British v Spanish Mobile Phone Service Providers

Well, of course, everyone has their own story, this is mine. As some f you know, we spent 3 months of our summer in Spain, most of it with me recovering from illness and so probably more than ever, having a working mobile contract was very important this year.

We’ve moved home in the UK and moved in shortly before heading off to Spain. In the sleepy village of Wark on Tyne we now have excellent home broadband thanks to Vodafone who, despite having no mobile signal in the village, managed to achieve what BT could not (despite all the grants and other funding the latter has had over the years), that is, Vodafone offer a sub-£30 a month fibre80 Mb download, 20Mb upload home broadband service – and it WORKS – and their router is not a toy. Contrast that with Plusnet who gave me two toy routers which were unreliable and useless and after a year (and a new contact) gave me a decent router.

But I digress. knowing the latter have no mobile signal here (neither does THREE) I checked out O2 who are overly expensive for mobile, but GiffGaff (who use O2) are not. I went for the GiffGaff £12 a month package giving me 3GB (plus extra 1GB offer). All of that worked well and of course includes ROAMING in the EU (at least until the UK self-destructs with the upcoming Brexit). However while in Spain, having previously allowed more, GiffGaff decided that users should not stay out of the UK for more than 2 months (it will get worse) and when they twigged that I was going to exceed this I got a message to say I’d soon get a warning then lose my roaming.

Well,not only did the bastards NOT send a warning, they cut me off mid-package, not holding my data until I got back to the UK but effectively robbing me of data I’d paid for, mid-month! That’s a nasty trick- so much for the cutesy, we’re pals language on their website. Well, I could have just rolled over and died, nature already tried to help me do that once and if nature can’t succeed, GiffGaff certainly can’t. Accordingly I signed up with Simyo in Spain. Not speaking Spanish made that more fun than it might otherwise have been but we got there.

Not ONLY are they cheaper than UK operators, not ONLY do they let you roll over unused data from month to month unlike the mainly tight-fisted UK operators few of whom, if any, allow rollover of data, but ALSO they allow roaming for up to 4 months at a stretch… and clearly have agreements with the major players as my phone is working perfectly here in Wark with a decent 4G signal, as it does in most places in Spain.

Add to that the wonderful Pi-VPN which allows me internal access to my home kit while travelling and the equally excellent Pi-Hole which saves me a shedload of mobile data being used to pay for adverts I don’t want and right now I’m on a roll. I hope others find this useful,


13 thoughts on “British v Spanish Mobile Phone Service Providers

    1. If that was for me, Leo it won’t as I’m using a Spanish provider. I gave up on crappy UK providers. When back in the UK I get a max of 4 months stay out of Spain, roaming. I’ve just finished my first month away and just topped up my account last week. I’ve a friendly neighbour over there who can possibly update my SIM for me at that 4 month point unless we take a winter short trip over there. Brexit of course could change all of that. Time will tell.

      Then I was in Spain for over 2 months, GiffGaff here in the UK chopped me off without notice after 2 months. They won’t get the chance to do that again.

  1. What really pisses me off is that commercial telecoms seems to get cheaper year on year but mobile Comms increase in price all the time.

    Take EE, for example, who hike the price every year according to the Retail Price Index. Robbin’ B’stards.

    I like your new pic Pete – with the hat. I wonder where you got the idea from!

    1. Indeed – yet Vodafone home fibre broadband is relatively inexpensive – mainly due to no BT line rental. The service is good – except that they cannot seem to absorb that I neither have nor want a mobile number and so cannot accept text messages (and dont want them). I have a voip number I can use on the mobile (data only, deliberately) but it doesn’t do messages.

    2. The hat… actually in Spain in the summer I spotted a guy with an Australian hat and went searching for one – I got sidetracked at the Chinese store and my lovely blue hat is the result. I love it.

      1. Chinese stores in Spain, I just love them!

        Spent many a happy hour mowing around the ones in Moraira.

        1. Yup, the highlight of my shopping day – we need those here in the but the pubilc here are far too used to being ripped off.

      2. Well, at least it was Australian! 🙂

        We know a thing or two about hats………ask any Aussie about ‘slip; slop; slap’ (slip on a shirt, slop on the – at least 50+ – suncream, and slap on a hat!). Unfortunately, we also know maybe far too much about skin cancer.

  2. Hi Pete, another ex-Giffgaff customer here. We also spend lots of time abroad, up to about 2 months at a time so we were only chopped off once. However, by testing we found Giffgaff in the UK were throttling the data rate compared to O2, so goodbye….

    Another thing, we have COSMOTE for broadband in Greece, and we’ve found the COSMOTE FON username and pw work with BT FON-enabled routers across the UK, very useful. Also if our home BB goes off, we hop onto the neighbour’s BT BB…..

    1. Excellent. Well, I usually go off and get expensive broadband routers but I have to say there’s nothing wrong with the router that Voda gave me. Quite happy with it up to now.

  3. Good for you Peter, glad you got it sorted out. We all have different needs and roaming isn’t one of ours. We ditched BT and went with EE, broadband, landline and mobiles. We’ve got HUAWEI mobiles and we got two HUAWEI tablets complete with SIM’s included, FOC. At less than we were paying for the old Iphone. Everything is better, WiFi n the house, mobile reception, wireless range, broadband speed.
    The overall cost is considerably less than we were paying for the BT package. BT can do the Russian farewell’s!!

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