If you choose to spend a significant amount of time in the country, then getting a Spanish SIM card is one of the most practical and sensible decisions you can make. Spain is, for many reasons, a fantastic country to explore. Not being able to connect can be a wonderful excuse to switch off. If you are out in another country, stuck in its mountains or the hectic streets of the city then being unable to read your emails can be a great opportunity to reconnect with the world and yourself.
However, at the end of the day you will probably need to navigate. Using mapping applications and browsing the web for tourism advice is a necessary part of travelling, these days. In the past, due to expense, many travellers would wait until they were at a cafe or restaurant and use any available WiFi. Nowadays, though, a cheap Spanish SIM card with large data packages and constant, reliable connectivity is widely available. In this article, we are going to talk about all the prepaid SIMs on offer. In Spain, what you are looking for is called Tarjeta SIM Prepago.
What is on offer?
The traveller has four main telecoms providers in Spain. They will find:
As one of the most established providers in the country, Movistar generally has the best coverage, although Vodafone and Orange are not far behind. Movistar offer 4G/LTE speeds through large parts of the country including areas that seem like blind spots. Although their offers change, they are one of the more expensive of the bunch.
Orange has a very reliable service throughout the country; in both the cities and countryside. It has some good deals and it is difficult to go wrong with this long-established, international brand.
Vodafone offers good value and reliability. They are well connected throughout Europe so if you travel into other countries, you will not be left without service. Expect to pay between €10-15 for a good size data bundle.
Yoigo, on the other hand, has great connectivity in the cities but is somewhat lacking in more rural spots. They are, however, a little cheaper than the other main three. If you are not planning on leaving any of the main cities, then they could be a good option to go for.
Most plans will come with unlimited calls and messages but nowadays it is really only the size of the data package that people care about. Think carefully about how much data you are likely to use, and choose a package based on that.
How do you pick up a Spanish SIM card?
SIM cards from the four main providers are pretty widely available everywhere in Spain. They are generally all for sale either in authorised, branded shops or in local news and snack vendors. They are usually either free or you pay a nominal fee of up to €5. When picking up your chosen SIM prepago, the vendor will ask you for a form of ID such as a passport or national ID. If you have a home in Spain along with official residency they will ask you for your NIE number or residency card.
If you are living in Spain long term, it may be worth considering whether a fixed contract might be right for you. Fixed contract plans often come with new phones either free or for very low initial payments. However, you will have to sign a contract, usually between 18 – 24 months. For this reason, we can only recommend this route iyou are living in Spain permanently. This is one essential that an expat cannot do without.
Allow yourself to make the most of your time
Whether you are in Spain on holiday or living in the country, finding a Spanish SIM card is a very simple process. It is worth obtaining one, for the ease of being able to get around and keep contact with your travel companions. Often most importantly, though, is the need to share your amazing time with people back home on social media. Make sure you get yourself a package with enough data to make everyone jealous.