Buying a prepaid mobile SIM card in Spain
Our recommendation for prepaid SIM card in Spain: Vodafone
Mobile providers in Spain
There are four major mobile providers in Spain with numerous resellers (in braces):
- Movistar (DIGI mobil, Lycamobile, Tuenti)
- Orange (Happy Móvil, Llamaya móvil, MASmóvil, República Móvil, Simyo, Freedom Pop)
- Vodafone (HITS mobile, Lebara móvil)
Spain also has several regional providers, for example Euskatel which is based in Basque Country and R which is based in Galicia. Regional providers don't have their own aerials and use main carriers' aerials for their phone service.
Network coverage and mobile internet speeds
Vodafone has been ranked in 2017 as providing the best 4G/LTE coverage in Spain covering 96.5% of the country's territory, which is the best coverage among Spanish mobile operators. Movistar, however, is the most popular carrier at the moment but has "only" 89% of service coverage. Orange’s coverage is around 92%.
If you plan to travel to the countryside the Yoigo operator isn't going to perform very well because of it's poor coverage in rural areas.
Call and data transfer prices are relatively high in Spain, however, prices between operators vary only slightly. For example a Vodafone prepaid starter SIM card (targeja prepago) with 5GB data transfer allowance costs 10 EUR.
Check current prepaid card offers for the Spanish mobile operators:
How to buy a Spanish SIM card
In Spain you can buy mobile SIM cards in official carrier stores, partner stores, airports, grocery stores, convenience stores, gas stations and mobile shops.
How to register a Spanish SIM card
Regardless of where you buy your SIM card, it needs to be registered before you can use it. To register a SIM card in Spain you need a proof of identity. Cards can be registered at the places that sell them.
How to top-up
You can top-up at any store where your carrier's logo shows. Many convenience stores, kiosks and petrol stations in Spain also sell top-up vouchers. Some carriers allow you to top-up at ATM's or through a mobile app, e.g. Vodafone yu app where you can use a foreign credit/debit card.
If you're using Orange you can top-up online on this website.
How to check your balance
You can check your current mobile SIM card balance for different carriers by following these instructions:
- Movistar: Enter *133# on the keypad and press the call button
- Orange: Enter *111# on the keypad and press the call button
- Vodafone: Enter *134# on the keypad and press the call button
- Yoigo: Enter *111# on the keypad and press the call button
Will my phone work in Spain?
Spain operates on a GSM network, which means all European phones will work in Spain. Travelers from North America should verify if their phone is CDMA or GSM. In the US, T-Mobile and AT&T use GSM while Verizon, US Sprint, and US Cellular use CDMA .
Some Asian phones use CDMA and some GSM. Please check your phone communication standard before arriving in Spain.
Also make sure that your phone is unlocked.