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Where to buy the best prepaid SIM card in Germany

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Reduce your roaming bills by using a local SIM.

Germany is one of Europe’s top tourist destinations with a rich culture and deep-rooted history. Although it can be rather expensive to use your phone there, the country has some great SIM card deals that can reduce your bills. You can buy 1GB of data from Germany’s leading telco provider for as little as EUR5 (US$5.40). So, whether you’re planning a short trip, a long stay or a tour around Europe, check out the best SIM card options available on finder.com.

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Prices last updated 16 Aug 2017
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Telco providers in Germany

There are three main phone operators in Germany: Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone and O2. All three operators have been tried and tested by both locals and travellers, and can be trusted, so you won’t go wrong with our picks. Germans call their SIM Cards “SIMs” or “Kartes”, and they can be purchased by using identification/passports and sometimes SIM registration. SIM cards and credit can be purchased from official stores, supermarkets and airports. Top-ups can also be done online through official websites.

About Germany’s telco providers

Germany’s operators offer great network coverage – some of the best in the world. They provide good 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE services. Roaming rates are among the best in Europe, and German providers offer EU roaming at the same rate in all other EU member states. All three operators sell prepaid credit that allows users to take advantage of cheap offers and deals. According to OpenSignal, Germany has great all-over coverage and is extremely reliable. Below, we have broken down each telco provider to highlight exactly what is being offered during your visit to Germany.

Deutsche Telekom

Deutsche Telekom is the largest provider in the country, previously named T-Mobile. It offers customers 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE services. Prices are the highest in the country but look out for data deals as there are often good offers available. There are two prepaid SIM cards: “MagentaMobil Start” for voice, SMS and data, and the “Data Start” SIM card for data only.

Both SIM cards can be purchased for EUR9.95, which comes with EUR10 credit. SIM cards come in standard, nano or micro sizes and can be purchased from official stores, approved resellers and some supermarkets. “Xtra Cash” recharge cards can be purchased from official stores, approved resellers, kiosks, supermarkets, service stations and ticket machines. Top-ups can be purchased from EUR15 upwards, and the SIM is valid for two years after purchase.

The “MagentaMobil Start” SIM card comes in the following options:

XS(No Data) Valid for 28 daysEUR2.95
Extra data packs can be added for EUR0.99 which will give you 25MB for 24 hours.
S100MB for 28 daysEUR4.95
M1GB for 28 daysEUR9.95
L1.5GB for 28 daysEUR14.95

Call 2202 and speak to the operator to book the relevant pack.

The “Data Start” SIM card can be purchased for tablets, modems and routers. The following three options are available on this SIM card:

Flat S500MB for 24 hoursEUR2.95
Flat M750MB for 7 daysEUR9.95
Flat L1GB in for 30 daysEUR14.95

Deutsche Telekom’s APN: internet.t-mobile, and website:http://www.t-mobile.de

Vodafone

Vodafone is the second largest provider in Germany. It offers 2G, 3G, 4G/LTE services. Prepaid SIM cards can be purchased from official stores, approved resellers and some supermarkets. Credit can also be purchased from those same retailers, and online by using your credit card.

The “CallYa” Prepaid SIM card can be picked up for free from official stores, but credit must be purchased to use the card. Top-ups can be purchased in the following denominations:

  • EUR9.95 which gives you EUR10 credit.
  • EUR14.95 will give you EUR15 credit.

Additional credit can be purchased from most retailers throughout Germany, starting at EUR15. Dial *100# to check balance.

The following packages are available, and each is valid for 28 days:

  • CallYa Talk&SMS – Free (credit, plans, data must be added to use)
  • CallYa Special S* – 750MB (+ 100MB) LTE data, 200 min or SMS to all networks: EUR7.99
  • CallYa Smartphone Special – 1GB (+ 100MB) LTE data, 200 mins or SMS to all networks: EUR9.99.
  • CallYa Allnet-Flat – 2GB (+ 100MB) LTE data, unlimited texts and voice to all networks: EUR22.50.

The following data packs can also be added:

150MBEUR2.99
500MBEUR5.99
1GBEUR9.99
2GBEUR19.99
4GBEUR29.99

Text 70888 and chose the relevant pack to activate, or call 22044.

Vodafone also sells the “WebSessions” data-only SIM card. The following packages are available:

WebSessions Basic200MBEUR4.99
WebSessions S1GBEUR14.99
WebSessions M3GBEUR24.99
WebSessions L5GBEUR34.99

Vodafone:

APN for Prepaid SIM cards: web.vodafone.de

APN fordata-only SIM cards: event.vodafone.de

Website:http://www.vodafone.de/

O2

O2 is now the largest provider in the country after merging with E-Plus. O2 offers good 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE services. Prepaid SIM cards can be purchased from official stores, approved resellers, supermarkets and newsagents. The “Freikarte” SIM Cards are given out for free. One of the following packs must be added to activate:

  • O2 Freikarte: Free.
  • O2 Smart: with one of the Smart plans mentioned below: EUR9.99
  • O2 All-in: with one of the All-in plans mentioned below: EUR19.99

Credit can be purchased via top-up vouchers in the following denominations: EUR15, EUR20 or EUR30. Dial *103*<voucher code># to add credit. Dial *101#to check balance and *102# for validity.The standard default data rate is charged at EUR0.99 per day.

The following data packs can be added:

  • O2 Prepaid 9ct: Data at default rate.
  • O2 Prepaid Smart: EUR9.99 for 28 days – 1GB data, 200 minutes/SMS to all networks and unlimited to O2
  • O2 Prepaid All-in: EUR19.99 for 28 days – 1.5GB data, unlimited minutes/SMS

The following data add-ons are available. Each valid for 28 days:

Data Pack S150MBEUR2.99
Data Pack M500MBEUR5.99
Data Pack L1GBEUR9.99
Data Pack XL2GBEUR19.99

O2 also offers a data-only SIM card for EUR9.99 which comes with 500MB valid for 6 months. The following data can also be added to the data-only SIM cards:

Valid for 1 day500MBEUR2.99
Valid for 10 days10 x 500MBEUR19.99
Valid for 1 month200MBEUR4.99
1GBEUR14.99
5GBEUR24.99
7.5GBEUR34.99

O2’s APN: any, website:http://www.o2-freikarte.de

Some top tips from finder.com staff:

  • If you don’t know any German, you may want to download Google Translate onto your phone before you travel. Most people in Germany also speak English.
  • Germans call a SIM card a “SIM” or “Karte”.
  • Ask the retailer to set up the SIM card for you. This will save you a lot of time and trouble, but it’s also helpful to cover anything you might not understand.
  • Make sure you get to the stores early before it gets busy.

TripAdvisor tips for the best SIM cards and where to buy them

While it’s well known for hotels, flights and holiday bookings, TripAdvisor also has many user comments that can help guide you through which SIM cards have been tried and tested in Germany.

Here are some top tips from TripAdvisor users:

For cheap calling and data look for the Lebara Germany SIM card. They have cheap rates for both calling and data.

Just go to any Aldi or Lidl supermarket and buy a SIM card there… no questions and no problems and it is very cheap. You can also reload it via Aldi/Lidl by buying credit over the counter.”

“I’m in Germany at the moment, Vodafone have a prepaid tariff package called CallYa Smartphone Special. EUR9.99 with 1GB & 200 units of minutes or SMS, which can be used in Germany or EU countries.”

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Pros and cons of Germany’s top telco providers

All networks require you to have a SIM-unlocked, GSM-compatible international phone. To double check you have this phone, contact your provider before you leave.

Pros:

  • Good value for money
  • Germany has good coverage
  • Prepaid credit when required
  • No in-store contract needed
  • Could be compatible with your current phone
  • Cheap handsets are sold in stores
  • EU roaming options on all networks

Cons:

  • No devices offered with the SIM card packages
  • Can only be used on SIM-unlocked GSM phones
  • Registration is sometimes needed which can be a hassle

Switch to a cell phone plan with international calling

Name Product Data Minutes Texts Can I bring my own phone? Cell phone plans starting at:
From 2 GB
Unlimited
Unlimited
Yes
$30
From 500 MB
200 minutes
500 texts
Yes
$0
From 1 GB
Unlimited
Unlimited
Yes
$20
From 100 MB
1,500 minutes
Unlimited
Yes
$30

Compare up to 4 providers

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21 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    AnonymousMarch 5, 2019

    Do any of the German prepaid SIM cards allow calling from Germany to the U.S.?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JhezMarch 6, 2019Staff

      Hello,

      Thank you for your comment.

      With the three providers in Germany, Vodafone offers international calling and you can be able to call to U.S. contact numbers. You can visit Vodafone’s website to compare their plans.

      Regards,
      Jhezelyn

  2. Default Gravatar
    LauraJanuary 28, 2019

    I’m in Lauf & Nürnberg for 2 months and want to be able to use maps and other apps that use data. I’m wondering if purchasing a SIM card is my best option

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      johnbasanesJanuary 29, 2019Staff

      Hi Laura,

      Thank you for reaching out to finder.

      Yes a sim is the best option in ensuring you have network coverage for data use in Germany during your visit. You would need to ensure that your phone is unlocked to all networks before doing this. Once at the airport, there are kiosks available for you to purchase a sim card. They can also provide you instructions on how to top-up your phone as well as maximize the load for data usage. Hope this helps!

      Cheers,
      Reggie

  3. Default Gravatar
    SkaNovember 9, 2018

    Good evening,
    very good job done here.
    Actually leaving outside Europe and planning to go to Germany 4 times in the 5 next month, each time for a week.
    I would like to know if there is any prepaid that stay activated even if I seldom use it. I am more interested into date to guide myself through town. My main concerns also that this SIM card would work ( data) in another European country since I am planning to go to Italy in the summer.
    Is the CallYa option fits to my needs ??. Hw low is the card kept activated ??
    Thanks.

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JoshuaNovember 21, 2018Staff

      Hi Ska,

      Thanks for getting in touch with finder. I hope all is well with you. :)

      Though it may vary from one telco to another, generally, a SIM card would automatically be activated after six months of inactive use. Every SIM card would work anywhere as long as there’s cellphone signal. However, it is worth noting that your SIM may work in roaming, which is more expensive compared to using a local SIM card. At the time of this writing, the European Union has taken drastic measures to abolish roaming charges. As this might be the case, you would still need to use your SIM card under their fair use policy.

      Since policies and regulations may change from time to time, it would be a good idea to confirm with someone who is living in Europe or check with your chosen telco directly.

      Regarding CallYa, I’ve tried to look into the Internet and found varying answers. One says that it will get deactivated after six months while others say nine months. Whether CallYa fits your needs or not would depend on your unique situation. We are not permitted to provide specific recommendations. I would advise for you to read our guide and check the promos each telco offers so you would know which one is the best for you.

      I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach us out again.

      Have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Joshua

  4. Default Gravatar
    deepakvraoOctober 2, 2018

    I have an Aldi SIM card. How long will the SIM card be kept active without any usage?

    • Default Gravatar
      joelmarceloOctober 2, 2018

      Hi there,

      Thanks for leaving a question on finder.

      They will only hold your number for 90 days, if your service expired more than 90 days, you will not be able to recharge your service at all. You will need to purchase and activate a new SIM card to use ALDImobile.

      Please send me a message if you need anything else. :)

      Cheers,
      Joel

  5. Default Gravatar
    JoeSeptember 22, 2018

    please note that as for sep 2018 all prepaid sims in Germany has to be activated before first use. always buy the recommended sim cards in a store that will activate the sim for you. you must have passport or id card and and address (and some time a proof for this address) in Germany (hotel is also good). doing it by yourself through the carrier web site is almost impossible since you need to formally identifies yourself with the duetch post formal identification process (video or personal)!

  6. Default Gravatar
    BillAugust 17, 2018

    Hi, I will traveling to Germany, Austria and Switzerland, and I plan to get Vodafone prepaid SIM card at Munich airport. I would like to know whether the Vodafone prepaid SIM card can also be used in Austria and Switzerland for phone calls and 4G data?

    Will there be roaming charges to use Vodafone for 4G data and making phone calls? Thanks.

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      AshAugust 17, 2018Staff

      Hi Bill,

      Thank you for reaching out to finder.

      You may use the Vodafone SIM card that you will purchase in Germany, on your travel/ stay in Austria but not in Switzerland. Meaning, you may use the same Vodafone SIM card in Germany and Austria for the same costs/ rates as both countries are part of the European Union and have an agreement about roaming costs within the member countries. If you are going to use the same SIM card in Switzerland, the roaming costs will be much expensive so it will save you if you will purchase a local SIM card from any of the providers at this page.

      I hope this helps.

      Let us know if you have additional questions that we may assist you with.

      Cheers,
      Ash

    • Default Gravatar
      billcokeAugust 20, 2018

      Thank you for your reply.

  7. Default Gravatar
    AshleyJuly 17, 2018

    I am trying to purchase a 3 UK SIM card to use during my trip to Germany in a month. The company will not ship SIM cards out of the country. Would you be able to tell me if 3 UK SIM cards are sold in the Munich airport?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      nikkiangcoJuly 17, 2018Staff

      Hi Ashley,

      Thanks for getting in touch with finder.

      I’m afraid 3 UK Sim is not sold at the airport. You’d have to order this from the website and perhaps mail it your address in Germany.
      Another thing you can do is shop around for a sim card at Munich airport as almost all telco providers in Germany sell sim cards there.
      Hope this helps!

      Nikki

  8. Default Gravatar
    BeJuly 16, 2018

    Is the Vodafone SIM card can be use in portable WiFi device?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      AshJuly 16, 2018Staff

      Hi Be,

      Thank you for reaching out to finder.

      Yes, you use a Vodafone Mobile Prepaid SIM Card on your Mobile Broadband as long as its been unlocked and can be used with other provider. You will be able to use the Vodafone SIM card as long as it has a data allowance. You may let the local retailer whom you will purchase the SIM card to set it up for you so you can use it immediately.

      I hope this helps.

      Let us know if there is anything else that I may assist you with.

      Cheers,
      Ash

    • Default Gravatar
      BeJuly 17, 2018

      Thank you so much for the info

  9. Default Gravatar
    AsifApril 8, 2018

    I want to use Vodafone prepaid sim in schengen states. I want to purchase it from Frankfurt. Can you please guide me the place where from I can purchase the sim which has the roaming facilities.

    • Default Gravatar
      joelmarceloApril 8, 2018

      Hi Asif,

      Thanks for leaving a question on finder.

      You can purchase a Vodafone sim in Terminal 1 of Frankfurt Airport as soon as you arrive. You can also ask the seller to activate the sim card for you since it usually requires a computer and knowledge of the local language.

      Cheers,
      Joel

  10. Default Gravatar
    AndrewNovember 2, 2017

    If I purchase any one of this German Pre-Paid SIM Card, can I also use it in The Netherlands with I cross the border?

    • Default Gravatar
      ArnoldNovember 3, 2017

      Hi Andrew,

      Thanks for your inquiry

      If you want to use a single sim card for Germany and The Netherlands, I would suggest checking out prepaid sim cards in the European Union. Please click here to be navigated to that page.

      Hope this information helps

      Cheers,
      Arnold

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