Telecommunications networks in non-central economies. The urban diffusion of telephone in Spain, 1877-1930 - Cities were the natural environment for the spread of telephone services in the early phase of the new technology of vocal communication. The expansion of the telephone in the Spanish cities took place with a relative delay with respect to other European countries. The reasons for this relative delay were as much economic (rent and tariffs) as institutional, mainly the unstable government policy and the regime of concessions. The period between 1877-1930 analyzed here is rich in contrasts since it includes the passage from an overwhelming predominance of local networks, private as well as public, to a regime of virtual monopoly towards the creation of a system unified under a private monopoly with very few exceptions.