El rey Alfonso XIII y el presidente de Estados Unidos, Calvin Coolidge inauguran el servicio entre estos dos países


Alfonso XIII visits Gran Vía to make an historic phone call: the first one to the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, in order to communicate with the President of the United States of America.

The first time we jumped the pond


Now that quality communications with Portugal, Belgium, England, the Netherlands, Germany and Italy were in place, the long-distance challenge called for a leap to America. On 13 October 1928, King Alfonso XIII and US President Calvin Coolidge inaugurated the service between the two countries. It is the first transatlantic telephone communication that used all the transmission techniques possible at the time: aerial copper wire between Madrid and Zaragoza, using the ordinary frequency of the human voice, to continue to Versailles with high frequency, and from there to Boulogne by land cable and cross the English Channel connecting with London. From Rugby in the UK, the voice was radioed across the Atlantic, received on the coast of Canada and carried by cable to Washington.

Madrid y Norteamérica hablan por teléfono

The payphone arrives, the miracle of instant communication within everyone's reach


In 1928, the installation of prepaid stations begins, with which, according to the Telefónica Magazine, "Any passer-by in the street who suddenly thinks of telephoning a certain person can do so... In general, any emergency that happens to us on the public highway can be resolved by means of a prepaid telephone station". The first of these stations was placed inside a display case in the Viena Park in Madrid's Retiro Park. It would be the first of almost 100,000 booths and public telephones that would populate Spain for a century, being witnesses to history and to sad and happy stories, accomplices and guardians of secrets, but also on many occasions they were the protagonists of those stories.

Teléfono público

First call Madrid - Havana


In addition to establishing communication with the United States, this year also saw the inauguration of the telephone connection with Cuba. With a link even longer than the one needed to reach Washington - to call from Madrid to Havana, almost 10,500 kilometres and 39 repeaters were needed to amplify the voice along the route. In Spain, automation continued. On 16 September 1928, automatic service began to be provided in Barcelona, and before the end of the year, Bilbao, Malaga, Seville and Valencia also had it.



Do you have doubts about what happened?

Ask Aura