Obviously, if you’re just a visitor or tourist in Spain, getting a prepaid mobile phone is just about your only option as mobile companies won’t usually allow you a contract. However, if you’re moving to Spain or have just moved, you may be wondering should you get a prepaid or contract phone in Spain?
There are pros and cons to both so, much of the time, it’s up to which mobile phone system you think will benefit you the most.
Prepaid Mobile Phones in Spain – One of the best ways to get immediate mobile phone service in Spain is to get a prepaid mobile phone. You get a sim card put into an existing phone, or buy a new phone , and then can add just 10 euros to the telephone and use it to make calls until your credit runs out. Then, you just buy a recargas (recharge card) at an internet cafe, kiosk, at a branch of the department store El Corte Ingles, or on the internet at one of the many websites that now offer it. You can put as little or as much as you want on the phone (minimum amount is usually 5 euros) and you don’t run any risk of spending money you can’t afford. You can also use it over several months and are not stuck paying a monthly phone bill, even if you don’t use the phone much.
Contract Mobile Phones in Spain – If you’re going to be in Spain long-term, or use your mobile phone a lot, you may be better paying for a contract mobile phone. Contracts for mobile phones are offered by every company and, if you have heavy phone usage, your calls will definitely be cheaper per call than a prepaid phone. However, there are also many additional fees that come with it, including a monthly fee, a connection charge and, in many cases, a minimum monthly consumption — meaning if you don’t use the phone much you’ll still be charged as if you do.
Also, remember, with a contract mobile phone, contracts typically run from a year to 18 months. That means, if you have to cancel the contract before it expires, you could be stuck with a heavy penalty charge of several hundred euros.
I’ve been in Spain for several years and only have a prepaid mobile phone. I don’t use it that much so, for me, the prepaid mobile service is far, far cheaper than a contract would be. It’s up to you what works better for you.
Be warned too, Spanish mobile phone service is nowhere near as cheap as many other countries, so go carefully until you either use up your first credit amount on a prepaid phone, or get your first bill from a contract phone, as you may be quite shocked when you do.