Mobile Phone USE in Spain

Control the cost of using your mobile phone in Spain

A convenient feature of the modern mobile phone is the ability to remain in contact whilst abroad. Mobile operators refer to this service as international roaming. However, this convenience comes at a cost and if you don't pay attention to how much you use your mobile you could be paying your phone bill off long after your tan has faded.

This article has been written to help you avoid extortionate mobile roaming charges however the potential to reduce costs greatly depends on your usage pattern.

Important differences to note whilst in Spain;
* You will have a choice of different networks to use. However, the call charges will vary dependent on the network you select.
* You will pay for receiving calls
* Your call charges will be different to those when using your mobile at home. Expect an increase of 300-1000%.
* The peak and off peak times of the foreign operator may differ from your UK operator.
* You may be billed in different increments i.e. per minute instead of per second.
*There will be a surcharge for calling free phone numbers and customer care lines.

Considerations before travelling

Check the cost of calling with your mobile operator and the network coverage whilst in Spain. A full list of the current operator prices can be found at the end of this article.

Let potential callers know that you will be in Spain
In order to avoid receiving unnecessary and costly call, advise potential callers that you will be Spain. If you have a standard UK contract you may be paying as much as 75ppmin to receive a call.

If you travel frequently to different destinations ask about special roaming tariffs. Your mobile operator may offer an International Traveller Service (ITS). In general this is offered if you roam on a partner network whilst abroad and typically in return you will receive flat rate calls. The savings can be as much as 80% however there may be an additional subscription fee, so make sure your usage justifies the extra charge.

Considerations when travelling

There are several steps that you can take to use your mobile in the most cost effective way.

Send TXT messages instead of calling
A typical text message will cost 30-40p while abroad however a voice call will cost in excess of 60p. And remember whilst roaming you are charged per minute so if your call only lasts twenty seconds you will still get charged the price of a full minute.

Bar incoming calls or set up a UK divert
If you are confident that no one will want to speak to you then you can bar incoming calls. Alternatively, divert all calls to a UK number and ask people to contact you via SMS or call if it is urgent.

Use your voicemail service
You can divert all incoming calls directly to your voicemail so that you do not need to pay to receive that call. You can then make one call to your voice mail and decide what calls require your attention. However, please note that conditional diverts such as diverting calls to voicemail when you are on the phone can be extremely costly. This is because you often pay to receive the call and then send it back to your voicemail in the UK.

Manually select the cheapest network to roam on
When arriving in Spain your mobile phone should automatically select the cheapest network (partner network) to roam on. However, to avoid any costly mistakes, it is worth discovering the correct network before roaming and then manually selecting that network once you arrive.

Phoning Home
All phone numbers in your mobile's address book need to be preceded with the correct international dialling code. For UK numbers it is +44 followed by the national code minus the first 0.

Foreign SIM cards
For longer or repeat visits to Spain consider purchasing a foreign Pay-as-you-go sim card. The SIM is an electronic chip that ties you to a particular network. By changing the SIM, you are no longer roaming, you are considered to be a local number on a particular network. This brings considerable advantages; you are no longer charged to receive calls and you can make calls at a fraction of the roaming cost.

You can buy Spanish prepaid sim cards online at for £29.99 before you go and then simply pay as you go when abroad. This has the added benefit of providing you with your new number before you travel and a set of English instructions. However, please be aware that your handset may need to be unlocked before it will accept a sim card from another network, often this will cost around £10. Thankfully 0044 provide a free Nokia unlock with the purchase of a sim card.
If you decide to stick with your existing tariff and just use your phone for emergencies, it should select the right overseas network automatically, but if it doesn't you could end up paying more. Watch out for this with Vodafone and Virgin.

Tips for saving money

Depending on how often you travel and where you go you could save money by following these simple guidelines.

Annual Holiday Maker – Holiday phone bill is less than £20
If you head overseas once a year and take your mobile with you please try the following;
* Subscribe to an international saver scheme and you could benefit form significant savings if you intend to use the phone for more than just emergencies.
* Whenever possible TXT rather than phone but be aware it will cost around 30p/txt
* Use local payphones to make national calls and buy a calling card to call home

The business traveller / jet setter – Monthly phone bill exceeds £200
If you visit several destinations a year and roaming is second nature;
* Subscribe to an international saver scheme
* Ensure that the scheme has flat rate calling charges for all networks that operate in that country to avoid complications
* Consider purchasing a global roaming sim card this innovative service that allows you to roam with just one sim card throughout the world and can save you up to 80%. For more information please visit:

A home in the sun / spending more than 3 weeks abroad
If you are lucky enough to have brought a home in the sun, regularly visit Spain every year or are intending to spend more than 3 weeks in Spain;
* Purchase a foreign sim card for a local network. You should quickly recuperate the costs even if you have to pay for an unlock. You will be able to receive calls for free and make call at local rates. For a UK supplier of Spanish sim cards please visit

For further information regarding international mobile roaming call charges please click on the following links:

O2 -

Vodafone -

Orange -

T-mobile -

4 things you probably never knew your mobile phone could do!

There are a few things that can be done in times of grave emergencies. Your mobile phone can actually be a life saver or an emergency tool for survival. Check out the things that you can do with it:
FIRST - Emergency
The Emergency Number worldwide for Mobile is 112. If you find yourself out of the coverage area of your mobile; network and there is an emergency, dial 112 and the mobile will search any existing network to establish the emergency number for you, and interestingly this number 112 can be dialled even if the keypad is locked.
SECOND - Have you locked your keys in the car?
Does your car have remote keyless entry? This may come in handy someday. Good reason to own a cell phone: If you lock your keys in the car and the spare keys are at home, call someone at home on their mobile phone from your cell phone.
Hold your cell phone about a foot from your car door and have the person at your home press the unlock button, holding it near the mobile phone on their end. Your car will unlock. Saves someone from having to drive your keys to you. Distance is no object. You could be hundreds of miles away, and if you can reach someone who has the other 'remote' for your car, you can unlock the doors (or the trunk).
THIRD - Hidden Battery Power
Imagine your mobile battery is very low. To activate, press the keys *3370# Your mobile will restart with this reserve and the instrument will show a 50% increase in battery. This reserve will get charged when you charge your mobile next time.
FOURTH - How to disable a STOLEN mobile phone?
To check your Mobile phone's serial number, key in the following digits on your phone: * # 0 6 #
A 15 digit code will appear on the screen. This number is unique to your handset. Write it down and keep it somewhere safe. When your phone get stolen, you can phone your service provider and give them this code. They will then be able to block your handset so even if the thief changes the SIM card, your phone will be totally useless. You probably won't get your phone back, but at least you know that whoever stole it can't use/sell it either. If everybody does this, there would be no point in people stealing mobile phones.
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