Using phones in Spain

Updated 2021-06-11 13:58

One of the first things you'll want to do when you arrive in your new country is get connected. You may be away from friends and family, but they are only at the other end of a phone line. Keep in touch with them and your new friends and colleagues in Spain by plugging into the country's extensive and highly developed telecommunications network. Take your pick from the many landline and mobile operators and monthly and yearly plans they offer. 

Do your research to discover the best phone package options for your needs and budget. You might find some information to help you make your decision on the Spain forum.

Landline options in Spain

If you plan to stay long-term in the country, a landline (known as teléfono fijo in Spanish) might be a good option for you. Movistar, a major telecommunications company owned by Telefonica, installs many landlines. However, there are many phone service providers up and down the country. In some cases, you will need a landline installed to use the internet at home, whether or not you want one. However, some telecom providers can get you online without the need for a landline. Before moving into your home, check whether a line has been installed. If there is a "live" and functioning line, the company will transfer the account from the previous occupant to yours.

The Spanish telecommunications market is highly competitive. Therefore, it is a good idea to devote time to compare offers. Check out the websites of different providers or visit their branches. 

To apply for a landline in Spain, you will need to produce your passport and provide proof of your address. You will also have to submit your bank account details if you wish to pay your bills by direct debit.

Note that installation can take at least a week, depending on the company and the region where you live.

Warning:

Installation is generally free of charge, but you will most likely have to pay a small monthly fee for line rental.

Calling abroad from Spain

International calls are pretty expensive with most service providers. Therefore, to cut down on your phone bills, use internet services such as Skype, WhatsApp and social media messengers. International prepaid cards are also available.

Good to know:

Important numbers in Spain include 112 (all emergencies - operators speak in multiple languages, including English) and 092 (local police). You can reach 112 even if your mobile doesn't have a Spanish SIM.

Mobile phones in Spain

Spain has a well-developed mobile phone network with plenty of operators offering a variety of plans. Mobile networks and carriers in the country use GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications), UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System) and LTE (Long-Term Evolution). So, if you're phone is incompatible, you will have to get a SIM card for Spain. In some cases, you may have to unlock your mobile to accept a Spanish SIM card. Alternatively, change your phone once you're in the country.

Take your time choosing a provider because there are many choices and some good deals out there. If you don't want to lock yourself into a contract, buy prepaid cards for your mobile. You can top them up online or in a variety of locations such as shops and supermarkets.

Good to know:

WhatsApp is the leading messenger service in Spain, used by 33 million people.

Payphones in Spain

Payphones in Spain are no longer considered an essential service and are being phased out. As of 2021, only 14,824 telephone booths were stationed throughout the country, which recorded 0.17 calls per day. That's an average of one weekly call per inhabitant. It is expected that the phones will be scrapped and taken offline. Telefonica, Spain's largest telecoms operator, may leave the booths standing. In a pilot project in Andalusia, some of these structures were used as charging points and tourist information points. However, currently, it is not known whether this will be their future.

Useful links:

Telefonica

Vodafone

Orange

Movistar

Amena

Pepephone

Yoigo

Lobster

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.