Be sure to secure your iPhone or Android Smartphone whenever you travel. Precautions will help prevent disaster.
The iPhone or any Android Smartphone is an essential tool when traveling to Spain, Spain for tourists of any country. Google maps, travel guides, language translation, and many other apps are extremely useful. We used them all the time. Using our American AT&T iPhone in Spain was tricky.
Most newer Verizon iPhones from the USA work internationally, since they use CDMA technology and include a SIM card slot. Verizon does carry several “World Phones” which work with SIM Cards, check with Verizon to see if you have one of these. We have done the research on our last trip and are sharing the findings with you.
Travel Tips for Spain
Yelp of Spain – 11870.com
We also have articles on using prepaid SIM cards in other countries:
- Using iPhones in Hong Kong
- Using iPhones in China
- Using iPhones in France
- Using iPhones in the UK
- Using iPhones in Japan
Here are some tips on using your iPhone in Spain
You can only use foreign SIM cards in an unlocked iPhone or Android Smartphone. A locked smartphone only works on the original cell phone carrier. Most cell phone carriers in the US, including AT&T, allow you to unlock Smartphones after your 2 year contract or Next plan has been fulfilled. T-Mobile requires 18 months of payments or full payment before they will unlock a cell phone under contract. You can alternately purchase an unlocked Smartphone from Amazon, eBay, etc.
If you prefer to unlock your iPhone, you can try jailbreaking it. Jailbreaking and unlocking iPhones are not easy tasks. One slip and you may have bricked your expensive smartphone. You can buy a unlocked used iPhone from eBay or Craigslist. iPhone 6’s typically cost around $200.
This article also applies to using prepaid SIM Cards in the iPhone XS, XR, X, 8, 7, 6, and iPad with 4G or LTE. Android Smartphones utilizing GSM technology are also supported.
Different Smartphones use different sized SIM cards. Most foreign cell phone carriers sell smaller micro-SIM and nano-SIM (iPhone XS, XR, X, 8, 7, 6, iPad mini and Air) for use in a variety of Smartphones. You should remove the SIM card from your phone before you attempt to purchase a prepaid SIM card in another country.
Main cellphone carriers in Spain
- Telefónica’s Movistar
Telefónica’s Movistar has the most subscribers 30%, while Vodafone 25% and Orange 23% are constantly competing for the second place. In last place, Yoigo has started to grow under its new ownership.
Most of these carriers support GSM 900/1800/2100 network frequencies. 4G/LTE is supported on frequencies: 700, 900 and 1800 MHz. Most carriers do offer 4G LTE on prepaid.
You can also rent a mobile hot spot from several companies, a great bet if you have to support several people with WiFi data.
Suggested Wireless Carrier
We chose to go with a Vodafone prepaid SIM Card because they are a leading carrier and have stores all over the place.
Where to Buy
You can check the Vodafone website for locations of their stores. We prefer not to buy from 3rd party re-sellers.
Vodafone offers a promotion called SUPERYUSER with 4GB and 30 minutes of local and international calls (to 35 countries) with a SIM Card for only 15€. This works on their fast 4G LTE Network.
Vodafone Convenient Barcelona locations
- 2 Vodafone locations near Sagrada Familia hours are 10:00-14:00, 17:00-21:00 Closed Sat/Sun
- 4 Vodafone locations near Placa de Catalunya with even longer hours. Mon – Sat 10:00-21:00. Closed Sunday.
Vodafone Convenient Madrid location
Prepaid SIM card plan
When we purchased the Spain Mobile Prepaid SIM Card from their cell phone store, they took a picture of our passport and our drivers license. Be prepared to wait up to 15 minutes to get activated, they need to send the information in.
- 4GB Data
- 30 minutes of local calls
Prepaid SIM card Activation
This is how we set up our iPhone on this prepaid SIM Card.
- Turn off your smartphone
- Insert the Prepaid SIM Card
- Turn on your smartphone
- Carrier settings should be configured automatically
- If necessary set the APN field to Internet
Prepaid SIM card Top Up
Here is how you can add money to your account
- Check your balance by entering: *123# Option 1,2,7
- Visit a convenience store and purchase a top up
- You will receive a receipt with a PIN number
- Enter PIN number on your phone
- You should receive a text message or SMS confirmation with new balance
These instructions should work for other smartphones including Android smartphones that support American GSM networks from AT&T and T-Mobile.