A guide to connecting a fixed-line phone, internet, and mobile line in Spain, as well as the main communication providers on the Spanish market.
If you’ve just bought Spanish property or rented a home in Spain, you might need to sort out a Spanish internet connection and phone line when you move in. This guide explains how to do this and provides details of the main Spanish broadband and telecoms providers.
Connecting the telephone in Spain
Movistar (owned by Telefonica) is the national supplier of the telephone landline in Spain. Telephone and internet services may be obtained through other providers, but the basic landline will still be provided through Movistar. The company is an ex-state service and remains the leading provider in terms of market share in Spain.
Installing a phone line
Installing a phone line in Spain has to be done via Movistar as they are the only company authorized to do this. The Movistar website has a search feature that allows potential customers to check if desired services are available in their area, though the website is in Spanish. If you live in a new development or a rural area there may be lengthy delays for installation.
Before moving into an apartment or house, verify if there is a line (the presence of phone jacks does not mean a line is installed). Where a phone line is functioning and live, it is possible (and less expensive) to transfer the account from the name of the previous occupant to the new one.
If a phone line has to be installed or connected, you can contact Movistar to do this or, if you plan to sign up with another provider for internet/telephone services, they can usually arrange this for you although it will be done via Movistar. Line installation itself is free but there will be a monthly rental fee plus charges for any calls made. There is also a charge to change over to another provider.
For places where a phone line is already installed, you can usually transfer your existing package with your current provider if you inform them in advance. Customers moving within the same tariff zone may be able to keep their previous phone number.
The main companies supplying landline services and packages in Spain are:
- Movistar: www.movistar.es
- Orange: www.orange.es
- Jazztel: jazztel.com
- Vodafone: vodafone.es
- ONO (owned by Vodafone): www.ono.es
When installing your line, you can choose to rent a phone, which may be a temporary solution, but usually a pretty expensive option in the long run.
Using your telephone
All Spanish numbers are composed of 9 digits. The local area code is included in the first 3 digits. All Spanish numbers will start with 8 or 9. To make an international call, you have to dial 00, followed by the 2-digit country code and then the area code (dropping the ‘0’). Reverse charge calls are made using 800 or 900 before the number.
Bills and costs
Bills are usually sent monthly to your address and you can also choose to view them online. As for the payment, you can choose to pay your phone bill by cash, to the bank or your operator’s shop. You can pay it online or set a direct debit. However, regardless of how you pay you will always get a detailed bill with the list of the calls you made. The costs depend on your operator, the time of the day you make your calls, and whether or not you call nationally or internationally. This is why it is important to evaluate your needs and compare the different offers and promotions going on.
Nowadays, well over 90% of the population has a mobile phone in Spain and 69.5% of people have a smartphone. The main providers are Orange, Movistar, Vodafone, and Yoigo plus there are also a number of smaller providers. Growing competition in the Spanish market has made the prices drop, and the range of services on offer rise. Again, before signing up with a provider, make sure you have compared the different options available to you.
Alternative tools for communication
This is a popular and very cheap alternative for making phone calls or video calls abroad. You can download it for free and it is free to use if you are calling another person through Skype. You can also use it to call international phones and mobiles or to send instant messages at reduced rates.
VoIP and instant messaging
Over the last few years, there has been a growth of VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) and instant messaging providers offering alternative ways for people to communicate with each other, such as WhatsApp and Viber. Many are free although some charge usage fees. You will need either a smartphone or Spanish internet to use any of these services from Spain.
Prepaid phone cards
You can buy special prepaid cards for international calls. These can be found in Internet cafes, tobacconists, and newsagents. Sometimes cards are targeted at specific countries, offering cheap international calls.
Once you’ve installed your phone line, you can choose to sign a contract for Spanish Internet services with your phone provider. Spanish broadband and telecoms providers offer a wide range of packages to choose from, allowing you to sign up for combined packages including phone, internet, and Spanish TV. The prices vary widely depending on what you choose. Basic internet only deals can be as cheap as €15 a month while an all-inclusive package can be over €50 a month. It makes sense to shop around for a good deal that suits your requirements. You can use a comparison website such as Comparaiso to compare broadband deals.
The main providers of Spanish internet are the same big phone providers (Movistar, Orange, Jazztel, Vodafone, and Ono) plus MasMovil. There are also several smaller providers, some only operating in certain regions.
The most common and practical way to get the Spanish internet is to include it as part of the package with your phone provider. You can also look to include TV and/or mobile phone so you’ll have fewer bills to worry about each month. ADSL and fiber cable broadband are the main options offered by providers these days as they are faster and offer unlimited internet time. You can get packages offering speeds of between 50 – 500Mb. Monthly prices are usually between €20-40 a month.
Fiber-optic broadband is the more reliable option of the two as the speed is more reliable (ASDL is often advertised as ‘speeds of up to…’) but is only available in the bigger cities. You can check fiber coverage in your area with each company. Whatever Spanish internet deal you sign up for, you will receive equipment that you will have to set up. Sometimes, for more complex equipment, a technician will come and install everything for you. If you have to set things up yourself, you’ll receive instructions. However, if you don’t feel confident about doing it yourself, most of the providers can send technicians to help you for an extra charge.
If you need Internet throughout your home, or if several computers need Internet access, a WIFI router will be your best option, allowing other computers and mobile devices to connect to your network.
High-speed access usually involves signing a contract of one year and if you terminate the contract you may incur high fees, so make sure this is the option you want before signing.
Internet without landline
You will need a landline installed in order to use the internet at home. However, there are some Spanish internet and telecom providers, such as Orange, that offer 4G coverage at home. This enables you to connect to the internet without a landline at speeds of up to 300Mb. The cost is around €40 a month.
What you will need to sign up for phone, internet, and mobile in Spain
Exact requirements vary depending on which company you sign up with, but you will usually need to provide the following when signing a contract with Spanish internet and broadband providers:
- Passport or official ID
- Proof of address
In addition to this, you may also be asked for: