Affordable Cell Phone Use in Spain
by Sebastian Harrison
Spaniards are known for living the good life and they don’t compromise when it comes to their cell phone service. Great calling and data rates over a high quality, high speed network make your fun Spanish vacation easier to share with your friends back home.
The 3G and 4G GSM networks we’re now familiar with in the US have been in use for many years in Spain and the rest of Europe. This is great news for travelers because it means that when in Spain you’ll still get the clear calls and fast data speeds you’ve come to expect from these networks at home.
How to Pay Low Local Cell Phone Rates in Spain
The lowest rate option for a cell phone in Spain is to pay the same rates the Spaniards pay. This is accomplished by using a GSM cell phone with a SIM card from a Spanish cell phone company.
Using a SIM from a Spanish cell phone company will give you access to the same prepaid cell phone service that most Europeans use, which includes FREE incoming calls, even on calls coming from the US.
Outgoing calls are deducted from the available balance. For example, the rates from Spanish phone company Más Móvil are:
Calls within Spain
€0.10 per min outgoing
(€0.18/connection per call)
International Call Rates
€0.06 per min outgoing
(€0.43/connection per call)
Text / SMS Rates Free Incoming
€0.09 per message outgoing local and €0.29 international
Internet/Data Rates $0.05 per MB
The SIM chip that goes in the phone provides the service and phone number and some Euros of starting call credit.
Pay-As-You Go Service
Additional credit can be added easily in Spain by buying scratch-off credit vouchers which are sold in various denominations anywhere convenience items are sold. Since this is the same system the locals use to add money to their phones, they’re very easy to find.
Traditional Cell Phone Rental Options
In years past, cell phone rental outfits in airports and through car rental companies provided a last minute solution for travelers who forgot to plan ahead. However, the high roaming rates these companies often charge make these options unappealing now that cell phone rates have become more affordable.
Taking Your US Phone Abroad
Some AT&T and T-Mobile phones will roam overseas if the handsets are “quad band” which means they’re able to pick up the 900 and 1800MHz GSM networks used overseas.
However, be sure to check with the carrier before going abroad. At best, the roaming rates are often $1 a minute for both incoming and outgoing calls. Also, sometimes it’s necessary to have the international roaming activated before departure.
The other factor in roaming with your US number is that all the calls aren’t known until the end of the regular billing cycle when the bill arrives after your trip. Therefore it’s important to keep track of use to be sure not to run up a big bill while roaming overseas.
Sprint and Verizon Phones Not Compatible Abroad
Sprint and Verizon are not GSM phones which means their phones aren’t compatible for use in Spain and most other countries overseas.
Get A Phone and Prepaid Spain SIM Before Departure
The easiest way to access the low rates in Spain is to get an unlocked GSM phone and Spain prepaid SIM card before departure. Travelers in need of an occasional international phone can rent a GSM phones with Spain SIM card in order to access the low, local rates.
If you travel overseas two or more times then buying an unlocked phone and SIM can be a good investment. An unlocked phone can also be used with a prepaid SIM from any other country in the world to gain access to the prepaid service in that country.
For more information about having a cell phone for Spain, including handset compatibility and to learn whether it's cheaper to rent or buy a cell phone for your trip visit Cellular Abroad
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