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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.
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.
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 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:
|Name||Data & Validity||Price|
|XS||(No Data) Valid for 28 days||EUR2.95|
Extra data packs can be added for EUR0.99 which will give you 25MB for 24 hours.
|S||100MB for 28 days||EUR4.95|
|M||1GB for 28 days||EUR9.95|
|L||1.5GB for 28 days||EUR14.95|
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:
|Name||Data & Validity||Price|
|Flat S||500MB for 24 hours||EUR2.95|
|Flat M||750MB for 7 days||EUR9.95|
|Flat L||1GB in for 30 days||EUR14.95|
Deutsche Telekom’s APN: internet.t-mobile, and website:http://www.t-mobile.de
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:
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:
The following data packs can also be added:
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:
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:
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:
The following data add-ons are available. Each valid for 28 days:
|Data Pack Basic||150MB||EUR1.99|
|Data Pack S||1.5GB||EUR9.99|
|Data Pack M||3GB||EUR14.99|
|Data Pack L||5GB||EUR24.99|
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 day||500MB||EUR2.99|
|Valid for 10 days||10 x 500MB||EUR19.99|
|Valid for 1 month||200MB||EUR4.99|
|Valid for 1 month||1GB||EUR14.99|
|Valid for 1 month||5GB||EUR24.99|
|Valid for 1 month||7.5GB||EUR34.99|
O2’s APN: any, website:http://www.o2-freikarte.de
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.”
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.
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