The telephone communications industry is pretty much dominated in Spain by one company - Telefonica (Compañía Telefónica Nacional de España - CTNE) now rebranded as Movistar.
Pretty much all of the telephone technology in Spain is owned and maintained by Telefonica which means that all other providers technology simply sits on top of Telefonica's.
Once a state owned business, the government privatised its interest in Telefonica in 1997 and the road to seeing a telecommunications market filled with healthy competition and better deals for customers has been a long one. Even now this telecomms company can still charge pretty much what it likes. If you live in Spain then you will also know how frustrating it is to see other European countries get super fast internet speeds for next to nothing.
This goes some way to explaining how Telefonica have grown to become one of the biggest telecommunications companies in the world - 3rd biggest in terms of sheer number of clients. People in the UK may not realise but the company O2 also belongs to Telefonica, through an £18 billion takeover in 2005.
Telefonica have not made it easy for new competition to break into the telephones and communications market who have been paying Telefonica virtually all of what their customers pay them. This has not gone unnoticed by the EU however who in 2007 fined them a massive 152 million Euros for antitrust.
Neelie Kroes, the EU competition commissioner, said:
'Telefónica's conduct (over more than five years) harmed Spanish consumers, Spanish businesses and the Spanish economy as a whole, and by extension Europe's economy. The fact is that small businesses and consumers in Spain are paying about 20% more than the EU-15 average for high-speed (ADSL) internet access'
One thing thats worth mentioning is that if you are a foreigner living her in Spain, they will not tell you about the updated offers and you might find that you are paying a lot more than you should be for quite a bit less.
Check the latest offers on the Telefonica in English website:
However, many of the cheap calls to and out of Spain providers now are making some progress with loosening Telefonicas grip on the market. Although the really big savings are corporate and reserved for businesses with high call volume through cheap phone call companies such as MegaCall or Konnekt. In these cases the calls are routed away from Telefonica and through the new call company's servers. In order to do this you must also provide Telefonica with your express permission for the new company to re-route the phone numbers. And be carefull you dont give them the wrong number to switch or you might end up losing your phone lines. The new call provider you select for your business will provide you with further information regarding switching to your international calls provider.
Domestic telephones in Spain
Individuals can get good call rates too . Talk Talk (owned by Carphone warehouse) operates a good service and for a certain monthly comittment all calls between Spain and the UK (or other designated countries) are included in your bill. This is perfect for getting in touch with relatives on a regular basis.