If you are thinking of moving to Spain and you are an avid computer/internet/tablet/smart phone/smart TV user – relax, because you will survive here very well. The Spanish are crazy about all these innovations.The language problem in this field is much less of a challenge as Spain has adopted many of the English technical terms.
Buying Your Device
Many British people moving to Spain, (and quite a few who live here), buy their devices in the UK because they assume they will be cheaper than in Spain and of course because of the language problem. The power source does not present a problem because the electrical power system here is very compatible with that of the UK, (you just need to fit a plug adaptor or change to a Spanish plug. I would, however, recommend that, in general, you buy locally, for the following reasons:-
Spain is now a very competitive computer market and the price differential has narrowed to become negligible.
Most of the devices are manufactured by international companies who cater for all types of language, especially English.
Due to the cost of printing comprehensive User Manuals in many different languages, most manufacturers prefer to store their documentation online.
Most software for all types of devices is available in English and online.
Unlike in the early days of personal computers in Spain, there is now a wide range of individuals and companies offering hardware and software support for your device in English, (obviously not to the same extent as in the UK). Ask your friends for recommendations. In any case many international companies award warranties that are effectively country independent.
If you buy your new computer from an English speaking supplier, the software, including the operating system, will almost certainly come in English. Remember finally that many programs have options to choose different languages at installation time. Big electronic stores often will supply your laptop/desktop with the operating system in English, possibly charging a reasonable amount for the service.
So think twice about lugging your ageing desktop computer and printer from the UK!
Buying Printers and Other Devices
If you are moving to Spain and thinking of bringing your printer and/or scanner with you – think again! Take my advice and sell them at the local boot sale. You can buy a brand name photographic quality colour printer/scanner/copier for well under 100 euros here in Spain. Other peripherals such as digital cameras, CD/DVD units and pen drives are all widely available at similar prices to that of the UK. Most of these items come with multi-lingual installation instructions.
Supplies of printer paper in many different colours and sizes are widely available at reasonable prices, as are virgin CDs and DVDs, (normal and re-writable). Brand name ink cartridges are readily available, but very expensive, (aren’t they everywhere – I’m sure manufacturers sell the original printer at cost or below and recover on sales of ink cartridges later!). I buy compatible cartridges from reputable UK Internet suppliers and save a fortune. If you’re really mean get them delivered to a friend or relative in the UK, (thereby saving extra deliver costs), asking the victim to bring them over on their next visit!
Connecting to the Internet
Spain has very much followed the UK model of liberalising the communications supply in recent years, which was hitherto monopolised by Telefonica, (now generally know as Movistar). Thus Broadband suppliers now proliferate, offering internet connections to computers, mobile phones and tablets. Competition is fierce with free national calls, wifi routers for the home network and mobile phone all bundled in. As in the UK, prices get slashed by the month, but there is still a significant gap in favour of the UK prices at the moment. At the moment, (Autumn 2013), Movistar is offering a complete package for about €40 per month, which is probably nearly double the price of the equivalent average UK deal.
Many of the big international names are represented in Spain, including: Orange, Vodafone, BT, Jazztel & of course Movistar.
Contracts run for 18 to 24 months and I would certainly recommend users to shop around before you sign up.
Changing suppliers has been difficult in the past, with Movistar, (who still control the communications infrastructure), doing the best to make change difficult. The situation has improved immensely, with the new provider dealing with the changeover procedure, which normally takes about 2 weeks. Most companies will allow you to keep your old fixed line number.
Email & International Telephoning & Texting
If, before coming to Spain, you have been using one of the popular web based email providers, such as, Google, hotmail, yahoo, your move to Spain should be seamless.
Popular Internet Telephone companies such as, Skype & Voipcheap, are more or less location independent.
This will also apply to popular free or low priced texting services, such as, WhatsApp, TextMe & Line.
Cyber Cafes are becoming more and more popular in Spain. Many of the operators speak English.
As in the UK, more and more public places provide internet connection, mostly free of charge.