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Old 30th December 2006, 01:49 AM   #1
Katie L
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Default Spanish cell phone companies

I need to get a mobile phone for my 4 months in Spain, so I can either use a company that rents phones to travelers before arrival (like Piccell wireless, which I believe uses Movistar) or just pick one up when I get there.

Could anyone offer any advice about what companies are the cheapest/most popular, and if you're familiar, which have the best options for sending and recieving calls to and from the United States?
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Old 30th December 2006, 05:35 AM   #2
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I don't know how much it costs to rent a phone, but it is possible to buy a cheap, basic model and when you get to Spain buy a sim card from Movistar - they have the best coverage - for 25 Euros. Top ups from as little as five euros a time and the card will be valid for six months from you last top up; ample time for your stay. And texting is cheap!!!!!!
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Old 3rd January 2007, 09:38 AM   #3
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when i was in spain most students in the program bought a cheap phone with vodafone service (under $60). i just bought an amena SIM card and used it with a phone i purchased in the states.

if you want to use a phone from the states, make sure it's 1) quadband (triband probably works..not sure) and 2) UNLOCKED; which means that you are able to use SIM cards from other providers (i.e. have a cingular phone but can use a verizon SIM card). you can contact your provider about unlocking it.

the best way to talk to people in the US is to have them call you, since all incoming calls are free to you. we purchased pre-pay plans. add money to your SIM and get charged on a per minute basis. It was expensive. I used Yahoo! Messenger (you can use MSN messenger or Skype, etc.) to make non-emergency phone calls to the US at a rate of 2 cents/min.
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Old 9th January 2007, 05:09 PM   #4
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I purchased the cheapest pre-pay phone Vodafone offered, and it was around 40 Euros with several minutes included. I don't use it to call home to the states because it just adds up too quickly. I just have it for the few local calls I may need to make and for emergencies.
I use Skype to call home, and it costs 0.017 cents per minute (to landline or cell phones). Or, if the person also has Skype, you can talk directly from computer-computer for free. It's saved me so much money!
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Old 9th January 2007, 08:06 PM   #5
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An alternative or addition is calling cards. Typically if you have access to a land line you only pay a few centimos a minute to many countries. There are a lot of different types, each best for different usage. has some useful information allowing you to compare prices & will sell you a card or two to suit your needs. They work from mobiles but it costs more per min.
e.g I used a "Euro Happy" that I bought on-line : the access numbers and PINs were sent by email.
At that time they were €5 per card and you got 250 mins to a UK fixed line, 220 mins to Spain and Australia and 1/10th of that to a mobile

The access numbers had several options with free access from landline/mobile, local rate ditto. This is because some phone companies bar access to some numbers.
Nearly all have a limited time that starts once you first use the card. Watch out for those that expire in a short time unless you are a heavy user.
They are also widely available in post offices, shops, telephone kiosks etc. but you may have less choice. Good way to practice your Spanish finding which one to buy!
Biggest drawback is the number of digits you have to dial.

I've also heard of "callback" services where you dial a US number, let it ring once, hang up, get a call back and then dial the number you want. I have not used these so maybe someone else can fill in some details
Good luck
Another company I've used

Last edited by greytop; 10th January 2007 at 12:38 PM.
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