Mobile Internet in Spain for Travelers: Ways to Get Data & Cost

Spain is a popular tourist destination that attracts millions of visitors every year. Having a reliable mobile internet connection while traveling in Spain is important for using maps, translations, social media, and more. This article will provide an overview of mobile internet in Spain and connectivity options available for tourists.

mobile internet in spain

I. Mobile Internet in Spain – Coverage and Speed

Spain Mobile Internet Coverage

If you live in or travel around Spain a lot, you’ve probably noticed that getting a decent cellular connection is rarely an issue – even out in more remote parts of the country. But how do the major mobile operators here really stack up in terms of coverage? Let’s take a closer look based on the latest data.

The latest data shows connectivity is superb across Spain’s 3G and 4G networks. All major carriers like Movistar, Orange, Vodafone and Yoigo reported over 98% availability. That means at least 98% of the time, your phone will be hooked up to a cellular data signal. Pretty awesome coverage no matter where you are in the country!

5G networks are still a work in progress, but making good progress. Orange is leading the pack with about 17% of the time that 5G users saw a 5G connection on their phone. That’s pretty close to 1 out of every 5 times! Movistar wasn’t far behind at around 16%. Coverage will just keep expanding too.

So whether you’re bouncing between big cities or soaking in small towns, connectivity crushes it in Spain now. And 5G will soon be a reliable option nearly everywhere.

Spain Mobile Internet Speed

4G mobile internet speeds in Spain are generally very good and fast enough for most daily usage.

Average download speeds are around 60Mbps, with peak speeds up to 300Mbps on some networks. This is fast enough for HD video streaming, video conferencing, social media, web browsing etc.

5G speeds are even faster when within coverage areas, averaging around 200-500Mbps down. However, real-world speeds can be affected by congestion, location, device capabilities etc.

For tourists using roaming data, speeds may be throttled to around 256kbps or slower depending on package.

II. What are Connectivity Options for Tourists to Spain?

There are a few options for getting mobile internet access while visiting Spain:

There are a few options for getting mobile internet access while visiting Spain:

Connectivity OptionHow it WorksCostWhere to BuyConvenienceProsCons
SIM Card (Spain)Purchase a Spanish SIM card and insert it into your phone. You’ll get a local phone number and data.Around €10-30 for data package. Calls and texts additional cost.Major carriers like Vodafone, Orange, Movistar. Available at airports, stores.Easy to set up and use. No need to change settings on phone.Local number, fast data speeds. Cheap calls/texts in country.Need to purchase separate from home, insert SIM into phone.
eSIM (Spain)Download an eSIM profile online which activates a local Spanish eSIM on your device without inserting a physical SIM.Same as physical SIM card.Online from carriers or travel sites before arriving.Convenient activation online before trip. No physical SIM handling.Same benefits as physical SIM without swapping SIM cards.Limited device compatibility. Carrier support may vary by country.
Roaming with Home CarrierUse your home cellular plan abroad in Spain by turning on international roaming on your device.Additional daily fees apply, usually $5-10 per day. Calls/texts also more expensive.N/A – uses existing home cellular account.Convenient if you prefer keeping your same number.Don’t need new SIM or plan. Keep your home number.Very expensive compared to local SIM. Fees add up quickly.
Public WiFiFree WiFi is available at many hotels, airports, cafes and public spaces in Spain.Free to use.No purchase required.Convenient to hop onto free networks when available.No additional cost beyond device connection. No data fees.Availability and speeds vary. Security and overload risks.
Pocket WiFiRent a portable WiFi hotspot device to connect multiple devices to internet data package.Around €5-10 per day rental. Data packages additional cost around €30-50 for period of rental.Electronics stores, travel agencies, rental locations at airports.One device connects all your devices. No changing SIMs.Share connection between devices easily. Coverage of hotspot anywhere you go.Extra cost compared to SIM. Need to remember to charge device.

For short Spain trips, an eSIM is often the simplest option to get data without fuss. For longer stays, a local SIM card usually works out cheaper.

III. Internet Rates in Spain

Please note: Internet rates in Spain can vary significantly depending on your location, provider, contract duration, bundled services, and promotional offers. The table below provides a general comparison based on publicly available information and may not be entirely accurate or exhaustive. It's always best to check directly with providers for the latest offers and deals specific to your area.

OptionCost (EUR)Price (USD)
Local Spain SIM Card (15GB)~€15-25$16-27
International eSIM (15GB)~€70-90$76-98
Roaming – Vodafone (2GB)~€6 per day$6.50 per day
Roaming – Orange (5GB)~€15 for 7 days$16.25 for 7 days
Roaming – Movistar (1GB)~€3 per day$3.25 per day
Public WiFiFree, but unreliableFree, but unreliable
Pocket WiFi Rental~€6-10 per day$6.50-11 per day

Prices listed in USD are estimates based on current exchange rates, which may vary. USD 1 is approximately equal to EUR 0.95. Actual prices in EUR may be different from converted USD prices.

As you can see, getting a local Spain SIM card or eSIM usually provides the most data allowance for the cost. Roaming packages are very expensive in comparison.

IV. Data SIM Card for Mobile Internet in Spain

Getting a local Spanish SIM card is one good option for solid mobile internet while visiting Spain:

Where to Buy a Spain SIM Card

  • Spain SIM cards can be purchased at mobile carrier stores (Movistar, Orange, Vodafone). Bring your passport.
  • SIMs are also sold at airport kiosks, some hotels, phone shops, supermarkets, and newsagents.
  • Online purchase is also possible, and can be delivered to your hotel in some cases.

Network Providers

The major Spain providers are Movistar, Orange and Vodafone. All have prepaid SIM plans.
  • The major Spain providers are Movistar, Orange and Vodafone. All have prepaid SIM plans.
  • There are also some other prepaid SIM brands like Lebara and Lycamobile which use the main networks.
  • Ensure the SIM you purchase has 4G/LTE compatibility for faster speeds.

Spain SIM Card Costs

SIM card activation cost is usually around €10-20 with some prepaid credit included.
  • SIM card activation cost is usually around €10-20 with some prepaid credit included.
  • Data packages then start from €15 for around 15GB, valid 30 days.
  • For heavy data usage, plans like 50GB for €25-35 are available.
  • But beware, not all packages auto-renew, so check expiry.

Tethering and Hotspot Allowance

  • Most Spain prepaid SIMs allow tethering and hotspot usage in their packages. Just beware of high data usage on other devices.
  • Some prepaid plans have caps on hotspot speeds (i.e 128kbps). Check when purchasing.

Coverage and Speeds

  • As mentioned earlier, 4G coverage on the major networks is excellent across Spain.
  • Average 4G download speeds range from 30-60Mbps in most places, fast enough for everyday use.
  • 5G networks are still limited, so a 4G SIM is recommended for now.

So in summary, a local Spain SIM card allows you to access fast, affordable mobile data almost anywhere in the country. Be sure to compare plans across providers to find the best deal.

V. Data eSIM – Best Option to Get Mobile Internet in Spain

Using an eSIM is one of the most convenient ways for travelers to get temporary access to mobile internet in Spain. Here’s an overview:

What is an eSIM?

An eSIM is an embedded digital SIM profile that allows you to activate a cellular plan remotely, without needing to insert a physical SIM card.

An eSIM is an embedded digital SIM profile that allows you to activate a cellular plan remotely, without needing to insert a physical SIM card.

How eSIMs Work for Spain:

Learn more about How to Install an eSIM

  • Order an eSIM profile online and scan a QR code to download it to your phone.
  • Once activated, it provides you a Spanish phone number and mobile data – just like a regular SIM card.
  • eSIMs are locked to one device only. But you can purchase multiple eSIMs for different devices.

Advantages of eSIMs for Tourists:

  • Convenient – Activate data instantly, no SIM card required.
  • Flexibility – Change plans or switch providers easily online.
  • Multiple Plans – Have different eSIM profiles active for different purposes.
  • Secure – No risk of losing a physical SIM while traveling.

Where to Buy a Spain eSIM?

You have two options:

  1. Directly from a Spain carrier like Orange, Vodafone etc. But this can require being in Spain in person.
  2. From an international eSIM provider like GIGAGO.
Gigago offers affordable Spain eSIM plans from $3.50 with up to 30GB data

Gigago offers affordable Spain eSIM plans from $3.50 with up to 30GB data and validity periods between 3-30 days. Plans work on the reliable Orange network providing great coverage across Spain. It’s an easy and convenient option for tourists to buy online before their trip and activate the eSIM remotely.

VI. FAQs about Mobile Internet in Spain

Can I use my regular SIM card from home in Spain?

Yes, but only if you have international roaming activated. Otherwise you will not get service in Spain. Roaming charges are usually very expensive unless you have a travel data package.

Is free public WiFi reliable in Spain?

Sometimes, but not always. Public WiFi hotspots in Spain can be prone to slow speeds or instability. For important tasks, use a proper mobile data connection instead.

Should I get prepaid or postpaid service?

As a tourist, a prepaid SIM card or eSIM is recommended. This avoids long contracts, credit checks and bills. Just top up as needed.

Can I use a SIM card across Europe?

Unfortunately not. SIM cards and eSIMs are locked to Spain only. You’ll need a separate plan in each country you visit across Europe.

How much mobile data will I need in Spain?

For light use like maps and messaging, 3-5GB per week is usually sufficient. For heavier use like video streaming, plan at least 10-15GB per week.

VII. Conclusion

In summary, traveling with reliable mobile internet in Spain is easy with the variety of options now available:

  • Local Spain SIM card – For long trips, and lowest local rates. Just buy at airport or retailer.
  • International eSIM – For short vacations. Instant connectivity, but a little bit higher cost.
  • Public WiFi – Unreliable. Use sparingly and avoid for important tasks.
  • Roaming – Simple, but extremely expensive if you go over limits.

Check coverage maps before you go, and monitor your data usage to avoid bill shock. With the right mobile plan, you can stay conveniently connected throughout your Spain travels.