If you plan to stay in Malaga for a long time, it can be beneficial to have a local, Spanish SIM card. If you want the best bang for your bucks avoid the big names like Vodafone, Orange and others and go with Lycamobil, Lebara, Simyo, Llamaya, Tuenti or other similar providers that you probably never heard about before. They don’t have physical offices, but they have pretty good offers.
You can buy these kind of SIM cards in little mobile stores, not in the big branded ones. There are prepaid and contract offers as well, usually with similar conditions. Even if it’s a contract offer, most of them says “sin permanencia” which means you can just cancel the contract any time, it’s not mandatory to stick to the provider for a year or something.
Carrying your number from a provider to another one is super easy, you can do that without any downtime. So if you find a better offer, you can jump the boat any time. I use llamaya because they have the best offer at the moment. 3 gb data, 150 minute national (Spanish) calls, 10 sms for monthly 5 euros. It’s a prepaid offer without contract. If you want international calls too, then you can buy that additional service to your SIM, but seriously… why don’t you just use WhatsApp or Skype free?
You can order the SIM card on their website: www.llamaya.com for 5 euros, you don’t need a NIE number, you can just enter your passport or EU ID number and it’s fine. The website is in Spanish, but if you use Google Chrome web browser then you can get it translated to your language on the fly. Filling the forms should not be a problem, they just need your personal data and bank card payment at the end. They send the SIM card by mail, you get it within two days. At least that is the expectation, but life often have other surprises, just as it happened to me:
I placed my order online, I got my SIM card within 2 days, but it could not make it work. It didn’t register itself to the mobile network, I was not able to make any calls. On the website, they write: When you have the sim card, you can active the service by sending a text message to the 2377 number with the text: LLYALTAPLAN3GB
So I did that, sent the text message. At least I tried, because the text message was not going anywhere. They also have a menu on the bottom of their website to configure your mobile internet, I clicked there, selected that I have an Android phone, entered my phone number that I just got from them. And this was the point when I decided to call the customer service, because the website said: Sorry, but there entered number doesn’t belong to LlamaYA Movil so we can’t help you. That is funny because I was entering the number from the LlamaYA document that I just received with the SIM card.
The customer service is Spanish, there is no English option. Anyway, I am kinda ok in Spanish, so I told the customer service lady that I face this problem, she checked and confirmed that somehow they sent me a bad SIM card. We agreed that they will send me another one.
I was waiting for two days, but unlike earlier, I didn’t receive any confirmation or package tracking number that they actually sent the new sim, so after two days I called the customer service again. It turned out that they didn’t send the SIM card, so I was waiting for nothing, which obviously pissed me off, so I told them to cancel the whole thing. I go and buy a SIM card for myself in the city.
Maybe it was a one in a million event, maybe I just won the bad SIM card lottery, but based on my experience, my suggestion is: Go and buy it in the city, don’t fool around with their website and then wait for a broken SIM card.
The good thing about this provider is they are cheap as hell, and your first recharge counts double! So if you are satisfied with the service, you can save big! As mentioned the monthly fee is 5 euros, but you can charge more, up to 150 euros and have it doubled!
If you need to make some settings to get the mobile internet work, it’s the best if you just tell the seller to activate the card and set the necessary stuff for you. Again, don’t expect them to speak English, but if you say: “Activate… internet… please…” they will get the point. If you want to go the extra mile, then say “Por favor” instead of Please. Don’t forget, kind words can move a mountain.
In Spain everyone is using WhatsApp. Any phone number that starts with the number 6 is a mobile number and there is 99% chance that it’s available on WhatsApp. If the phone number starts with the number 9 then it’s a landline, so no instant messaging possible there. Also, if a number starts with 90, some cheap providers or pre-pair SIM cards won’t let you call that number because it’s some premium number, that usually belongs to a customer service. That is super annoying because my bank and several other companies has 90… numbers. It’s very confusing because some 90 numbers are free to call and some other cost extra on the top of the normal minute price. But as I said, with the cheap providers you won’t have that problem, because you simply won’t be able to call these numbers, no matter if they are free or not.