by JoseG1 Investigator

Roaming Network Restrictions in Spain

I have recently returned from Spain (Balearics). When I first arrived there, my mobile (PAYG with at data, texts and calls package) automatically connected to the Movistar network. The phone appeared to be registered on that network and everything seemed OK. However, I soon discovered I could not make calls nor connect to the internet because apparently my SIM could not register to the mobile network.


After a while, I discovered that I was able to manually force the mobile to choose the Orange network and the problem was solved. However, having been to parts of Spain where there is no Orage cover, the question is:


are there any roaming restrictions on networks in Spain/ will my phone work when the Orange cover is missing?

by Grand Master
Grand Master

Re: Roaming Network Restrictions in Spain

Hi @JoseG1


Not all the partner networks have 4G access. These networks are not under EE control. EE cannot guarantee service at all times in all locations.


Unfortunately people do assume they can just go abroad and use their device as they can in the UK, but this isn't the case, as not all networks abroad have the same coverage that EE has in the UK.



To contact EE Customer Services dial 150 From your EE mobile or 07953 966 250 from any other phone.

EE standard opening hours are 8am to 9pm weekday, 8am to 8pm on weekends.
by JoseG1 Investigator

Re: Roaming Network Restrictions in Spain

Hi @Northerner


What you say makes a lot of sense. I agree that 4G cover can be patchy across Spain, especially in some of the more rural areas and I would not expect to have unrestricted access to 4G in every location in Spain. However, setting the device to Automatic Network Selection (as directed by EE in Help pages of the website) I would expect the device to select the most appropriate partner network (only from the list of  available partner netwroks).


In this instance the partner network chosen automatically by the device was the Movistar network. This would appear to indicate that the Movistar network was an available partner network. In fact, the signal was strong and all appeared to be OK. Only until I tried to make a call and discovered that, despite the strong singal, I could not make calls, not even to 150 to find out what was wrong and I had no data connection at all (no 4G/ 3G/ nothing).


It was only through departing from the suggested procedure, that I went for Manual Network Selection and manually selected the EE partner network. On doing that, the device connected to the network straight away.


Leaving aside that I had to disregard the recommended procedure for setting up the device for roaming, clearly in this instance there was something not quite right with Movistar partner network. What is not so clear is whether:

  1. This was a temporary problem with the Movistar network and Movistar will continue to be available as an EE partner network throughout Spain, or
  2. The Movistar network is no longer an EE partner network in Spain, in which case the procedure for setting the device for roaming should be amended accordingly


by JoseG1 Investigator

Re: Roaming Network Restrictions in Spain



@Northerner reply makes some good points. Unfortunately, it doesn't clear my original doubt. I am still not sure if as a UK EE mobile customer roaming in Spain, I have unrestricted access to the Movistar network in that country.

EE Community Support Team

Re: Roaming Network Restrictions in Spain

Hi @JoseG1,


I've reached out to our roaming team to get some further information on this for you and they've let me know what they think could be causing this behaviour on your device in Spain.


If you’ve previously travelled to a country and connected to a particular network, your device caches this data, meaning it will attempt to connect to it if you return to the same area. Sometimes your device will need to be restarted or a manual network selection performed to pick up a signal.


If your device is set to Automatic, for Network Selection, when you travel around a country to different areas it will connect you to an available network. Sometimes you may need to reboot if signal was lost completely.


I'll also be sending you a private message to get some further details from you.





by JoseG1 Investigator

Re: Roaming Network Restrictions in Spain

Hi @James_B


Here is an update. I didn't give an input before because I was coming back to Spain and wanted to see what happened when I returned.


I can now confirm that roaming in Spain is restricted to the Orange network. In the place where I am at present (rural NW Spain) there is no Orange signal. My device displays the 'Emergency Calls Only' message. When I search for networks availbale, the Movistar is displayed as available (the same happens with the Vodafone ES network but its signal is much weaker and is not always available). In any case, when I select either one of those networks, I get the same mesage: "Your SIM card does not allow connecting to this network"


There is obviously an issue with roaming outside the Orange network in Spain in general or with my SIM card in particular.


In either case, it leaves me unable to use my mobile where I am staying. I visit Spain regularly and have never encountered this problem in the past, so why now? I wish EE were more honest and open about it. Needless to say that unless this issue is cleared I will have to look for a mobile operator which allows roaming on the Movistar network in Spain.



Can't find what you're looking for?

One of these options may help you find the answers you need.

Let's get started

Join the EE Community to ask, answer, learn and share.