Reduce your roaming bills by using a local SIM.
Spain is one of Europe’s top tourist destinations, with lots to see and do across the country. With so many stories to tell family and friends back home, your call and roaming rates can escalate during trips abroad. Spain has some great prepaid SIM card deals that could reduce your bills. You can buy 1GB of data from Spain’s leading telco provider for as little as EUR7 (AUD$10.50). So, whether you’re planning a short holiday, a long trip or a tour around Europe, check out the best SIM card options on finder.com.au.
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Telco providers in Spain
There are four main operators in Spain: Movistar, Vodafone, Orange and Yoigo. All four operators have been tried and tested by both locals and travellers, so you won’t go wrong with our picks. Network coverage and Internet speeds are good throughout the entire country. Please note that Spain is part of the EU roaming pact, which means its prepaid SIM cards can be used in other EU countries at similar rates. All four operators have some great deals, and we have highlighted the best offers below.
All four operators offer prepaid SIM cards, and you can buy them from stores, supermarkets, kiosks, drug stores and official outlets, as well as at the international airports. 2G, 3G and 4G plans are available on all networks for unlocked GSM phones. You can buy a SIM card by showing your passport, and your telephone number is already active when you purchase it. To add credit, there are several prepaid card machines around various towns and cities, and vouchers are stocked in stores and supermarkets. Prepaid SIM cards can also be used on all Spanish islands, including the Canary Islands. The only difference is that local taxes vary depending on where you are.
Beow, we have broken down each telco provider to highlight exactly what they can offer you during your stay in Spain.
Vodafone is the largest provider in Spain. It offers customers 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE services on a GSM platform. Vodafone’s network coverage is the best, and its Internet speeds are the fastest. Prepaid SIM cards can be purchased from official stores and approved resellers, and your passport must be shown before the SIMs can be activated. Credit can be found at the same retailers plus most supermarkets, corner stores and petrol stations.
The “Vodafone yu” prepaid SIM card is quite popular in Spain, especially with the younger crowd because of its cheap offers and promotions. SIM cards can be purchased for EUR12 and come in the following packages. Each is valid for 28 days:
|Yuser||1.2GB||20 minutes of call time||EUR10|
|Superyuser||2GB||50 minutes of call time||EUR15|
|Megayuser||3.5GB||100 minutes of call time||EUR20|
All prepaid packs allow free calls and texts to other Vodafone yu numbers. Dial *525*5# and choose the relevant pack to activate.
There is also the Vodafone fácil prepaid SIM card, which can be purchased for EUR5 and comes with the same amount of credit. This SIM card charges calls at EUR0.06 per minute plus EUR0.18 per call. Dial *626# to activate this low-call-rate option.
Data packs come in many shapes and sizes, but 300MB data packs can be purchased for EUR5, valid for 30 days. Dial *313*22# to activate the plan. There are also bunny booster data packages that can be purchased for EUR2 with 200MB per day.
In addition, there is a combo voice and data prepaid SIM card available called International Smartphone, which can be purchased for EUR15 and contains 2GB of data, 50 local minutes and 50 international minutes to 35 countries, valid for 30 days.
The Internet Móvil Prepago data-only SIM card can be purchased for EUR15 and comes with 1.5GB, valid for 3 months. The following data add-ons can be purchased:
|750MB||EUR10||Activation - Text ‘C AVA’ to 2207|
|1.5GB||EUR15||Activation - Text ‘C PRE’ to 2207|
Vodafone’s APN for smartphones: airtelnet.es, APN for modems or routers: ac.vodafone.es
Yoigo offers some highly competitive packages and deals. It provides customers with 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE services on a GSM platform. Its network coverage is good, and Internet speeds are fast. Prepaid SIM cards can be purchased from official stores and approved resellers, and your passport must be shown before a SIM can be activated. Credit can be found at the same retailers plus most supermarkets, corner stores and petrol stations.
Prepaid SIM cards can be purchased for EUR20, which comes with the same amount of credit uploaded. If you bring your own Spanish number over, then the SIM will only cost you EUR15 and you will also receive EUR20 credit.
|La Prepago de 1GB||1GB||20 minutes||EUR8.50|
|La Prepago de 2GB||2GB||50 minutes||EUR10|
|La Prepago de 4GB||4GB||100 minutes||EUR15|
Yoigo also offers some great EU roaming packs. Check in the store at the time of purchase, as these offers change from time to time.
Yoigo’s APN: internet, and website: http://www.yoigo.com/
Orange is one of the most popular providers in Spain and offers some of the best packages. It offers customers 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE services on a GSM platform. Its network coverage rivals Vodafone, and Internet speeds are fast. Prepaid SIM cards can be purchased from official stores and approved resellers, and your passport must be shown before the SIM can be activated. Credit can be found at the same retailers plus most supermarkets, corner stores or petrol stations.
Prepaid SIM cards can be picked up for free, but packages must be purchased before they can be activated. At least EUR10 must be added to all prepaid SIM cards before they can be used. Dial *111# to check your balance.
The Mundo prepaid SIM card is quite popular and comes in three different sizes. The standard data rate is charged at EUR3 for 100MB per day. The following data packs can also be added:
The following combo plans can also be added:
|Go Walk||1.5GB||20 minutes of call time||EUR9.95|
|Go Run||2.5GB||40 minutes of call time||EUR14.95|
|Go Fly||3.5GB||80 minutes of call time||EUR19.95|
You can also pay EUR4 for 500MB of data, valid for a month. These smaller data packs can be added multiple times. Text “ALTA BONO 500MB” to 1470 to activate.
Roaming in all EU countries is currently active without any additional surcharges. "Orange Everywhere" is available for roaming outside of the EU. For EUR5, you will receive 100MB of data to use in the following countries: Canada, Switzerland, China, Japan, Mexico and the Dominican Republic. Text “EW” to 22095 to activate. Text “BAJA EW” to the same number to deactivate.
The "Holiday" tourist SIM card is also a good option. For EUR35, you will receive 6GB of data, 30 minutes voice in Spain and 30 minutes voice to 45 other countries, valid for 30 days.
Orange’s APN: orangeworld, and website: http://m.orange.es/
Movistar is another huge international provider operating in Spain. It offers customers 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE services on a GSM platform. Its network coverage is reliable, and the Internet speeds are good. Prepaid SIM cards can be purchased from official stores and approved resellers, and your passport must be shown before a SIM can be activated. Credit can be found at the same retailers plus most supermarkets, corner stores and petrol stations.
Prepaid SIM cards can be purchased for EUR10, which comes with the same amount of credit. Dial *123# to check your balance. Credit is valid for six months, and the SIM card will discontinue if you haven't used it within that same time period.
The following prepaid data plans are available:
- Habla 6: No base rate, data only at the default rate of EUR3 per 300MB, or add a weekly package of 200MB: EUR1
- Tarifa #1: 1GB, valid for 30 days on 4G/LTE: EUR9
- Tarifa #2: 2GB, valid for 30 days on 4G/LTE: EUR15
Movistar’s APN: movistar.es, and website: http://www.movistar.es/
Some top tips from finder.com.au staff
- The official language is Spanish. If you don’t know the language, then you may want to download Google Translate onto your phone before you travel. English is also widely spoken.
- Locals call a SIM card a “Karte” or “SIM”.
- Ask the sellers to set up the SIM card for you, because they will know how to do it. If not, follow the instructions we have highlighted above or go to the official operator website to get advice.
- Remember, arrive at the store before it gets too busy; that way you are more likely to receive better service and avoid the crowds!
TripAdvisor tips for the best SIM cards and where to buy them
While it’s well known for reviews, booking hotels, flights and holidays, TripAdvisor also has many user comments that can help guide you through which of the SIM cards have been tried and tested in Spain.
“I used a Movistar prepaid Sim – it was only $10 or so and had a whole month of data. I got mine at a large store across from the Bank of Spain in Plaza Cataluña. Everyone there spoke perfect English, they made it easy and also set up the settings for my APN for internet. Start to finish only 20 minutes.”
“If you have an unlocked phone, it is the only way. If your phone is locked then your choices are more limited. Maybe pay to have your phone unlocked then buy the Spanish SIM card.”
“I purchased a Vodafone prepaid SIM card from the Crystal shop at Barcelona airport (it's opposite the big information counter and opens really early - was there at 7:30am and it was open). The guy at the shop punched the micro into a nano SIM card size, and activated the card for me as well. It cost 15 euros for 1GB data and 60 min of calls for both national and international calls. It worked well the entire trip including side trips to Toledo and Segovia.”
Pros and cons of Spain’s top telco providers
- Good value for money
- Spain has good coverage
- Prepaid credit when required
- No in-store contract needed
- Could be compatible with your current phone
- Cheap handsets are sold in stores
- EU roaming options on all networks
- No devices offered with the SIM card packages
- Can only be used on SIM-unlocked GSM phones
- ID and registration required to use the SIM cards
More questions about finding the best SIM?
Q: What about other SIM card providers in Spain?
A: There are several mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) providing SIM cards in Spain, including Tuenti, Másmóvil, HappyMóvil, Digi Mobil, hits Mobile, Lebara móvil, Lycamobile and many others. Those are all run through the base providers we have highlighted above. Although you may find slightly different deals and plans, we feel it’s always better to stick with the main providers. However, if you do find a better deal on one of these operators, they can be trusted.
Q: What should I do if I lose my phone in Spain?
A: Your phone is your lifeline, especially when travelling around Europe. Make sure you keep it safe and always make a note of where it is. The importance of having a direct link to family and friends via social media or through phone services can never be underestimated! If you do lose your phone, then retrace your steps and ask around. If you don’t have any luck, then report it missing. Finally, find a cheap replacement to keep in touch with the outside world, and don’t let this one out of your sight!