Madrid Communication Guide
Telefonica is the monopoly that controls all landline telephony in Spain. There are other landline phone service providers, but the great majority of telephone lines are owned and installed by Telefonica and a monthly line maintenance fee of 13 euros is almost always paid to Telefonica, regardless of the service provider.
To install a landline, you will have to contact Telefonica either by calling 1004 or by visiting http://www.telefonica.es. It’s best to solicit the installation of your landline through the Web site, as they generally have free installation offers when you fill in the application form online and commit to a calling plan. Installation takes place about one week after it’s been solicited.
To sign up for landline phone service, you will need an NIE or passport and a Spanish bank account, as the monthly phone bills are deducted directly from your bank account. The monthly cost for a landline service depends on the calling plan that you choose, but remember that whatever the cost of the plan, you’ll always have to tack on an additional 13 euros per month for maintenance plus service tax. A landline + Internet package with free national calls to other landline telephones, including the monthly maintenance fee, is generally between 50 and 60 euros per month.
A long-distance calling plan is not automatically included in your phone package, so international calls are quite expensive. For a long-distance calling plan, you should contact Telefonica by phone at 1004, and ask that they instate a long-distance plan for the countries outside of Spain that you will be calling regularly. However, the cheapest option for international calls is the plethora of calling cards sold at the post office. Ask the person that helps you to explain the rates for the different cards, as certain cards may offer better rates for the country that you are interested in calling.
Other landline phone service providers include:
- Ono – http://www.ono.es/home1v.aspx
- Jazztel – http://www.jazztel.com/
- Orange – http://clientes.orange.es/
- Ya.com – http://www.ya.com/
Mobile telephony is a must in Spain, primarily because calling other cell phones from a landline is prohibitively expensive (around 0.30 euros/minute), and most Spaniards list their mobiles as their primary numbers, not their home phones.
Prepaid mobile phone service tends to be significantly more expensive than a postpaid calling contract. On average the prepaid per minute rate is about twice as high as the postpaid rate. However, if your stay in Spain will be under one year or you plan on using your mobile sparingly, a prepaid phone is the best option. Prepaid handsets are never free, but no-frills models are very cheap, plus they always come with at least 10 euros of credit on them. Prepaid handsets start as low as 20 euros.
Postpaid mobile telephony is cheaper and more flexible than prepaid. Although you have to commit to a minimum of a year and a half contract, you can get a free (cheaper models) or reduced-price (more expensive models) headset plus you can choose the calling plan that best suits your needs. There is a minimum monthly cost of about 10 euros (varies depending on the plan). However, if you use your mobile regularly, you’ll have no trouble spending the monthly minimum.
Regardless of whether you are purchasing a prepaid or postpaid phone, you must always show a passport or NIE. You will not be sold the phone if ID is not provided. If you want to start a postpaid contract, you will also have to bring your local bank account details so that your bills can be automatically deducted each month.
Mobile phone service providers include: