Cape Verde

It is time to book your flight. Find cheap flights with AirWander so that you can add free or cheap stopovers in destinations you have not considered yet before going to Cape Verde.

Book Your Accommodation for Cape Verde

I am a huge fan of Airbnb because it allows me to live with a local or get a local place for myself. Staying in someone’s house or apartment feels much different than being in a ho(s)tel, especially in Cape Verde. At least, that is how I see it. Moreover, Airbnb can often be much cheaper than staying in a Cape Verdean hotel.

Get Your Travel Insurance for Cape Verde

You will regret not having travel insurance once you actually need it and “forgot” to get it. Nowadays, travel insurance is cheap and comprehensive unlike back in the days. World Nomads is by far the best travel insurance for adventurous travelers like yourself. You can even get insured WHILE already traveling in Cape Verde, which is not something many insurance companies allow you to do.

Get a Travel Debit Card

Travel Cheques are outdated. Paying with your credit card or debit card can be expensive because of all the exchange commissions banks charge you. TransferWise allows you to convert your main currency to Cape Verdean Escudo for a small fee (up to 8 times less than with your bank!) Getting a Transferwise Borderless account is FREE, so you will get an instant return on your investment.

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Enjoy your trip!

Ernest Adu

Ernest Adu, going by just Adu, is the founder and editor at Phone Travel Wiz. He has been a traveler for 6 years. Although from Europe, the Netherlands, Adu's favorite region in Asia, in particular, East and Southeast Asia. He currently lives in Tainan, Taiwan, and plans on exploring Oceania and more of East and Southeast Asia.

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