I was contacted by the team at HolidayPhone recently asking if I was going to Mobile World Congress and would like to check out their local Spanish SIM offering. I was keen to do so — but up until last week I wasn’t planning on going. However, things have changed — and it looks like I’ll certainly be in Barcelona next week.
So I got back on the email to the HolidayPhone team and said yes.
Their concept looks absolutely fantastic: Put simply, they do the hard work involved with getting a local SIM. Let’s be clear — actually picking up a local SIM that serves your purpose can be a challenging experience. Last year in Barcelona, Ben Smith and I spent almost €100 on some SIMs that we *thought* offered local data roaming. We specifically pointed at the “Pay As You Go Mobile Data” option in the Vodafone Spain customer catalogue. The chap serving us spoke a reasonable amount of English. There was a lot of nodding. There was a lot of smiling. There was a lot of eagerness on both sides. After 20 minutes of messing around with passports, money and hotel addresses, we walked out the shop with our SIMs. They worked perfectly for about 20 minutes until we ran out of credit. The chap hadn’t quite understood us. I think we burnt through our credit in a few megabytes because we did something wrong. Or we didn’t authorise them properly. Or something. Whatever: It was a total waste of time and effort.
Which is why I really, REALLY like the idea of the HolidayPhone offering. Their Spanish SIM offering reads like this:
- Spanish PAYG SIM card (image) including €5,56 call balance (lasts for about 1,5 hours talk time to the UK)
- Ready to use. No topping up needed
- Includes 1000 MB FREE flat rate mobile Internet usage
- Includes 3 hours of incoming calls forwarded from the UK (value £37.00).
- You receive calls on your UK mobile number
- Welcome letter with easy as 1-2-3 instructions
- No obligations. No contract. No arbitrary fees.
And the cost? £29.90.
Utterly simple and, if you ask me, a totally fair price to pay. The HolidayPhone team has done all the worrying for you. If 1000MB isn’t enough, you can get that topped up by another 1000MB for £19.90. To be clear, I’m sure this is more than you’d pay if you went to a phone shop in Spain. However I don’t care. I really don’t. I’ve looked like a total arse on far too many occasions doing this when it DOESN’T WORK. So I like the idea of having HolidayPhone guarantee the process.
They’ll also sell you an unlocked 3G data dongle for £34. That sounds like a good deal too. Plus if you’d like a MicroSIM for use in your iPhone, no problem. Just specify that during the order process. You’ll also need to send them a copy of your passport because they need to give this to the local mobile operator.
My SIM is due to arrive shortly. I’m planning on using it in a handset, probably my old Nexus S (as I can use that as a WiFi Hotspot too). I haven’t yet used the service so I can’t comment on the reliability yet — however it certainly looks good. If you’re heading to Barcelona and you don’t yet have a solution, you can still get yours delivered if you order quickly!
It’s not just Spain though — they offer this service for 16 countries at the moment including:
- South Africa
- Sri Lanka
I’ll let you know how I get on!