Spain welcomes over 80 million guests annually, making reliable mobile access a must for exploring this vibrant country. Whether you’re visiting the vibrant cities or scenic countryside, connectivity helps you make the most of every moment.

Luckily, Spain’s mobile market offers several excellent options to keep you in touch. These top 4 mobile operators in Spain have widespread coverage across popular destinations. Let’s review your choices so you can pick the plan that suits your travel style best.

Top mobile operators in Spain

I. Internet Access in Spain at a Glance

Tapas, flamenco, pristine beaches – it’s no wonder Spain is such a popular tourist destination. But staying connected while exploring this beautiful country is important too. Here’s a quick overview of your internet access options:

mobile connection in spain
  • You can find free WiFi in Spain almost everywhere – in many airports, hotels, cafes, tourist sites etc. They’re perfect for casual browsing, but speeds and capacity may vary (Speeds are usually below 1Mbps). Most hotels, guesthouses and Airbnbs include WiFi for guests too.

Note: Watch out for fake login pages trying to steal your data.

  • MiFi rentals: Convenient but pricey at €5-15/day typically. Doesn’t allow using regular SIM slots. Watch out for extra roaming fees crossing borders.
  • Roaming within the EU: If you’re from the European Union, using your cellphone plan is very convenient. Simply activate roaming on your account to use data just like at home. Calls and texts may have small additional fees.
  • If you’re not from the EU, buying a Spanish SIM card is highly recommended. Major mobile operators in Spain often offer monthly prepaid plans with different data allowances to suit your needs. SIM cards are easily found at shops and airports.
  • Another option worth considering is activating an eSIM from an international provider, if your device supports it. eSIMs digitally activate cellular plans without needing a physical SIM card. Some carriers like esimspain.net offer global data pass packages for travel abroad.

So in summary, a prepaid local Spanish SIM delivers the most cost-effective solution. But eSIMs from international providers are also worth considering if you prefer continuity through an existing contract. Either way, you’ll have a mobile data option that keeps you online during your vacation in Spain.

II. How Many Mobile Operators in Spain Are Currently Functioning?

Mobile internet in Spain has come a long way with extensive network coverage provided by multiple mobile network operators, giving people access to fast Internet and calls no matter where they are.

The work being done by phone companies in Spain shows their dedication to expanding 5G services and improving connectivity everywhere. 5G is really important to them, but 4G is still hugely significant because people rely on it for most of their online activities.

As reported by the data company GSMA Intelligence, there were 58.32 million cellular with mobile connection in Spain at the start of 2023. With the mobile connection figure equivalent to 122.7% of the total population, indicating that many people have more than one SIM card.

The leading mobile operators in Spain are Movistar, Vodafone, Orange and Yoigo (MasMovil Group), which together control over 80% of the Spanish mobile market. There are also over 50 Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) that lease network capacity from the major MNOs and offer low-cost prepaid plans.

Here’s an overview:

1. Top 4 Mobile Operators in Spain

major mobile operators in Spain
Operator Ownership Year Established Subscribers in Spain (millions) Mobile Services
Vodafone España Vodafone Group (UK) 2000 13.3 2G, 3G, 4G (supports LTE 4 carrier aggregation), 5G (launched first in Spain)
Movistar Telefónica (Spain) 1995 19.3 2G, 3G, 4G (supports 4G+ carrier aggregation with speeds up to 1 Gbps), 5G (available in all regions of Spain)
Orange España France Telecom (France) 2006 16.7 2G, 3G, 4G, 5G (rolled out in around 1500 cities reaching 68% of population)
Yoigo Formerly owned by TeliaSonera (Sweden), now owned by Másmóvil (Spain) 2006 9.1 3G, 4G, 5G (available in 74% of population through own infrastructure and agreement with Orange)

Source

There are several MVNOs (Mobile Virtual Network Operators) that offer mobile plans in Spain by piggybacking on the major networks’ infrastructure. Here are some popular Spanish MVNOs and which network they use:

best mvno in spain
MVNO Network Used
Lowi Vodafone
Virgin Telco Orange
Jazztel Orange
Pepephone Movistar
Simyo Orange

MVNOs can provide more affordable plan options. But it’s important to note that they may experience slightly slower speeds compared to the network owners. Coverage could also be more limited depending on the MVNO’s agreement. And not all MVNOs support the latest services like 5G or eSIM yet.

III. Spain Mobile Network Comparison

Opensignal Report in July 2023 shows that Movistar is a great overall choice for mobile service in Spain. It delivered the smoothest experience on tests of regular and demanding apps. Download and upload speeds on Movistar were also blazing fast compared to other carriers. When watching videos on their phones, Movistar customers reported the highest quality streaming.

opensignal report july 2023 spain

The other major mobile operators in Spain, Vodafone, Orange and Yoigo, really shone in providing coverage to their customers. Testers on these networks almost always had a 3G or better signal no matter where they went.

Mobile Operator Network Coverage (%) Data Speeds (July 2023) (Mbps) Technology
Availability 5G Availability Average Download Average Upload 5G Download 5G Upload
Movistar 98.9 17.9 41.9 12.3 195.4 27.1 GSM, UMTS/3G, LTE, 5G. Supports 4G+ carrier aggregation up to 1 Gbps. Claims 96% 4G coverage and 5G in all regions.
Orange 99.1 18.3 35.1 10.3 167.5 22.8 GSM, UMTS/3G, LTE, 5G. Claims more than 97% 4G coverage and 5G in 1500 cities reaching 68% of population.
Vodafone 98.6 10.6 24.5 11.2 121.6 20.8 GSM, UMTS/3G, LTE, 5G. Supports 4G+ carrier aggregation up to 1 Gbps. Claims best 98% LTE coverage and first to launch 5G in 1000 cities reaching 46% of population.
Yoigo 98.5 16.8 30.1 9.3 156 21.9 Operates own 3G, 4G, 5G networks. Has national roaming agreement with Orange for 2G, 3G, 4G coverage. Claims 98% LTE coverage and 74% 5G coverage via own and Orange networks.

As for 5G specifically, Orange, Movistar and Yoigo really upped their 5G access times and reach compared to before. Customers could take advantage of speedy 5G in more places around Spain than last reported. All in all, network experiences across the board continue getting faster and more ubiquitous thanks to investments from these providers.

IV. Best Spain Mobile Prepaid Plans

Prepaid SIM cards are a convenient and affordable option for short-term visitors. Some of the best prepaid plans in Spain include:

1. Orange

orange prepaid plans
Plan Go Fly Go Run Go Walk Holidays Pass 5 Holidays Pass 15
Calls and Texts Unlimited 50 national and international minutes 100 national and international minutes
Network 4G/LTE
Validity 28 Days 5 Days 15 Days
Data 100GB 50GB 25GB Unlimited
Charge (€) €20 €15 €10 €15 €25
Roaming Roaming in the EU
Pros The most complete offer with the largest amount of storable GB for the same price as other plans A balanced offer in features and price. The most affordable plan, suitable for light users. Similar to the above but for an even shorter period and fewer minutes. A plan with more data for a shorter period of days, designed for holidays.

Tip: Check for special offers – Orange often runs promotions with discounted plans or bonus data/minutes for new or existing customers.

2. Vodafone

vodafone prepaid plans
Plan Prepago S Prepago M Prepago L Prepago XL Prepago XXL
Calls and Texts
  • 300 min. national and international
  • Unlimited min between Vodafone prepaids
  • Unlimited national minutes and Romania
  • 800 min international
  • Unlimited national minutes and Romania
  • 300 min international
Unlimited national minutes and Romania Unlimited national minutes and Romania
Network Maximum 5G
Validity 28 Days
Data 50GB (25GB + 25GB) 100GB (50GB + 50GB) 140GB (100GB + 40GB) 160GB (120GB + 40GB) 190GB (150GB + 40GB)
Charge (€) €10 €15 €20 €30 €40
Roaming Roaming included in EU, UK and USA
Pros
  • Double data: All plans are offering double data from the original allowances until 27/09/23 through the GB Extra promotion. This effectively doubles the value.
  • No contract: Prepay plans don't require a long-term contract so customers aren't tied down and can cancel anytime. This provides maximum flexibility.

  • Carry over unused data/minutes: Any data or minutes that aren't used within the validity period can be rolled over up to 3 times, maximizing the benefits.

Cons SMS NOT included

Note: Top-ups can be done every 28 days online to renew the package.

3. Movistar

movistar prepaid plans
Plan Prepago Plus Prepago Premium Prepago Total
Calls and Texts
  • Unlimited national calls and texts.
  • 200 mins international calls
  • Unlimited national calls and texts.
  • 400 mins international calls
  • Unlimited national calls and texts
Network Maximum 5G+
Validity 28 Days
Data 10+30GB* 15+60GB* 20+105GB*
Charge (€) €10 €15 €20
Roaming Calls and 10GB data in EU Calls and 14GB data in EU Calls and 19GB data in EU
Pros
  • Movistar is a well-established operator with a wide network coverage
  • Various plan options with different data and calling allowances to choose from. Pay as you go plans available
  • Data roll over between plans if not used
Cons
  • More expensive than other providers
  • No mention of data speeds after allowance is used up

4. Yoigo

yoigo prepaid plans
Plan Tarifa prepago más barata SIM Prepago Mejor Tarifa Prepago Wifi Portátil Prepago
Calls and Texts Unlimited calls included in all plans NOT included
Network 4G/LTE*
Validity 30 Days
Data 25GB 50GB 100GB 150GB
Charge (€) €10 €15 €20 €35
Roaming Roaming included in the EU
Pros
  • Affordable price
  • No permanence
  • The tariffs are automatically renewed every 30 days as long as you have enough balance to pay for your tariff
Cons
  • Reduced speed after data limit is reached
  • *5G is only available if you add Internet Bonuses for high-speed internet up to 5G 
  • SMS NOT included

V. Where to Buy SIM Cards from Mobile Operators in Spain

Maybe you’re interested in:

Where to buy a sim card in Spain

Prepaid SIM cards from major Spain mobile carriers are available at:

  • Mobile operator retail stores
  • El Corte Inglés department stores
  • Phone shops like Phone House
  • Tobacco shops or newsstands (estancos)
  • Vending machines at airports and stations

Smaller MVNO SIM cards can be purchased through online resellers or at certain phone shops.

Tip: When purchasing an in-store SIM, you’ll likely need to provide your passport as proof of identity. Make sure your phone is unlocked for use on Spanish networks.

VI. eSIM Spain- a Worthy Option to Consider

1. eSIM Spain at a Glance

esim spain

For travelers visiting Spain, eSIM provides a convenient alternative to purchasing a physical SIM card. eSIM or embedded SIM is a digital SIM integrated into supported smartphones that allows users to activate mobile plans without needing to swap nano-SIM cards.

All these four mobile operators in Spain offer some form of eSIM compatibility. But before rushing to sign up with one of them, there are a few things worth thinking about first as a visitor:

  • Movistar’s prepaid eSIM plans must be proactively cancelled before leaving the country to avoid charges, unlike physical prepaid SIMs which simply expire unused credits. It’s easy for travelers to forget this step.
  • Movistar also requires a Spanish address, existing local number or to sign up for prepaid eSIM plans, which obviously tourists won’t have.
  • If you’re brand new to Vodafone prepaid service, you’ll need to start with a physical SIM first.
  • Plans from carriers provide a Spanish phone number, but tourists usually want to keep their existing foreign number active.
  • You can currently only purchase an eSIM from Yoigo by visiting one of their physical retail stores in person
  • There can be delays obtaining eSIM plans from operators as they require identity verification.
best spain esim plans

Another excellent option for travelers is purchasing an eSIM plan directly from a specialist provider like esimspain.net. We offer short-term prepaid data packages that can be instantly activated upon arrival in Spain without the above drawbacks. Plans start from as little as 3 days up to 30 days, with generous data allowances from 1GB up to 20GB per day.

2. How to Get a Spain eSIM

Esimspain.net allows you to easily manage your eSIM directly from the website. After purchasing an eSIM plan, you will have access to a online portal where you can:

  • Activate your eSIM by scanning the provided QR code from your email
  • Change plans if your needs change during your trip
  • Add or remove data packages to customize your plan
  • Monitor your data usage and balance in real-time
  • Update your payment or personal details if needed
How esimspain.net benefits you

To activate an eSIM from esimspain.net, simply follow these steps:

  1. Check that your device supports eSIM on our compatibility list
  2. Choose the plan that suits your needs for how long you’ll be in Spain
  3. Complete the purchase and you’ll receive the activation QR code instantly
  4. Go to your cellular settings on your device and scan the QR code
  5. Accept the terms and conditions and your eSIM will be activated

Learn how to install your Spain eSIM here

You can now use data in Spain just like a regular SIM card. For any issues, esimspain.net support is available via email or live chat 24/7 in English, Spanish and other languages

Having control of your eSIM plan directly through esimspain.net‘s online portal makes management simple. You can customize your service easily from Spain or even before your trip for hassle-free connectivity while traveling.

VII. FAQs about Mobile Operators in Spain

Which mobile operators in Spain have the best coverage?

Movistar has the most extensive 4G and 5G coverage in Spain currently. Vodafone and Orange also provide excellent nationwide coverage.

Is 5G available in Spain?

Yes, all major mobile operators in Spain have launched 5G with coverage in major cities and touristic areas. Speeds up to 1 Gbps are supported.

How can I check coverage in my area?

All major mobile operators in Spain have coverage maps on their websites where you can check approximate coverage for 2G, 3G and 4G in any part of Spain by entering your address or city. This will give you an idea if service is available locally.

Which mobile operators in Spain have the fastest speeds?

Recent speed tests and benchmarks have consistently rated Movistar and Orange as having the fastest average download and upload speeds on its 5G and 4G network nationwide.

Can I buy an eSIM for Spain?

Yes, you can purchase eSIM data plans from international providers like esimspain.net without a physical SIM card. Major mobile operators in Spain also offer eSIM.

Do I need to show ID to buy a SIM in Spain?

Yes, you’ll need to show your original passport or valid photo ID when purchasing a prepaid Spanish SIM in-store.

VIII. Final words

Spain has a vibrant telecom market with excellent coverage and competitive prepaid options. Do some research to find a provider that matches your requirements for connectivity. Opt for major operators like Movistar, Vodafone or Orange if you need reliable connectivity across Spain. Also consider the convenience of eSIM if you have a compatible phone. With the right SIM card, you can easily stay connected during your time in Spain.