Last week, the Brazilian Minister of Communications announced that soon foreigners would be able to purchase Brazilian SIM cards for their cellular phones. The SIM card is the chip placed in cell phones that provide the carrier information to make and receive calls. When travelling internationally, you can take out your SIM card, purchase one in the other country, and then make and receive calls via a local number provided by a carrier in that country.
Many of us used to do this in Brazil with no problem; however, about five years ago, I noticed my phones would not work in Rio. I went to the phone store and was told I had to present a CPF, the Brazilian national ID card, before I could have my phone activated (actually re-activated because it used to work). People told me that Brazil had become more vigilant about who could use cell phones because criminals were abusing the SIM card process.
But with the upcoming World Cup, and Olympics, the nation has seen fit to once again relax the regulations, allowing us to purchase SIM cards for our phones!