Technology Review: Getting a Vodafone Internet Dongle Plan in Spain

On my current vacation in Spain, as soon as I arrived I purchased a Vodafone Pay As You Go Internet Dongle plan. As a writer, I need to have access to the internet 24 hours a day and, in Spain, that’s difficult to do by going from cafe to cafe with free Wi-Fi. Thus, my purchase of the dongle.

What is an Internet Dongle Plan? – A pay as you go internet dongle plan in Spain, is a plan where you can purchase 24 hour internet access without having to sign a long-term contract. Perfect for tourists and business travelers to Spain, who only need short-term access.

To start a plan you buy a USB modem stick (a dongle). This stick plugs into your USB port and comes with the software to access the internet, a code number, and so many gigabytes of data. Once purchased, you plug the dongle into your computer, key in the code number and voila, instant internet anywhere in Spain for as long as you’ve purchased the plan.

Vodafone Pay as You Go Internet Dongle Plans in Spain – I purchased my Vodafone plan at an internet cafe in the small Spanish town I’m staying in. Pretty much every internet shop has them (as well as plans from other companies) and so do Vodafone stores themselves. I bought Vodafone, as I was told by several Spaniards it’s the best and the fastest.

When you first purchase the dongle you’re given several options of internet service. You can pay for one day, one week, two weeks or a month at a time. I bought a month’s package, as that’s the length of time I’ll be on in Spain on this trip. It’s also cheaper to buy it for a month than for week by week.

Package prices vary. Beginning at just a few euros for a day, they go up rapidly for a week then increase again for a month. Packages also come in different levels for each time period, with either set gigabyte allowances or unlimited gigabytes (which means unlimited time online). I bought the unlimited package, as several people told me if you purchase the particular gigabyte packages, by the end of the month it’s often difficult to access the internet and it slows down considerably.

For my Vodafone Pay As You Go Package, I spent 39 euros ($55) for the dongle and 49 euros ($70) for a month’s unlimited internet access. A ridiculously expensive price, particularly as for the same service, in Asia where I live, it would have been less than $50 for everything.

Speed and Convenience of Vodafone Dongle Internet – For the outrageous price, I have to say I expected lightning fast internet. In Spain, unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be what Vodafone offers.

My connection goes on and off no matter which location I set it up in and even when working consistently, it’s fast but not as fast as my internet access in Asia. Sometimes, and particularly in the evening when there’s obviously higher internet traffic, it goes on and off, sometimes being off for five minutes or more. Frustrating when I’m in the middle of research or writing and have to wait till it fires itself back up.

I do however enjoy the convenience of it, as I have internet wherever I am in Spain. I just plug in the dongle and I’m ready to surf. I also now have the Vodafone dongle for Spain, so can use it the next time I come here, I’ll still have to pay $70 a month for internet access though which, coming from Asia where it’s lightning fast and cheap, Spain to me is far behind the times.

On the whole if, like me, you need internet access consistently wherever you are in Spain, I would recommend the Vodafone Pay As You Go Dongle plan. It is convenient, I can access internet anywhere and I have been able to get a lot of work done. Just be aware, internet speeds may not be as fast as you’re used to at home particularly if, like me, you come from Asia.