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cell phones in spain

We are experienced travelers in Europe, and until this trip have avoided cell phones - no need to take that baggage with ya. But, this year, our son is 14 and we want to give him more freedom to explore on his own and hang out with new friends. A cell phone will make that possible. We can take our home cells with us, but it is pretty expensive. Can we buy or rent cheaper cell phones there? Do the Spainards have equivalents to our drug store type "buy and toss when used up" phones?

Posted by
410 posts

Why not take your phones and just get a sim card there. Not very expensive at all and just get top up cards. I think the phone needs to be 'unlocked' if it isn't already but that is not a problem.

The main mobile phone providers in Spain are Orange, Vodaphone and Movistar I think and shops everywhere.

Posted by
2 posts

Just a word of caution. Some US phones don't have sim cards you can change out. Check your phone.

Posted by
1455 posts

You can either get a phone on Ebay (check frequency of the phone. Most tri or quad phones work in Europe) or as the other person posted, get one in Spain. I used my UK phone in Madrid and Barcelona without a problem.

To the Experienced Travlers, I think its best to have a cell phone. In Madrid, for example, a very popular restaurant wanted a telephone number to call me when my table was ready. The wait was going to be 45 min to 2 hours since I did not have reservations. Since I had one, I left it and the host did call me 30 minutes later, when my table was ready!

Plus you can use your cell phone to give to family or friends, or use it when booking a hotel or reservation.

No need to "toss" the phone. You NEVER know when You will be back in Europe. I certainly didn't think I'd be back 3 times in 2 years.

Posted by
1568 posts

Scroll down and read the post "GMS World Phone". I will definitely get this one before traveling again....$49 and only the calls you make will be charge to your CC.

Posted by
31 posts

I would suggest buying a Vodafone Pre Paid Phone. They are quite inexpensive and they have great rates.

Posted by
29 posts

I had to use my cell phone in Europe to call home (there were no public phones around). I have a Cingular / AT&T cell plan, and the number I called was another Cingular customer, and because Cingular has free Cingular to Cingular calling, it was free--even in Europe. I couldn't believe it when I saw the online statement, and I verified it with a phone call to the company. So good news if you have Cingular.

Posted by
25 posts

I was told the exact opposite by Cingular Customer Service when I asked about calling from Ireland with my CIngular phone to my daughter's cingular phone in Texas.

I was told this was billed as an international call at $1.29 a minute.

Where did you see it online in a statement?

Posted by
31471 posts

Joby, the best solution might be to obtain a quad-band phone for your Son before leaving. Many of the carriers offer "family plans" so it shouldn't be too expensive to add this to your home plan? If you sign onto a term plan, the phone itself should be quite inexpensive or perhaps "free"?

Roaming charges can be minimized to some extent by using SMS / Text most of the time. As you noted, voice calls can be somewhat expensive, so use these sparingly.

One other caveat regarding travel with Cell phones - check the Chargers to ensure these are multi-voltage or "world" chargers. You'll need Plug Adaptors in any case.

I don't advocate using local SIM's with an unlocked Phone, as this is more of a nuisance IMO. This can also be expensive if travelling outside the country where the SIM was purchased, as the user will again be charged roaming rates. Also, everytime you change SIM's, the number changes so it's sometimes hard for friends to know which no. you're using.

Cheers!!!

Posted by
59 posts

Cingular or Tmobile are your best bets.

Just make sure to spend the extra $50 when you get your plan to get a Motorola Razr or other quad band phone. These are even free now.

You can use your cingular service anywhere in the world.

Also it costs nothing to take your cell phone with you. International activation is free. They try to sell yo the $5.99 discount plan and it pays for itself in the first call so get it. You can take it off when you get back without a penalty.

you only pays for the calls you make or receive. Text messages are always 50 cents. but sometimes are included in your text msg plan if you have one.

Remember that phone rates are not always the fault of the cell company. The rate when over seas consists of taxes, roaming fees on the local cell network, any other fees that the local company charges cingular to allow their customer on their network.

You can check the rates on cingulars site.