Moving in : Madrid

Landline phone in Madrid

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Spanish telephone service is operated by the Compañia Telefónica Nacional de España (CNTE), better known simply as Telefónica, which has recently been privatized (the remaining government stake was sold in 1997). However, although there's now Terra, Teleline, and many other companies that are partially or fully owned by Telefónica.

To have a telephone installed or reconnected, you must usually visit the local Telefónica office. Take along your passport or residence card (residencia), proof of your address such as a recent electricity bill, and a copy of your property deed (escritura) or rental contract.
When you get your telephone installed, expect an installation fee of 150€ (if you're renting and don't have a residence permit you must pay a deposit of around 250 €). If you're taking over a property from the previous occupants, you should arrange for the telephone account to be transferred to your name from the day you take possession - that's free (moving the address of an existing account is 60€).

There are two primary tariffs in Spain: national and international. National tariffs are divided into local/metropolitan calls (metropolitana), calls within your province (provincial) and calls outside your province (nacional/interprovincial). The initial connection fee is 0.03 € for local calls, 0.06 € for provincial calls and 0.10 € for national/interprovincial calls. The length of calls are billed by the "tariff unit" (pasos), at a cost of 0.03 € per unit. There are three tariff (tarifa) periods for domestic calls:

  • Peak (horas punta) hours are from 08:00 to 17:00 hours from Monday to Friday and 08:00 to 14:00 on Saturdays (only Spain within the EU sets the "peak" period all day, i.e. from 08:00 to 17:00 Monday to Friday and on Saturdays).
  • Normal (normal) hours are from 1700 to 22:00, Monday to Friday.
  • Reduced (reducida) hours are from 22:00 to 0800 Monday to Friday, 14:00 to 24:00 on Saturdays and all day on Sundays and national public holidays (calls are charged at around 30 per cent less than "peak" calls).

Telefónica bills you every two months and allows you 20 days to pay your bill (factura). Bills include value added tax (IVA) at 16 per cent.

Itemized bills (factura detallada) are provided listing all numbers called (except for metropolitan calls) with the date and time, duration, number of units and the charge. Bills can be paid in cash at certain banks, via a bank account or in cash at a Telefónica office. Simply present the bill with your payment (you will receive a receipt). You can also have your telephone bill paid by direct debit (transferencia) from a bank account, which is advisable for holiday-home owners as it ensures that you aren't disconnected for non-payment.

Telephone directories (Guías Telefónicas) in Spain are published by province, with each province having its own telephone book and code number. The directories for the province where you reside or have your business are provided free of charge. If you want other directories they are available from provincial Telefónica offices at around 3 € each.

Spain's country code is 34. For international calls, the national company can be expensive. The best way is using a "re-seller" service (a company that buys bandwidth at wholesale prices from the big companies that own the network).

You can also use a phonecard (1st4phonecards - with rates to UK or USA for example).

Phone directory:

Related article: Mobile Phone in Spain

Update 23/11/2009


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