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Pre Paid Sim Card before arriving in Spain

Discussion in 'Mobile phones and tablets' started by David Egglestone, Aug 18, 2014.

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  1. David Egglestone

    David Egglestone Member Donating Member

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    Has anyone RECENTLY purchased a SIM card before arriving in Spain? I guess people mostly use their phones for booking ahead etc and with the advent of apps like WhatApp and Skype there really isnt a lot of need for calls sms etc mainly DATA? Also the ability to upload to the internet photos etc means I dont need to worry about losing my photos. Having a Spanish number must make it easier to be contacted too. So my questions are:
    Which did you buy?
    What was the cost including having it sent to you (I am in Australia)
    Was it problematic to use/recharge/setup etc
    Did you get data primarily?
    What was the coverage like?
     
  2. GerFol

    GerFol Member Donating Member

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    Hi David,
    I bought a Vodafone SIM at the airport on arrival in Spain. I use an iPhone but you need to ensure whatever phone you have is unlocked before leaving home. The process was fairly simple, you just produce your passport, pay €15 and you get a SIM card with 250mb of data, 20 mins local calls and 20 texts. I only used it for data, it lasts a month and subsequent top-ups for the same package are €10 and they can be arranged at any Vodafone outlet or some of the supermarkets. I used wifi where available but the 3G coverage was excellent everywhere for Google Maps, Facebook, Skype etc.
    Regards,
    Gerard.
     
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  3. Dave2525

    Dave2525 Active Member Donating Member

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    It would be handy for booking ahead (or for data). If arriving on foot via SJJP, what town would be most likely to have sim cards?
     
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  4. GerFol

    GerFol Member Donating Member

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    Pamplona has outlets for a number of mobile providers, you should be there in day 3/4 depending on pace over the first few days.
     
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  5. evanlow

    evanlow Active Member Donating Member

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    Malls like El Corte Inglés or supermarket like Carrefour. Lots of provider to choose from (Movistar to Yoigo).
    Depending on your flight when you arrive either at Barcelona or Madrid and if you are staying a night before heading out to your start point, that would be the best time to get it.
     
  6. Bajaracer

    Bajaracer Camino Frances 2013 Jun-Jul SJPDP to Finisterre Donating Member

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    I bought an ORANGE SIM card with 1gb of data for €15 plus added more € for voice credit at Crystal Media inside Madrid Barajas Airport during a short layover.

    Getting it set up was easy (iPhone 5), the store cut the SIM to size and installed it for me, made sure it was functioning before I walked out.

    Adding credit was easy, went to tobacco stores and other stores with the Orange sticker, just have your number ready to add credit.

    I used data more than voice.

    Coverage was ok, ran into dead spots in Hornillos and at Foncebadon and EDGE data speeds on parts of the Meseta and other remote areas.

    I wouldn't pay to have a SIM card sent over before I fly over, if the SIM card doesn't work when you land, you have no recourse, and if you added credit, you'll be out of luck.

    I will go with Movistar next time, Tuenti is their prepaid arm of Movistar and has the best deal for SIM cards with data.
    https://www.tuenti.com/movil
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2014
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  7. Katia Taam

    Katia Taam Member Donating Member Donating Member

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    Last edited: Aug 18, 2014
  8. Robo

    Robo Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Perfect. Just what I was looking for.

    Don't want to be 'offline' for the first few days until I reach a major town to buy a SIM card.
     
  9. Tia Valeria

    Tia Valeria Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Slightly off topic, but phone related so please bear with me.
    My phone has a USB lead and USB charger plug, 3-pin UK. Can those who live in Spain tell me how easy it is to buy the 2-pin USB charger plug please, (not an adaptor) so that I don't have to carry the adaptor as well. We will be arriving in Santander and walking in the north. Thank you.
     
  10. Robo

    Robo Veteran Member Donating Member

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    If any Australian Pilgrims could assist. Similar question. Can I 'jam' a 2 pin Aussie plug into a Euro/Spanish socket?
     
  11. Tia Valeria

    Tia Valeria Veteran Member Donating Member

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    This page has a full list of worlwide socket types. Really useful for us all.
    http://www.worldstandards.eu/electricity/plugs-and-sockets/

    Just basic plugs rather than phone chargers, but the pin type is what is important for use without an adaptor
     
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  12. Robo

    Robo Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Thanks. Yes I've seen those sites and I have a bag full of adapters. My question was more related to fitting an Aussie plug into a Spanish socket..... i.e. No adapter.

    For example, I'm in Bangkok currently and I can squeeze a 2 pin Aussie plug into a Thai socket easily. Just wondered if the same thing would apply in Spain. Last time in Europe a few years ago I carried various adapters. I'd rather go 'adapter less' if possible.
     
  13. Tia Valeria

    Tia Valeria Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Looking at the photos and compatability list on the webpage it looks like you might be lucky.
     
  14. Robo

    Robo Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Sorry, not sure how you are deducing that. Spain I presume is C. Australia is I. Not Compatible... But I suspect a 2 pin I might at a push, fit into a C.
     
  15. Tia Valeria

    Tia Valeria Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Only because you were able to fit it in the socket in Thailand.......:) but I didn't check out all the details.
     
  16. ThisIsSpain

    ThisIsSpain Active Member

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    I live in Spain (15 years) and have been in telecom 30+ Happy to help. Most everything covered here. Prepaid cards available everywhere - shops, supermarkets, post office etc etc

    Yoigo, Lebara, Lycos, Orange ..... unless you are a huge user you won't notice much difference. Easy set up (all with guides/websites in English) 5 euros and a passport

    Don't expect much in the way of speed .... this is Spain!
     
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  17. jmcarp

    jmcarp Veteran Member Donating Member Donating Member

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    In any Spanish town or city of reasonable size, you should be able to walk into any electronics store or phone store (Orange, Vodafone, etc) and buy a USB charger made specifically for the local outlet configuration. You might even find them in one of the shops in the airport where you first arrive in Spain.
     
  18. Tia Valeria

    Tia Valeria Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Thank you
     
  19. NicoZ

    NicoZ Veteran Member

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    Tia just surf over to Amazon.uk and plug in

    USB charger EU 2 pin

    You'll see many choices like this

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/DURAGADGET/?tag=camidesant-21

    I can't make the link work
     
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  20. Robo

    Robo Veteran Member Donating Member

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    I realise Aus pins are flat and Euro are round ;)

    Same here in Bangkok. And the Aus flat pins fit the round Thai sockets :)

    They 'look' like they won't fit, but they do. Just wondered if anyone had actually managed to get an Aus plug into a Spanish socket. Simple question really........
     
  21. jeffnd

    jeffnd Active Member Donating Member

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    I have read that it is possible to get a SIM card activated and sent to you before you arrive in Spain, but it is a bit of a hassle. Spain has strict rules since the bombings a few years ago. It's very easy to get set up with a pre-paid card once you get there.




    You can pick up a usb charger easily. I decided to buy one when my adapter started giving me problems. I think it was about 12 euros.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2015
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  22. I keep seing posts about SIM cards, but what about something like this (a temporary rate from your local provider for use abroad)
    http://www.telus.com/en/qc/mobility/travel/?country=spain#travel-passes

    Are people not using this? And if so, is there a reason? I have rented phones here that already had a Spanish number, but the prices have skyrocketed. So I was hoping for a different solution.

    These are two of their plans:

    $C50:
    • 50 minutes
    • 100 MB of data
    • 150 outgoing text messages
    • Free incoming text messages
    • Can be used in all European countries.
    $C85:
    • 100 minutes
    • 300 MB of data
    • 200 outgoing text messages
    • Free incoming text messages
    • Can be used in all European countries.

    Thank you for your input.
     
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  23. Robo

    Robo Veteran Member Donating Member

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    It would certainly seem to be a much more convenient option...
    I'll check out our local provider (telstra) to see if they have something similar.
     
  24. Robo

    Robo Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Yes that is one of the types of socket used in Thailand. We have those in our home. Well similar, not quite the same as that. Then there are also sockets like USA, like Euro, both two and three pin. All manner of sockets can be found.... It's a veritable socket salesman's paradise... But let's forget Thailand. I'm sorry I ever mentioned Thailand. Let's reboot :)

    Has anyone....ever actually....physically...'live'....in reality....ever...fitted an Aussie 2 pin plug into a Spanish socket? Just curious.
     
  25. Bajaracer

    Bajaracer Camino Frances 2013 Jun-Jul SJPDP to Finisterre Donating Member

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    The Aussie one with the flat 2 pin angled prongs? All it would take is some imagination and some tools, the outlet wouldn't be usuable for future pilgrims and the Hospitalero/Hospitalera would not be pleased.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2015
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  26. NicoZ

    NicoZ Veteran Member

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    You should be able to get three or four month of service for €50. A month including buying the SIM,data and voice is likely going to be less then €20. That €20 will give you a lot more data and likely more voice minutes.

    If you have an unlocked phone it's better to buy a Spanish SIM.
     
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  27. Bajaracer

    Bajaracer Camino Frances 2013 Jun-Jul SJPDP to Finisterre Donating Member

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    First, unlock the phone you already own.
    Why would you even want give Telus your hard earned money for so little in return? They are just as bad as the US phone carriers.
    Look a what the Lebara SIM card has to offer for data: http://www.lebara.es/passes/internet 1GB of data for €8, 2GB for €14, and €25 for 3GB.
    For voice and texts: http://www.lebara.es/prepago/tarifas type in Canada in the international page, €0.01 for voice calls, and €0.24 for SMS.
    For less than €50 a month, you can have a fully functioning smartphone with free incoming calls and SMS.
    I'd recommend a local SIM card.
     
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  28. GettingThere

    GettingThere Active Member Donating Member Donating Member

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    Robo, looking at an Aus/NZ 2-pin plug and my EU adapter, I think the round pins have a smaller diameter than the width of our flat pins, so while I haven't tried, I doubt they would fit. That's leaving out the possible damage to the socket or you if you tried to force it! I've carried my trusty adapter on many trips, it's extremely light and totally worth the few centimeters space.
     
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  29. Tia Valeria

    Tia Valeria Veteran Member Donating Member

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  30. NicoZ

    NicoZ Veteran Member

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    Aren't you in the UK? I would have expected the shipping to be pretty low.

    When I search I see pages of choice. Ranging from £2 or so. Even avoiding the right angle ones the list is long.
     
  31. Thank you Bajaracer. For some reason I was under the impression unlocking the phone would void its garantee or cause me issues at the end of my contract. But I see on the Telus site that it can be done, for a fee of 35$ ;0)

    The truth is, with WIFI so readily available, that data is not really an issue for me. I am happy to check email when in an albergue, bar or restaurant. For voice I only want to have it to book my albergue for the following night, to make an outgoing call in case of emergency or to receive an emergency call from home so I don't need a lot of minutes. So with the unlocking fee added to a local SIM price, even at the good prices you mention, I'm basically breaking even. But then again, since I have been going out on the Camino annually with the same phone, it would start to make sence.

    I can see how the SIM card could be a much better option, especially for those who use their phone more than I do. Thank you for the information.
     
  32. Tia Valeria

    Tia Valeria Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Thank you and yes we are in the UK. @NicoZ The 2 pin plugs are sent from the EU I think and the charges are as much again as the plug :(. The Amazon.es site has pages of plugs, but again shipping to the UK would cost as much or more than the plug. I'll buy one in Spain.
     
  33. Bajaracer

    Bajaracer Camino Frances 2013 Jun-Jul SJPDP to Finisterre Donating Member

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    I can't believe Telus charges $35CAN to unlock your phone! Canadians have it bad with mobile phone carriers. Once your phone is permanently unlocked, all you do is swap SIM cards when you get to your destination, of course you will have a new local number with data.
    The beauty of it is that all your phone settings stay the same, contacts and apps are not affected, plus you are comfortable and familiar with what you already own. You can use your phone at your convenience and not have to wait till you get to a wifi spot, I wasn't scrambling to ask for the wifi password every time I stopped at the bar/cafe at my breakfast and lunch stops, I was able to just sit down and enjoy my cafe con leche and tortilla and not have my device buried in my face. The albergue doesn't have wifi? Not a big deal if you have local service.
    Buying a local basic dumb phone is just adding the e-waste pile thats building up around the world and one more item to keep track of, a SIM card is cheaper than buying the whole phone, has anybody tried to text from a basic dumb phone lately? Not fun at all.
     
  34. ThisIsSpain

    ThisIsSpain Active Member

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    You can probably unblock your Telus using codes obtained over the net before you leave for Spain

    Google will give you lots of options
     
  35. Yah, well, work pays for the phone, so maybe not ;0)
     
  36. Bajaracer

    Bajaracer Camino Frances 2013 Jun-Jul SJPDP to Finisterre Donating Member

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    See if you can talk to Telus and pay for the unlock yourself, that might work, or ask around if any of your friends have an out of contract smartphone they'd be willing to give away and have it unlocked and make it your dedicated "world travel phone"
     
  37. I really think getting an older phone and having it unlocked is the way to go. Thanks!
     
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  38. Robo

    Robo Veteran Member Donating Member

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    That's what I tend to do. When travelling on Business I often carry three phones each with a local Sim card. i.e. Australia, Thailand, Vietnam. Those old phones come in handy!
     
  39. OttawaHeather

    OttawaHeather New Member

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    Hi there,

    I spoke to a Telus rep here in Ottawa (Canada) and she said the best option would be to put your phone plan on hold, pay the $35 to have your phone unlocked and buy a new Spanish SIM card when you arrive. She said it would be much more affordable and easier. Just remember to have the phone unlocked by the carrier.

    :D
     
  40. Thank you Heather, will try to visit a Telus shop and ask them about this solution.
     
  41. David Egglestone

    David Egglestone Member Donating Member

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    Hi
    Just an update since I am back in Spain again. I bought an Orange sim card in Logrono for 9E which gave me unlimited calls and 1 Gb of data last year. Now in Madrid for longer I signed up for a month by month prepago tarjeta with Vodafone. 20E for 1.6 Gb of data and unlimited calls and texts to anywhere in Spain.
    Either way you will need an unlocked phone and your passport to purchase the sim. It takes about 5 minutes.
     
  42. David, I have just been looking at the Lebara site and do not understand how this works. Gives me the impression it requires me to already have a phone number? Is that correct? Thanks for the info on your Orange Sim.
     
  43. Bajaracer

    Bajaracer Camino Frances 2013 Jun-Jul SJPDP to Finisterre Donating Member

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    Wow! An honest rep that didn't try to sell you an expensive international plan.
     
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  44. Heather, I have a question: if I put my plan on hold, I assume I will not be able to access my regular emails that I now get on my Iphone? Some one suggested using the little pin that comes with Iphones to simply change the Sim cards back and forth. Seems too easy ... Any thoughts?
     
  45. Bajaracer

    Bajaracer Camino Frances 2013 Jun-Jul SJPDP to Finisterre Donating Member

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    If you put your phone plan on hold, your iPhone will still function and you'll still get your emails while connected to wi-fi.
    I switch back and forth with different SIM cards when I travel, all my settings and contacts stay on my iPhone, not on the SIM card. It actually is easy to switch SIM cards with the pin or you can use a paper clip.
    Make sure your iPhone is unlocked.


    I fall under traveler B (unlocked iPhone) and swap SIM cards when I get to my destination.
    http://thebudgetmindedtraveler.com/iphone-abroad/

    Here is a listing of prepaid SIM cards in Spain.
    http://prepaid-data-sim-card.wikia.com/wiki/Spain
     
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  46. OttawaHeather

    OttawaHeather New Member

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    I think that could work but you may not be able to access your email with the Canadian SIM card if the plan is in hold. Best to ask Telus because technology is not my thing.
    However, I know I can add any gmail/hotmail account to my iPhone 5. And I do know that if you have a private co. /government email you can forward it to a gmail account. That may be an option? Now if you don't need your work emails coming through (which you probably don't!) Just open a gmail account and pass the address out to friends and family) Would that work for you?
    Oh the joys and strangle hold technology provides for us right? ;-)
     
  47. Donna Sch

    Donna Sch Active Member Donating Member Donating Member

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    What Spanish SIM/data pack is best if you just use it in a tablet?
     
  48. Right, why should I concern myself with work While on Camino;0)
     
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  49. Bajaracer

    Bajaracer Camino Frances 2013 Jun-Jul SJPDP to Finisterre Donating Member

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  50. GPAus

    GPAus New Member

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    H
    Hi ThisisSpain. we are arriving late in the evening into Mardrid T4 and need to call the apartment we are staying in to collect the key. Will there be a kiosk open for me to purchase a SIM that late at night (11pm)? if not, is there something you can suggest I do? thanks!!
     
  51. mspath

    mspath Veteran Member Donating Member

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    ThisisSpain last was on the Forum August 25, 2015; hence here are my suggestions to your quandry.

    Do you have an email contact for your apartment rental which you could write re obtaining the key?If the rental was made via AirB&b this should be the case. If all else fails you might ask a fellow traveler who has a working phone to call for you.

    Good luck and Buen camino!
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2017

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