Mobile phones

Spanish mobile operators

The Spanish love to talk and mobile phones are now part of day-to-day life as in most other European countries. 

These are the 4 main providers with their own network:

  • Movistar  (dominant operator with 65% of market, part of Telefónica)
  • Vodafone  (bought Airtel in 2002 and is aggressively trying to expand market share)
  • Orange  (known as Amena until 2005)
  • Yoigo  (originates from the carrier Xfera)

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. If you have a GSM phone, you need to check whether your phone is unlocked - some phones are locked in to the network you already have - if it is unlocked you just need a Spanish 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 Orange phones in particular, The Phone House chain is very competitive.

Over the last few years many low-cost chains like Happy Móvil, Lebara and Simyo have entered the mobile phone market to compete with the four main providers mentioned above. Furthermore many supermarkets offer mobile phone tariffs as e.g. Día Móvil, Eroski Móvil or Carrefour Móvil. Prices and services vary from company to company. Most providers offer tariffs including internet access.

Rate Comparisons

The Phone House has conveniently compiled the rates of all the operators in one place. Pick up a copy of their brochure (the rates are in the back) in one of their stores or have a look at this brochure  (only in Spanish).

Further reading

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Other comments

  • jason, 26 July 2009 Reply

    there are many more choices!

    This info on mobiles is about 4 years out of date, amena now does not exist, its now Orange.
    THere are many providers out there now, about 12 resellers of the main 3 providers.
    If you want service in english and good prices go to
    www.studentsphone.com
    no you dont need to be a student and you can call the UK and european landlines for less than 10 cents/min.