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#36262 - 09/17/04 11:02 AM Cell Phones in Spain: pay as you go, or monthly bill?
sincopated Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/17/04
Posts: 25
Loc: New York
Sorry for the posting - I have searched this board and read various postings on similar topics, but I'm moving to Madrid in a few months and will need a cell phone while I'm there. If all goes according to plan, I'll be there 1-2 years. I lived in Spain before, and used Amena, and bought the re-charge cards to add money to my account, which was then subtracted based on a per-minute charge each time I made/received a call.

However, that was 3 years ago. Is the whole pay-as-you-go thing still the same in Spain, or do they also have 12-month contracts as they do in the states, where you have, for example, 400 minutes to use each month, and if you go over, then they charge you. ?

In your opinion, if I'm going to be in Spain for a year, is a contract a better option b/c you pay less per minute, or is the difference between contract and pay-as-you-go not that much?

also -- last question (i promise). I can't use my US cell phone since I use Verizon and they're not GSM (like cingular or T-mobile). If I were to buy an unlocked GSM phone here in the US, can I simply purchase a SIM card/phone number in Spain (Amena, MoviStar, are there other carriers?) and be good to go, or do those carriers make you buy THEIR phones to use THEIR cellular service??

Thanks for the tips/advice/recs. I really really REALLY appreciate it.

#36263 - 09/17/04 11:33 AM Re: Cell Phones in Spain: pay as you go, or monthly bill?
Puna Offline
Executive Member

Registered: 07/07/00
Posts: 1674
Loc: Charlotte, NC. U.S.A.
I can't answer the first part of your question but you might want to check w/ Verizon - they are owned (45% I believe) by Vodafone - the largest EU cell phone supplier. I do know that some folks @ Verizon have said we can expect EU rate deals within a reasonable time .....
i.e. Verizon might be able to set you up on a EU deal ... Can't hurt to ask
emotionally & mentally in Spain - physically in Charlotte

#36264 - 09/17/04 07:42 PM Re: Cell Phones in Spain: pay as you go, or monthly bill?
Fernando Offline
Executive Member

Registered: 07/05/01
Posts: 1563
Loc: Madrid, Spain
There are three mobile carriers in Spain:

MoviStar (Telefónica Móviles)
Amena (Auna Telecomunicaciones)

You may buy here a mobile phone for use only on their respective networks, which will be cheaper than a free mobile phone bought either here or in the States. You may use a free mobile phone if you want on any of the three networks.

The three companies have still the two basic pay schemes: prepaid and postpaid. You may acquire prepaid credits and spend them as you use your mobile phone, or sign a contract for which you will be charged a monthly fee (usually 3-9 €) plus the rates for the usage you made.

If you are going to stay here for 1-2 years and intend to use the mobile phone on a regular basis (1 or 2 calls per day or more) it is cheaper to use the postpaid (monthly charge) scheme. If you intend to use your mobile phone only on emergencies it would be cheaper to use the prepaid scheme.

You may find more information on the web sites, or if you have further questions post them here.



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