Phone calls in Brazil


The Brazilian telecommunication sector, once entirely government owned, is today fully liberalised. It offers advanced telecommunication facilities although not necessarily at a reasonable price.

Due to privatisation measures which have affected the Brazilian telecommunications market there are numerous fixed line and mobile providers available in Brazil. Despite the competition and the wide access to fixed line phones, costs are relatively high and the number of fixed lines per 100 people is very low.

How to make national calls in Brazil

The Brazilian states are assigned different telephone operators, each one having their individual prefix. If you are making a long distance-call (any call outside your area code) this prefix has to be dialled together with the long-distance prefix (0) and the individual phone number. Here are the area codes (DDD –Discagem Direta a Distância) and the operators codes for Brazil’s major cities:

  • Brasilia: 14 (Oi) + 61
  • São Paulo: 15 (Telefônica) + 11
  • Rio de Janeiro: 21 (Embratel) + 21
  • Salvador: 21 (Embratel) + 71
  • Fortaleza: 21 (Embratel) + 85
  • Recife: 21 (Embratel) + 81

This means if you want to call a number in Rio de Janeiro you have to dial:

 0 + 21 + 21 + [phone number]

Here  (in Portuguese) you can find more phone call codes for cities and states in Brazil.

How to make international calls from Brazil

The same procedure with the operators’ prefixes applies when calling another country from Brazil. Instead of the long-distance prefix (0), dial the international calling prefix (00) followed by the appropriate country code, area code, and local telephone number. Thus to make a call from Brazil to the UK, for instance, dial:

00 + 44 + area code + phone number.

How to make international calls to Brazil

The country code for Brazil is +55. To dial to Brazil from a foreign country dial:

00 (IAC-International Access Code) + 55 + area code + phone number.

VoIP Calls from Brazil

As it is very expensive to make international calls from a Brazilian fixed-line phone, VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) solutions such as Skype or MSN Messenger have become a popular alternative.

To make free internet calls both you and the person you are calling must have the same programme installed. In addition you need of course internet access, headphones and a microphone. It is also possible to use VoIP to call mobile and fixed line phone numbers. Whereas this service is not free the fees are still cheaper than using a phone.

Further reading

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