How to Use Mobile Broadband in Spain

Written by joshua smyth
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How to Use Mobile Broadband in Spain
Mobile broadband antennas look like USB keys. (usb dongle image by Madrider from

Mobile broadband systems use a small USB antenna, called a dongle, to access the Internet using the mobile phone network. Since mobile phone towers have much stronger signals than wireless hot spots, the effective area in which a user can access the Internet with mobile broadband is much greater. Using a mobile broadband dongle to get online while visiting Spain is possible, but may be very expensive.

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Things you need

  • Mobile broadband dongle
  • Laptop

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  1. 1

    Check what network standard your mobile broadband provider uses. European networks all use GSM, while American cell phone providers are divided between GSM and CDMA. A CDMA dongle will not function on European networks. In the U.S., AT&T and T-Mobile are GSM networks, while Sprint, Verizon and most smaller providers use CDMA.

  2. 2

    Ask your data provider whether it offers international roaming, and at what rates. Data roaming rates are often exorbitant. For example, as of November 2010, AT&T charged 1.95 cents per KB of data; this translates to £12.60 per MB. At these rates, even a single PDF document or web page could cost over £65, while watching a streaming movie could cost as much as £6,500.

  3. 3

    Plug in your mobile dongle into your laptop while in Spain and browse normally. Charges will appear on your monthly bill.

  1. 1

    Visit a mobile telephone store when you arrive in Spain. The major local providers of mobile broadband are Telefonica, DSL Spain, Avonline and Direct Telecom.

  2. 2

    Purchase a dongle on a pay-as-you-go basis. If you do not live in Spain, it may not be possible to sign up for a mobile broadband contract. Most providers offer pay-as-you-go packages, albeit at more expensive rates. You will need to buy the dongle outright and then purchase a fixed amount of data gigabytes, which you can top up at mobile phone stores at any time.

  3. 3

    Plug your new dongle into a USB port on your laptop and install any software that comes with it. Most software packages should have an English option.

  4. 4

    Open your Internet browser and surf normally.

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