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KPO'M 06-04-2008 00:21

Spain - Data Plans

I'm going to be in Spain for about a week in June. I intend to use primarily data, so it appears that Yoigo is the best option. Here's a few questions:
  • Has any non-EU citizen tried to purchase a SIM card using a passport in a store? Did it work, or should I buy online beforehand?
  • Does Yoigo support EDGE (my phone has only US 3G frequencies)?
  • Are there any other promotions from other operators?
  • Do I need to sign up for a special plan, or is the default plan the one that provides unlimited WAP for 1.39/day?

petkow 06-04-2008 13:20

You will not be able to buy a Yoigo SIM online unless you have a Spanish NIF number (tax code/national identity number for Spanish Citizens) or a NIE number (same thing for foreigners). These are quite hard to come by as you will need to either register at a Spanish consulate abroad (and it takes a few weeks to get your code) or at a Government office in Spain (which will certainly involve standing in a long line with immigrants).

I think the only option to buy a Yoigo SIM is to buy it in a shop in Spain called "The Phone House". You do not need a NIE/NIF to do this. AFIK You just need some ID (any passport etc.).

You do not need to sign up for any special plan to get the capped data plan. It is there by default. You may however wish to switch to Tariffa 2 so that you are not bound to a monthly €6 min useage. You can do this by calling their customer service team once you have the card. They have a few English speaking agents. On Tariffa 2 the call rates during peak times are slightly higher but the data rate is still the same.

AFIK Yoigo does not support EDGE. It is only slow GPRS or faster UTMS? I am not an expert in this (don't quote me) but as far as I am aware there are actually very few EDGE networks in Europe, most of which were just upgraded from GPRS specifically for compatibility with the iPhone when it launched here. I know this is the case for o2 here in the UK, and even so the Edge coverage here is fairly light and many big cities do not have it. A lot of iPhone users here have to contend with GPRS. I do not have one nor even have a 3G phone, but even so Edge would be quicker for data on my phone than the GPRS I pickup.

Someone else maybe able to add more to this....

KPO'M 06-04-2008 19:09

Thanks for the info. How is the "Phone House"? Are they reputable? I'm always a bit reluctant to part with passport data (with all the horror stories about people on the no-fly lists, etc.). It's a bit annoying how more and more countries require tax IDs to get SIM cards. Ostensibly it's to prevent terrorism, but I don't see how that really helps.

In any case, too bad more countries aren't like the UK, where I picked up a SIM card from a vending machine at Heathrow, or even here in the US, where I can get a prepaid AT&T or T-Mobile SIM card from any Target or Wal-Mart (or company store).

petkow 06-04-2008 20:21

They are reliable. Part of the UK Carphonewarehouse group. (The worlds largest independent telecommunications retailer) To bring it closer to home for you in the US they also own run the mobile bit of Bestbuy. (

To be honest I don't even know if they require a passport. I only once bought a SIM in a store in Spain and I just turned over the cash and got the SIM much the same as you do in the UK. If TPH (Thephonehouse) do ask for passport or ID it is so only so to see that your name is what you say it is. I don't think they will take down the number or details.

By the way, in Spain you even have to generally show photo ID if you want to pay for anything anywhere by credit card. (Anti-fraud). Spanish people have a national ID but for foreigners this generally means Passport, so you will have to get used to showing it a bit anyhow. I have got by with showing my drivers license in many places but loads of shops do not understand a non-Spanish driving license and do not accept it as proof of ID. It's a bit of a pain as I end up having to carry my passport everywhere!

KPO'M 07-04-2008 16:51

Thanks. I'm familiar with Carphone Warehouse from when I was living in London.

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