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Portugal - Premium SMS, Short Code Regulations


The regulations in Portugal caters and covers all of the Mobile Payment types, that includes Premium SMS BillingStandard Rate ServicesShort Codes and WAP Billing.




The National Communications Authority (ANACOM) regulates and oversees the sector of electronic and postal communications in Portugal, ensuring national representation in the various relevant international fora.

Competition promotes and defends the interests of citizens by ensuring the provision of clear information and transparency of tariffs and conditions for using the service.Also aims at the development of markets and communications networks.

To know more about us, see page'' What is the ANACOM ''.

The ANACOM's website on the Internet is an indispensable tool to promote our activity.We aim to provide all the information here that you may be interested. Therefore, given to this site with accessibility features designed to facilitate access by people with special needs. Also we have created a Virtual Tour that ensuring electronic delivery of our services will simplify and decentralize our relationship with users.





NOS Comunicações, S.A. (formerly Optimus) is a Portuguese GSM/UMTS/LTE mobile operator. As of 16 May 2014, Optimus was merged with ZON Multimédia and formed a new company called NOS. Optimus was a wholly owned subsidiary of Sonaecom (a sub-holding of Portuguese conglomerate Sonae).Optimus operation started on September 15, 1998, against the two longer-established operators TMN and Telecel, now a subsidiary of the Vodafone Group. The start was preceded by an intense and original advertising campaign. The form found by the company to bring in customers was the creation of a statute called Pioneiros (Pioneers), where pre-registered customers could make low-cost calls for life, just 5 escudos (0,025 Euro) per minute to other Optimus customers – a fraction of then current mobile tariffs. The campaign also benefitted enormously by parent Sonae owning the Continente chain of hypermarkets, thus reaching mass-market at a cost-effective rates.




MEO - Serviços de Comunicações e Multimédia SA (formerly known as TMN), head quartered in Lisbon, is Portugal's first mobile communications company, both chronologically and in market share.



vodafone-speedcheck.gif       Vodafone

Vodafone Portugal – Comunicações Pessoais, S.A., a full subsidiary of the Vodafone Group, is the second mobile operator in Portugal, both chronologically and in market share (34% in 2006). Its competitors are Optimus and Meo.



Market Statistics


Portugal has a medium-sized telecom market with a strong mobile sector and a growing broadband customer base well served by both the cable and DSL platforms. The development of digital-TV services has progressed under cautious regulatory guidance, with a licence for digital-service transmission awarded to Portugal Telecom in mid-2008. 



Area: 92,391 sq. km.; includes continental Portugal, the Azores (2,333 sq. km.) and Madeira Islands (828 sq. km.); slightly smaller than the State of Indiana; located in Europe's southwest corner bordered by Spain (North and East, 1,214 km.) and the Atlantic Ocean (West and South, 1,793 km.). 
Major cities: Lisbon (capital, metropolitan area pop. 2.1 million); Porto (metropolitan area pop. 1.9 million).
Terrain: Mountainous in the north; rolling plains in the central and southern regions.
Climate: Maritime temperate (Atlantic-Mediterranean); average annual temperature is 61°F. Temperatures may drop into the low 30s (°F) at night during the coldest months, with daytime highs in the 50s and 60s. The remainder of the year is normally sunny with minimal rainfall. Days are pleasant, with temperatures seldom exceeding 95°F, except in the southern interior of the country; afternoons and evenings are breezy, with nighttime temperatures in the 60s and low 70s; May-October (dry and warm), November-April (cool with rain and wind in the north, mild in the south). 



Nationality: Noun and adjective--Portuguese (singular and plural).
Population (2009 est.): 10.6 million. Ages 0 to 14 years--1.6 million (male 830,611; female 789,194). Ages 15 to 24 years--1.2 million (male 609,177; female 585,072). Ages 25 to 64 years--5.9 million (male 2,917,633; female 3,013,120). Ages 65 years and over--1.9 million (male 787,967; female 1,099,715).
Population density: 114 per sq. km. (44 per sq. mi.).
Annual population growth rate (2008 est.): 0.8%.
Language: Portuguese.



Type: Republic.
Constitution: Effective April 25, 1976; revised 1982, 1989, 1992, 1997, 2001, 2004, and 2005.
Branches: Executive--president (head of state), Council of State (presidential advisory body), prime minister (head of government), Council of Ministers.Legislative--unicameral Assembly of the Republic (230 deputies): PS=97, PSD=81, PCP=13, CDS/PP=21, BE=16, PEV=2. Judicial--Supreme Court, District Courts, Appeals Courts, Constitutional Tribunal.
Major political parties: Socialist Party (PS); Social Democratic Party (PSD); Portuguese Communist Party (PCP); Popular Party (CDS/PP); Left Bloc (BE); Green Party (PEV). 
Administrative subdivisions: 18 districts (Lisbon, Leiria, Santarem, Setubal, Beja, Faro, Evora, Portalegre, Castelo Branco, Guarda, Coimbra, Aveiro, Viseu, Braganca, Vila Real, Porto, Braga, Viana do Castelo); 2 autonomous island regions (the Azores and Madeira).


GDP (2010 est.): €160.3 billion (approx. $208 billion).
Annual growth rate (2010 est.): 0.3%.
Per capita GDP (2010 est.): €18,453 (approx. $23,965).
Avg. inflation rate (2010 est.): 1.2%. 
Services (75.4% gross value added: Wholesale and retail trade; hotels and tourism; restaurants; transport, storage and communication; real estate; banking and finance; repair; government, civil, and public sectors. 
Industry (22.3% gross value added): Textiles, clothing, footwear, wood and cork, paper, chemicals, auto-parts manufacturing, base metals, dairy products, wine and other foods, porcelain and ceramics; glassware, technology; telecommunications.
Agriculture (2.3% gross value added): Livestock, crops, fish.
Trade (2009): Exports--€31.3 billion (approx. $42 billion): machinery and tools 16.2%; vehicles and other transport materials 11.8%; base metals 7.7%; clothing 6.8%; plastics and rubber 6.3%; food products 5.9%; minerals and mineral products 5.7%; agricultural products 5.4%; oil products 5.0%; chemical products 4.8%; wood pulp and paper 4.7%; textile materials 4.3%; footwear 4.0%; wood and cork 3.7%; optical and precision instruments 1.1%; skin and leather 0.3%; others 6.3%. Imports--€48.4 billion (approx. $65 billion): machinery and tools 19.1%; oil products 12.7%; vehicles and other transport material 12.2.1%; chemical products 10.3%; agricultural products 9.9%; base metals 7.7%; plastics and rubber 4.9%; food products 4.5%; clothing 3.1%; textile materials 2.7%; wood pulp and paper 2.5%; optical and precision instruments 2.3%; minerals and mineral products 1.6%; wood and cork 1.1%; skins and leather 0.9%; footwear 0.9%; others 3.5%. Export partners--Spain (26.7%); Germany (13.1%); France (12.3%); Angola (7.2%); United Kingdom (5.6%); Italy (3.8%); United States (3.2%); others (28.1%). All EU-27 (74.2%). Import partners--Spain (32.4%); Germany (12.7%); France (8.7%); Italy (5.7%); United Kingdom (5.4%); Netherlands (3.3%); United States (1.6%); others (30.2%). All EU-27 (78%). 
U.S. trade with Portugal (2009): Exports--$1 billion: transportation equipment (22.5%); computer and electronic products (15.6%); machinery and mechanical appliances (10.2%); minerals and ores (8.9%); all others (42.7%). Imports--$1.5 billion: mineral fuels, oils (17.5%); wood products (10.2%); textile mills products (7.9%); chemicals (7.9%); all others (56.5%).
Foreign direct investment (FDI, 2009): Incoming FDI by industry: wholesale and retail 35.9%; real estate, rentals and services to companies 25.3%; manufacturing 22.6%; financial activities 7.2%; transport, warehousing, and communication 3.3%; construction 2.2%; electricity, gas, water 1.3%; other 2.2%. Incoming FDI by country in Euros (total €31.8 billion; approx. $42.9 billion): France 18.4%; United Kingdom 15.6%; Spain 15.2%; Netherlands 15%; Germany 13.7%; Switzerland 4.2%; Luxembourg 3.8%; Canada 2.1%; Italy 2.1%; Belgium 1.8%; Ireland 1.1%; United States 1%; others 6%. Portuguese FDI abroad by country in Euros (total €7.9 billion; approx. $10.6 billion): Netherlands 28.5%; Spain 15.6%; Angola 7%; Brazil 6.8%; Denmark 5.1%; Germany 4%; United States 2.1%; Mozambique 1.8%; others 29.1%)



Market Growth


  General   region↓    Total number of  Internet users  (thousands)↓    Internet Users    per 100 inhab.↓     Total  population  (thousands)↓      GDP per     capita↓      GDP total  (thousands)↓     Mobile subscribers per     100 inhab.↓  Total number of mobile  subscribers  (thousands)↓  Market   Size↓       Market  Growth↓    


Europe   4451   42  10680   20965  223906200  140   14914  Small   Fast  



The Euro (sign: €; code: EUR) is the currency of Portugal, it is divided into 100 cents. It is normally abbreviated with the euro sign €, or alternatively EUR€. The Euro sign must be used when conveying the price to users, e.g. €1.00.

€EUR1 in £GBP

€EUR1 in $USD


Further Information

For a detailed summary of the communications market in Portugal please see for more information.


Approval Process

As part of the application process for a shared code you will need to complete a txtNation Customer Care Form (CCF).


Promotional Guidelines

Each Subscription Services must be given a name. Any such name shall be communicated to Customers in the advertising, website and in the Service Messages. 

Customers must always be clearly informed of the subscription nature of the services, before subscribing. Whenever the price is mentioned (regardless of the support), the Price Effectively Charged shall be displayed.

To start a Subscription Service, the Customer must clearly express his will to activate such a service.

  • Vodafone recommends that after subscribing to the service, each and every Customer should receive a message indicating the service has been activated and including the main characteristics of the service. Subscription Services can be paid either on a periodic* basis or when a message related to the service** is received.

*Periodic – Whenever both the renewal period and the periodicity of the messages received by Customers is previously known and announced to the Customers prior to the subscription. For example weekly subscriptions

**Conditional - Whenever there is not a previously defined periodicity of the messages received. The number of messages sent to Customers depends on the number of events that may occur. Some examples of Conditional Subscription Services are: mail alerts, banking alerts, stock market alerts. For example breaking news alerts that are sent whenever a relevant occurrence occurs

When a Periodic Subscription is renewed, the provider shall send the Customer an SMS message stating the renewal of the service and including other relevant information, as described below.

For un-subscribing, a Customer shall be able to use the same interfaces that are available for subscribing and also the Customer Support Centre. No service may advertise or operate a “minimum subscription period”. Customers must be free to leave at any time.

A Customer Support service must be provided by the Service Provider to clarify and solve Customer issues. Service Provider is the sole entity in charge of handling or addressing Customers inquiries and complaints. 

The Service Provider must keep copies and records of all the subscription messages and/or subscription requested from the Customers.

In order to keep the service database clean and to allow for effective Customer support, the following rules must be implemented: 

  • The Service Provider’s application must analyze the delivery confirmation messages (more info on Technical Requirements Document) and automatically un-subscribe a Customer if for two months the delivery confirmation of the messages sent to such a number mentions that the message was not delivered. If the service generates conditional alerts, the Service Provider must make sure that at least one message per month is sent to each Customer. This message can be a free message sent to the Customer just to make sure that the customer is still reachable;
  • The Service Provider must supply until the 10th day of each month the list of all Vodafone MSISDN registered on the service at the first day of that month. This information must include: MSISDN, service subscribed, activation date (for the subscribed service), number of messages sent (per subscribed service) and date of the last message successfully delivered (per subscribed service). This information must be sent in a file in csv format. Vodafone may request the Service Provider to remove any Customer from the Service Provider’s database. The Service Provider shall confirm to Vodafone, no later than 5 (five) working days from Vodafone’s request, that the identified numbers have been removed from the Service;
  • E-mail un-subscription from Vodafone’s Customer Care – The Service Provider must develop an e-mail interface to allow for Customer un-subscription. If requested by the Customer, Vodafone’s Customer Care should be able to send an e-mail from a predefined e-mail address to a Service Providers’ email address with the following format: “Sair” (MSISDN). Upon receiving this message the Service Provider must un-subscribe the Customer, and send two confirmation messages: one e-mail replying to the request from Vodafone’s Customer Care and one SMS to the Customer, similar to the one the customer would receive if the customer had sent an SMS un-subscribing the service.

The Service Provider shall comply with the applicable legislation regarding unsolicited commercial communications. The service may not be launched while any of the specified requirements are not implemented, after the launch, any breach of these Rules will be subject to penalties. These penalties, which are described in the agreement, may range from financial penalties to immediate service suspension. 

All MT Reverse Billing Services must go through an operational test phase conducted by Vodafone Portugal. During this process Vodafone Portugal will implement an internal trial phase during which all service functionalities will be tested. The Service Provider may be requested to operate the service as if it was in production, so that faults can be identified. Vodafone will only authorize the launch of MT Reverse billing Services after successfully completing the tests.


Message Flow Requirements

The content of the message should be contextualized and make some reference to the content that has been previously purchased. 
Example: The Customer purchases one polyphonic ring tone from “Abba”
- The customer receives a first MT with the download link
- Right after the customer receives a second MT: “Thank you for choosing our polyphonic ring tone. If you want some great Abba wallpapers, just send the code abba to XXXX”
The following rules shall apply to these cases:

  • It is not allowed to do contextual selling on MT Premium Subscription services;
  • It is not allowed to send more than one message per purchase (maximum 160 characters);
  • The contextual selling SMS shall be sent immediately after the first one (5 minutes maximum);
  • The contextual selling SMS shall contain the contact of the Service Provider or the related entity 
    Example: "+Info:21111111"; 
  • The contextual selling SMS shall also identify the simple mechanism to opt-out from the list of the Partner or the related entity;
  • Whenever a Customer opts-out from the Customers list held by the Service Provider or the related entity, the customer shall not receive any other contextual selling messages. 

All MT Service Messages (Subscription confirmation, renewal, Help, Un-subscription and Error messages) must be free of charge to the Customer and written in Portuguese. All Content and Service Messages shall start with the name of the related service. If a Customer sends a service-related message to the short-code of the Content Messages, if possible the message should be accepted and the Customer’s request should be implemented. If this is not possible, the Customer should receive a message indicating the right short-code for service messages.

Service messages with incorrect keywords must generate an help message reply, informing about the correct keywords. In this message, the Service Provider must specifically inform the Customer about the unsubscription keyword. All messages sent to Customers must identify the Service Provider.

For recursive subscriptions, in the beginning of each period, the Customer must be reminded, by a free service message, that the subscription was renewed and that the customer is entitled to access the content for a certain period of time. The following information must be sent in this message:


  • Name of the subscribed service; 
  • Frequency of message delivery/subscription renewal; 
  • Content included in the service; How to unsubscribe the service;
  • Price per period; 
  • Customer support contact;
  • Service Provider Name.
In this message, the Customer must also be clearly informed of the subscription nature of the service.
Within the same Short Code or Brand, Service Providers should observe the following rules:
  • Each subscription content offer must apply to all core content, in other words, it can only exist one single Subscription Service per type of content, for example: Real Tomes, Polyphonic Ringtones, Java Games etc. However, the Service Provider is allowed to offer generic subscriptions that gather different types of content: All offer of Real Tones plus all offer of Java Games.
  •  Multiple Subscription Services should not contain only parts of types of content. Example 1 not to follow: One subscription of Summer Wallpapers and other subscriptions of Funny Wallpapers. Example 2 not to follow: Summer subscription: Summer Ringtones and Summer Wallpapers.
Information recommended to Customers:
  • The Third Parties that offer multiple Periodic Subscriptions (defined above), in the same short code, should send additional information whenever a Customer subscribes his/her second and following services
  •  A list of all active Subscriptions Services must be sent to the Customer, free of charge, informing all the active Subscription Services, the price thereof and the un-subscription information. 
To start a Subscription Service, the Customer must clearly express his will to activate such a service. The subscription process must guarantee that such subscription is being requested by the owner of the handset and has legal binding authority over the contract with Vodafone.When subscription is done via an SMS MO, this message can not be more expensive than the Person-2-Person cost of the Customer’s pricing plan. Regardless of the interface used by the Customer to subscribe to the service, the following information must be included either on the confirmation message set forth in article 9.º A of Law n.º 177/99, 21st May, amended by Dec. Law 63/2009, 10th March or on a confirmation message sent immediately after the subscription has started: 
  • Information that the customer has just subscribed a Subscription Service (in case a confirmation message is sent); 
  •  Name of the subscribed service; 
  •  Frequency of message delivery/subscription renewal; 
  •  Customer support contact

Customers can un-subscribe the service over the same interfaces where they can subscribe the service and also via Customer Support Centre. Should no Customer Support Representative be available in the Customer Support Centre, it shall have an automated un-subcription service that enables Customer to un-subscribe and remove him from the services immediately, SMS un-subscription messages may be charged up to the Person-2-Person price of the Customer’s pricing plan. To simplify the SMS un-subscription processes, the following rules shall be implemented:
  • Any un-subscription process must allow several generic keywords, such as (but not limited to): 
  • The short-code for subscription must be available to un-subscribe the same services; 
  • If the short-code for subscription/un-subscription is different from the short-code from which MT Premium Messages are sent to the Customer, the latter shall also be valid to un-subscribe the service; 
  • If several services can be subscribed in the same short-code, and the Customer sends an un-subscription message with the relevant keyword, the customer must be able to un-subscribe the requested service. If the Customer sends a message only with the general un-subscription keyword(e.g., “SAIR” or “STOP”), or if the customer sends a message with “SAIR TODOS” or “SAIR TODO”, they should be un-subscribed from all subscriptions available through the short-code; 
  • Any un-subscription, regardless of the interface used should generate a free MT confirmation message, to the Customer stating that his/her subscription of the service was cancelled, and should state the name of the cancelled service; 
  • At least the keyword “SAIR” must be communicated in all supports: Advertising, Website, Service Messages and other. 


For recurring subscriptions charged by SMS/MMS MT, during each week (i.e. 7 days), Service Provider will try to send a billing MT message to the Customers with the service subscribed. (Definition: Vodafone considers “Day 1” the day when the Customer’s weekly subscription is due for renewal). The billing message should be sent to the following IP address and Port:

 Validity period for billed messages should be set by the Service Provider’ application. This validity should be 10 minutes (expiration period must always be set to current time plus 10 minutes). For a message expiring on the 10th of January of 2009 at 20:00h the syntax should be:

Member    Presence    Meaning 

VP               O                 Validity period in DDMMYYHHmm

Example: 1001092000

This means that the message will expire at 20:00h. The time zone is always the official Portuguese time zone. Service Provider can charge the Customer in Day 1, and if it is unsuccessful, can retry once more every second day.

While using any of Vodafone’s payment methods, should the Service Provider not be able to charge one week (week 1), the customer can not try to charge the Customers in week 2 for week 1’s subscription using Vodafone’s payment methods. In week 2, the Service Provider can only charge for week 2’s subscription.


Billing Types

We operate Mobile Originated (MO) and Mobile Terminated (MT) billing on dedicated lines in Portugal. See forum entry "What are the SMS billing types available?" for more information on these billing types. 


Service Types

Without prejudice to the compliance with the laws applicable to competitions and contests, the following rules apply to any competition or contest promoted or carried out by the Service Providers or any related entities:

  • The Service Providers shall never make use of, nor allow Third Parties to use, any database that has been created, consolidated or otherwise collected during a previous SMS action, except if the Customer has given his/her express consent during such action (via letter, online, SMS, etc.);
  • If the Customer, during any such competition or contest, has expressly given his/her consent to receive in the future any messages from the Service Providers or an entity working with the Service Providers, the general rules set out above shall apply;
  •  If the Service Providers intend to use the MSISDN repeatedly during the action, the Customer shall be informed thereof through a reply SMS-MT, that further messages will be received for the duration of the action. In this case the general rules set out above shall apply.

You can find more information regarding competitions on section 1.3 of the link below.

Adult Services:
Vodafone Portugal takes very seriously all adult content related issues and has participated in a number of international and local initiatives aimed at providing a safer and a more responsible environment to distribute content to Customers, thus protecting minors from having access to content that is not suitable to them. In this regard Vodafone Portugal has signed a national self-regulatory Code of Conduct on Safer Mobile Use aimed precisely at ensuring safer mobile use by young teenagers and children. As a result all Adult Content Services launched or operated by mobile content providers through Vodafone’s networks shall be carried out in strict compliance with:

  • Portuguese laws and any other applicable laws, not only concerning event and content classification, but also relating to advertising and the provision of Premium Services;
  •  Vodafone’s specific rules for Adult Content Services (reflected in these Guidelines) - Vodafone Portugal believes that a special duty of care shall be taken into account in the promotion of the above services, in particular by addressing the concerns relating to child protection;
  • The Code of Conduct on Safer Mobile Use. 

By issuing these Guidelines Vodafone Portugal aims at contributing towards high levels of transparency and minor protection concerning Mobile Adult Content.

The following chat services shall fall under these Guidelines: 

  • Chat services that are actively operated and promoted by Third Parties and targeted to adult (e.g. chat services where the Service Provider generates content to interact with the customers);
  •  All other chat services that Service Providers wish to include in this range of Adult Content Services. 

To promote Adult Content services:

  • Adult Content Services, and their promotional documentation cannot contain references which suggest or imply that the services are suitable for persons under 18 years of age;
  •  The advertising materials should be in line with the content that will be delivered if the Customer chooses to purchase (i.e., the promotion should not promise content that is above the 3.2 classification in Annex I and the content samples being presented in the advertising should be as reliable as possible to the content being sold to Customers). The content samples being presented in the advertising should be as reliable as possible to the content being sold to Customers. 


Opt-in Process

A change in law in Portugal (September 2011) has meant that all 3 operators have implemented service blockage for (and only for) new MSISDN's purchased by consumers. This means that existing mobile subscribers can still transact. You can find the relevant law as a document attached at the bottom of this document and here.

Operators, as of as show of goodwill, for the affected new MSISDN'S (that is new users since September 14th 2011), upon attempting to use a premium SMS service will be blocked, and via a free SMS message they are invited to call the operator to remove the block. Then they can use Premium SMS, however it can take up to 24 hours to activate. 

There have been uncertainties about if this change in law would also affect existing network subscribers, however at this time it is looking unlikely.

It is likely that the case will also be presented to the European Commission to declare the new law invalid and retrieve any kind of blocking of Premium SMS services. 



The current Portuguese rate of tax is available via Wikipedia. The out-payments on our rate cards are exclusive of VAT, so if you are VAT registered you can claim a higher out-payment than is shown.


Short codes and Keywords

On our shared code in Portugal we operate on a 5 digit short code for each carrier, 68XXX. The full short code is provided on application.  Adult content is possible with the activation of an adult short code.

61XXX Donation Services / 62XXX Non-erotic MT billing service / 68XXX Non-erotic MO billing service / 69XXX Erotic MT and MO billing.


Dedicated Codes 

Dedicated codes are available with a 10 - 12 week lead time depending on carrier availability, the carriers approve based on their backlog, the time of year, price point and service type. You can read more about Short Code Coverage, SMS Billing Services and Mobile Payments in the Portugal via the txtNation Gateway.


Portugal has the following Mobile Payment options available, all of which fall under these regulations.

    • Premium SMS (P-SMS) including Short Code services
    • WAP Billing

Additional options for Mobile Payments and Messaging in Portugal include:

    • HLR Lookup
    • Bulk SMS
Note: This page is updated as frequently as possible when we are informed from the regulators or mobile operators in Portugal of a change or update in regulations. There may be a latest version of Premium SMS, Mobile Payments or Short Code Regulations in Portugal. Please contact your account manager for more information.
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