Years ago, writing letters and making the occasional long-distance telephone call were the only options for keeping in touch with family and friends, and in emergencies a telegram. Nowadays, Spain is part of the modern world and its population regularly use every possible type of communication on a regular basis.
These days, many just have smart phones but if you want broadband you will need to take out a contract with one of the many internet providers. The main players are Movistar (Telefonica) who actually own all the telephone lines, Orange (actually Orange, France), Vodafone (UK owned) and Jazztel (Spanish). All of these companies offer much the same sort of service as each other but prices can vary. It is a good idea to check precisely what you are being offered, as cheapest isn't necessarily best and remember that Movistar own the lines, so in the case of disconnection due to inclement weather, they will get their own customers back on line first.
Getting a fixed telephone line can be complicated, especially if you are moving to a new property where there is no telephone connection. In this case, it’s a good idea to apply for a line and/or number as soon as possible after purchasing your property because this can take from two weeks to two months. The cost per month of a phone line varies from €13.95 to €15.95 + IVA (VAT) depending on which company you use. Internet contracts are from €15.95 + IVA.
Currently these telecommunications companies are offering good deals if you take out a fixed and mobile phone contract with them; these contracts usually last for 18 months. When you are considering which company to use, make sure there is an English speaking service and you can also ask for your bill to be in English, though not all can provide this.
Most companies have shops but you shouldn’t expect the staff to necessarily speak English. In the tourist areas and larger towns it is more likely but it is not guaranteed. However, these shops can be useful, as you are actually talking to a person not a voice at the end of a line.
IPhones, iPads, Android smartphones, other tablets and basic mobiles are on offer throughout Spain. Until recently you could get a mobile for free (not a top model) with a contract but more recently many companies have introduced a charge. Mobile phones are big business in Spain, and they are all vying for your business so it pays to shop around! After sales service does vary though, so if you can strike up a good relationship with a representative in a shop, this might pay dividends later.
Of course, another excellent form of communication is video over the internet using Skype or Google. The quality of the connection can vary throughout the day depending on your connection speed and how much traffic is being carried at any one time.
More and more people are using their TV to access online films, TV programmes and even the internet. For people from the UK wanting British TV, you will need a satellite installed and a decoder. There are very good satellite installation companies in Spain, some British owned, and they will usually be able to help you with setting up your system to receive British TV. Try to get recommendations locally for a supplier, and it’s a good idea to have Spanish TV too as this will help you learn the language, and keep you informed of what is happening in your new country. People learn languages quickly by watching the news and other programmes in a foreign country and keeping up with what is happening in your area helps you to feel part of the community.
Generally the service provided by the telecommunications industry in Spain has improved a lot over recent years, although this varies from region to region, shop to shop and between the companies themselves. If you allow plenty of time to be connected, keeping in touch with those close to you and watching your favourite TV programmes in Spain should not be a problem.