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Worried about the reintroduction of mobile phone data roaming fees in Spain and the EU?



YET another unfortunate casualty of Brexit is free roaming. Despite promising not to, many UK networks have announced that they will reintroduce roaming charges and fair usage limits for EU travelers outside of periodic travel.

What does this mean for expats?

The return of roaming charges will force UK expats living abroad to pay a daily or monthly fee to stay connected to the UK. As well as this, expats will be at risk of getting cut off by their service provider, due to new fair usage policies. Fair usage policies allow networks to suspend your account depending on your mobile usage, for example, if used exclusively to receive calls or exceeding the set usage limit.

Suspension essentially disables your device, unable to make or receive calls.

And let’s face it, no one wants to be stuck on hold for two hours trying to get their account back or to pay surcharge fees.

But no need to panic, Xpatfone, powered by Devyce, is the solution; a modern business phone system with a specific package for expats wanting to rid themselves of data charges.

Phone Mobile Woman Pxhere Creative Commons
Xpatfone offers an affordable solution to mobile roaming charges

Accessible via the Google Play Store, or the App Store, Xpatfone provides an efficient, cost effective and simple resolution to the issues caused by the reintroduction of roaming charges.

Xpatfone customers can feel carefree relying on a once a month payment, with no unexpected charges or fees, to connect them to the UK.

The best thing about Xpatfone is that you can keep your UK number while abroad and continue to use your mobile, without a hitch. Porting your number is simple and can be transferred within 24 hours, with customer support available around the clock to guide you through the process when needed. Once completed, you have the ability to use your phone however you choose, with zero stress, from connecting with family in the UK to accessing SMS verification codes from banks and more.

“I have experienced excellent service with Xpatfone. The app is simple and effective, keeping me in touch with the UK without the need for a SIM card. Their customer service is outstanding, ready to help at every step of the process” Nigel Ayres, CEO of Expat Network

The potential saving Xpatfone can provide is monumental, likely to save you up to £52 a month. Xpatfone offers two plans: the Unlimited plan for £8.99, ideal for expats, and the Brexit Buster for £12.99, for international minutes.

Comparatively, Three provides a ‘data passport’ for £5 a day until the fair usage limit is hit, in which case your account could be suspended or at the risk of surcharges.

Similarly, EE are offering roaming from £2 a day or £10 a month and Vodafone are also charging £2 a day roaming allowance.

Rest assured that you will not lose contact with the UK as a result of the return of roaming charges, by switching to Xpatfone.

To get started and port your number, all you need to do is click the link below to start your Xpatfone plan and get setup within 24 hours.

Port your number today and enter the promo code OLIVEPRESS to get one month completely free.

Business & Finance

HOURLY RATE: Spain fines 1,274 companies a total €1.5 billion over working hours violations




THE Spanish government has raked in more than €1.5 billion in fines on companies who failed to properly record their employees’ working hours.

Since a new law was enacted in 2019, employment inspectors have detected 1,274 infringements. This means each guilty company has been fined an average €1.2 million.

So far this year, 401 businesses have been penalised  for not noting the correct hours their employees work.

Clocks change Spain

The Labour Inspectorate has also ordered 300,000 temporary contracts to be made permanent this year.

The government is warning businesses to get their houses in order, saying inspections have increased by 355% over the past two years in a crackdown for employees’ rights.

And companies that abused the pandemic ERTE scheme have also been targeted. Some 44,393 cases have been initiated, with 35,190 finalised, resulting in 5,832 penalties.


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Business & Finance

Spain’s Seat uses railway to link Barcelona factory with Volkswagen plant in Portugal in effort to cut CO2 emissions




CAR manufacturers are not noted for their green credentials, despite their move towards an electric future.

But now  Spanish company Seat is taking a step forward in its ‘Move to Zerø’ strategy with a new rail service linking its Martorell (Spain) plant with the Volkswagen Autoeuropa factory in Palmela (Portugal).

The new service is operating once a week, and is expected to transport more than 20,000 vehicles per year, which will avoid 2,400 truck journeys and reduce CO2 emissions by 43%.

Until now, vehicles produced in Martorell were transported by train to Salobral (Madrid) and then delivered from there by lorry to the various dealerships. With this new line, the vehicles will arrive directly at the Palmela factory, from where they will be transported by lorry one last time to the distribution depot in Azambuja, 75 km away.

Seat Train Pr Image 3

The return train journey will take vehicles manufactured in Palmela to the Port of Barcelona, from where they will be distributed by road to different regions of Spain, the South of France and by ship to destinations in the Mediterranean.

“The train is an environmentally friendly, cost-effective and efficient means of transport, which is why this new service between the Martorell and Palmela factories helps us make progress in our aim to reduce the carbon footprint of vehicle transport and brings us closer to our goal of logistical sustainability,” said Herbert Steiner, Vice-President for Production and Logistics at Seat.

Seat Train Pr Image

“This project is part of the ‘One Production’ strategy of Volkswagen Group factories on the Iberian Peninsula, which seeks to optimize resources, generate synergies between production centres and boost efficiency.”

The train service, operated by Pecovasa Renfe Mercancías, is made up of 16 wagons, has a maximum length of 500 metres, and will be able to transport up to 184 vehicles per journey. From 2023, it is planned that the train will have two additional carriages and run up to 550 metres in length, enabling around 200 carriages to be transported.

Eliminating 2,400 road journeys will mean a reduction of almost 1,000 tonnes of CO2. By 2024, emission neutrality will be achieved with the arrival of hybrid locomotives that will allow electricity to be used on 100% of the route, according to Seat.


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Business & Finance

A safe haven: As inflation rises and interest rates in Spain stay low, investors turn to new build property




HIGH inflation and low interest rates are pushing investors towards the real estate sector, which is once again becoming a safe haven asset.

This is the main conclusion of a new study carried out by EAE Business School, which shows that the real estate sector is recovering rapidly and has already reached pre-pandemic levels.

This news was confirmed by the fact that the granting of mortgage loans continued to increase during the first half of 2021, with an increase in operations of more than 13% compared to the same period of pre-pandemic 2019, although the average amount loaned on each mortgage fell.

The Finance Bureau has certainly noticed this effect, with us experiencing an increased level of interest in property loans from both investors and private individuals throughout the year. 

The report, prepared by EAE Business School professor Juan Carlos Higueras, shows that the new house market has benefited the most from the surge in sales post-pandemic, with the price gap between new and second-hand properties widening.

During the third and fourth quarters of 2020, after the end of the state of alarm, “a significant price gap” arose between new and second-hand housing, with growth levels of 7.5% (2020 Q3) and 8.2% (2020 Q4) compared to used housing, which showed increases of just 0.8% and 0.4%, respectively.

“This data shows that the price of new housing has recovered and exceeded historical levels,” Higueras said.

New home sales have increased at a faster rate than used homes, rising by more than 40% in the first quarter of 2021 in year-on-year terms. “This situation shows that the housing market is growing solidly despite the pandemic and the sharp downturn in the Spanish economy, possibly due to improved confidence and expectations in the economy,” explained Higueras.

Home sales and purchases have been growing at a good pace, reaching pre-pandemic levels in March 2021.

With data from June 2021, the study concludes that the number of property sales and purchases has increased by 82.5% compared to the same month of June.

Four regions accounted for 64.3% of the total number of sales between January and July 2021. Andalucia was first with 76,422 homes sold (20%), followed by Catalonia with 60,807 homes (15.9%), Valencia with 55,488 units (14.5%) and Madrid with 53,480 transactions (14.0%).


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