A few things to consider:
Unlocking American Cell Phones
- If you really like your American cell phone (just the phone itself), you can get it unlocked before coming here (usually by calling your cell phone service provider and having them give you an unlock code) and just buy a Spanish SIM card. They go for about 9 euros. It’ll work just the same as a pay-as-you-go phone.
Pay-as-you-go cell phone
- Our students have found that the cheapest and most effective way to keep in touch is to buy a pay-as-you-go cell phone in Spain. Please note that most past students who got a “global plan” for their American cell phone found that it was neither cheap nor convenient. During orientation, you will receive information regarding cell phones, but below is a brief overview.
- A Pay-as-you-go phone usually costs about 20 euros (and often comes with some “saldo” or credit already on it). As your saldo decreases, you receive messages letting you know that it will soon run out. You can “recharge” your balance at any supermarket, tobacco shop, or large department store (like El Corte Inglés).
- Check prices before you arrive:
- Your Spanish cell phone will work all throughout Spain. It will even work in some other countries in Europe but rates vary. Usually the phone company will send you a text when you arrive in a new country to let you know what the rates are while you are there (NOTE: incoming calls/texts are usually NOT free when you are outside Spain).
US-based international mobile phone plans are more expensive and often don’t work, skip them. If you get a “global plan” and bring your American phone, be aware that other students might not want to call your phone as it will cost them anywhere from 50 cents to 1 euro per minute to call you. Additionally, most students find that global plan rates still aren’t very good for calling their friends’ Spanish phones either.