Depending on your network, it can cost up to £2.47 per day to use your phone in Spain. We review the best SIM cards for using your mobile phone in Spain.

Spain continues to be the top destination for British holidaymakers, with more than 18 million Brits visiting every year. Whether you’re there to enjoy the food and culture, or there to enjoy the seaside resorts in the Canary Islands and along the Costa del Sol, you’ll probably want to use your mobile phone whilst you’re there.

On most major UK networks, European roaming charges have now returned. This means it can cost up to £2.47 per day to use your UK SIM card in Spain. This can add an extra £17 to your phone bill for a one-week trip or an extra £34 for a two-week trip. Thankfully, it’s possible to side-step these charges by getting a £1.29 Pay As You Go SIM with inclusive roaming in Spain. Alternatively, you can get a local SIM card on arrival in Spain, with plans available from €10 per month.

In this article, we’ll look at the multiple ways to use your mobile phone in Spain. We’ll compare the costs of roaming on a UK SIM card and review the best UK plans for roaming in Spain. We’ll also look at how you can get a local SIM card in Spain and the coverage that’ll be available on it.

Best Spain SIM Card: Lyca Mobile (UK-based SIM)
Recommended Plans:
Inclusive Features:
  • Pay just £1.29 for up to 30 days use in Spain, Europe & the UK.
  • Use your inclusive minutes to call home to the UK & locally in Spain.
  • Get instant delivery with eSIM & use it alongside your current SIM.
  • No contract & no credit check. Cancel anytime.
Compatibility: Works with most unlocked smartphones (including iPhone & Android)
Free SIM Card: Get Lyca Mobile SIM (from £1.29 per month) →

Using Your Mobile Phone In Spain

If you’re planning a trip to Spain, there are three ways to use your mobile phone whilst you’re there:

  • You can roam on a UK-based SIM card. This is the easiest and most straightforward way to use your phone in Spain. You’ll have a UK-based phone number (+44) and you’ll pay your UK mobile network for usage.
  • You can buy a Spanish SIM card on arrival. You can get a SIM card from one of the local mobile networks in Spain on arrival. You’ll get a Spanish phone number (+34), along with large data allowance (e.g. 40GB data for €10). You will, however, need to buy and register the SIM card with your passport on arrival, which can be a bit of a hassle and take some time.
  • You can buy a low-cost eSIM for Spain. You can get an fully-featured eSIM from Lyca Mobile, or a data-only eSIM from Airalo. This saves you time and money but you’ll need to have an eSIM-ready phone to use it.

The following table shows a side-by-side comparison of the three options:

Roaming on a UK SIM card Buying a Spanish SIM card on arrival Buying an eSIM to roam in Spain
Best for most short-term visits to Spain.
Best for extended trips & heavy data users.
Best if you’re departing soon and want an eSIM quickly.
You’ll have a UK-based number (beginning with +44). You’ll have a Spanish number (beginning with +34). You’ll have a UK phone number (+44) with a Lyca Mobile eSIM.
Some UK networks charge up to £2.47 per day. However, others allow you to roam at no extra cost in Spain. Plans start from €10 per month. You can get a SIM card from Movistar, Orange, Vodafone ES or Yoigo. Get an eSIM from Lyca Mobile or Airalo. Plans start from £1.29 per month with calls, texts & data.
You can roam in Spain for up to 60 days every 120 days. A fair use limit will apply. Use your phone in Spain for as long as you like. Best for long trips and heavy data users. Good for short term use in Spain (up to 60 days every 120 days).
There’s no hassle: just set up & activate your UK SIM card before you depart. You’ll need to buy & activate your SIM card for Spain on arrival (e.g. at a phone store). You can set up and activate your plan on any compatible eSIM-ready phone.
No need to register with the authorities in Spain. You’ll need to register the SIM card with the Spanish authorities. No need to register with the authorities in Spain.

If you’d like to use your mobile phone in Spain with the least amount of hassle, we’d normally recommend roaming on a UK-based SIM card.

If your mobile network will charge you extra for roaming in Spain, consider getting a one-month Pay As You Go SIM card with inclusive European roaming. For instance, Lyca Mobile offers a Pay As You Go SIM from £1.29 per month (this is a special offer for April 2024). You’ll get inclusive roaming in Spain & other EU destinations:

NetworkMinutesTextsDataMonthly Cost
LycamobileUnlimited
+100 intl.
Unlimited10GB
(10GB roaming)
£1.49
for 3 months, then £5.90/month
LycamobileUnlimited
+100 intl.
Unlimited15GB
(12GB roaming)
£1.80
for 3 months, then £8.50/month
LycamobileUnlimited
+100 intl.
Unlimited20GB
(12GB roaming)
£2.39
for 3 months, then £7.90/month
LycamobileUnlimited
+100 intl.
Unlimited88GB
(12GB roaming)
£8.00
LycamobileUnlimited
+100 intl.
UnlimitedUnlimited
(35GB roaming)
£9.99
for 6 months, then £25/month

There’s no contract and no credit check on Lyca Mobile. This means you can change or cancel your plan at any time. On top of that, you can choose a Lyca Mobile eSIM for greater convenience, or a normal SIM card if you prefer:

  • Get a Lyca Mobile eSIM for instant online delivery. If you have an eSIM-compatible phone (such as the iPhone 11, Galaxy S20, Pixel 3 and newer devices), you can order a Lyca Mobile eSIM. With the eSIM option, you simply need to scan a QR code on your phone. You’re then ready to save money on your trip abroad to Spain. In many cases, you’ll also be able to use the Lyca Mobile eSIM alongside your current SIM card through dual-SIM functionality.
  • Get a physical SIM card in the post. If you choose a physical SIM card, this will be sent out to you through the post. You can expect it to take up to 5 working days for the SIM card to arrive (though it will normally arrive faster than that). A physical SIM card will work inside any unlocked mobile phone (there’s no need to have an eSIM-ready phone).

See all Lyca Mobile SIM & eSIM Deals →

Roaming On Your UK SIM Card

The easiest way to use your mobile phone in Spain is through international roaming on a UK-based SIM card.

As a result of the UK leaving the European Union, most of the major UK networks now charge you extra for using your phone in Europe. This means you might need to pay up to £2.47 per day to use your phone in Spain.

Roaming Charges In Spain

The following table shows the cost of using your mobile phone in Spain, along with the coverage available and the fair usage limit on each network:

Network European Roaming Cost Roaming Coverage Fair Use Limit For Data
ASDA Mobile No extra cost 4G & 5G 5GB per month
BT Mobile No extra cost 4G 15GB per month
EE £2.47 per day1 4G & 5G 50GB per month
giffgaff No extra cost 4G 5GB per month
O2 No extra cost 4G & 5G 25GB per month
iD Mobile No extra cost 4G Plan dependent – check here
Lebara Mobile No extra cost 4G 30GB per month
Lyca Mobile No extra cost 4G Plan dependent – check here
SMARTY No extra cost 4G 12GB per month
Sky Mobile £2 per day 4G
Talkmobile No extra cost 4G & 5G 5GB per month
Tesco Mobile No extra cost2 4G
Three £2 per day3 4G 12GB per month
Virgin Mobile No extra cost 4G & 5G Plan dependent – check here
Vodafone £2.25 per day4 4G & 5G 25GB per month
VOXI £1 – £2.25 per day5 4G & 5G 20GB per month

When you’re using a UK SIM card, there’s a fair use limit in Spain. You’ll be able to use up to your UK plan allowance or up to the fair usage limit each month, whichever one is lower.

In addition, you’ll need to spend the majority of your time inside the UK (normally measured as 61 days over a 120-day period). If you spend more than 50% of your time in Spain, you’ll need to get a local SIM card from one of the Spanish mobile networks instead.

Notes:

  1. EE: On EE, you’ll pay £2.47 per day to use your mobile phone abroad in Spain, unless you have the Roam Abroad add-on or Smart Benefit. You’ll continue to have free European roaming if your EE Pay Monthly plan started before the 7th July 2021.
  2. Tesco Mobile: From 2024, Tesco Mobile will introduce charges for roaming in Spain and other European countries. This will apply to all customers who joined or upgraded after the 16th June 2022.
  3. Three: On Three, you’ll pay £2 per day to use your mobile phone in Spain. This is unless your Three Pay Monthly plan started on or before the 30th September 2021 (if this is the case, you’ll benefit from inclusive roaming across Europe). You’ll also get inclusive roaming on Three’s Value and Complete Pay Monthly plans.
  4. Vodafone UK: On Vodafone’s UK plans, you’ll pay £2.25 per day to use your mobile phone in Spain. This is unless you have a Pay Monthly plan with 4 Xtra benefits, or a Pay Monthly plan taken before the 11th August 2021.
  5. VOXI: On VOXI, you’ll normally pay £2.25 per day to use your mobile phone in Spain. However, you can reduce this to as little as £1 per day when you buy a VOXI European Roaming Pass.

Best Roaming Deals For Spain

If your mobile network still allows you to roam at no extra cost when you travel to Spain, you’re probably best off using your normal SIM card when you’re there.

If they’ll charge you extra, consider getting a Lyca Mobile UK SIM card or eSIM to save money.

On Lyca Mobile, you can get a Pay As You Go SIM card from just £1.29 per month. You can use this at no extra cost in Spain. It means you’ll pay less for a whole month’s usage on Lyca Mobile than you would for just a single day of roaming on the larger providers.

The following table shows a selection of Lyca Mobile’s Pay As You Go plans:

NetworkMinutesTextsDataMonthly Cost
LycamobileUnlimited
+100 intl.
Unlimited10GB
(10GB roaming)
£1.49
for 3 months, then £5.90/month
LycamobileUnlimited
+100 intl.
Unlimited15GB
(12GB roaming)
£1.80
for 3 months, then £8.50/month
LycamobileUnlimited
+100 intl.
Unlimited20GB
(12GB roaming)
£2.39
for 3 months, then £7.90/month
LycamobileUnlimited
+100 intl.
Unlimited88GB
(12GB roaming)
£8.00
LycamobileUnlimited
+100 intl.
UnlimitedUnlimited
(35GB roaming)
£9.99
for 6 months, then £25/month

There’s no contract and no credit check when you join Lyca Mobile. You can also change or cancel your plan at any time.

See all Lyca Mobile SIM Only Deals →

Buying A Spanish SIM Card On Arrival

If you’re planning to use lots of data in Spain, or if you’re staying for an extended amount of time, it can be worthwhile getting a local SIM card from one of the Spanish networks. You can get a prepaid plan from €10 per month with lots of data included on it.

Here are the key things to know about getting a SIM card in Spain:

  • You’ll need to get your SIM card on arrival. You can go to an official phone store or reseller to get your prepaid SIM. The cheapest place to get a SIM card is in the city centre. Alternatively, you might be able to get one at the airport but it’s likely you’ll be charged extra for it. You can also get a prepaid SIM from supermarkets and corner shops, but these can be difficult to activate (see the next point).
  • You’ll need to register & activate the SIM with your passport. All local Spanish SIM cards need to be registered with your ID. The easiest way to do this is to bring your passport to an official phone store when you buy the SIM card. If you do this, they’ll be able to register the SIM there for you on the spot. If you buy your SIM card elsewhere (e.g. at the supermarket), you may need to bring it on a separate trip to the phone store for activation (as online activation won’t normally be possible if you’re a visitor to Spain).
  • You’ll need to get a pre-paid SIM (Prepago). As a traveller to Spain, you’ll need to get a pre-paid SIM card. It won’t be possible to get a contract plan (contrato) unless you have a Spanish bank account. If you want to top-up your SIM card, ask for ‘recargas’. You’ll probably need to top-up in person at a store as most UK bank cards cannot be used for topping up online.
  • Prices vary if you’re visiting the Canary Islands. Prices will be slightly lower if you’re buying a SIM card in Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria or Lanzarote. This is because they have a lower rate of sales tax (7% IGIC). This compares to the 21% IVA which is charged on the Spanish Peninsula and on the Balearic Islands. Advertised prices normally include 21% IVA.

There are four main networks you’re able to choose from for your local Spanish SIM card: Movistar, Orange, Vodafone ES and Yoigo.

In the following section, we’ll look at their prepaid plans in more depth.

Movistar

Movistar is Spain’s largest mobile network. They’re generally a good bet if you’re looking for a prepaid plan in Spain as they have some very competitive deals (such as 40GB data for €10). They also have the most extensive mobile coverage in Spain, though you’ll be limited to their 4G+ network as a prepaid customer (5G is only available on contract).

The following table shows Movistar’s pre-paid plans from €10 per month:

Network Minutes Texts Data Bundle
Cost
Unlimited
+200 intl.
Unlimited 40GB €10.00
1 month
Unlimited
+400 intl.
Unlimited 80GB €15.00
1 month
Unlimited Unlimited 140GB €20.00
1 month

If you’re looking to get a Movistar SIM card, you can use the store locator on their website to find a nearby shop.

Orange

Orange is Spain’s second largest mobile network. They also offer some competitive pre-paid plans with 4G coverage, starting from €10/month for 25GB of data:

Network Minutes Texts Data Bundle
Cost
Unlimited Unlimited 25GB €10.00
1 month
Unlimited Unlimited 50GB €15.00
1 month
Unlimited Unlimited 100GB €20.00
1 month

It’s also possible to get an Orange Tourist SIM card. On the tourist SIM cards, you’ll get a small allowance of minutes that can be used for calling internationally (including back home to the UK). You’ll also get unlimited data for the duration of your plan. The tourist SIM card costs €15 for 5 days or €25 for 15 days:

Network Minutes Texts Data Bundle
Cost
50
local & intl.
Unlimited Unlimited €15.00
5 days
200
local & intl.
Unlimited Unlimited €25.00
15 days

You can use Orange’s store locator to find a nearby store. They also have a website in English that can make it a little easier to find information about their plans.

Vodafone ES

Vodafone’s Spanish mobile network offers 5G-ready Pay As You Go plans. This is the best option if you’re looking for the fastest data speeds in Spain, as both Movistar and Orange limit their Pay As You Go plans to 4G coverage.

The following table shows the Pay As You Go plans available from Vodafone in Spain:

Network Minutes Texts Data Bundle
Cost
300
local & intl.
Unlimited 25GB €10.00
28 days
800 Unlimited 50GB €15.00
28 days
Unlimited Unlimited 100GB €20.00
28 days
Unlimited Unlimited 120GB €30.00
28 days
Unlimited Unlimited 150GB €40.00
28 days

You can use the store locator on Vodafone’s website to find a nearby store.

It’s worth noting that Vodafone Spain is a separate network from Vodafone UK. Therefore, if you have a handset that’s locked to Vodafone in the UK, it won’t work with a Vodafone Spain SIM card unless you unlock it first.

Yoigo

Yoigo is Spain’s fourth and smallest mobile network. There are few reasons to choose a Yoigo SIM card on your trip to Spain as they have poorer coverage and smaller data allowances on Pay As You Go.

The following table shows Yoigo’s Pay As You Go plans:

Network Minutes Texts Data Bundle
Cost
Unlimited Unlimited 10GB €10.00
1 month
Unlimited Unlimited 20GB €15.00
1 month
Unlimited Unlimited 35GB €20.00
1 month
150GB €35.00
1 month

You can find your nearest Yoigo store using the locator on their website.

Other Networks

Alongside the four main networks, there are a number of smaller providers in Spain. They include Lebara Mobile Spain (which uses the Vodafone network) and Lyca Mobile Spain (which uses the Yoigo network). In both cases, you’ll find it easier getting a SIM card from the UK branches of Lebara Mobile and Lyca Mobile (as there’ll be no local ID registration required in Spain on the UK SIMs).

There’s also Lobster which calls itself the “full English mobile network”. They’re aimed at expats and they offer all of their plans along with customer support in English.

If you’re only visiting for a short amount of time as a tourist, we’d recommend sticking to one of the three big networks (Movistar, Orange and Vodafone ES). They have the most stores dotted across Spain so you can usually get a SIM from them without too much hassle.

If you’re planning to stay in Spain for an extended amount of time, it may also be worth investigating one of the smaller Spanish networks. For instance, you might be able to get a cheaper plan for less than €10/month. Alternatively, there are plans with inclusive international minutes or other features that might be beneficial for your stay (e.g. bundles that also include broadband and TV).

eSIMs for Spain

If you have a fairly modern smartphone with support for eSIM technology, you can get an eSIM plan to save money on your trip to Spain.

The biggest advantage of getting an eSIM plan is the fact it’s available straight away as an over-the-air download. There’s no need to wait for a SIM card to arrive in the post, or to waste time getting a SIM card from the shop when you arrive. You can also use the eSIM plan alongside your current UK SIM card. This means you can continue receiving incoming calls and text messages on your normal number.

Lyca Mobile’s UK network offers fully-featured eSIM plans that allow you to call, text and use data at no extra cost in Spain. You can get a Lyca Mobile eSIM from £1.29 per month, with no contract and no credit check required:

NetworkMinutesTextsDataMonthly Cost
LycamobileUnlimited
+100 intl.
Unlimited10GB
(10GB roaming)
£1.49
for 3 months, then £5.90/month
LycamobileUnlimited
+100 intl.
Unlimited15GB
(12GB roaming)
£1.80
for 3 months, then £8.50/month
LycamobileUnlimited
+100 intl.
Unlimited20GB
(12GB roaming)
£2.39
for 3 months, then £7.90/month
LycamobileUnlimited
+100 intl.
Unlimited88GB
(12GB roaming)
£8.00
LycamobileUnlimited
+100 intl.
UnlimitedUnlimited
(35GB roaming)
£9.99
for 6 months, then £25/month

See all Lyca Mobile eSIM →

An alternative option is getting a data-only eSIM from Airalo. Offered under the Guay Mobile brand, you’ll get access to 4G coverage from Movistar network when you use a Guay Mobile eSIM on your phone. However, they’re data-only plans so you won’t be able to call or text on a Guay Mobile eSIM.

The following table shows the eSIM plans that are available from Guay Mobile (via Airalo):

ProviderMinutesTextsDataPlan
Cost
AiraloNoneNone1GBUS$4.50
(~£3.60)
valid for 7 days
AiraloNoneNone2GBUS$6.50
(~£5.20)
valid for 15 days
AiraloNoneNone3GBUS$8.50
(~£6.80)
valid for 30 days
AiraloNoneNone5GBUS$11.50
(~£9.20)
valid for 30 days
AiraloNoneNone10GBUS$18.00
(~£14.50)
valid for 30 days
AiraloNoneNone20GBUS$26.00
(~£20.90)
valid for 30 days

As a special offer for April 2024, you can enter the KEN10 voucher code at checkout to get a 10% discount on your Guay Mobile eSIM. This offer is only available to new Airalo customers. If you’re an existing customer of Airalo, you can use the KEN5 voucher code to get a 5% discount.

Get Guay Mobile eSIM →

Handset & Network Compatibility

If you’re currently using your smartphone in the UK, it will also be compatible with the mobile networks in Spain. This is because the Spanish mobile networks use the same bands and frequencies that are in use within the UK.

The following table shows the bands and frequencies that are in use in Spain:

Network Provider 5G Bands 4G Bands 3G Bands 2G Bands
Movistar NR band n78 LTE bands 3, 7, 20 WCDMA 900, 2100 GSM 900, 1800
Orange NR band n78 LTE bands 3, 7, 20, 42 WCDMA 900, 2100 GSM 900, 1800
Vodafone ES NR band n78 LTE bands 3, 7, 20, 28 WCDMA 900, 2100 GSM 900, 1800
Yoigo NR band n78 LTE bands 3 WCDMA 2100 GSM 1800

You can check your handset manufacturer’s spec sheet to see a list of bands supported by your phone.

If you’re using a different SIM card for the duration of your trip abroad, you’ll need to make sure your handset is unlocked.

More Information

At present, Lyca Mobile UK is our recommended SIM card for usage in Spain. You can get a plan from them for just £1.29 per month, with inclusive roaming in Spain.

For more information, you can also see our in-depth guides to international roaming and our guide to roaming charges in Europe.

Your Comments 114 so far

We'd love to hear your thoughts and any questions you may have. So far, we've received 114 comments from readers. You can add your own comment here.

  • Tesco changing EU roaming charges now Ken and giffgaff reducing their allowance to just 5gb a month. You could offer free EU roaming and just give 100MB data which would suite me as just need to whatsapp etc.. It looks like tesco are going down the road of at the minute charges.

  • Mike Williams said:

    Every time I go to Spain for long vacations I use Lobster. They have good coverage, everything is in English (which is much appreciated). I order the SIM, pay the 28 days upfront and they ship it to the hotel. I am pretty happy with them.

  • Hi Ken

    Which other UK mobile operators sims use the local Orange network in Spain – other than three?

    Many thanks

  • Ken
    At the moment l use mas movil but it seems expensive. I require a Spanish service whilst I’m here which is usually 3 to 4 weeks at a time about 5 times a year not specifically to call the uk as l have an english phone as well
    When l am in the uk l leave the spanish phone on in case lreceive any calls
    So what sevice would you recommend inthe marbella area
    Thanks
    Richard

    • Dario R Melkuhn replied:

      Try Lebara, I am surprised that they are not mentioned in this article. They have some good pay as you go plans such as All in one 10, 10 euros gets you 3gb data and 500 mins national and international calls. Lasts for 30 days and life is very simple if you download their app. Web site in English and Spanish

  • Ken
    I have a holiday home in Spain & am now looking at getting a 4G Mobile wifi hotspot. We will be over 7-8 times a year, ranging from short weekend breaks to longer vacations of 3-4 weeks. I don’t really need a phone – but will need lots of data for family to keep in contact via social media & for me to be able to do some office-based work. It feels like Pay-as-you-go is the best bet, but who offers best data only tarrif? Any recommendations for hardware?

    • Hi Gordon,
      Thanks for your comment. Were you hoping to use mobile broadband whilst you were in the UK as well, or will it simply be whilst you’re over in Spain? If you prefer, a UK provider will allow you to use mobile broadband at no extra cost whilst you’re travelling in Spain (see my recent guide to UK mobile broadband providers & options).
      If it’s purely for usage whilst you’re over in Spain, I’m afraid I wouldn’t know enough to be able to recommend a provider. However, someone else reading this article might be able to provide a recommendation?
      Ken

  • I plan to be in Spain for around two months. In the UK I use 1p mobile which allows roaming in Spain at 1p per minute for voice, 1p for messages and 1p for data. The only commitment is to spend £10 each 4 months. It seems to me that this is the cheaest way to keep in touch with the UK from Spain but not particularly useful for Spain where the charge, f I’ve understood roming corretly, would by the UK international calling charge of 9p per minute.

    If I understand Tuenti correctly I could use it in my seconds sim slot to allow Spanish sim card users to contact me as they may be put of by the cost of dialling a UK mobile number. For €21 I can buy 20Gb data which would be more than adequate to handle correspondence and property searching for to months and with a Spanish number I overcome the problem of local calls being routed through UK. What I’m not clear on is whether the data package really gives free Spanish calls?

    • Hi Will,
      Many thanks for your comment! Regarding 1pMobile, the requirement is to top-up your phone with at least £10 of credit every 120 days (this is subtly different from actually having to spend it, though of course you will need to spend the credit eventually!). I believe you’ll also pay the 1p rate when calling other Spanish phone numbers whilst you’re Spain (this is because EU legislation requires these calls to be charged at the normal UK rate).
      Regarding the question about Tuenti, I’ll leave this to someone who knows more about their offering, assuming of course it still makes sense to use it given 1pMobile’s rates in Spain.
      Ken

  • I am now living in Spain but have to call the UK every day. I am looking for a unlimited calls and text any ideas what is option is. Thankyou

  • Digi mobil is the best PAYG that I can find for Spain. It uses the Movistar network.
    There is a low 12c set-up fee for local or UK calls, plus 2c/min to Spanish or UK landlines, 5c/min to Spanish mobiles and 6c/min to UK mobiles:

    https://www.digimobil.es/tarifas.php?act=tarife-nationale
    https://www.digimobil.es/tarifas.php?act=tarife-internationale

    Data starts at 2GB/month for 5 euros and features data rollover. There are also combo tariffs which include data and UK/local calls.

    https://www.digimobil.es/tarifa-diginavega.php
    https://www.digimobil.es/tarifa-digicombo.php

    It must be topped up at least once every 6 months and this can be done online from the UK using a UK credit card.

  • Doug Clarke said:

    Ken, I live in Dubai and my daughter has just moved to Minorca with her mum. I need to get a SIM card in order for her to set up whatsapp so we can chat (Skype is Banned in UAE). What’s the best and most cost effective way to get a SIM card – is there a pay as you go option. Thanks for your feed back.

  • Donald Bryce said:

    Hi, I am moving to Spain and would like some info on how to move my current number to a Spanish sim card, if that is possible.
    I am not techy in any way, so an answer in plain language , poo bear can understand would be appreciated.
    Thanks

    • Hi Donald,
      Many thanks for your comment. Unfortunately, you can only transfer your UK phone number to other UK-based SIM cards. For this reason, it won’t be possible to transfer it over to your Spanish SIM. You can get around this a number of ways e.g. leaving your UK SIM card active and using it whilst you’re over in Spain, having a message on the voicemail to tell people you’ve changed number, or using the call forwarding feature to re-direct your calls to a Spanish number (though this is likely to be fairly expensive).
      Ken

      • Donald. I’ve been living in Spain for almost two years. I’m still using my Giffgaff card from the UK. If you buy a basic “goodybag” online (£5 p/m) you can call anywhere in the EU for around 3p/p/m. Texts costs around 1p. Most of my UK-based family and friends use Giffgaff… and they can call me, UK to Spain, for free. No Spanish networks come close to these prices. The catch(s) is/are that your Spanish friends might not want to call/text you on a UK number and Giffgaff roaming data is expensive. So, get a Spanish PAYG sim (Tuenti is a good option) and, like me, a dual sim phone (or just use two phones) and you’re covered. P

  • The best deal is digimobile 20e gives you 2000 mins international calls landline or mobile ,500 texts,free digi to digi ,and 10 gb of data…..

  • Not sure if anyone knows, can I use my monthly data allowance to tether / create a hot spot on my phone while in Spain?

    Thanks

  • Thanks ken for this amazing post

    I’ll stay in spain for 7 days and i only need a good internet network for using the maps and social networks, so which network do you recommend for me ??

    Thank you in advance

    • Hi Sarah,
      Are you travelling from the UK? If so, you can now use your normal UK SIM card at no extra cost when travelling to Spain which will save you the hassle of getting a SIM card when you’re there.
      Hope this helps!
      Ken

  • Hi Ken, what about Lebara in Spain? Does lebara cover all of Europe? I’m traveling from Australia and very expensive fees from our service providers. I do have a giffgaff sim when in the U.K., but given I plan to be in Spain for several weeks, I’m thinking a local sim the only way to go.

    • Hi Jane,
      Many thanks for your comment. Are you talking about Lebara Spain or Lebara UK? Unfortunately, I don’t know that much about Lebara Spain, but if they offer a roaming service then it should cover the whole of Europe. SIM cards from Lebara UK should work abroad, including in Spain and across the rest of the EU.
      Hope this helps,
      Ken

      • David C King replied:

        Hi Ken

        A very useful article, thanks! My experience of using a Lebara Pay As You Go Spanish SIM has been dreadful. Just about everything that can go wrong does go wrong. First, I couldn’t top-up on-line before a return visit to Spain (I visit Spain often, and when there I often need to be contacted on a Spanish number, but not often enough to warrant a contract). Later I signed-up for automatic top-up, but that didn’t work. Once again I’m unable to top-up on-line. Customer “service” is just awful. Personally, I would never recommend using Lebara to anyone. Interestingly, there’s quite a voluble debate about just how bad Lebara SIMs are on Trip Advisor.

  • Hi Ken.

    I am heading to France and Spain for 7 weeks to do the Camino de Santiago. My carrier (Freedom Mobile Canada) has a world traveller option. That is $8 per month, plus $.25cdn to call per minute, $.20 to text and data $.25 per megabyte. Here to jail break my phone would be $30 cdn then buy a SIM card and two months of service. I will only turn data on say if I am lost and need a map… the odd text, as my friends will think I cannot be reached, a call ahead to an albuergue once a day, maybe one to book a train and Air B&B in Madrid and a couple to change my flight home. Calls home to Canada are at the same rate as the others. Seems like it is not worth it at all to buy a SIM card? I have no idea how big a meg of data is but that will be used sparingly… wait for wi-fi. So Ken do you imagine at all that I am barking up the right tree here?

    • Hi Grant,
      For a 7-week trip, I’d personally try to get a European SIM card. This will potentially give you lots more flexibility, and should cost you in the region of €10 to €15 per month. If you think you can get the required service & flexibility from using a Canadian SIM card then this should be the benchmark against which you compare the cost (if the charges on your Canadian SIM card will still be lower than using a European SIM card, then it may not be worthwhile getting another SIM card).
      Hope this helps!
      Ken

    • Thank you Ken for a most informative article.
      I am from Canada & will be spending a week in Spain followed by a week in London,
      my question is, can a Vodafone Tourist SIM card purchased in Spain function in the UK?

      • Hi Shane,
        Many thanks for your comment. Unfortunately, I don’t have a definitive answer to your question! I believe it should probably work in the UK (I’m assuming this because most UK-based Pay As You Go services will allow you to roam when abroad). For a definitive answer, it might be worth checking with Vodafone directly (e.g. when buying their SIM card after your arrival in Spain). Alternatively, someone else reading this article might have the answer to this?
        Ken

        • The Tourist Card I acquired from Vodafone in Puerta del Sol/Madrid functioned flawlessly in Spain. I didn’t realize that the card I purchased allowed phone calls to Spanish numbers only. Regardless, in London it provided steady 4G signal for internet access/surfing, Facebook, Messenger etc. In Kent the signal was much weaker, video chat was not possible.
          So, the take-away message is verify all chip characteristics before you purchase.

  • Hi Ken,

    Thanks for the informative site.

    I live in the USA and will be traveling to Spain and other EU countries.

    Do you happen to know if I purchased a Vodafone SIM card which would make more sense for return trips?… i.e. do the “Yu” SIMS make more sense (as compared to the Tourist SIM) if the card will sit dormant for a bit? Or is it necessary to pay a monthly fee for each of these?

    I’m accustomed to in the past needing to merely recharge the card every few months, but that was a few years ago.

    Any tips appreciated.

    — madison

    • Hi Madison,
      Many thanks for your comment. I’d recommend confirming the details with the local Vodafone store, but I believe it is also possible to top-up and recharge a Vodafone Tourist SIM card. I think, therefore, it’s simply a matter of which tariff is better for you (though of course, there could be additional terms that I’m not aware of).
      Ken

      • Thanks again, Ken.

        I’ll check with Vodafone when I get to Spain, and if I have anything interested to report back later, I’ll post here again.

        Regards,

        — madison

  • i have an unlocked mobil and i’m with Three in UK. I’m in Spain for 2 weeks this July. I want to use the net on my laptop by tethering to my mobile. I dont think this in included on Three’s Free to Roam? please confirm? also, if not, which prepaid deal ca i buy and take with me which will allow tethering? thanks, will need to do some work whilst im there..

    • Hi Dom,
      Many thanks for your comment. As of June 2017, it’s possible to tether in Europe if you have an Advanced Pay Monthly plan on Three (just like as if you were using the handset in the UK). If you’re a customer on Pay As You Go, tethering is available for 1p/MB. My review of Feel At Home here has a summary of the latest tethering policy post-June 2017.
      With regards to tethering on the Spanish mobile networks, unfortunately I’m not an expert on this topic (probably best to ask on an online forum for people living in Spain!)
      Hope this helps!
      Ken

  • Hi, Ken,
    I’m not from the (from the US), would some of your tips apply to my sister and I? We will be in Spain for almost 17 days this fall.
    Thank you in advance for your response.
    Tala

    • Hi Tala,
      Absolutely! You can pick up a SIM card when you arrive in Spain (I’d just compare the cost of doing this to the cost of roaming on your normal US SIM card). The bit that won’t really apply to you in this article is the discussion of using a UK mobile network when abroad in Spain.
      Hope this helps,
      Ken

  • Kat Aspridi said:

    Hi Ken

    is there a spanish sim card that can provide unlimited data for at least 2 weeks (or more)?

    I am currently in the UK and use the ‘all in one 25’ add on from three that offers unlimited internet usage but I am not sure if I will still have unlimited data while in spain.

    Many thanks
    Kat

    • Hi Kat,
      Many thanks for your comment. Yes, unfortunately, I think Three will only allow you to use up to 9GB/month of data in another country if you’re a Pay As You Go customer (this used to be 12GB but changed very recently). I’m not aware of any SIM cards providing unlimited data in Spain, though perhaps someone else reading this might know of a solution?
      Ken

  • Hi Ken,

    I posted a comment recently in your Roam Like Home section saying how I now use Digi Mobil in Spain for their low call establishment fee and good data and combo packages. I also gave the following link:

    http://prepaid-data-sim-card.wikia.com/wiki/Spain

    This may answer some of the other questions here, such as which networks do the Spanish MVNOs use, how to set APN for Spanish networks and where to find places which stock their SIM cards.

    It is easy to buy unlocked smartphones in Spain (they are called ‘libre’) and a good source is ThePhoneHouse:

    http://www.phonehouse.es/moviles/moviles-libres.html

    Hope this is useful

    Regards

    Chris

    • Hi Chris,
      Many thanks for your contribution & the super helpful links – this is very much appreciated by everyone here!
      Ken

  • HI Ken,

    My daughter is in Spain for a week and needs a decent wifi service to access some online training for herself and a colleague.

    Not sure how many gig they will require.

    Have you any suggestions.

    Many thanks,

    Malcolm

  • Paul Darling said:

    Hi Ken. Great article and very useful. I’m an O2 customer in the UK with ‘unlimited everything’ and, with ‘O2 Travel’, I was expecting unlimited data usage in Spain for our 2 week holiday in Murcia so I was looking forward to using Google Maps on Movistar and surfing the web freely. On the very first day, I discovered that the ‘unlimited data’ is anything but, due to the speed being “throttled” after just 30 minutes 3G use, making it virtually unusable on Movistar. Do you possibly have any input or suggestions on how I can improve this? This seems completely unfair and I feel misled by O2, having just renewed my contract with them for this very reason, being unaware of this awful and frustrating policy. I’m now stuck with an O2 locked iphone 7 plus which I can’t use. If you were me, what would you do? Thank you in advance. Paul

  • Hi, you may need to review Movistar. It is a bit different from your review nowadays. Recently they have changed to tarifa 1 first €9 a month with 1gb 4g data and $15 a more than for 2gb data. Calls to UK are now 6.05cents per min (to landline and mobile I think) with 36.30cents establishment charge. This is a lot better value than what Movistar prepaid used to be. Orange mundo seem to have increased per min to UK landline slightly, I think it’s now 5cents per min which is more than a year or two ago I believe. Orange is good for validity though as you can keep it active by only topping up once a year whereas most others are 6 months. I have used all three networks and all have been good, Movistar tends to have less English assistance but since they have restructured their pay as you go tariffs i think they are a good option now in line with the other networks.

  • ken i have to say how much i have learnt from reading the comments & your reply’s to them
    we are off to tenerife next january for 6 weeks ,the apartment has only complex internet available so i have been looking at a pre paid data sim for my mifi dongle ,i have found a 120gb card on a Spanish site costing 99 euro it is they tell me using Vodafone network
    i know that you have said you are not as informed regarding data as voice call but maybe others have used his card ,we only require data do not need voice calls as these are free on the internet
    thanks pat

  • Hi Ken

    You have an extensive knowledge of how sims operate in Spain, I’m hoping you can help me with my question.

    I live in Spain but travel back to the UK regularly. At present I have a Spanish Vodafone PASYG sim and I still have my EE monthly sim (low cost). I need one sim so that can make calls and have internet access here in Spain and the same when I go to the UK. I also need my UK family to make calls to me in Spain without them being charged a ridiculous amount of money.

    Is there one sim that fits this scenario?

    Thanks
    Dee

    • Hi Dee,
      Thanks for your comment. For the time being, you’re probably best off staying put on your two separate SIM cards. The reason being that everything will change on the 15th June 2017 (basically, all EU-based mobile networks will need to scrap roaming charges in the EU). The details are still being finalised, but you can expect to see a lot of changes in the next half year. For instance, you should in theory, be able to use either your UK or Spain-based SIM card.
      Ken

  • Nancy B. mentioned using lebara.es in a message dated back in September 12, 2016.

    Thank you for this information.

    I’m heading to Spain end of February 2017 from the US and have checked out lebara.es. I’ll be staying in Barcelona and Alicante for 12 days. Lebara’s plans look like the best option.

    How far in advance can I purchase the sim card? They’re having a promotion right now till the end of January.

    Kind regards,

    Robin

  • Stephen Ellerington said:

    If I buy a Three mobile sim for £10 do I need to top up by a further £10 to get 1GB of data to use in Spain?

    • Hi Stephen,
      Thanks for your comment. Did your SIM card come with £10 of credit, or did the SIM card cost £10 with no inclusive credit? Basically, you’ll need to convert £10 of credit into an ‘All in One 10’ bundle to use the Feel At Home offer. Once you’ve done that, you’ll be able to use the allowances abroad in Spain.
      If you’re not sure how much credit you have, you can find out by calling 444 on your Three device.
      Hope this helps,
      Ken

  • Hi – We have a holiday home in Spain, and so use a Movistar pay as you go sim whilst there.

    Which is the best value where the SIM lasts as long as possible (not 30 days only) as we don’t always use up the whole amount each holiday.

    Also we’ve been using an old Nokia up to now, but have now an unlocked iPhone 5 ready to use ? How do we get our existing number (if possible) linked and working to the best Pay as you go tariff ??

    thanks – helen

  • Hi Ken, I’m from the UK and going to Las Palmas, Gran Canaria in 3 weeks and will be there for about 3 months. I currently have a basic monthly contract with EE. I am not so bothered about contact with the UK as I use email on my laptop for this. My main usage is for calls and texts to friends living in Las Palmas. I’d prefer not to change my UK number but this is not essential. I also do not want any incoming caller/texter to be charged for contacting me. Please advise the best option for me on my 4G Smartphone.
    Also, I take my laptop with me but the apartment I am renting does not have wi-fi. What is the best, (ie least hassle) way of getting wi-fi for my laptop, and are there package options which could include both Smartphone and Internet connections for my laptop?
    Very many thanx for your assistance.
    Joyce

    • Hi Joyce,
      Thanks for your comment. Are you by any chance able to have two handsets whilst you’re out in Spain? (You could consider a dual-SIM handset like my highly recommended Moto G4). I think the best option is probably to get a Spanish SIM card for your everyday usage there, and then keeping your UK SIM card for incoming calls from people in the UK (EE will charge you 1p/minute for this whilst you’re in Spain).
      Hope this helps,
      Ken

  • Hi Ken,

    I am looking to move to Spain and was wondering if you knew of a good local Spanish SIM deal (pay as you go or contract) either through an MNVO or a more established provider. I will be making a lot of overseas calls so either a Lebara or Lyca equivalent in Spain OR a call plan that has a lot of data (e.g. 8gb per month) so that I can call on the go either via whatsapp or through Skype. Have you got any recommendations? Is there a Lebara or Lyca equivalent in Spain? Looking forward to hearing from you and thank you in advance for your advice.

    • Hi Frank,
      Thanks for your comment. I believe Lebara Mobile and Lycamobile are also available in Spain, but I haven’t spent long enough there to give you any feedback on them (also on whether there are other networks that might be a better deal). Perhaps someone else reading this article might be able to help with your question?
      Ken

  • Hi,

    I am planing to travel to Madrid and Barcelona from Dec 22nd to Jan 1st, 2017. I currently live in the US and hoping to use my unlock Iphone 7 plus for mostly data usage and my ipad for the same purpose.
    I have a skype plan called : spain unlimited min mobile and landlines for 12.99 a month to call anyone in spain if i need to and also i will use my Skype North America Unlimited mins mobiles and landlines for $6.99 just in case i need to call the USA.
    Like i said, mostly I am looking to buy a sim card with min of 2gb or more for data usage. Any recommendations? Thanks

    Hugo

  • Hi Ken
    Am planning to visit Spain next year to do the Camino and will need 4G data only (6 weeks usage) as i don’t know a single soul in Spain n very unlikely need to make calls. any recommendendation… much appreciated

    • Hi Terry,
      You can either use a local SIM card from Spain or you can get a Feel At Home SIM card from Three in the UK. If you need 4GB of data, Three’s £20 deal is a pretty good choice (it comes with 12GB of data). However, if you need 4G data speeds, I’d recommend going for one of the Spanish networks.
      Hope this helps,
      Ken

  • We recently booked with Internet in Spain and they have a fantastic service. Extremely easy to book, get set up and use. With their SIM card you get 2 GB/day (which is more than enough) with 4G connection. It was delivered to our apartment and was easy to return. We would recommend it to anyone!
    Just to add that the website is http://www.spaininternet.net

  • Ramsay Smitj said:

    Hi
    I am moving to Tenerife next month what would be the best contract or sim only dealer to keep in touch with the UK
    Thanks
    Ramsay

  • Hi Ken,

    I live in the United States, planning a trip to Spain. Is it possible for me (a resident of the U.S.A.) to purchase a sim card from “Three” with the “Feel at Home” for use in Spain?

    Also, could I pick-up this at London Gatwick airport? We have a 5 hour layover there on our way to Spain.

    Thanks for your input.

    Gary

    • Hi Gary,
      Yes – you can indeed pick up a Feel At Home SIM card from Three. However, I’m not totally sure whether are retailers at Gatwick that stock this (you might want to try Boots and Dixons). If you aren’t really planning to spend very much time in the UK and if most of your trip will be spent in Spain instead, it might instead be easier to use a local Spanish SIM card?
      Ken

        • Hi Gary, you may also want to check out lebara.es
          I’ve been using them for a year now and they offer extremely good rates, like €15/month for 500 minutes, which includes 50 or so countries, U.S. and Canada for example, and 2gb. You can also just go with their regular rates which are dirt cheap ( if you opt in for Lebara Plus ) and the transmission quality is excellent. Just my 2cents. In fact, I recently got Movistar for my home internet and it came with mobile lines but when I need to call the U.S., I switch back to my Lebara sim 🙂

          • Suman Chatterjee replied:

            Hi Nancy – Is it easy to pickup a Lebara PASYG SIM in Spain?

            I use a Lebara UK SIM and will be in Barcelona for 4 days on vacation and primarily need data to check maps, restaurants etc. – would you by any chance know Lebera’s data roaming charges?

  • David Ian Cotterill said:

    Problem with Three as I found out from my holiday to Spain is Three slow your data speeds right down to a point most pagers not load

  • I have Three PAYGO sim in the UK and there are roaming restrictions for Europe that aren’t compatible with longer trips abroad.
    “Three says it reserves the right to cut off the service if you use your allowance abroad for a total of more than two months within a 12-month period, or for more than one month continuously”.
    No use if you are travelling to Spain for the winter.

    • Hi Dave,
      Thanks for your comment. Just wondering where you saw the above information about use of the Feel At Home offer? The restrictions are detailed here and more precisely, it’s a maximum of 2 complete months during a rolling 12 month period. Providing you use your phone at least once in a non-Feel At Home country during a given month, it will not count towards your allowance of 2 months per year.
      Ken

      • Dapper Dave replied:

        I saw the information on a recent Moneysavingsexpert newsletter and confirmed it myself via the Three website.
        I’ve also raised a “Resolver” case here: Resolver Case Reference: RES429228
        http://www.resolver.co.uk/
        However, via new EU legislation, it looks like all roaming charges will be abolished next year anyway (June 15th 2017)

  • Hi Ken,

    Do you know which of the primary networks each of the virtual providers piggyback off? In particular, whether any piggyback off Movistar. Unfortunately my parents house only gets a signal with Movistar and so I am looking at whether there are any other options.

    Cheers
    Steve

    • Hi Steve,
      Thanks for your comment. Unfortunately I’m not an expert on Spanish MVNOs so I’m not able to answer this question. Perhaps someone else reading this article might be able to shed some more light?
      Ken

  • Hi Ken, the information you have provided is very helpful for short stays in Spain, do you know where I might be able to get some advice about pay as you go tariffs for those who are relocating? I bought a pay as you go sim with Orange when I arrived and seem to be spending quite a bit topping-up in 2 weeks. One sim to use for mobile internet device (20 euro) and another for my mobile (10 euro). I have since had to top up (5 euros) three or four times for my mobile phone pay as you go sim. Any advice/help you or anyone can provide would be much appreciated.

    • Hi Evie,
      Unfortunately, I’m not qualified to discuss the best deals for staying in Spain for the long-term (I think the longest I’ve ever been there is probably 2 weeks!). Perhaps other readers of this web page might be able to suggest some deals?
      Ken

  • I am heading to the Costa Del Sol in a few days for some weeks. I have a new mifi device which is network unlocked and which I hope to purchase a prepaid data SIM out there for, I can then use this for (wifi) internet access on my ipad, iphone etc.

    My question is, which of the operators out there offer the most data for reasonable €€€? I work in IT so require a lot of data as I will be using online services heavily – so 3gb at least, preferably 4b or 5gb+. Coverage for all the main operators is good in the area I will be in, so my main factor will be the data allowance.

  • Hi Ken,

    We have just purchased an apartment in Spain and I would like to be able to access the Internet each time I go (every six to 8 weeks). The orange deal looks good although my only concern is that it says it has automatic renewal. I though the whole idea of pay as you go was that you could top up when you needed to. I don’t want to come back to the uk only to be topped up automatically for a Spanish sim that I can’t use in the uk

    • Hi Tony, Our friends who have had a holiday home in Torrevieja Alicante for 14 years use DVBLAB for their apartment internet and TV and only have it connected when they go out, it costs 5 euros per month when they are not there, they go online in the UK before they go out and give a switch on date, then they use that while in apartment, they use messenger and watsapp to phone home and just buy a basic Spanish sim card for when they are out and about as most bars and restaurants have WIFI. Hope this helps.

  • Hi ken
    Just been reading your phone tariff anticle of which I found interesting,I travel to Spain and stay 5 months in the summer,so having a local sim is a must,I have been using happly movil and find that they are excellent ,and now I have bought a dual sim huawei p8 light with the intention of using a hits sim along side happy, I would appreciate your knowledge on my thoughts
    Cheers
    Keith

    • I just saw an advert on ee Web site £21.99 a 12 month contract sim only deal 4gb data unlimited text and minutes with unlimited calls and text in the EU

  • Three’s feel at home does have its limitations. 2 months roaming before it needs to log back on to the UK network, then it is reset, so another 2 months can be achieved.

    if you were wondering, no the feel at home feature cant be turned off.

    • Hi Glen,
      Thanks for your comment about this limitation of Three’s Feel At Home offer! I believe the way they phrase it in their T&C is you can’t use “your allowances exclusively in a Feel At Home destination for any 2 complete months in a rolling 12 month period”. So you should be OK as long as you spend part of the month in the UK or another country (if you spend the whole month abroad in another country then this will count towards your limit). It doesn’t reset when you come back to the UK (so if you’ve already used it for 2 months abroad, you’ll need to wait another year before using it again).
      Ken

  • Hello Ken,
    I have retired to Spain and just bought a Camper Van. I use “hits” in my mobile, which you haven’t mentioned, and I have a windows surface laptop which I want to use on the internet. I have been told I can use a dongle for my laptop and keep my mobile using the hits SIM card but I would be very interested to receive your recommendation.
    Kind Regards,
    Nick

    • Hi Nick,
      Thanks for your comment! Unfortunately, I’ve only researched the SIM card options for visitors making a short trip to Spain, so sorry I don’t have any knowledge regarding mobile broadband packs! Perhaps somebody else reading this article might have a better idea of the possible options?
      Thanks,
      Ken

      • Hi Ken,
        I have suddenly learnt about tethering instead of dongles and WiFi instead of Bluetooth so I am well on the way to having my question answered which quite simply means either sticking to “hits” or changing.
        Thank you.
        Nick.

        • Gazzaman22 replied:

          Hi Ken/Nick

          I’m off to spain next week, Do any of you know if tethering is allowed, on any network?
          I have an unlocked mobile Android that i would like to act as a hotspot fo other devices, Have any of you any information on any of the networks allowing tethering?

  • Big thumbs up for bringing Three ‘feel at home’ package to my attention. Was just about to buy a new SIM card and saw this. Hope this works in Canary Islands

    • I have it free as I am a 3 contract holder. It works a dream. Been here 2 months use Internet and phone every day. Even use it to tether my other phones and tablets to give them unlimited Internet and calls. Hasn’t cost me a penny. There are no restrictions despite 3 saying so.

      • Hi Alan
        I’m interested to know how you tether your Three data? I tried this back in February and it’s something Three don’t allow.

  • Hi, Is there any Spanish SIM provider that doesn’t have a cut off time. I was with Movistar Spain for many years and managed to always top up within the 6mths. Unfortunately last year my husband was very ill and passed away so I didn’t want to go out to Tenerife. My sister went instead and went to an internet cafe in Los Gigantes and topped up my spanish mobile with 5Euros. The sim still had 20Euros credit on. Unfortunately when I came to top up again I discovered that the top up had not worked and my phone was locked. Lots of people in Tenerife have my movistar mobile number so it is a pain. To avoid this happening again I would like a payg sim that does not expire with credit on it. Is there such a thing?

    • Hello Maggie,

      I think you can still get Llamaya mobile SIM cards where the credit lasts indefinitely. This is very useful if you have to away from Spain for long periods as you only pay for what you use. Unfortunately, they are rather low tech so don’t provide nano sim size cards if you have a handset that requires one. Internet is 5 Euros for 500 MB and call rates are reasonable.

      I hope that helps.

  • Hi Ken. Thanks for the Blog. Perhaps you have some advice for me.

    I am working on a project in El Hierro, Canary islands and will be there for a few months and am seeking the best GB date plan for my time there. The only power is a generator so I will be charging a MIFI device and my laptop periodically but generally running off batteries. I am looking for a sim card to run 3g/4g from the MIFI device. Movistar has the best Data coverage in the area, Vodafone is unknown. Orange os very poor.

    Questions…

    How does roaming Data work? For example, do you automatically connect to the strongest foreign network in the area you are in? Or are there deals behind the scenes which determine who you connect to?

    Eg. if I were to buy a Three PAYG sim topping up 20pounds and receiving 25 gb of Data, would I have access to Movistar’s 4g coverage from where the property is?

    The dilemma I am in is the Spanish Data allowance is currently very limited. Movistar which offers the best coverage in my rural area only has a 3g connection of 10g speed, for 30 euros plus line rental and a year contract. Vodafone offers a good deal of 50 gb limit, 4g, but from what I know coverage is poor.. and agin – a year contract.

    From what your article suggests it looks like a three card might be the best option.

    Are you aware if you can use roaming on a PAYG Three sim indefinitely?

    Thanks again

    • Hi Nick,
      Thanks for your comment. The short answer is I’d probably recommend using a local SIM card from one of the Spanish networks. You can’t use a normal SIM card from Three in a Mi-Fi device – you’ll need to use a mobile broadband SIM card instead which will almost certainly be more expensive than a local Spanish SIM. To try and answer your questions in more detail:
      1) To be honest, I’m not 100% sure about how it chooses which network to use. It could either be based on the strongest coverage, or it might preferentially connect to one network based on Three’s roaming agreements. So sorry – I don’t know the answer!
      2) Unfortunately, the 25GB fair usage policy has now been reduced down to 12GB per month. Also, Three doesn’t have any 4G roaming agreements abroad (you’re restricted to only 2G and 3G coverage).
      3) There’s a fair usage policy on the Feel At Home offer: you can’t spend any more than 2 complete months abroad every year in a Feel At Home country. For a long-term trip, you’ll almost certainly be better served by a local SIM card from a Spanish network.
      Hope this helps!
      Ken

      • Thank you, Ken.

        Appreciate it. I think i’m going to have to wait for some better deals to be neighbour.

        “1) To be honest, I’m not 100% sure about how it chooses which network to use. It could either be based on the strongest coverage, or it might preferentially connect to one network based on Three’s roaming agreements. So sorry – I don’t know the answer!”

        This is an interesting one though. – Let me know if you ever come across the answer!

    • I don’t know if this is helpful at all. When we are in Spain we have our two I-phones. We also have two basic phones that have been opened for use in Spain, approx €5.00 in most markets. You could use a couple of old I-Phones if you have them We use two Lebara Spanish sims bought in Spain. Depending where you buy, €5.00 per sim but they give€ 5.00 credit. So the sim is free. We can then talk to each other for free. Lebara–Lebara.
      They often then text with offers , top up €10.00 get €20.00 credit .for calls and often web use.
      You can top up in England via their website and you can also ensure the numbers are activated by switching on, calling one Spanish phone to the other and vice versa but not answering. This keeps the number activated. When in Spain and you call the help desk you are asked what language ? When you reply English you are transferred to London which is the head office and you speak to an English speaker.
      Go to Lebara.es on a web page ,there’s an automatic translation . You can check the website for costs .
      We have found their service to be really good,as to the data info I’m not very tecky but I’m sure you can sus this out .

  • Hi Ken,

    I will be going to Spain to work for 6 months and wondered what the best sim card option would be? After reading this article, I was thinking that Three’s option would be best but then someone wrote that it’s only valid for two months? Any help would be fantastic 🙂

    Thanks a bunch,

    Sonny

    • Hi Sonny,
      Thanks for your comment. As you’re going for a fairly long amount of time, I’d almost certainly get a SIM card from one of the local Spanish networks. In the long run, this will definitely be cheaper than roaming on a UK-based SIM card. Also, you’ll have a local Spanish number which will be much more convenient for contacting local businesses there. In the short term, you can definitely get away with using a UK-based SIM card like Feel At Home – this will give you a little bit of time to find a SIM card whilst you’re there in Spain.
      Hope this helps,
      Ken

  • Hi , I’ve moved to Spain this week and have an EE pay as you go , iPhone 5. It’s really eating away at the credit . I am fine connecting to wifi in apartment but making and receiving calls is just a ridiculous cost. Would I be better switching to 3 and how would I go about this now I’m here ? Thanks

  • Samantha Calvert said:

    Hi Ken
    I am moving to Spain permanently and I have a iPhone 6 I am wanting to use there, my contract will be cancelled here so I was wanting a sim only contract with a Spanish phone number, could you recommend any network that would be good for doing this also whilst giving me internet access and a good rate for calling back to the uk?
    Many Thanks
    Sam

  • Hello Ken. What an amazing article. Thank you for the research. When I arrived at Barcelona airport with my unlocked iPhone a few months ago, I found just two sellers – Vodaphone and Lebara. Lebara uses the Vodaphone network. Both sellers seemed to offer much the same deal, but I went with Lebara as their on-site service was better than Vodaphone’s. It was mostly a staffing issue – 3 Lebara staff to Vodaphone’s 1. Lebara set me up quickly and I was on my way. In the event it’s useful, here’s a report on my experience and plan details:
    http://packinglighttravel.com/travel-tech/buying-sim-card-spain/

  • Hi Ken very good article! Just not sure what to get. I travel frequently to Spain and I used once a lebara sim and the data finished too quick. last summer I bought a “three” sim card, was not bad spent £15 but noticed that it was very slow and I was not able to load a lot of pictures or videos. I usually use my phone to just go on Twitter or Snapchat, sometimes for youtube. So what sim would you suggest?

    Thanks,

    Youcef

    • Simon Jones replied:

      Although Three won’t admit it, data is throttled. You will find that data usage is fine for messging, Facebook, pics etc – you won’t be able to watch YouTube, download podcasts or even stream music. For example, a podcast that should take less than 1 minute to download will take approx 10 hours.

  • Hi Ken, thanks for your info.
    We are intending to spend at least 4 weeks at a time in the Canaries several times a year. We have a full English contract with Three which allows us to call home. We also have wifi separately. We just need a payg phone and sim for contacting and being in contact with friends in the Canaries. We could bring an unlocked phone from uk, but not sure if vodaphone is best for us? Any comments please.

    • Hi Robin,
      Thanks for your comment. Sorry – I wasn’t quite clear: are you talking about the best value network for usage in Spain? Also, I assume you’re talking about Vodafone in Spain as opposed to Vodafone in the UK? Assuming the former, I think the Vodafone Tourist SIM is a pretty good offer and will probably suit you well for frequent trips to the Canaries.
      Ken

  • Hi Ken,
    Very interesting article. I’m off to Spain and the Canaries in a few day’s time with some friends for 2 weeks. They have a UK sim in their phone. We tend to keep in touch when wandering round town by text. I am on an EE contract in the UK. Would it be cheaper to get a Spanish pays sim to text them or stick with my roaming uk sim. Usage would probably be up to 5 texts per day.
    Kind regards
    Bob

    • Hi Bob,
      Thanks for your comment. If your usage in Spain is solely restricted to sending a few text messages, it’ll most certainly be cheaper to use your normal UK SIM card. If you’re on an EE Extra contract, calls & texts will already be included at no extra charge. Otherwise, on a regular EE plan, it’s 5.2p to send a text message in Spain (so you’d probably in the region of 25p/day).
      Ken

  • The data SIM option from 3 is not as straightforward as it might seem. We have had different explanations of terms from members of staff both in their shops and Customer Service.
    The current 20GB SIM only allows 12GB use in Spain and is limited to 2months which is no good for working there for longer. In the shop they said we could with Direct Debit, pay monthly on a rolling programme but that’s not the case when its limited to 2 months!

    Resigned to getting one from Orange when we get there.

  • We purchased a Vodafone Sim 4g card in Madrid August 2015 and went to Vodafone shop in Madrid to purchase and have Sim card installed. It took the English speaking clerk forever to load our cards into our unlocked phones. Our card cost 15 euros each and would lasted one month. Immediately we started getting text messages from Vodafone and all in Spanish. These text messages were constant and became quite annoying. A Vodaphone clerk said the messages couldn’t be put into English only Spanish. So we never understood what messages Vodaphone was sending us. We could not call outside of Spain with this card and therefore the card was extremely limiting. The data component worked well. To call the USA, we got a UZO card at a tavern/bar which worked fabulous for 10 euros. We could make calls to other countries and text each other. However, there was no Internet connection on this Sim card but we used wifi at hotels or in restaurants, etc.

  • Good day,

    Organising a family trip to Spain – I followed your article carefully and decided that the 3 ‘feel at home’ sim was what I wanted, notwithstanding my experience of very poor/indifferent service from 3 in the past. Looked at the website which is completely incomprehensible; so arranged a call-back to discuss. This is the result:
    Contract sim only – the ‘roll-over’ monthly contract – actually means that the minimum duration is two months, as they require 1 month’s notice for cancellation.
    PAYG sim only – the ‘feel at home’ bonus is not part of this package, but can only be added as a ‘bolt on’ at an additional cost of £5.

    It is worth noting that during the call-back, I had to ask several times before the operator would tell me the actual additional costs/contract terms. Definitely not impressed with the 3 offerings!! Will probably buy from Orange.es on arrival for my 12 day trip.

    Regards

    Chris

    • Hi Chris,
      Thanks for your comment. You’re right: the Pay Monthly SIM card has a rolling contract so isn’t ideal for very short term usage. With regards to Pay As You Go, you can access Feel At Home with any All-in-One bundle (e.g. £10 for 100 minutes, 3000 texts and 500MB of internet). There’s no need to buy an additional bundles beyond this.
      Anyway: as you say, a local SIM card from the Spanish networks will probably work out cheaper especially as you’re travelling for ~12 days. The only other thing you might want to consider is the cost of calling back to the UK (this will sometimes make it cheaper to get the SIM card from Three).
      Thanks,
      Ken

  • Fiona Duckworth said:

    Hi Ken

    I appreciated your article as I head off to Spain tomorrow and want a Spanish SIM for a month. I am a New Zealander, so don’t have a UK plan to lever off.

    I am interested in the Vodafone Tourist SIM that you discuss above, but when I followed the link from your page to the Vodafone Spain website, the terms and conditions spoke about a automatic renewal of the package every month. Do you know if it is possible to buy this package for JUST one month?

    Many thanks for sharing your knowledge,
    Kind regards
    Fiona

    • Hola Fiona,
      Thanks for your comment. The Vodafone Spain Tourist SIM Card is a Pay As You Go product: as such, you just top it up with some money and the charges for your €15 bundle are taken from the SIM card. If you want to use it for one month or less, just top it up by €15 and you’re good to go. If you want to use it for two months, then you can top up the SIM card with €30 of credit. The SIM card isn’t linked to your credit card so there’s no way for Vodafone to automatically take further payments.
      Hope this helps,
      Ken

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