Calling and telephones in Spain

Category: Student Tips

Mobile phones

Contracts or pre-pay (top-ups)?

If you are a fanatic of the mobile phone, if you use it all day long to call your friends and you know that you are staying at least one year in Spain , you may be interested in a contract. On the other hand, if you are not spending much time on your mobile or if you know that you are not staying long in Spain , you will probably use a top-up system.

In any case, when you choose one of the services, don’t forget to mention you are a student and make sure you have your student ID with you; operators usually have special offers for students, especially when classes begin.

How to top up your phone?

If you have chosen a top-up system and you are running out of credit, it is easy: just go to a cash machine and select “recargar móvil” (that is “top-up mobile phone”) instead of “sacar dinero” (that is “withdraw money”). Then, just follow the steps that are displayed on the screen. Obviously, you need a card to be able to do that. If you do not have any international card like Visa or Mastercard, you will have to ask one in a bank in Spain . Learn more about it in our bank section.

There are other ways to top up your phone. It is usually possible to do it via the Internet, from a land line, from your mobile, buying top-up cards or going to a mobile phone shop. If the way of topping up your mobile really matters to you, you should visit the operators’ Web sites and check out the different top-up options they offer.

Mobile phone operators in Spain

Place the cursor on the “Particulares” tag to display their list of services: contracts, top-up systems, what they offer regarding international calls, mobile phones…

Place the cursor on the “Particulares” tag to display their list of services.

Calling abroad

You need to talk to your home university coordinator about the choice of your subjects? Or you just miss your family and friends and feel like calling them? There are several options to call abroad.

You should not use your mobile phone to call abroad as it could turn out to be more expensive than you thought and your interlocutor could even have to pay as well.

Calling via the Internet

If you have a computer, an Internet connection and so have your interlocutor, you can call via the Internet using Google Talk or Skype for example. The only tools you need are a microphone, speakers and a Webcam accessorily. To be able to use Google Talk, you will also need a Gmail account.


These are shops where there are several phone booths. If you do not have an easy access to the Internet, it may be a good option. You will be able to call your country in exchange for a certain amount of money per minute, depending of the country you are calling. It is usually quite cheap.

Cards for international calls

You can buy these cards in “locutorios”, newsstands or even from the cashiers in some shops and supermarkets. There is a variety of cards so you should compare several before you decide to buy one. Make sure it is valid for calls to your country: some are valid for any country whereas others are valid for specific countries only.

Once you have bought one of these cards, you have several options: you can use them from a land line (you can have an easy access to a land line if you are living in a family or sharing a flat), go to a phone booth or use your mobile phone. Keep in mind that you will not pay anything else than you card. Therefore, you could even use someone else’s land line or mobile phone; it would not cost them anything.

Then, just follow the steps mentioned on the card, that is: call a free number, compose your secret code and compose the number you want to call.

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