There are 3 main providers:
- Movistar (dominant operator with 65% of market, part of Telefónica)
- Vodafone (brought Airtel in 2002 and is aggressively trying to expand market share)
- Amena (a subsidiary of Grupo Auna, is growing fast and offers good rates, but occasionally poorer coverage in some areas)
- For those who live in the north-east, there is another operator by the name of Euskaltel. However, its small client base (less than 2% of users) means we will not cover them here.
Spain operates on a GSM network. For Europeans and many other countries, this means that your current phone will probably work in Spain. If you are coming from North America or parts of Asia you will probably have a CDMA phone, which will not work. For a GSM phone, you need to check whether your phone is unlocked (some phones are specific to the network you already have, for example some Orange handsets) and you just need a new SIM card.
Prices on new phones differ greatly depending on the retailer and the mobile operator. While each operator has its own retail outlets, prices tend to be better elsewhere. Large retailers like Carrefour offer relatively good deals. For Vodafone and Amena phones in particular, The Phone House chain is very competive.