Planning a trip to Spain? Don’t forget to pack a reliable mobile connection! Whether you’re exploring the bustling streets of Barcelona or relaxing on the picturesque beaches of Ibiza, staying connected is essential. That’s where Movistar comes in. As one of Spain’s top mobile operators, Movistar offers a range of SIM cards and eSIMs designed just for tourists like you.

In this handy guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about Movistar’s coverage, speed, where to buy their SIM cards, and even provide some alternative options. So, get ready to stay connected effortlessly as we dive into the world of Movistar SIM cards and eSIM for your Spanish adventure!

Movistar SIM Card Spain and eSIM

I. Quick Facts about Movistar Spain

movistar mobile service

Movistar has been connecting friends and families across Spain since 1995 under its iconic brand. As the largest telecom provider in Spain owned by Telefónica, Movistar offers a wide array of services to meet every need – from traditional home phone lines to superfast fiber broadband and Spain’s top mobile network. 

In addition to serving millions of loyal customers at home, Movistar’s international reach through Latin America allows Spanish speakers worldwide to stay close. With innovative plans including everything from minutes and texts to generously sized data packages, it’s no wonder over 3.7 million subscribers in 2021 chose Movistar to stay connected.

II. Movistar Coverage & Speed in Spain

1. Movistar Spain Mobile Coverage

According to Opensignal’s coverage data, Movistar maintains extensive 4G availability across Spain. The network reaches over 98.9% of the population nationwide, including major cities, towns and provincial capitals.

opensignal coverage spain 2023

Remote villages in the Spanish countryside also tend to enjoy solid 3G coverage from Movistar where 4G signals may be limited. Outdoor coverage along highways, rail lines and popular tourist destinations is expansive.

Indoor coverage is strong too. Opensignal’s reliability metrics found Movistar customers experienced very minimal interruptions to service inside buildings. Large venues and venues like airports see consistent indoor reception.

Overall, Movistar’s emphasis on nationwide infrastructure translates to easy connectivity whether you’re exploring urban centres or natural parks. The wide network blankets mountainous and coastal regions with ubiquitous Signals.

2. Movistar Spain Speed Performance

When it comes to maximum speeds, few can compare to Movistar. The carrier topped Opensignal’s benchmark with average 4G download speeds of 41.9Mbps across Spain.

Movistar’s 5G network also leaped ahead with average download speeds measuring 195.4Mbps during testing. Upload speeds maintained a lead of similar proportions year-round.

opensignal 5g download speed 2023 spain

Not only were Movistar’s average speeds markedly faster, but consistency metrics showed connections tending to deliver close to peak rates more often. Rural zones enjoyed speeds usually 5-10Mbps above competing networks.

opensignal games experience 2023 spain

Gamers and streamers particularly benefited from lightning-fast low-latency connections whether on the go or at home. Movistar’s first-rate performance garnered it awards for best mobile gaming and video experience in the country.

Ongoing network expansion of 5G to new areas promises faster peak speeds reaching 1Gbps soon. So Spain’s top mobile coverage looks set to pull even further ahead in quality nationwide.

III. Top Movistar SIM Card Spain & eSIM for Tourists

movistar prepaid sim card

Movistar provides both physical prepaid SIM card for Spain and eSIM for tourists and visitors. Here are the top options:

1. Movistar Prepaid SIM Card Spain:

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

2. Movistar Spain eSIM:

Movistar eSIM is Movistar’s virtual SIM that is now available. With an eSIM you don’t need a physical SIM card, as activation of the phone number is done digitally directly from the menu of a compatible smartphone.

To request activation of the Movistar eSIM and contract your services, you must do it directly at Movistar stores where they can help you configure it on your compatible phone simply.

While Movistar eSIM provides a digital SIM activation without a physical card, it has a significant drawback: Plans must be cancelled proactively before leaving the country, whereas unused credit simply expires on prepaid SIMs with no action needed. It’s easy for tourists to forget canceling.

If you insist on using an eSIM option while traveling in Spain, it may be best to consider this more flexible short-term eSIM alternative that will be mentioned below.

IV. Calls and SMS Rate of Movistar Prepaid SIM Card for Spain

The Movistar prepaid plans have the option to renew automatically every 4 weeks as long as there is a positive balance on the account. If the balance is insufficient, the plan will change to the “Tarifa Habla 6” at the following rates:

Feature Details
Calls (national) 6 cents/minute to fixed and mobile numbers in Spain. 30 cents connection fee.
SMS SMS not included in this voice plan.
Data No data included. Additional data packages like Navega+ 4GB for 5 euros need to be purchased.
International Calls Made at the same plan rates as domestic calls within Spain.

V. Movistar Spain Prepaid SIM Top-Up

How to top up Movistar prepaid sim card

There are several ways to recharge your Movistar SIM card balance in Spain:

  • Online Top-up: Top up with a credit/debit card on the Movistar website or app. You’ll get an extra 10% bonus credit when topping up online.
  • Request an advance on your credit balance: Call 2233 and they’ll advance you €5 which you pay back along with a €1 fee on your next top up.
  • Transfer credit to other Movistar prepaid customers. Your friends can dial 22111 to send you credit between €2-€12 with a €0.30 fee per transfer.
  • Top up by phone between €5-€30 (up to €120/month) using a Visa or Mastercard. The numbers to call are 2200 in Spain or 1004 from abroad.

No matter your preferred method, Movistar makes it easy and affordable to top up your balance anytime.

VI. How to Check Movistar SIM Card Spain Balance – All Useful USSD Codes

Here are simple ways to check balance of your Movistar prepaid SIM Spain:

  • Call 2266 from your Movistar line. When prompted, press 2 on your phone’s keypad to select the balance check option. You will be charged 18.15 cents (including VAT) for each balance check done this way.
  • Alternatively, you can subscribe to Movistar’s Automatic Balance Notification service. With this service, you will receive a text message with your current balance and its validity period each time you end a paid call. The cost of the Automatic Balance Notification service is 0.75 cents every 4 weeks.

Other useful Movistar USSD codes are:

USSD Code What It Does Additional Information
*133# Check Balance Check remaining prepay credit balance
*#111# Province Indicates the province location (only for Activa Próxima)
*N# SMS Delivery Report Write this code at the start of SMS to get a delivery report
ON# Anonymous SMS Send anonymous SMS and get delivery report
*Px# Delayed SMS Delay SMS delivery. Replace x with hours to delay
ON*Px# Anonymous & Delayed SMS Send anonymous SMS, get report and delay x hours
330000#NUMBER Call Restriction Activates incoming call restriction. Caller gets voice message "number does not exist".
##21# Remove Call Restriction Removes any call forwarding
#31#NUMBER Hide Caller ID Hide number when calling NUMBER
*#102# SIM Card Info Displays the ICC or serial number of the SIM card

VII. Where to Buy Movistar SIM Cards for Spain?

1. Where to Buy Movistar SIM Cards in Spain:

How to by Movistar sim card online

Online

  • Visit Movistar website and choose the prepaid plan that best suits your needs. They offer options like Prepago Plus, Prepago Premium or Prepago Total with different data and minute allowances.
  • Once you’ve selected your plan, click “Lo quiero” to start the purchase process.
  • Enter your contact and personal details, select home delivery with cash on delivery payment. You won’t have to pay anything for shipping costs.
  • The SIM card will arrive within 3-5 days at the provided address along with the delivery receipt which includes the activation code. Once received, register the SIM at www.movistar.es/activacion-prepago by entering its ICC and activation code.
  • Choose your prepaid plan, make an initial top-up payment if needed, and you’ll be ready to start using the connection.

Note: This option is not recommended as you need to have an existing Spanish phone number to receive an SMS confirmation, which new visitors to Spain may not have.

Movistar Store:

Movistar store in Spain

For the most hassle-free purchase, we recommend visiting your nearest Movistar store. You can find store locations and directions on Movistar’s website: https://tiendas.movistar.es/

Retail Stores:

  • Electronic stores like FNAC, El Corte Inglés, MediaMarkt: These large electronics and telecom retailers sell various prepaid SIM cards including Movistar.
  • Tobacco shops/Newspaper stands: Many tobacconists and newspaper stands in Spain act as points of sale for prepaid mobile top-ups and SIM cards. You can find Movistar prepaid SIM cards here.
  • Supermarkets: Larger supermarket chains like Carrefour, Mercadona, Alcampo sell prepaid SIM cards as well. Check their mobile top-up sections.

2. How to Activate Your Movistar SIM Card:

How to activate Movistar sim cards
  • Once you receive the SIM card in the mail, you’ll find the activation code included in the delivery note.
  • Go to www.movistar.es/activacion-prepago and enter the SIM card ICC and activation code from the note. Follow the prompts on the registration form.
  • You’ll need to verify your identity by taking a selfie with your ID document for the camera. Once verified, you can choose the prepaid plan that best suits you.
  • Insert the SIM card into your phone. Turn on your phone and enter the SIM PIN to complete activation.
  • You’ll receive a text with your new prepaid phone number. If needed, you can also make an initial credit payment at this stage.

Tip:  If any issues come up, Movistar provides support via WhatsApp, phone call (1004) or their online community forums.

VIII. Movistar Spain Mobile Operator – Pros and Cons

Movistar mobile pros and cons

1. Pros of Movistar:

  • Wide network coverage across Spain with strong 4G/5G connectivity
  • Large variety of plans and add-ons for both prepaid and postpaid customers
  • Branded as one of the largest telecom companies in Spain with good brand recognition
  • Options to self-activate SIM cards for convenience
  • Flexible top up and payment methods
  • Provide additional services like home internet, TV, security alarms etc.

2. Cons of Movistar:

  • Plans may be more expensive than smaller regional carriers
  • Customer support could get busy due to the large customer base
  • Less customization in plans compared to some other operators
  • Dependence on one network vs. multiple networks of other operators
  • Additional charges for international usage or premium rates
  • Auto-renewal of plans could lead to unexpected charges if balance is low

So while Movistar is the premium network in Spain, minor drawbacks are lower data on plans and higher prices than alternatives. But their coverage and service quality is unmatched.

IX. Alternatives to Movistar SIM Card Spain for Tourists

Apart from Movistar, you can also consider SIM cards and eSIMs from other networks in Spain:

1. SIM Cards by Other Local Mobile Operators:

Provider Plan Network Plan Validity Data Charge Pros Cons
Orange Go Walk 4G/LTE 28 Days 25GB €10
  • Orange is a large operator with robust network coverage
  • Various tariff options starting from very basic
  • Large data allowances up to 100GB in top plans
  • Potential bonuses with each top up e.g. experiences, data, credit
  • Option to continue using plans for 1 or 2 weeks
  • Some users might find the plan to be slightly more expensive compared to other providers
  • Plans auto-renew which could lead to unused credit loss
  • Shortest plans only last 5 days
Go Run 50GB €15
Go Fly 100GB €20
Holiday Pass 5 5 Days Unlimited €15
Holiday Pass 15 15 Days €25
Yoigo Prepago 4G/LTE 30 Days 25GB €10
  • Competitive prices
  • Large data allowances starting from 25GB
  • Unlimited calls and texts included in all plans
  • Can continue data use at reduced speeds after allowance
  • Yoigo’s network coverage may not be as extensive as some other providers.
  • Some users have reported issues with connectivity and customer service
50GB €15
100GB €20
150GB (Data only SIM) €35
Vodafone Prepago S Maximum 5G 28 Days 50GB (25GB + 25GB) €10
  • All plans are offering double data from the original allowances until 27/09/23 through the GB Extra promotion. This effectively doubles the value.
  • Provides similarly broad coverage while also delivering fast speeds on its 4G/5G technology

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

  • Comes at a relatively high cost

2. esimspain.net:

Traveling to Spain and don’t want to deal with swapping SIM cards or paying exorbitant roaming charges? Then our eSIM Spain is the perfect solution.

eSIMs, or electronic SIM cards, allow you to access a Spanish data plan directly from your smartphone without having to insert a physical SIM. As long as your device supports eSIM technology, getting connected in Spain is as simple as scanning a QR code.

How esimspain.net benefits you

Unlike physical SIM cards, eSIM activation is completely digital. Once purchased, esimspain.net will email you your eSIM profile instantly. Then simply scan the QR code using your phone’s camera and the eSIM will automatically provision on your device.

You don’t need to wait at a store or find a SIM slot – just open the email and you’re connected right away. 

esimspain.net partners directly with major Spanish carrier Orange. This ensures you receive high-speed 4G/5G data on their fast and reliable networks whether you’re in a city or rural village.

We offer flexible eSIM plans of various durations starting from 3 days up to 1 month. This allows you to choose the perfect length to suit your Spain trip itinerary. Data allowances range from 1GB up to a generous 20GB per day.

best spain esim plans

Detailed setup guides are provided in multiple languages to smoothly install an eSIM on any compatible device. Customer support is also available 24/7 via live chat, email and WhatsApp to assist with any activation issues.

X. FAQs about Movistar SIM Card Spain

Does a Movistar SIM card Spain work in other European countries?

Yes, Movistar prepaid SIMs and eSIM allow free roaming across the EU. You get domestic Spain rates for roaming calls, texts and data within EU countries.

Can I use Movistar SIM Card for tethering and hotspot?

Yes, standard tethering is enabled on Movistar SIM cards allowing you to connect other devices through hotspot. But streaming video over hotspot may be restricted.

How do I get a Movistar prepaid SIM card Spain?

You can purchase one online and have it shipped to you, or pick one up from a Movistar store. A deposit may be required.

What information do I need to activate a SIM?

When you receive the SIM you’ll need the identification number (ICCID) and activation code included to register and activate it online or by phone.

How much credit is included with a new Movistar Spain SIM?

Starter SIM kits usually include 5-10 euro of credit to get you started. Additional top ups can be made online, in stores or kiosks.

Is my SIM locked to Movistar?

Prepaid SIMs are not locked, so you can change carriers at any time by simply inserting a different SIM.

What other prepaid brands operate in Spain?

Main competitors include Orange, Vodafone, Yoigo and low-cost MVNO brands that run on their networks.

XI. Final Words

Getting a Movistar prepaid SIM card or eSIM is the easiest way to stay connected with mobile data, calls and texts while visiting Spain.

Their network provides excellent coverage, fast 4G speeds and unlimited local connectivity across the country. Movistar SIMs give you great value if you are spending a few days to weeks in Spain.

You can buy Movistar SIMs at convenience stores, the airport and other sales outlets once you arrive in Spain. Overall, it’s a reliable local SIM card in Spain with good deals for tourists.