Living & Working in Spain: Internet/Banking/Etc


Internet (non-mobile)

There are three large internet providers in Spain. Movistar, Vodafone and Orange. Three regional medium-sized providers (R, Telecable and Euskaltel) and a myriad of smaller companies, most resellers, although there are small companies with WIMAX and some with fiber, but all with very limited coverage, mostly for a town or something like that.

These are the results of a survey by the OCU (Organization of consumers and users) in 2015 on Internet providers.

R is a local HFC (Coaxial cable) provider. but aviable only in Galicia. Ono has the same technology, but Vodafone bought the company, so the better scenario for their future is to destroy their customer care service. The Vodafone way.

Pepephone is a Vodafone reseller instead. It has a little team and they don't try to make your life miserable. Every price is clear, competent customer care, and probably the cheapest option. It's my option, despite I'm working for Movistar.

Because of using the Vodafone's network, you have to be careful. The best thing is to try, because you are free to go whenever you want, with no fees or extra pay. Their billing is simple, so It works well.

I have no experience with Telecable or Euskaltel, but they also use HFC as technology, so I assume that,  at least, their network is acceptable. It's not affected by external factors as a DSL connection, where a myriad of factors can turn your connection down, slow, etc.

Regarding Movistar, Jazztel, Vodafone and Orange, they are actually the big ones, and an internal mess. Don't expect them to work well. Movistar is the branch I work for. it's the typical large and old company where you depend totally on luck. In some places everything works fine, in some others is a nightmare.

The Jazztel brand is owned by Orange, with the worst billing system that I know, with only Vodafone trying to win that prize. Anyway the Vodafone's customer service is a trap for fools, a non-stop Catch22 loophole where you don't want to be in. That's why Pepephone is an option. They use Movistar's technicians, over Vodafone's network with their own customer service.

If you rent or buy a house in the countryside, or there's poor ADSL coverage, no fiber or something like that, there's SURE a little provider better than any company listed above. Unfortunately I can't review them all, so you have to do your own research. They probably will be using WIMAX or some kind of wireless technology, and usually expensive (40-70€/mo range), but better than 1Mbps crappy DSL.

My personal advice, if you have to choose, follow this order: R, Pepephone, [Euskaltel-Telecable], Jazztel, Movistar, Orange, Vodafone.


Internet (mobile)

Forget Vodafone, Movistar and Orange. It makes no sense to sign with them. Go for Pepephone (Movistar network), Simyo (Orange network)  [Now owned by Orange] / Masmóvil (Orange network) or maybe Lowi (Vodafone's spin-off, so be aware). Lower prices, same network, and usually better customer care. There's a huge list of resellers here.

If you are in poor coverage areas, buy first a prepaid card from one reseller from each network and try them before signing anything. For prices you neet to do your own research, because there's a prices war going on. This blog is a good source.


Online Banks

I won't tell you about millions of options, just a few. In my opinion, the best account for daily operations is OpenBank. Probably the cheapest bank account in Spain (free of most charges) and free withdrawal in Banco Santader's ATMs, which is the owner of OpenBank.

Other possible option may be ING, not as cheap, because they have more fees, but more familiar to foreigners.

Banks with offices

Yes, OpenBank is cool, but Santander is not. I won't go into a long explanation, just trust me. ING has not many offices but agreements with other banks over ATMs, such as Banco Popular, Bankia and Bankinter.

Other possible option may be BBVA, but be aware of their old style of management, so don't be suprised for hidden fees and that kind of stuff.

Electricity / Gas

The whole sector is a Scam, so they really make it complicated. Simplifying, there is a fixed cost for the amount of energy that you line is capable of, and a variable cost depending on your consumption, and the only real way to save money is through contracting less capacity. Of course you can save by consuming less energy, but its not even close.
There's another factor to take into consideration. Transparency, or how much is your company contractor willing to scam you. I had to study this sector once, and in conclusion:
There are more companies to choose but most of them are shady, more expensive or any other item that would require a long explanation, and I bet that you are not here for that.
If you find people talking about PepeEnergy, they are cool, but they require you to have a mobile line with them. So, really, those two are the best options for you.

Other Services

If you think that I forgot something, please, ask me on reddit.