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A Rough Guide to Using Your Mobile Phone in Spain
NOTE:  Changes in EU legislation have significantly reduced costs of using your mobile in the EU, so that (unless you adopt a roaming package from your provider) costs should not exceed 38p a min for calling and 19p for receiving, irrespective of who your provider is. Receiving texts is free but sending can cost up to 50p. The EU has just (summer 08) announced plans to control costs of texting too. On 22 April 2009 it was announced that further controls will be introduced to control the cost of using other services such as 3G in Europe, and further reductions in call costs. Details will be announced later in the summer. The reason? Apparently there are elections to the European parliament coming up, and the cynical BBC reporter suggested that this could somehow be connected. Whatever the reason, it is good news.

bullet Normal advice is to set up international roaming before you leave. This allows you to use your UK mobile phone abroad to make and receive calls and messages, and you need this service activated on your account so that your mobile works abroad. A week in advance of your departure date, you should contact your UK mobile network provider to ensure your mobile phone is 'enabled' for travel abroad.  However Vodaphone PAYG does not appear to need this, and it automatically searches for the local network -  (my pay-as-you go certainly worked fine without me doing this).  Vodaphone say that you can opt for a tariff that charges you a one-off cost per call , whether outgoing or incoming (75p I think) and thereafter you will pay your UK charges. Likewise for Orange PAYG.
bulletWhen you use your mobile abroad, you will be using a foreign mobile network. As a result, when receiving an incoming call from the UK while you are abroad, you'll be charged the international leg of the call (in the rough region of 75p a min) and may have to pay extra to listen to voicemail and send text messages (see below for  rough guide to prices). Of course, people phoning you will just need to dial your usual number. Text messaging can often be the cheapest way to stay in touch.
bullet Check your credit level if you have a pay as you go mobile, make sure you have enough credit on it to cover your stay, although again topping up is usually possible in Spain by calling your normal creditline number (works free with Vodaphone). If you want to be safe, check with your network how to use your credit card to top up your calling credit before you leave.
bulletBring an adaptor plug for your recharger.
bulletRemember you need to dial +44 (for the U.K.) instead of the 0 at the start of UK numbers (i.e., 01334-7621.. would be +44133476...) (Not needed for 02 PAYG, and maybe others now.) This can mean that you can't directly use numbers stored in your mobile phone book as normal.  If people are phoning you, however, they just dial your usual number. If you want to phone someone in Spain, you would have to start with +34 then dial the Spanish number (there is no 0 to omit in Spain):
bulletSome providers offer a cheaper international service for a monthly charge or with some premium packages.
bulletUse text messages instead of making voice calls; although be aware that exchanging information using more than one text message might prove more costly, receiving of text messages whilst abroad is usually free of charge;
bulletGet your incoming calls diverted directly to your voicemail (or to someone in the UK) and do not access your voicemail whilst abroad
bulletThere is also a European Commission Guide to mobile phone use abroad and how to get a better deal.

For some advice on using a Vodaphone in Spain go here.


If you are an O2 customer is to pay an extra monthly payment of around £5 (for PAYG) for the Spain option. This allows you to receive calls for free in Spain, so your friends can call you as if you are in the UK (i.e., for free if they have free minutes). Details are here..

bulletThe European Parliament has just (June 2007) passed a new law that will make using your phone abroad much cheaper. The prposed "Euro Tariff" will cap roaming charges at 33 pence a minute for making calls and 16 pence for receiving calls. It should come into force by August  2007.

30.3.06: EU announces plans to stop such high "roaming" charges, to include the cost of calling locally to be similar to a local UK cost (e.g.., if you call a local restaurant while in Spain this should cost the same as it would if you were making a within UK call) and also eliminate charges for receiving calls while abroad. The operators say that natural market forces should be allowed to operate, and they have a point. There is plenty of competition. The problem is that these charges are so complicated that consumer is confused and of course you can't switch operators when you are abroad, so "natural market forces" mean we get ripped off.

Approximate Costs (Culled from a variety of sources; best to check your provider's web page as things may depend on exact plan etc. The following is based on 2003 information and hence is very out of date)


From Spain to UK: 70p/min (PAYG £1.20)
Receiving calls whilst in Spain 30p/min (PAYG 60p)
Text to UK from Spain: as per Orange partner network plus usual SMS cost (PAYG 40p)
Receiving text in Spain: FREE
Voicemail retrieval in Spain: 70p/min
From UK to Spain 20p/min  (PAYG 25p)
 (Pay Monthly: Call 150 from your Orange phone or 07973 100159 from any other phone, to activate your phone for use abroad. Do this at least 24 hours before you go. Call + 44 7973 100 123 to listen to messages from abroad.  Calls will automatically go through to the Answer Phone when your phone is switched off. )

PAYG: To get answer phone messages, dial 123 in the usual way.
 You can call 450 free to top up but you need to register your credit card 72 hours before leaving; top up cards can be used abroad )



From Spain to U K: 75p/min (PAYG 75p too)
Receiving calls in Spain: 75p/min
Text to UK from Spain: 39p
Receiving text in Spain: free
Voicemail retrieval in Spain: around 75p/min
Top up line (2345): Free
From UK to Spain: 30p/min
(Calls charged in 30sec intervals, minimum charge of 1 minute)
(Happy hour until end of September: 7-8pm local time calls home are 40p/min)
 International Call Saver option was (is?) available for £2.50 per month on most pay monthly price plans (already included if you're on the Vodafone 800, 1100, 2100, 5300 or 10600 price plans.)


From Spain to UK: 73p/min (58p with ITS) (PAYG 99p)
Receiving calls in Spain: 80p/min (PAYG  £1.49)
Text to UK from Spain: 25p (PAYG 49p)
Receiving text in Spain: FREE
Voicemail retrieval in Spain: 85p/min (58p with ITS)
From UK to Spain: 90p/min (17p with ITS)
(To use PAYG, Key *111*# then press SEND and follow options)

T Mobile

From Spain to UK: 75p/min (PAYG £1.00)
Receiving calls while in Spain 70p/min (PAYG £1.00)
Text to UK from Spain: 40p (incl. PAYG)
Receiving text in Spain: FREE
Voicemail retrieval in Spain: 75p/min


From Spain to UK: 55p/min (PAYG 55p)
Receiving calls whilst in Spain:  30p/min (Calls billed to the min)
Text to UK from Spain: 30p
Receiving text in Spain: FREE
Voicemail retrieval in Spain: Without all call divert on, 55p/min when the voicemail is recorded plus 55p/min to retrieve
With all call divert on 55p/min
From UK to Spain: 40p/min
To use your Virgin mobile abroad you need to be a Pay Monthly by Direct Debit customer (call 789)

Retrieving voicemail messages:
Access your voicemail as usual. Interrupt your greeting by pressing # then enter the voicemail PIN you set up before you left



From Spain to UK: 30p/min
From UK to Spain: 2Op/min
Text to UK from Spain: 25p
Receiving text in Spain: 10p
Voicemail retrieval in Spain: 30p/min



                                                                                          The Owl and the Sparrow


                                                      Revision 2012


 The Owl and the Sparrow is a book about a battle that takes place in a forest. The battle is between the birds on one side of the forest,  which they themselves  call the good side of the forest, and the birds (vultures) on the other side,  the dark side of the forest.

 Owl is the leader of the good forest and his adversary is the Condor, reputed as being the darkest force in the forest.  Into  the story enters an apparently naive sparrow who is seduced by Condor into the dark side of the forest against the rulings of Owl. Owl refuses to send help because he does not want to endanger the lives of more birds, but also because he is furious with the sparrow. He says that  sparrow was asking for trouble.

 Also on the good side of the forest are an incredibly silly group of finches who like to play games and torment the vultures. But their silliness  and game-playing skills are no match for the profound darkness of the vultures, and some are captured, and terrorised.

  Golden Eagle rules over the whole forest, but he gets little involved because he has left Owl a set of rules. Finally he gets angry with what he sees happening on both sides of the forest, and  realises that rules are not enough. So  out of his concern and love for the birds , he sends his  son, Silver Eagle, to the  forest.   The book covers the events that follow including  a bitter battle and the discovery that there is an unknown traitor within their camp.


Author Ruth Thomas

Editor Joan  Mitchell

First version typed up and suggestions made by Deborah van Welie



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