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Spain SIM Card recommendations?

As I am now officially under a month from when I am supposed to depart for Spain (still not sure if I am going), it is starting to feel more real and I am thinking about data connectivity options.

I will be bringing my unlocked Android phone and am wondering if I should buy a SIM in advance before I leave the US or wait to buy one when I land in Spain? I see Orange has a “Holiday” SIM card they sell for visitors to Europe I can buy in advance but it seems a little pricey: $50 USD for 20GB of data + $12 for shipping. Should I just wait to buy in the airport? I know airports don’t typically have the best prices either, but I really like to have data connectivity before heading out into the “real” city.

Any advice? Thanks!

Posted by
408 posts

If you're willing to wait until you get to an Orange store in the city (and ideally are able to get by in rudimentary Spanish), Orange has a large variety of prepaid SIMs that are a much better deal -- I just got back from 10 days in Spain in August and availed myself of the 35 GB card for €20 (there might be a slight variation in exact cost vs. data you get compared to that page, but in my recent experience from last month what's on offer on that page is accurate in terms of value.)

It was taken care of very fast at the store; the only piece of advice I have is to bring your passport, as they'll need it at the store. (I know it's annoying to take time to go to a store, but that's my personal preference because then I can confirm on the spot in the store that the new card works, and can get help troubleshooting if there are any problems).

If it's very important to have connectivity right rom the airport -- and I get it, I've been there too -- do you have any kind of roaming plan you can activate for 24 hours or something like that? You could activate that upon landing and use it just until you're able to get to a city cell phone store.

Those kinds of plans (such as Verizon's $10 per day international plan) are generally terrible value for money for trips that are more than a couple of days, but they are useful for situations like that for "bridging" between plans.

Posted by
41 posts

Thanks for the suggestions!

Wes, I used EE last time I was in Europe and when I went to France after GB it worked seamlessly, but I was worried with Brexit and all that, I wasn’t sure if those roaming agreements are still in place? Seems like they are?

Andrew, unfortunately my US carrier is Cricket and I can’t seem to find anything about international roaming plans with them. Looking at the Orange prepaid cards I’m kinda confused. For example the Walk plan says 25GB of data but says it is 10 GB accumulated and 15 gifted. I don’t understand exactly how that works. It seems to me the 15GB is gifted when you recharge the card for the next month? I don’t plan on recharging the card for another month as I will only be there for 14 days. So does that mean I really only have 10GB of data? And then it says of that 10, only 5.5 can be used for roaming? I assume that means if I leave Spain, which I am not planning to do.

Thanks again for the advice!

Posted by
2163 posts

The "no roaming fees"-rule do not apply to the UK anymore since they have left the EU. That means EY carriers can charge roaming fees in the UK and v.v.

Posted by
408 posts

Hi James -- in terms of the allowance, the 'GB acumulables' are the ones that you get with the card and the 'GB de regalo' are the ones you get when you recharge, so you're right there. I would make your choice based on the 'GB acumulable' that you see.

You're also broadly right on the roaming, keeping in mind that roaming for the purposes of these cards is outside of Spain -- if you click into one of the cards and look at the section 'con Roaming en la Unión Europea', you will see that the 5.5 GB can be used in any EU country, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.

So therefore if you don't plan to leave Spain, the roaming limit will not affect you. (The only possible complication that you might not be thinking of is if you might be making a side trip to Andorra -- remember Andorra is not an EU or EEA state, so expensive roaming charges tend to apply.)

Posted by
145 posts

Posted by Andrew
Brooklyn

If you're willing to wait until you get to an Orange store in the city (and ideally are able to get by in rudimentary Spanish), Orange has a large variety of prepaid SIMs that are a much better deal -- I just got back from 10 days in Spain in August and availed myself of the 35 GB card for €20 (there might be a slight variation in exact cost vs. data you get compared to that page, but in my recent experience from last month what's on offer on that page is accurate in terms of value.)
It was taken care of very fast at the store; the only piece of advice I have is to bring your passport, as they'll need it at the store. (I know it's annoying to take time to go to a store, but that's my personal preference because then I can confirm on the spot in the store that the new card works, and can get help troubleshooting if there are any problems).
If it's very important to have connectivity right rom the airport -- and I get it, I've been there too -- do you have any kind of roaming plan you can activate for 24 hours or something like that? You could activate that upon landing and use it just until you're able to get to a city cell phone store.

Those kinds of plans (such as Verizon's $10 per day international plan) are generally terrible value for money for trips that are more than a couple of days, but they are useful for situations like that for "bridging" between plans.

Thanks for this info!

So you recommend Orange vs Vodafone?

And you're right, the $10/day from Verizon is a good temp solution.