After you’ve finished applying for official documents like your NIE or TIE, it’s time to figure out getting a cell phone in Spain. No matter how long you’re staying, you’ll need to use your cell phone while you’re discovering Spain! If your study abroad program is short or if you’re coming from an EU-country, it may be a better choice to check your company’s international plans. If you want to register for a Spanish cell phone, or un móvil as they’re called in Spain, read on!

getting a cell phone in spain

You’ll need your phone when you’re discovering Spain!

Requirements for Getting a Cell Phone in Spain

Depending on your situation, there can be differing requirements for getting a cell phone in Spain. Did you bring your smartphone from home? Great! This is the least expensive option. If you brought your own phone, you need to have an accessible SIM-card slot to be able to get a Spanish phone number. You will also need to check with your service provider if your phone is unlocked. This usually needs to be arranged before you depart for Spain. Once your phone is unlocked, getting a cell phone in Spain is a breeze. You only need a passport to buy a SIM card at a local phone store. If you are a Spanish resident, you will be asked for your NIE and registered address. You can recharge your cell plan online or at tobacco shops and phone stores.

If a contract-based plan interests you while researching getting a cell phone in Spain, there are more requirements. There are almost as many requirements as there are for studying abroad! To get a cell phone contract, you need a Spanish bank account, a NIE, a registered Spanish address and proof of address. These cell phone plans usually last a minimum of 18 months, so they’re only ideal for longer stays.

If you want to buy a completely new cell phone when you arrive in Spain, they may need much of the same information as a cell phone contract would. Check out the local Spanish phone stores and compare their prices with department stores like Corte Ingles. These phones sometimes come with a contract offer, so if you aren’t staying long, make sure you can pay-as-you-go.

The Best Cell Phone Service Plans in Spain

getting a cell phone in Spain

Shopkeepers can help you find the best service plan for your specific needs.

There are four main mobile service providers in Spain. If you’re getting a cell phone in Spain, it will usually be through one of these providers: Movistar, Vodafone, Orange, and Yoigo. There are plenty of other phone companies but they operate through the networks of the main companies. For example, LlamaYa is a great pay-as-you-go company and it uses the Orange network to operate. Usually, the pay-as-you-go options are offered by smaller companies who work with the big cell phone providers, so you may not recognize the brand. That’s ok! Shopkeepers at cell phone stores are usually very honest and helpful when comparing pay-as-you-go plans.

Deals and offers by the many Spanish phone companies are changing all the time. Pay-as-you-go plans are usually the best deal for students. Don’t worry if they don’t provide free SMSing, as almost everyone in Spain uses What’s App. These plans also have very different international service offers, so compare the plans according to what countries you’ll be calling. Lastly, consider your data usage before you sign up for a plan. You’ll need to use your GPS more than once while navigating the winding Spanish streets!