Getting a mobile phone in Spain

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When we first arrived we just used our UK phone contracts but roaming was costing us £2 a day for each of us (another great result for Brexit!). So this could only be a short term measure. Sooner or later you are going to need a real Spanish phone number as most people will not be too keen on calling your international number.

Spain is very well served by mobile networks, with four of them, plus many companies that piggy-back the networks with their own branding.

The networks are:

Like anywhere else their coverage varies depending on location. I would ask people in your area what they use and what the signal strength is like. No point getting a decent deal, but then finding you can only make calls standing on one leg by the kitchen window!

There are a couple of comparison sites you can use to find contract deals:

We initially tried signing up with FiNetwork who looked to have good deals on the Vodafone network. I started the process and hit the first road block – a lot of the “online only” type need an existing Spanish telephone number to confirm the contract! The input field was limited to 9 digits, the length of all phone numbers in Spain. This meant there was no way to type in my UK number (11 digits) plus the +44 bit.

Alternatively, you can walk into any of the phone shops that you will find everywhere. Just head to your nearest shopping centre (or centro commercial) and you should find plenty of choice. The ones in the touristy areas will be best if your language skills are not up to scratch!

In the end we signed up with a company called Lobster* who specialise in the English speaking expat community. The sign up was very quick, the SIM card arrived the next day. I did have to send a picture of my passport to confirm my identity. This is a bit disconcerting, but is perfectly normal in Spain. Any sort of contract here seems to need a copy of the passport.

The link to Lobster above is a referral link. This means if you use it, you get a 5€ discount, and we get a payment as well to go towards funding this site. It costs you nothing, and there is no obligation, but obviously if you do use it, then we are very grateful! Thanks!

Andy and Fran

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