Vodafone is one of the most popular mobile networks in Spain, making it a great option for travelers visiting the country. Here is a comprehensive guide on using Vodafone Spain SIM cards and eSIM for tourists, including where to buy, how to activate and use them along with some useful tips.

vodafone sim card

I. Quick Facts about Vodafone

Vodafone is a British multinational telecommunications company and one of the largest mobile phone operators in the world. Here are some key facts about Vodafone in Spain:

  • Founded year: Vodafone began operations in Spain in 2000 after acquiring Airtel Móvil from British Telecom.
  • Full company name: Vodafone España, S.A.U.
  • Types of services provided: Vodafone Spain provides mobile voice and data services, fixed broadband and landline services, TV services, IoT solutions and more.
  • Number of subscribers: As of Q3 2022, Vodafone Spain has over 16 million mobile subscribers.
  • Estimated number of network of stores, agents: Vodafone has over 280 official stores and around 5,500 points of sale through authorized agents and distributors in Spain.
  • Customer support: Vodafone provides customer support in Spanish and English via call, chat, social media, email and community forums. Support is available 24/7.

Vodafone is one of the top 3 mobile operators in Spain along with Movistar and Orange. It has strong reputation for its wide 4G coverage, fast speeds and competitive rates for tourists.

II. Why Vodafone When Traveling Spain – Coverage and Speed

If you’ll be traveling within Spain, Vodafone offers solid coverage that can keep you connected during your travels. While it doesn’t have the fastest speeds, Vodafone provides widespread access to cellular service across the country.

1. Vodafone Coverage in Spain

Vodafone received Availability scores of 98.6% from Opensignal's mobile network experience report

Vodafone received Availability scores of 98.6% from Opensignal’s mobile network experience report. This means Vodafone users were connected to a 3G or better network for over 98% of the time on average.

While two other carriers received slightly higher Availability scores, Vodafone’s coverage footprint was extensive enough to deliver reliable connectivity for the vast majority of time. With near ubiquitous coverage from Spain’s cities to rural roads, Vodafone is a safe choice for maintaining access on the go.

Vodafone also has an expanding 5G service, with a 5G Availability score of 11.2%.

Vodafone also has an expanding 5G service, with a 5G Availability score of 11.2%. While still lagging the leaders, Vodafone’s 5G network reached users with a 5G signal for over 10% of the time. 5G coverage was focused on major cities initially but is growing, offering enhanced speeds where available.

2. Vodafone Speed

Availability of Vodafone in compared with other network providers in Spain

Speeds on Vodafone were middle of the pack rather than the fastest. Download speeds averaged 25.6Mbps on Vodafone compared to over 46Mbps on the top network. 5G download speeds also trailed at around 106Mbps.

However, solid coverage means travelers will less often end up in coverage holes without any speed at all. Ubiquitous access to Vodafone’s networks may be prioritized over peak speeds for consistent international connectivity.

In summary, Vodafone offers reliable coverage across Spain through its extensive national network footprint. While other carriers pulled ahead on speed metrics, Vodafone remains a dependable choice for travelers needing ubiquitous cellular access during their travels.

III. What are the Best Connectivity Options of Vodafone for Travelers to Spain?

Connectivity options of Vodafone Spain for travelers

Vodafone offers several plans and products tailored for travelers. This table compares some of the best options available from Vodafone in terms of eSIM, prepaid SIM cards, and roaming with your home network.

Connectivity OptionProsCons
Vodafone Travel eSIM Europe– Available in 45+ countries in Europe- Can be bought and installed before the trip- Offers 4G/LTE and 5G coverage– Requires a device compatible with eSIM- Might not be cost-effective for short trips
Vodafone Traveller Prepaid Rate– Includes 25 GB of mobile data, 150 minutes on national calls, and roaming in Europe and the US
– Can add national and international minutes and unlimited gigabytes in certain apps with Vodafone Pass
– Might not be cost-effective for short trips
– Requires a device compatible with the prepaid SIM card
Prepaid SIM Card– Good for longer stays
– Can be bought at the airport for convenience
– Requires a device with GSM technology
– Might be more expensive at the airport than in a phone store in the city center
Roaming with home SIM-Familiar network and plan-Higher costs for data and calls when roaming abroad

Vodafone Travel eSIM Europe and the Vodafone Traveller Prepaid Rate provide comprehensive connectivity solutions for traveling within Europe. However, they may not be suitable for very short trips due to the cost. 

A prepaid SIM card is a better choice for longer stays. Roaming with your home SIM is convenient but typically the most expensive option. 

IV. Best Vodafone SIM Cards for Tourists & Cost

Best Vodafone SIM Cards for Tourists & Cost

Here are some of the best Vodafone SIM cards suitable for tourists visiting Spain:

PlanPrepago SPrepago MPrepago LPrepago XLPrepago XXL
Calls and Texts300 min. national and internationalUnlimited min between Vodafone prepaidsUnlimited national minutes and Romania800 min internationalUnlimited national minutes and Romania300 min internationalUnlimited national minutes and RomaniaUnlimited national minutes and Romania
NetworkMaximum 5G
Validity28 Days
Data50GB (25GB + 25GB)100GB (50GB + 50GB)140GB (100GB + 40GB)160GB (120GB + 40GB)190GB (150GB + 40GB)
Charge (€)€10€15€20€30€40
Charge (US$)~$10.8~$16.3~$21.7~$32.6~$43.5
RoamingRoaming included in EU, UK and USA
ProsDouble 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.
ConsSMS NOT included

In summary, higher plans offer more minutes/data but all plans benefit from the GB Extra promotion and have same roaming/coverage benefits. Users can choose the best option based on their expected usage and budget.

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

V. Does Vodafone Support eSIM in Spain?

Vodafone is making it easier than ever to stay connected with their eSIM option. An eSIM is a virtual SIM card embedded right in your phone, watch or other device. It works just like a regular SIM with the same plan package but takes up less space. Best of all, you can have multiple phone numbers on one device or change networks without changing the SIM.

The only small downside is that if you’re brand new to prepaid service, you’ll need to start with a physical SIM. But the store team can help you switch to eSIM later through their simple process for just 5 euros.

VI. Where to Buy Vodafone SIM cards/eSIM?

1. Online Ordering

Where to Buy Vodafone SIM cards

2. At a Physical Store

Buy Vodafone SIM at a physical store

If you prefer to buy in-person, use the Vodafone store locator to find your nearest retail outlet. Visit the store where friendly staff can help you choose the right plan. Pay for your selected package and take your activated SIM with you. Making an initial top-up in store is also possible.

Note: You may need to show your passport or ID when purchasing in-store for verification purposes.

VII. How to Activate Vodafone Spain SIM Cards?

For SIM Card:

  1. Visit the Vodafone website and log in to your account.
  2. Once logged in, navigate to the “My Account” tab and select the “Activate SIM” link.
  3. Enter your SIM card number and click on the “Activate” button.

For eSIM:

  1. Access the Settings menu on your device and go to Mobile Data.
  2. Choose “Add Data Plan” and proceed to scan the QR code using your cell phone.
  3. Follow the prompts and enter the desired name for your eSIM card.
  4. If prompted for an activation code, input the code provided by the eSIM company.
  5. Activate your mobile data, and you should be able to use your virtual card in Spain.

 Important Note: Please keep in mind that a stable internet connection is necessary to install your eSIM. You have the option to either scan the QR code using another device or manually install your eSIM. Activation does not require an internet connection.

VIII. Alternatives to Vodafone Spain SIM Cards

Vodafone is a great choice for tourists in Spain but here are some alternatives:

  • Orange: Another major network operator in Spain. Offers prepaid plans starting at €10 for 10GB of data plus extras. Has good nationwide coverage comparable to Vodafone.
  • Movistar: The incumbent Spanish operator and market leader. Recently started offering more competitive prepaid plans from €10 for 10GB. Coverage is broadly similar to Vodafone.
  • Yoigo: Operates on its own network but also has free roaming on Orange, giving it near-nationwide coverage. Offers prepaid plans from €10 for 25GB data.
Gigago.com offers eSIM plans for over 100 countries worldwide
  • eSIM by GIGAGO: Gigago.com offers eSIM plans for over 200 countries worldwide starting from as low as $5 for most places, including Spain. They have options for both short term travelers looking for a week of data, as well as unlimited plans lasting months.

To get started with Gigago, simply select Spain as the country you’re visiting, choose a data package, and pay securely online. The eSIM will be delivered to your email within minutes. Then just follow the instructions to scan the QR code using your phone’s camera when connected to WiFi at your destination.

Pro Tip: Gigago also has detailed guide on how to check if your phone supports eSIM right on the site to verify if your phone supports eSIM technology. New phone models of popular brands like Apple, Samsung, Google and more are covered.

XI. FAQs about Vodafone Spain SIM and eSIM

Where can I buy a Vodafone prepaid SIM card?

Vodafone prepaid SIM cards can be bought from Vodafone stores and other outlets. You need to show ID for registration.

What prepaid plans does Vodafone offer?

Vodafone offers various prepaid plans called Prepago with data allowances and validity periods. The plans are S, M, L, XL and XXL with data amounts ranging from 25GB to 150GB.

How do I check my Vodafone prepaid balance?

To check your Vodafone prepaid balance, send an SMS with the text *134# from the phone number of the SIM card.

Is data roaming included in Vodafone prepaid plans in the EU?

Yes, Vodafone includes data roaming at domestic Spanish rates in the EU/EEA countries, UK, US, Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Turkey, Vatican City and Monaco.

What is Vodafone’s policy on unused data rollover?

With Vodafone prepaid, unused data can be rolled over to the next month up to a maximum of 3 months, as long as the plan is renewed after each 28 day validity period.

How do I activate a Vodafone prepaid plan?

Vodafone prepaid plans like S, M, L etc. need to be activated by sms codes like 56563# for plan S and so on as provided on their website and terms.

XII. Conclusion

In summary, Vodafone Spain provides excellent connectivity for tourists with its extensive mobile coverage, fast speeds and competitive prepaid options.

SIM cards and eSIM plans are easily available at airports, stores or online. Activation is quick and convenient. Vafone is reliable across Spain, even in smaller towns and rural areas away from major cities.