Mobile Internet and cellular communication in Spain for tourists: how to choose an operator and tariff
Mobile communication in Spain

Mobile Internet and cellular communication in Spain for tourists: how to choose an operator and tariff

It is expensive to use the services of Russian telecommunications operators while on vacation. It is more profitable to buy a SIM card from a local operator. I will tell you which tariff and which operator to choose in Spain, where to buy a SIM card and how to top it up.

There are four major cellular operators in Spain, covering 99% of the territory: Vodafone, Orange, Movistar and Yoigo. In addition to them, there are more than a dozen virtual operators in Spain: these are companies that do not have their own technical infrastructure, but work on the networks of the main mobile companies (in fact, renting them) and due to low costs can provide more interesting tariffs and better service.

Peculiarities of cellular communication in Spain

In Spain, most communication services are provided through contracts (contrato) for at least one year. To do this, you must be a resident of the country and have a Spanish bank account. Often, together with the contract, operators offer in installments tampered smartphones, which «see» the network only of the operator that sells them, and will not work with SIM cards of other companies.

A less popular option among Spaniards is to buy a prepaid SIM card (prepago). However, even foreigners can buy such a SIM card.

When choosing a tariff plan with Internet, pay attention to whether it uses VoIP protocol. Without it, it will be impossible to make calls via messengers (Viber, Watsapp, Skype).

Which operator should I choose?

Local residents prefer large operators because of the better quality of communication. Virtual cellular companies receive the network capacity that remains after the main operator’s subscribers have been served, so the quality of connection of a virtual operator in Spain may be poor.

Virtual operators in the fight for customers offer lower tariffs for their services, including calls to other countries. If you plan to make calls to your home country, before buying a SIM card, make sure that Russia is among the countries with low call costs.

Yoigo Service Center
Yoigo Service Center

Where to buy a SIM card (tarjeta) in Spain

Local SIM cards can be purchased:

  • In the service and sales centers of four major telecom operators. You can connect to the operator whose sign is placed at the entrance.
  • In «The Phone House» chain of stores. Here you can compare the offers of the main operators and buy a SIM card of any company.
  • In locutorio (Locutorio) is the equivalent of an internet cafe, where you can buy and use communication services.
  • On the website of the telecom operator. If you order online, the SIM card will be delivered by courier.

When buying a SIM card you will need a passport and a place of residence in Spain, a hotel address will do.

Best fares for a tourist trip to Spain

Tourists most often need tariffs with low cost of calls to Russia and favorable Internet traffic.

What to do in Spain? Our articles about the country of jamon and rioja.

If you need to call from Spain to Russia

Orange has the best offer among the main operators. The line of tariffs with favorable packages of Internet and calls to Russia is called Mundo. You can choose one of the suitable options:

  1. 3GB of internet per month for 7 €
  2. 7GB for 10 €
  3. 10 GB — for 15 €.

Calls to Russia on Mundo tariffs cost 0.29 € per minute to mobile and 0.07 € per minute to Russian city numbers.

The best offer among virtual operators is the Lyca Globe line of tariffs from Lycamobile. A monthly package costs from 5 € for 1 GB and 100 minutes to Russian city numbers and up to 20 € for 12 GB and 2000 minutes.

If you need internet in Spain

Internet is cheaper at Vodafone and Movistar, but they are not suitable for calls to Russia.

Vodafone operator on Vodafone Yu tariffs offers:

  • 5 GB of internet and 15 minutes to any number in Spain — 10 € per month;
  • 15 GB and 60 minutes within Spain — 20 € per month.

In summer, Vodafone sometimes gives extra traffic to subscribers who continue to use the tariff for more than one month.

You can purchase one of the prepaid monthly plans from Movistar:

  1. 5 GB and 20 local minutes — 10 €
  2. 7 GB and 40 minutes — 15 €
  3. 15 GB and 80 minutes — 20 €.
Movistar Sales Center
Movistar Sales Center

Important points

  • When calling from Spain to Russia, remember to dial the subscriber number correctly: +7 (city or operator code) phone number.
  • Roaming has been canceled in Europe, but not all SIM cards will work abroad in Spain. If you plan to use your SIM card in other countries, please check this when you buy it.