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Spain - Telephone

The main provider of telephone services in Spain is Telefonica (they provide the lines for other service providers). Telefonica has a customer service department with English speaking staff. When you need to have a phone line installed you will need to contact Telefonica as they are the only organisation which has authorisation to install lines. They are not known for a fast service and if you are in a rural area you can wait several months for an installation.

If you are moving into a property which already has a phone line installed then you just need to verify that it is a ‘live’ line and then you can transfer the account. This costs a lot less than having a new line installed. You can request this transfer online at the Telefonica website and you are able to do this in advance of your move in order to save time. If the line is not live then you will need to contact Telefonica directly to arrange for it to be reactivated.

When you receive your bill you can opt to do so by post, via email or online at the Telefonica website. Telefonica usually sends out bills every two months. The company does have a policy of restricting services if payments are late or not received. A fee may be charged for reconnection. Bills can be paid by direct debit, by credit or debit card online, over the phone or over the counter at a bank or post office or in cash. Customers also have the option to send a cheque in the post.

When you make a telephone call in Spain you will be charged by the minute and the rates vary according to the time of day. There are a number of providers which offer flat rate plans if you expect to be making a lot of calls.

The country code for Spain is 34. Each town has its own area code and some of the main ones include Alicante which has a code of 96, Barcelona’s code is 93, Bilbao has a code of 94, the code for Cadiz is 956, the Madrid code is 91, in Malaga the code is 95 and Seville has a code of 95.

Mobile phone services are varied within Spain and these usually operate on a GSM network, so most phones used in Europe will be compatible with the network. Mobile phone handsets that have been purchased in the United States will usually work on the CDMA system and cannot be used in Spain.

Mobile phones in Spain are available on both a pre-paid and contract basis. When you purchase a new SIM card you may be asked to present your identification such as your passport, your ID card (Numero de Identificacion de Extranjero) and give proof of your address. This is part of the requirements of the anti-terrorism laws in Spain. Contracts vary according to the provider and the monthly tariffs and services will also vary. Billing is done on a monthly basis. In order to top up a pre-paid card you can purchase cards or vouchers from a number of outlets including supermarkets, petrol stations and newsagents. In some urban areas there are telephone card machines. It is also now possible to top up a pay as you go mobile at the bank ATM. Companies such as Orange and Vodafone are popular providers in Spain.

Spain has many public telephones, particularly in urban areas. These are operated either by coins or cards and cards can be purchased from many outlets such as newsagents or post offices. The cost of calls will vary according to the time of day that you make the call. Telefonica operates the public phone system and there are also phone sites (locutorios) where there is an attendant who will take the money for the call when you have finished. Public phones often have instructions in English.

Useful Information

Tel: 00 34 917 073 921
Tel: 1004 (from an existing Telefonica line)
Online applications for new accounts/customer service – English speaking operators

Vodafone Espana SAU
Avenida de Europa 1
Park Empresarial La Moraleja
Alcobendas 28108
Madrid Spain
Tel: 123 (customer service for existing customers)
Tel: 607 123 000

Servicio al Cliente Apto
Correos 317
46080 Valencia
Tel: 800 400 520 / 902 929 000

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