Cell Phone in Spain

Sep 14th, 2006, 09:23 AM
  #1  
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Cell Phone in Spain

We will be in Barcelona, Andalucia and Madrid on our trip to Spain next month and I would like to have a cell phone for emergency use only while we are there. We arrive in Barcelona first so could we rent a disposable cell phone there or what other suggestions do you have? My personal cell phone I now have can not be made to work in Europe so that is not an option. Thanks for your help!
john183 is offline  
Sep 14th, 2006, 09:51 AM
  #2  
 
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I recommend that you check out "On Spanish Time". They can arrange to have a rental cell phone delivered to your hotel, or another location, and you would receive the cell phone number before you leave for Spain so that people can contact you if they need to. I've found it to be the most convenient service in Spain.

(http://www.onspanishtime.com/web/index.htm)
Robert2533 is offline  
Sep 14th, 2006, 12:03 PM
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I have needed a cell phone in Spain for a month or so at a pop, and have found (on the third try) that the best way is to just buy a phone when you're there. I bought a very inexpensive cell phone for 29 euros, I think, and it included 25 euros of phone time. We didn't use it much during the beginning and instead used phone cards that you can buy in any estanco for 5 or 6E and you get many many minutes of time from pay phones.

But towards the end of our walk, as we saw we almost had more time on our cell phone than time left in Spain, we used it more regularly. We never had to buy more time, but were told by many that it is easy to do. Apparently, many people in Spain don't have plans that they get billed for but rather pay in advance and recharge as the need arises.
lreynold1 is offline  
Sep 14th, 2006, 12:57 PM
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there are many "packs" for cell phones.. which is the phone, and a sims card, PLUS free minutes.

so, for about 29/39 euros you can have it all, and use your phone on other trips or lend it to friends.

the prepay minutes are easily re-charged at an ATM, (under "recharges" then mobile phone, then the company, and amount,
or buying minutes at kiosks, gas stations, shops, etc.

very easy .
just a warning. it will be very expensive to call out..( 30 cents a minute nationwide or so.. close to 60/80 to the USA, plus the connection fee per call which is probably about 12/15 cents) but you will be receiving calls FREE, as long as you stay in the country the sims card is from.

when you buy one, ask the clerk to please set it up in english for you.
and don't forget to put your own number in it.

keep all the papers from the box, and write down the numbers of the code on the side.

lincasanova is offline  
Sep 14th, 2006, 02:13 PM
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There are indeed several "packs" available for cell phones, but for someone needing a cell phone number before you leave home, you have only a few options, "On Spanish Time" being the best for Americans traveling to Spain.

Regarding "recharging" your cell phone, adding additional time, unless you have a Spanish Bank Account, or an associated EU account, you can not use your U.S. bank based ATM/debit/cash card to recharge the cell phone at the ATM machine. You will have to go to a kiosk or cell phone store to have the phone recharged.

“On Spanish Time” deals mostly with Vodafone and has a “eurodirect prepaid phone card for 6€ that, if used correctly, will give you up to 800 minutes of talk time, including calls back to the U.S.A.


If you don't need a cell phone number in advance, "On Spanish Time" is still a good option for renting a phone for your trip.

Regarding using the phone in the future. MoviStar requires a minimum recharge of 15€ every six months or the SIM card is useless. Vodafone has a 10€ minimum recharge requirement every nine months to keep the account active. This can only be done in Spain unless you have a Spanish bank account and can recharge it online. If you go through a service like “On Spanish Time”, then you can email them and they can take care of it for you, for a small fee of course.
Robert2533 is offline  
Sep 14th, 2006, 02:33 PM
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Don't know if this helps...a vodafone sim can be recharged in any other vodafone country with a local voucher...thus a vodafone ES sim can be recharged with a vodafone UK recharge voucher while in the UK.
xyz123 is offline  
Sep 14th, 2006, 03:31 PM
  #7  
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It looks like OnSpanishTime meets most of our needs. If I read it correctly, it looks like it uses the Vodafone network. I am confident the coverage will be fine in Barcelona and Madrid but how good will it be in the hills between Granada, Ronda and Sevilla where we will be spending a significant amount of time? Looking at the coverage maps on their website, it looks like Movistar has better coverage in Andalucia. Do you know of any companies like OnSpanishTime that use the Movistar network or does it matter that much. I would not want to be in Andalucia for 7 days without cell coverage. Thanks again for your replies.
john183 is offline  
Sep 14th, 2006, 05:26 PM
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We use both Vodafone and MoviStar, on two different phones, and have never been anywhere, including Andalucia and Extremadura, were the coverage was not good. Like in the States, you will not notice which cell towers you're using as you travel around the country. Vodafone is the largest service in Europe and as mentioned by xyz123, apparently the most versatile.
Robert2533 is offline  
Sep 20th, 2006, 05:59 AM
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I have had a Vodafone in Spain (for all Europe? for the last four years and it is a heaven sent solution to communication. I travel 3-4 times a year to Europe, recharge it at Corte Ingles, kiosks, Vodafone offices, no problem.

Last June, Iberia was four hours late Madrid to London and therefore missing my flight to the US. That holly Vodafone cel helped me connect with AA in the US and rearrange my travel, for which Iberia took no responsibility. I would have been stranded and buying a new ticket four times higher that day, as they proposed.
epaulino is offline  
Sep 20th, 2006, 06:14 AM
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Was the Iberia and AA tickets on the same ticket? If so, AA, although you would have had to work with desk personnel, would have been able to resolve the issue upon arrival at LHR. Of course I am not saying it was good to be able to do it this way but I doubt if you would have been forced to buy a new ticket.
xyz123 is offline  
Sep 20th, 2006, 07:46 AM
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GSM worldwide standard is a heaven sent solution to communication. Vodafone is an operator among others.
lobo_mau is offline  
Sep 21st, 2006, 07:32 AM
  #12  
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I have been communicating with Jeremy at On Spanish Time and we are going to go with this option for the two weeks we are in Spain. The convenience of having the phone number before we leave to give to our family and having the phone waiting for us at our hotel in Barcelona is just what we need. Thanks for all your replies. As usual, Fodorites are the best!!!!!
john183 is offline  
Sep 21st, 2006, 08:21 AM
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What's done is done and I can understand that people want to deal with this as hassle free as possible.

I, however, just will throw my 2˘ in as an alternative to consider, not to say anybody did the right thing or the wrong thing.

Renting call phones in this day and age usually is not a wise thing to do. Once you pay the rental fees, you will find you will have paid out more than you would to simply buy a simple dual band (900/1800) phone whether it be before leaving or after leaving.

Similarly buying a prepaid sim pack is very very simple in this day and age and throughut almost all of the areas of Europe I have been to, you find mobile phone stores on almost every other corner and often you find them in the arrivals area of many intrnational airports but I will admit I have never been to Spain so can't speak for it.

This business of having the number in advance is extremely overrated....you can send sms messages or make a first call and let the people you want to have the number...and if you go back to the same country and your sim is still valid you will obviously have the same number but okay I can undertand that might seem advantageous.

But you casily open up an account with callbackworld, which you should in any event as it will probably be much cheaper to call home using callbackworld than the sim provider. They give you what is called a pin2dest...an 800 toll free US number that anybody can call and with a pin provided by them....you can then easily set the call to number once you know your local number.

Again I am not trying to disuade you from doing what you think is best and most convenient but in general, atleast today, it is kind of silly IMHO to rent a cell phone for use in Europe.
xyz123 is offline  
Sep 21st, 2006, 11:03 AM
  #14  
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I am sure there are cheaper ways to have a cell phone in Spain than renting one. However, even though it would probably be an interesting experience and may not be very difficult to do, I do not want to spend even a few minutes of my valuable time in Barcelona trying to buy a cell phone in a language I do not speak. Maybe it is because I am getting old but it seems I have to have a way to stay in contact with a lot of people. My and my wife's 80-something parents, all our kids, our brothers and sisters, the neighbors that are watching our house, all our other relatives need to be able to get in touch with us. Granted there may be nothing we can do about whatever the problem is but the comfort of being able to talk is quite valuable. It is just plain easier to have the cell number in advance and get it to all the people that need it as opposed to trying to make sure everyone has it while I am in Spain. I know you are trying to be helpful and yes it may be silly to rent a cell phone while I am in Spain so please take this in the friendly spirit of agreeing to disagree but IMHO there are some circumstances where it is well worth it.
john183 is offline  
Sep 29th, 2006, 02:24 PM
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We're about to go to Spain with friends and each couple would like a cell phone so we can communicate on days we go our separate ways. Apparently there are phone kiosks at the airport (BCN)? How much should we expect to pay for the cheapest phone complete with card and minutes?
Lorraine is offline  
Sep 29th, 2006, 02:38 PM
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I can't tell you now an exact amount because there are offers now and then that change but I'm sure you can do it for around 50 euros. Sometimes there are cheaper offers and sometimes maybe you have to pay a bit more.
kenderina is offline  
Sep 29th, 2006, 06:10 PM
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as i said in my post.. i saw offers for 29 and 39 euros, then it went up bit by bit.

lincasanova is offline  
Oct 9th, 2006, 11:00 AM
  #18  
 
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hey all.

just stumbled upon this thread after googling my service

ok, a LOT has been said here and at the risk of being edited out or deleted by the admins here, as the owner of the discussed Onspanishtime cell rentals, i feel i need to pop in and give my 2 euro cents worth.

john183, if you are the john that indeed has rented from us, it just so happens that we sent your phones off to your hotel in barcelona today (mon., oct. 9th) so they are there the DAY BEFORE you arrive. i am 100% positive that you will love the service we provide and that you will come back here and rave about it after your trip

Robert2533, thanks for the kudos. i have seen your recommendations for our services on a few boads and i appreciate it. it is hard in this day and age with a lot of skeptics (eg. "xyz123") out there to run an excellent and fair service like ours.

we use vodafone since the special call rates and the very low cost 800 minutes we give our clients to call back to u.s.a. and canada are only compatible with vodafone. john, if you wanted a MoviStar rental, i could have replaced the vodafone SIMs in your phones with MoviStar ones however it would have been an expensive proposition for you since the call rates back to the U.S.A. would have been insanely expensive.

yes, you can buy a phone+SIM pack here in spain (not at any airport as far as i know Lorraine but let us know if you find one there) in a shop for 50 euros with some call credit (usually 10 euros) but as stated by Robert2533, that does not help you have your phone number before you leave and as stated by john183, who wants to spend valuable vacation time here looking for a cell phone deal.


xyz123, as for your...

"This business of having the number in advance is extremely overrated....you can send sms messages or make a first call and let the people you want to have the number...and if you go back to the same country and your sim is still valid you will obviously have the same number but okay I can undertand that might seem advantageous."

we always give repeat renters the same number as well if they request it and we also give them a 25% repeat renter discount. also, simply "send sms messages or make a first call and let the people you want to have the number..." is not a cheap option as each international sms costs 60 cents.

buying a phone to use here is a viable option if you do not need to make calls back home. if you do need to call back home, then forget about purchasing a phone pack. not even opening a callbackworld account can compete with the current offer of 800 minutes at 40 cents per call that we are giving all rental clients.

if you buy a pack from MoviStar for example for 50 euros and end up having to talk back home for say 30 minutes during your stay. those 30 minutes airtime will cost you over 30 euros and hence the 50 euro phone just cost you 80 euros and god forbid you need to talk for an hour, that just tacked on 60+ euros to your price tag while that call would have cost you just 40 cents with our service.

sorry if i went a bit nutzoooo here but in a way, i feel i have to defend our services.

one would think that simply providing a quality service at good prices would be enough but there are still people who doubt it out there and they need to be shown the way

saludos,
jer...

Lorraine wrote...

"We're about to go to Spain with friends and each couple would like a cell phone so we can communicate on days we go our separate ways."

this for example is where our service can't be beat. we offer a dual rental that will allow you to call each other for next to nothing as well as give you each the 800 free minutes to the U.S.A. or Canada at just the 40 cent per call connection fee.

john183, looking forward to meeting you in madrid.

saludos,
jer...
jerfrommultimadrid is offline  
Oct 9th, 2006, 12:08 PM
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Excellent response, Jer.
Robert2533 is offline  
Oct 9th, 2006, 12:56 PM
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I'll stand by some of the things I have always said...

What about roaming with the rental phone?

Buy a united-mobile sim card with a cheap inexpensive dual band phone and the phone is yours forever as is the sim card....

JI bought a united-mobile sim card several years ago...I got €10 worth of credit and still have about €8.50 because I made a couple of calls just to keep it active....

How do I do it? I use callbackworld....callbackworld charges me 14˘/minute to call the USA timed in 6 second intervals...yes your rate seems to beat that as long as I am in Spain but what if I leave Spain for a weekend trip to Portugal? What are roaming rates?

I have retained my united mobile number for the past 3 years...but nobody need know it...I use callbackworld's pin2dest and give people my US pin2dest # and they can call me using US toll free (they don't pay) and I pay 14˘/minute again timed in 6 second intervals...

Nobody is saying you have a bad service and if what you're saying is true, and I have no reason whatsoever to doubt it, it's a good service if one is only going to Spain and will only be going to Spain whenever they travel....800 minutes for 40˘ per call is very good...but 14˘/minute timed in 6 second intervals ain't too shabby either.
xyz123 is offline  

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