In March 2021, I returned from Taiwan after a year.
Then I did not go on a trip for a year because of travel restrictions.
So in February 2022, I decided I would go on a trip again in March 2022.
Mostly because travel restrictions were being lifted left and right.
So, what is the best way to catch up on a year of lost travel time?
Visit as many countries as you can within a month.
I really love how easy it is to travel throughout Europe!
If you have read any of my SIM card buying guides before, like the Spanish one, or watched a YouTube video of mine, you know that I am crazy enough to buy and test so many SIM cards.
If this is your first Phone Travel Wiz review – welcome.
I buy and test all/most SIM cards in a country and tell you which ones are the best so that you do not have to 😎.
You have probably heard of Vodafone before – perhaps you even use Vodafone's services at home.
Or you may have tried Vodafone in another country.
Vodafone is often a hit or miss – it can be the best option in a country or the absolute worse.
So what about in Vodafone? Is Vodafone Spain any good?
And that is what I did – and I will share my experience in this review.
Let's get started, shall we?
Original publication: 4th of June 2022. Last updated: 1st of July 2022.
Table of Contents
Who is Vodafone Spain?
I am pretty sure anyone reading this review has heard of Vodafone before.
Or its African counterpart called Vodacom.
But I will not give you a detailed history of Vodafone because that is boring.
Instead, I want to quickly introduce Vodafone Spain and introduce you to the Spanish telecom market.
Vodafone Spain, officially Vodafone España, is the third-largest mobile operator, behind Movistar Spain and Orange Spain, but ahead of Yoigo.
You also have many Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs), like Lycamobile Spain, but they are honestly not worth your time.
In the title of this review, I called Vodafone Spain the fastest… on 5G NR.
And you will find out why later.
But before you go get yourself a Vodafone Spain SIM card because it is fast, there are still some things to be aware of.
And if your phone does not support 5G NR, it can be a better idea to get yourself another Spanish SIM card than Vodafone Spain's, as there are other mobile operators out there with (much) faster 4G/LTE speeds.
Let's talk about Vodafone Spain's coverage first, after these quick frequency details:
- 2G: 900 MHz & 1800 MHz
- 3G: 900 MHz & 2100 MHz
- 4G/LTE: 800 MHz (Band 20), 900 MHz (Band 8), 1800 MHz (Band 3), 2100 MHz (Band 1) & 2600 MHz (Band 7)
- 5G NR: 3700 MHz (n78)
- VoLTE: Yes
- VoWiFi: No
Here you have Vodafone Spain's APN settings:
- Name: Internet móvil
- APN: airtelwap.es
- Username: [email protected]
- Password: wap125
Note: leave anything not mentioned above untouched. Until 2001, Vodafone Spain was Airtel Spain. Hence the “Airtel” part in the APN. Why it did not get changed after more than 20 years, I cannot tell you 🙈
Vodafone Spain Coverage + My Experience
You can have a mobile operator providing you 1 Gbps download speeds.
But if it covers only one street in the entirety of Spain, it will be useless.
So, how is Vodafone Spain's coverage?
When looking at 4G/LTE availability, Vodafone Spain has the best availability percentage of 89.1%, ahead of Movistar Spain (87.9%), Orange Spain (87.7%) & Yoigo (82.4%), according to Opensignal.
Vodafone Spain has the second-best 4G/LTE coverage experience (9.2 on a 10-point scale), ahead of Yoigo (6.9) but behind Movistar Spain and Orange Spain (both 9.5)
When looking at 5G NR, Vodafone Spain is losing the 5G NR availability race (4.1%), behind Orange Spain (9.6), Movistar Spain (9.9) & even Yoigo (10.6).
When we take a look at the 5G NR reach, Vodafone Spain is doing bad again, with a reach score of 1.9, behind Orange Spain (2.9), Movistar Spain (3.1) & Yoigo (3.3).
So far, I have been talking about coverage from other reports, but what was my coverage experience with Vodafone Spain?
It was excellent, honestly – I had nothing to complain about.
I do not recall having many reception blackspots – not even on the metro in Madrid.
When I took the high-speed train from Madrid to Barcelona, reception did cut off every now or then, but that is expected.
And the same applied when I took the bus to Andorra (to try out Andorra Telecom).
The closer to got to the Andorran border, the worse coverage I got and the more I was on 3G instead of 4G/LTE.
But that is normal too – nothing out of the ordinary.
And do not expect 5G NR out of the big cities yet.
Below, you have the coverage maps of Vodafone Spain in mainland Spain + the Balearic Islands (consisting of Formentera, Ibiza, Mallorca & Menorca) and in the Canary Islands on the west of Morocco (consisting of Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote & Tenerife):
How to Get a Vodafone Spain SIM Card & Prices
Now you have a basic understanding of Vodafone Spain and the telecom market in Spain, it is now time to talk about how to actually get a Vodafone Spain SIM card.
That is because of the SIM card registration laws in Spain – SIM card registration is mandatory.
- Find out which countries have a SIM card registration regulations and what is required from you (lookup tool)
Spanish SIM cards are also sold by third parties, like grocery stores or convenience stores like in many other countries.
But it can be a challenge to find a store with Vodafone Spain SIM cards lying around (I did not manage to see any… but that may be because I did not actively look for them).
So you better visit a Vodafone Spain store – the process will be quicker (here is a store locator).
If you go to a Vodafone Spain store, you just have to present your passport (or ID if you are from another European Union nation).
By the way, Vodafone Spain SIM cards are also sold at Adolfo Suárez Madrid–Barajas Airport (MAD) and Josep Tarradellas Barcelona–El Prat Airport (BCN).
I got my Vodafone Spain SIM card in Madrid at Puerta del Sol.
Here is where I also got my Orange Spain SIM card.
But here is a store locator if you do not plan to visit Madrid.
When I got inside, there were two staff members.
One was dealing with a customer far away from the entrance.
Another employee, who would eventually attend me, was having a loud conversation with, who I assumed to be, a friend.
A student who probably just arrived in Spain was struggling to use the machine where you get your SIM card from because it is all in Spanish, and it took the chit-chatting employee ages for her to attend to him.
Oh, the employee did not speak English… so if you have any questions – tough luck.
After what I believe to be about seven minutes, it was my time to get my SIM card.
Still, the employee was having a conversation with another person, but at least she did the things she had to do with the machine.
Although I would have loved to record the steps of how to use the machine, or at least take photos of it, the employee was having none of it 🙄.
Anyway, the Vodafone machine allows you to choose from five plans, which I will tell you more about in the plans section.
I got the Vodafone Prepago S Plan, which costs 10 EUR and gives you 12 GB of data, 7 GB EU/EEA data, unlimited on-net minutes & 300 off-net/international minutes for 28 days.
What does Vodafone Spain consider to be the EU/EEA? Below is a list:
Vodafone Spain does not have a tourist SIM card (except for the overpriced ones at the airports from resellers) – only standard prepaid SIM cards are available.
Moreover, while Vodafone Spain does have eSIMs, they are currently not offered to prepaid customers (yet).
Or you can get Spain eSIMs from Nomad.
Use code ADU123 for the best deals available when getting Nomad eSIMs (on the site or their apps), such as getting 3 USD off!
For Airalo eSIMs, the links above will automatically get you the Phone Travel Wiz exclusive offers available – a code is not necessary.
If you are from a country where mobile data rates are criminally high, like Canada, you may not believe you can get so much data for such a relatively low price.
Well, you better believe it – the average cost of 1 GB of data in Spain is 1.24 USD, according to Cable.co.uk.
Yeah, not every country is trying to rob you for using mobile data 😏.
Vodafone Spain Plans, Bundles & Offers
Vodafone has two data-featured plans: Prepago/Prepaid (combo) and Vodafone Pass (social media add-ons).
While there are not that many options, the plans are generous.
Prepago (Prepaid) Plans
The Prepago (Prepaid) Plans are combo plans with data and minutes.
|Price||Plan||Data||EU/EEA Roaming||On-Net Minutes||Off-Net Minutes||Romania Minutes||International Minutes 1||Validity|
|10 EUR||Vodafone Prepago S||12 GB||7 GB||Unlimited||300 minutes||N/A||Shared with off-net call allowance||28 days|
|15 EUR||Vodafone Prepago M||20 GB||10 GB||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited||800 minutes||28 days|
|20 EUR||Vodafone Prepago L||35 GB||13 GB||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited||N/A||28 days|
|30 EUR||Vodafone Prepago Xl||45 GB||20 GB||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited||N/A||28 days|
|40 EUR||Vodafone Prepago XXL||55 GB||25 GB||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited||N/A||28 days|
1 to Argentina (fixed), Australia, Bangladesh, Belgium, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile (fixed), China, Colombia, Costa Rica (fixed), Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, the Dominican Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco (fixed), Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan (100 minutes for S plan, 200 minutes for M plan), Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico (fixed), Romania, Russia (fixed), Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey (200 minutes), the United Kingdom, the United States, Uruguay (fixed) & Venezuela (fixed)
The Vodafone Passes are data-only plans for chat, maps, music streaming, social & video streaming apps.
Vodafone Passes can be activated on the Mi Vodafone (España) app:
|2 EUR||Chat Pass||Unlimited 1||28 days|
|3 EUR||Maps Pass||Unlimited 2||28 days|
|3 EUR||Music Pass||Unlimited 3||28 days|
|3 EUR||Social Pass||Unlimited 4||28 days|
|8 EUR||Video Pass||Unlimited 5||28 days|
1 for Blackberry Messenger, IM Line, Kakao Talk, Line, Telegram, Viber, WeChat & WhatsApp
2 for Endomondo, Google Earth, Google Maps, Here, iCoyote, Runtastic, TomTom, TripAdvisor & Waze
3 for Apple Music, Deezer, Napster, SoundCloud, Spotify & Tidal
4 for AdoptaUnTio, Badoo, eDarling, Facebook, Flickr, Grindr, Instagram, LinkedIn, Meetic, Periscope, Pinterest, Snapchat, TikTok, Tinder, Tumblr & Twitter
5 for Amazon Video, Clan RTVE, Dailymotion, Filmin, Fox News, Fox Sports, HBO, Movistar TV, Netflix, Orange TV, Rakuten, RTVE Móvil, Twitch, Vevo, Vimeo, Vodafone TV Online, YouTube, YouTube Gaming & YouTube Kids
You can use your Vodafone allowances in the following EU/EEA member states without paying roaming fees:
Be aware that, in some cases, the EU/EEA roaming allowance is lower than the domestic allowances.
Vodafone Spain Top-Up, Recharge & Balance Check
Vodafone top-up vouchers are sold in Vodafone stores, grocery stores, corner shops & electronics shops throughout Spain.
I did not have to recharge my Vodafone Spain SIM card because Spain was a short stop on my one-month Europe trip.
But I will still let you know about topping up your Vodafone Spain SIM card.
To top up your Vodafone SIM card, call 22132 and follow the instructions.
You can also tell the salesperson how much credit you want, your phone number, pay, and they will top up your SIM card with the POS system.
You can also recharge online with (international/EU) debit and credit cards.
Dial *134# to check your Vodafone balance.
Vodafone Spain Speed Test Results (in Barcelona & Madrid)
Alright, now it is time to talk about the speeds you can expect to get with Vodafone Spain after covering all the other essential topics like coverage.
Vodafone Spain is regarded by Speedtest as the one of the slower mobile operator in Spain in Q4 of 2021.
With a Speed Score of 45.57, Vodafone Spain is outperforming Yoigo (39.43), but is behind Movistar Spain (62.67) and Orange Spain (51.34).
However, when we look at 5G NR, Vodafone Spain is straight-up winning the 5G NR race with a median download speed of 277.11 Mbps.
This is (far) ahead of Orange Spain (146.31 Mbps), Yoigo (125.20 Mbps) & Movistar Spain (103.99 Mbps).
Okay, those were valuable insights – let's talk about my speed test results now.
I did speed tests with the Speedtest app at various test locations: 3 in Barcelona and 8 in Madrid.
Here are the results:
Those are nice download speeds! Especially on 5G NR.
Every underlined result is a speed test result on 5G NR.
I only got six results higher than 100 Mbps, and one of them was on 4G/LTE – and that was extremely fast for 4G/LTE too (the 409.43 Mbps resurt at Madrid McDonald's Gran Vía).
Unfortunately, this speed was a few Mbps slower than my 4G/LTE download speed record I got with FarEasTone in Taipei-Taoyuan Airport in Taiwan.
One day, I will beat that record!
But the fastest 5G NR speed I have gotten so far was with Optus in Australia (1024 Mbps+ 😳).
I will show you the comparison with Movistar Spain later, which also has 5G NR access for prepaid customers.
And I can already tell you it was significantly slower than Vodafone Spain.
First, let's deal with some Vodafone Spain statistics based on 11 speed test results:
- Vodafone Spain's average download speed was 189.50 Mbps
- The median download speed with Vodafone Spain was 113.11 Mbps
- Vodafone Spain's average upload speed was 30.16 Mbps
- The median upload speed with Vodafone Spain was 22.65 Mbps
- Vodafone Spain had the fastest download speed, compared to its competitors, in 5 of the 11 locations
- Nowhere did Vodafone Spain have the slowest download speed
- At 3 of the 11 locations, Vodafone Spain had the fastest upload speed
- Nowhere did Vodafone Spain have the slowest upload speed
Honestly, those are some pretty impressive statistics… even if the sample size was small.
So, is an average download speed of 189.50 Mbps fast enough?
I am not even sure why I am asking this question – of course it is 🤩!
But still – let me elaborate.
A download speed of more than 25 Mbps is enough to video stream content @ 4k resolution.
Social media sites that allow for live streaming, like Facebook Live, recommend an upload speed of at least 10 Mbps.
And I got an average upload speed of 30.16 Mbps – more than double the recommended upload speed.
So, in short, these speed test results would be more than enough for watching videos at a high resolution and for uploading content like live streams.
But let's take these results to a global level – Vodafone Spain is still doing well.
At the time of writing, the global average download speed is 74.87 Mbps – Vodafone Spain is way above this average.
But the average is skewed because of countries like the United Arab Emirates, with an average mobile download speed of 268.87 Mbps (insane!).
So let's look at the global median – 30.75 Mbps. Vodafone Spain's median download speed was 113.11 Mbps.
That is quadruple the global median.
Then again, many countries have yet to roll out 5G NR… but that is why we looked at the median too instead of only the average.
In short, you should have a smooth network experience with Vodafone Spain.
Take a look at this Movistar Spain and Vodafone Spain comparison (both with 5G NR access):
Vodafone Spain was (much) faster than Movistar Spain at many locations.
And often in the multiples too.
You see that Vodafone Spain 606.77 Mbps download speed at Barcelona Pàrquing Estació d'Autobusos de Sants?
Now that is a proper 5G NR download speed, unlike whatever Movistar Spain is offering.
So yeah, you do not have to worry about speeds with Vodafone Spain – even on 4G/LTE.
My Overall Experience with Vodafone Spain – Is It Any Good?
I would recommend Vodafone Spain.
Getting a Vodafone Spain SIM card was straightforward, and activation was quick.
While Vodafone Spain does not have the best coverage in the country, you should still have coverage in the most remote Spanish town you can think of (but perhaps on 2G, lmao).
With Vodafone Spain's up and coming 5G NR network, it is poised to be a fast player in the Spanish telecom market.
For fast 4G/LTE speeds, you have to go with Orange Spain for now.
Vodafone Spain has no official tourist SIM cards.
In Barcelona and Madrid airports, there are resellers that sell Vodafone SIM cards, starting from 50 EUR.
And the perks you get from an airport SIM card are not worth the price.
Anyway, with extensive coverage, generous data-featured plans & blazing-fast speeds, there is nothing crazy to complain about Vodafone Spain.
It is a good mobile operator – the but not the best overall Spanish mobile operator.
Spanish SIM Card Reviews
As mentioned earlier, I also tried out Orange Spain, Vodafone Spain & Yoigo when I was in Barcelona and Rome.
You should read those reviews too.
Later, I will make a comparison post of the four Spanish mobile operators… but that will take a while (I have many reviews of other countries that I still need to write, so they are prioritized).
But you can still make an educated purchased after reading the Spanish SIM card reviews.
Check out my reviews page if you want to read all the other reviews I have written, including other European SIM cards from this trip.
Spain SIM Card Buying Guide
There are more than ten SIM cards to choose from in Spain besides Vodafone Spain.
I analyze and discuss them in-depth in my Spain SIM card buying guide.
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