Where to Buy SIM Card

Posted by: Madrid in May

Where to Buy SIM Card - 04/12/12 08:48 AM

Hello, all...

I now have an unlocked GSM (900/1800 MHz) phone to take with me on my Spain trip in two weeks.

I would appreciate any recommendations as to good, inexpensive places to buy my SIM card.

-- I'll be in Spain 12 days.

-- I'll make a few calls a day locally or to my son's cell phone with a Spain SIM card (whether he'll buy the same card as I will is not known)...maybe also a few to local numbers, e.g., a restaurant -- but not every day.

-- I'll make a 5-10 minute call to the US (landlines) perhaps once or twice a day.

-- I'm staying a couple of blocks north of Sol, and hope to buy the card on arrival at a place near my hotel. My Spanish is just fair, so I'd prefer a place that can explain the details of the card to me in English.



Posted by: pedmar

Re: Where to Buy SIM Card - 04/12/12 10:13 AM

easy any Orange store will sell you one good for anywhere. Locations all over the city. Also the Phone House

hope it helps
Posted by: Mongo

Re: Where to Buy SIM Card - 04/12/12 10:17 PM

Early in 2009, I bought a €20 prepaid Vodafone cellphone from El Corte Ingles. I have been using it ever since. I put €5 or €10 at a time in it. Local calls/texts are around €.35/min and to the US around €1/min. Incoming calls are free and Vodafone gives out bonuses and free weekends from time to time.

I use my Magic Jack connected to the hotel wifi to call the US for free.

The best part is, as my Spanish is intermediate, I went to ECI and they have a free service where you can request a translator to help you shop. She helped explain some of the details and paperwork. She was a delightful college intern who was gaining experience for a future business career!
Posted by: laduque

Re: Where to Buy SIM Card - 04/13/12 03:39 PM

Along the same topic: Is there such thing as a portable wifi set up I could plug into an iPad while i'm in Spain?
Posted by: pedmar

Re: Where to Buy SIM Card - 04/14/12 11:11 AM

yes the El corte Inglιs is a good source for many brands, I forgot to mentioned it. I am a card carrying customer lol!!!

laduque I am not that technical, but dont know the portable thingy, however, someone will ::) or there in those stores anyone can help you while in Madrid.
Posted by: Silver Traveler

Re: Where to Buy SIM Card - 04/17/12 05:58 AM

el corte ingles is a good source...and they have english speaking staff as well. Otherwise, there are many phone stores on every block it seems...
Posted by: Madrid in May

Re: Where to Buy SIM Card - 06/07/12 06:58 PM

Hi, all...

Sorry I didn't give any feedback when I returned from Spain a few weeks ago.

The Orange Store in Sol was amazing! I got a SIM for 9€ that had 9€ loaded onto it (some kind of promotion)...so the chip was free. The salesperson was extremely helpful, even though my Spanish is spotty as was his English. He very quickly printed out all the paperwork and inserted the chip as well.

In Sevilla, I needed to add another 5€. The Orange Store guy there was just as helpful. He showed me how to simply enter my phone number into the self-service machine and put a 5€ bill into it -- instantly, the money was added to my phone.

I never did understnad the pricing - it was supposed to be 1c/min to the US, but each call (~5 min or so) was around 30c -- still very inexpensive. Must have been a connection surcharge or something. Local calls were 7c/min. The entire cost was 14€ -- can't beat it.

I strongly recommend this to all.

Posted by: MadridMan

Re: Where to Buy SIM Card - 06/08/12 02:28 AM

Wow! Thanks for that detailed feedback, Madrid in May! We appreciate you returning to tell us about it, which will no doubt help future travelers.

Saludos, MadridMan
Posted by: pedmar

Re: Where to Buy SIM Card - 06/09/12 12:16 PM

Great but I am an orange user so I know they are great. glad it help you too
Posted by: Rob in Madrid

Re: Where to Buy SIM Card - 07/13/12 02:23 AM

slightly off topic but those who buy phones here will quickly realize that they are locked down. Usually you have to pay someone to 'liberate' it. But I found out that by law they have to unlock the phone after one year. I did that with my iphone and now am with Pepephone at about 1/10 the cost

BTW much to my surprise the English helpline of Movistar helped to unlock the phone even though I had cancelled the contract.
Posted by: MadridMan

Re: Where to Buy SIM Card - 07/13/12 05:00 AM

I've seen those signs to "Liberate" your locked-phone and I never really understood it. Why would a phone be locked-down when you buy it? Hmmm.. When I got my first mobile contract here in Spain they gave me the new pocket phone. 9 months later I went into FNAC and bought myself a smartphone and simply switched out the SIM card from the old phone to the new phone and it worked instantly. Then when I got my NEW smart phone a couple months ago I did the same, switching out the SIM card from one to the other without any unlocking. Curious. Maybe smartphones don't come locked-down??

Saludos, MadridMan
Posted by: Rob in Madrid

Re: Where to Buy SIM Card - 08/06/12 05:47 AM

Update here, all subsidy phones, and that is pretty much any phone bought from a carrier, is locked down. BUT here is the key, after one year, by law they must unlock it. I did that with my iphone, wanted to switch to PepePhone (not as cheap as they say) so I called Movistar, got it unlocked, but when I tried to put the new SIM in it didn't work. I called Movistar in English and they told me what I was doing wrong. Pretty impressive considering they were losing me as a customer. Anyways long story short, I simply needed to sync it with itunes.

Now that I'm on pepephone I'm giving serious thought going back to Movistar.
Posted by: Rob in Madrid

Re: Where to Buy SIM Card - 08/06/12 05:48 AM

BTW anyone know what is cost to unlock an old chocolate bar phone?
Posted by: Harriet

Re: Where to Buy SIM Card - 08/28/12 11:38 AM


I unlocked my old phone years back. It was a sony ericsson walkman phone, so pretty old. It wasn't an official unlock from the company and I can't remember the exact price; I don't remember it being over 10 euros here in Barcelona from a local shop that does "phone liberation". Maybe like 5 euros or 7 euros.

I doubt any official unlocking would cost more than that if anything.