Learn how to get connected to the TV, home phone, and internet in Spain with our helpful guide for new arrivals.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re moving into a seafront apartment in Ibiza or relocating to the Picos de Europa for some fresh mountain air, you’ll still need to sort out the essentials. As well as setting up your local utilities, you’ll also need to get connected to Spanish TV and set up a landline phone and the internet in your new home.
As a new arrival, knowing how to go about this can be daunting. However, it doesn’t need to be because setting up your home with all the Spanish telecommunications you need is pretty straightforward. To give you a running start, our helpful guide lays out everything you need to know about getting connected, including the following:
- Communications in Spain
- Getting connected in a new home
- Getting a landline telephone in Spain
- Setting up an internet connection in Spain
- Setting up Spanish TV
- Paying for your bills
- Making a complaint about a Spanish telecoms company
- Useful resources
Communications in Spain
As in most other European countries, the telecoms market in Spain is liberalized. This means that new arrivals typically have plenty of choices when it comes to choosing the right internet, TV, and home phone provider. The local market is well-stocked with companies vying for your business, so be sure to shop around and compare deals before signing up for any contracts.
Spanish telecom companies usually offer a range of products for your home, including TV, internet, and landline phone services. Some will even offer mobile phone contracts and SIM cards.
Some of the leading telecoms providers in Spain include:
If you also need a Spanish SIM card or mobile phone contract, make sure you see which providers offer the best deals if you bundle your subscriptions together. After all, this can save you a lot of money in the long run.
Getting connected in a new home
Just arrived in Jaen? Or maybe you’ve found your perfect getaway in Gran Canaria? Wherever you’re heading in Spain, it’s safe to say that you’ll want to get your new home connected straight away. Generally speaking, if you’re buying a Spanish property, then you’ll need to set up your own TV and internet connections.
If the property has an existing phone line, you’ll simply have to check it still actually works and then choose your provider. However, if your property is new, or there is no existing line, you’ll need to set one up. You can do this by contacting Movistar (the operator of the Spanish landline network). Just be aware that the process can take weeks, especially in more rural areas. Therefore, it’s a good idea to start the process as soon as possible.
If you’re renting a property in Spain, your new place might already have these services connected. Costs may be included in your rent, but be sure to check this with your landlord before signing the contract. You might also be able to switch providers when you move in. Serviced apartments will generally have all telecoms connections included in the rental price, so you won’t need to find your own provider.
Getting a landline telephone in Spain
While it can feel like we spend much of our lives on our mobile phones, having a landline telephone connection remains an important part of making a house a home for many expats. After all, these often offer better rates for calling friends and family in Spain and abroad. Therefore, you might want to consider getting your home connected with a landline phone if you’re new to the country.
Historically, Movistar (previously known as Telefonica) has dominated the fixed-line home landline market in Spain. This is due to its former guise as the state-owned provider. Indeed, despite market liberalization in the 1990s, Movistar still dominates much of the home telecoms market as well as operating the country’s fixed-line network. However, should you wish, you are free to choose another provider, which may offer cheaper subscription options.
Home phone providers in Spain also offer other services such as internet, TV, and even mobile phone SIM cards and contracts. And it is usually cheaper and easier if you take out these services from the same provider. Therefore, make sure you do your research ahead of time to work out which is the best and most cost-effective option for you.
How do I set up a phone connection in Spain?
If you’re moving into a new house that doesn’t have an existing phone line or connection, then you’ll need to set one up through Movistar. This is regardless of whether you actually end up choosing Movistar as your provider, due to their operation of the network. Remember that the process can take several weeks (or even longer, depending on your location), so start the ball rolling as soon as you can. If your new home already has a functioning connection, you’ll be able to transfer the existing account into your name or start a new contract with your chosen provider.
When signing up with a provider, you’ll likely need to provider the following information:
- Identification (most likely a passport)
- Proof of address
- NIE number
- Bank account details
- Mobile phone number
It may take a few days to activate your account and you’ll likely be informed when it happens. If you are moving within Spain, then you might be able to move your existing contract to your new address. Depending on where you’re moving, you might also be able to move your phone number, too. But remember, some processes can take longer than you’re used to, so be sure to contact your supplier ahead of time to avoid disappointment.
Setting up an internet connection in Spain
Having a reliable internet connection at home is increasingly essential. Whether you’re streaming the latest Hollywood releases, shopping for groceries or gadgets, or even chatting with family around the world, you’ll need good Wi-Fi. Thankfully, Spain has a decent internet network; although your options regarding download speeds will largely depend on where you live. Spanish connections are typically ADSL or fiber-optic cables (fibra), with the latter becoming an increasingly popular and accessible choice. In more rural locations, you may need to explore cellular 4G internet options (internet sin instalaciones) to ensure good connectivity.
As the former state provider, Movistar still dominates the home internet market in Spain, accounting for almost 40% of all connections in the country. However, don’t let that stop you from shopping around for the right deal for your needs. After all, there are a number of different providers in Spain and competition is fierce. Tariffs are typically priced according to download speed, cable type, and any other extras. This could be TV packages, music subscriptions, or something else.
The leading internet providers in Spain include:
When signing up for an internet package, make sure you find the right package for the needs of you and your family. For example, if the kids spend a lot of time on their consoles, then you’ll need a higher download speed. On the other hand, should you only use the internet for social media and subscription TV services like Disney+ and Netflix, then you’ll probably be fine with a lower download speed. Of course, before signing a contract, do a speed test for your new home and read the small print to ensure that you’re not signing up for anything you can’t use.
How do I set up an internet connection in Spain?
Once you’ve chosen a provider and settled on the tariff that meets your needs, you’re ready to set up your Spanish internet connection. Luckily, this is relatively straightforward, but the process will depend on the internet provider you choose and your existing connections. For example, if you’ve signed up with your home’s previous provider or a mobile internet tariff, then you may only need to plug in your router to get online. However, if you’re setting up a brand new installation or waiting for a new phone line, this could take a few weeks. Therefore, it’s a good idea to contact your new provider well ahead of time and check your options. After all, you don’t want to be left without internet after moving in.
When signing up, you’ll need to provide proof of identity and residence (e.g. your NIE number), along with your bank details for payments. You might also need to pay a one-off activation or set-up fee. If you’re moving house within Spain, then you should contact your provider to see if you can move your contract to your new address. You should do this as soon as you know your new contact details and moving date. They will then be able to help you manage the move, taking the stress out of the process to ensure that you remain online as much as possible.
Getting a VPN in Spain
When living and working abroad, it’s more important than ever to ensure your privacy and security while surfing online. For many expats living in Spain, this means getting a Virtual Private Network (VPN). VPNs can help you browse with more anonymity and privacy in Spain and beyond. They can also help unblock online content, letting you access your favorite sites and platforms from home and abroad.
Some of the VPNs available in Spain include:
Setting up Spanish TV
If you like to spend your evenings at home curled up in front of the latest Spanish dramas or US comedies, then you’ll be pleased to know that Spanish TV offers some of the best televisual choices in Europe. Most households in Spain receive their TV through the country’s digital terrestrial platform. However, many residents in Spain sign up for additional TV packages through their internet provider, and these are often bundled together with phone services. Competition is fierce among these providers, with options for all budgets, tastes, and viewing habits.
Some of the leading TV providers in Spain include:
What you end up paying for your TV subscription will largely depend on the package you choose. Most providers offer packages that include the most popular Spanish channels and a handful of international options. However, if you’re looking for additional channels, then you’ll typically need to pay more. This includes international channels, sports channels, and children’s programming. An increasing number of Spanish TV packages also include interactive services and streaming platforms such as Netflix and Disney+.
Paying your bills
Regardless of which provider you sign up with, paying for your internet, TV, and landline bills in Spain is typically done on a monthly basis. You’ll need to sort out either monthly collection (direct debit) or a bank transfer when you sign up for your contract. Other methods may be available, but you’ll need to speak to your provider to find out more. To make setting up these payments easier, you might want to open a bank account in Spain.
Making a complaint about a Spanish telecoms company
If you have an issue with your internet, TV, or landline phone connection in Spain, you should contact your provider as soon as possible in order to solve the problem. Each provider has its own complaints procedure, and you’ll be able to find out more information about this on the company’s website. The Spanish regulatory body for telecoms companies is La Comisión Nacional de los Mercados y la Competencia (CNMC). However, to make a complaint, you’ll need to contact the Ministerio de Consumo.
- La Comisión Nacional de los Mercados y la Competencia (CNMC) – Spanish regulatory body for telecoms companies
- Ministerio de Consumo – Spanish Ministery for Consumers