Your mobile phone plan in Germany

While dancing at a super hip party, you met this super cute guy (or girl) and it clicked between the two of you.  However, you didn’t have any mobile phone plan in Germany and you couldn’t give your local number to stay in touch: bummer! You can’t even call home yet to tell all about your new adventures. Here is a little overview to get started.

mobile phone plan germany

German mobile phone plan : Prepaid or contract?

Very soon you will have to make a choice: do  you want to choose a prepaid plan or a contract.  If you are to stay for only a few months here, it might be wise to choose a prepaid one. It surely brings less perks but after all, all you really need is a mobile phone plan for Germany with which you can be reached.  Prepaid brings the basics like a phone number, calls and texts billed per min or per text.
On the other hand, if you staying for more than a year and you need mobile internet as well, you’d better go for a normal contract. If you are staying even longer, you could even get a new phone with that.

In all cases, in Germany, SIM cards are sold separately from the phone, so be sure to have your phone “unlocked” before you come here. Otherwise, you won’t be able to use it with a German mobile phone plan.

Mobile phone Germany prepaid plans overview:

Most of the SIM cards can be obtained in supermarkets, or local stores for around 10€. They come with no minimum costs and no minimum commitment. Most of them bill 9 cent per SMS and per minute.

  • Aldi Talk (by Eplus): to be purchased at Aldi only
  • O.Tel.O (Vodafone): to be purchased at  Media Markt, Saturn, Euronics
  • Congstar Prepaid (by Deutsche Telekom):  to be purchased in T-Stores , Kaufland,  Real and Netto
  • Lidl Mobile (Lidl): to be purchased at Lidl only
  • Blau (Eplus):  to be purchased at Aral,  Netto, Real, Rossmann
  • Edeka Mobile (by Vodafone): to be purchased at Edeka only
  • Tchibo Mobile (by O2): to be purchased at Tchibo only

 Have a look at tip 1 to compare all those plans.

Please be aware for tourists, temporary visitors; a law from 2016 is now making it trickier for you to consider this option. It use to be enough to show your passport to get a sim card and prepaid plan but not anymore. You now need to provide a German address, with the means to prove that you indeed live there, typically via a “Meldebescheinigung”. That makes it quite impossible for most people to provide this. Bye bye the practical option!

A way around this problem could be to get a prepaid plan in another more lenient EU country if you can (see here which ones), and use your pre-paid plan while being in Germany.  This is possible to do because roaming charges between EU members have now be removed altogether.

Mobile phone Germany contract overview:

If you were good enough to go through your anmeldung and open a bank account before, you are then able to sign for a contract at one of the following German mobile phone contract providers. I have selected what I think is the fairest plan but feel to explore.

Those providers often provide a 1 or 2 year contract so be careful when you make up your mind. You might get stuck in a unwanted contract.  If you are unsure about what to pick, have a look at tip 1 to compare .

What if I only want a SIM card?

It is possible to take to SIM card only contracts in Germany. That is most suitable when you already have a phone and you just want the service (although not prepaid). All major providers do offer SIM only contracts but some are more specialized and can offer interesting deals too. It’s often a better value for the money and easier to cancel. Consider these ones :

Please note that if you order and activate your sim card online, you will need to go through an identification process with a Meldebescheinigung and your passport before you can use it. Each provider has different ways but most of them can do that via connecting you to a special service dedicated to that via webcam, or via a post office.

What if i’m only staying temporarily in Germany?

In case you are only visiting the country for a few weeks, your needs are probably a little different as far as German mobile phone plans go. Although you can still go with prepaid options listed above, you might also consider Lycamobile which has the following advantages:

  • You can order your SIM card for free and have it sent wherever you want
  • No contracts attached
  • Customer service in many different languages
  • Good rates for national calls and data plans
  • International bundles so you can call back home for very cheap

Have a good flirt you <3

mobile phone plan germany
Source: giphy.com

Tip 1: You might want to have a look at Preis24 for good deals. What this website is that they buy phones and mobile phone plans in bulk to all those providers to get a better price for you. It’s also a nice way to compare plans between providers. You can either choose a contract + phone bundle or a contract alone. They even have offers for pre-paid plans. DeinHandy is also a good alternative where you can also compare plans.

Tip 2: As a foreigner, it might not be possible to also buy a phone from on those providers. If you wish to buy a phone anyway, what you can do is to ask for a friend to subscribe to the contract while your bank details are provided to actually pay for it. This way, your friend with a hopefully clean SCHUFA score, will be allowed the contract. Et voila ! You have a phone. 🙂

You can also buy a second-hand phone for cheap from AsGoodAsNew.com or Rebuy.de which sell recent phones at really good rates, with a 30-months warranty on top. They are cheaper because they had minor defects and needed repair, but still works perfectly. Usually expect at least 30% rebate.

Tip 3: For all our friends coming from the US out there : If you were wondering about 4G bands, your mobile phone plan in Germany and compatibility issues, don’t worry about it. Europe has the same standards across all countries so no provider is really making a selling point with this. They are all using the same frequencies. Some offer the choice between “E-Netz” & “D-Netz” quality in their offers. D-Netz is the older spectrum of frequencies that usually reach further than the E-Netz while E-Netz has the advantage of being able to support a lot more calls at the same time on a given area. Prefer D-Netz if you are travelling a lot or living at the countryside, prefer E-Netz if you live in crowded areas.

125 Comments

  • Reply Denise 18/09/2020 at 22:18

    Hi,
    I am an international student in Germany. I will stay 2 years but I have 7 months visa for now. I have home adress and N26 bank account with +4000 Euros. Can I get contract phone with these. I am only concern with my 7 months visa.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 21/09/2020 at 09:20

      Hey Denise. Yes, you should not run into any issues, as long as you only buy a sim card and not a phone with the contract.

  • Reply Piotr Obrebski 05/03/2020 at 12:11

    Under which operator is netto mobile?
    Thank you

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 09/03/2020 at 21:20

      Hey Piotr. o2.

  • Reply Louis 11/02/2020 at 12:41

    Hi Bastien, thanks for your helpfull information. I live in Switzerland, close to the german boarder, usually we made all purchases in Germany becouse are cheaper than here, so the same for internet purchases. In germany, for online purchases, are used the DHL services for delivery packages, very efficient, they also have DHL packstation and here comes my question: i would like to use that packstation, but on DHL instruction, they requared a german mobile number to make the registration and use them. So at this point how can i get a german mobile number just to use the packstation living in Switzerland?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 12/02/2020 at 09:51

      Hey Louis. Looks like that yes. Maybe there are rerouting services you can use for texts/calls to be redirected to your swiss number?

      • Reply Louis 14/02/2020 at 19:24

        i’m goin to ask about that, but i really don’t understad why i can’t use DHL lockers??, Amazon has a very smart rules about it, you ca use A. lockers wherever you are …simple like that.

        Bastien thanks again for your support

  • Reply Pamela 11/02/2020 at 12:14

    This. Is. Not. Working. At. All. Everything is requiring a full passport and proof of residence. So what, if you’re stuck in Germany you’re just screwed and might as well kill yourself. Not that anyone will even FIND OUT because your Canadian phone won’t work because “no signal” here in Germany every place you go? So you bring something that works on wi=fi calling. The wi-fi access in Berlin is another matter for Amnesty International.

  • Reply Jaffa 05/01/2020 at 12:42

    Is it possible to buy a prepaid card while i am still in the UK ?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 06/01/2020 at 14:31

      Hey Jaffa. You need to show a local address in order to buy one.

      • Reply Pamela 11/02/2020 at 12:16

        No you need to PROVE it. Not just show a bill or a bank statement (all of those things have forever worked in the UK). I’ve read some place that if you do the, “have your bank back at home change the address on. your statement to your local address” and use THAT, the phone company MAY let you have the SIM card but upon “verification” they will then cancel the account.

  • Reply sdimitrije 04/12/2019 at 21:23

    NEVER GO FOR MOBILCOM DEBITEL

    Only bad experiences that border with **criminal**.

    They speak English when they want to sell you something. The most interesting story:

    My contract was about to end. I get a call from one of them, and they ask me about whether I want to extend my contract. I explicitly said NO, I do not want to, as I am not going to remain in Germany for much longer and I’m not interested. The same day I get a notification that my contract has been extended (!). Guess what – for any inquiries I had to call a number that is different from a regular call center. So I do, and there nobody wants to speak English all of a sudden (even though previously I was told that they do have people responsible for this kind of communication). One of my friends called and finally we sorted the issue, where he said that the contract will be cancelled.

    It was not. They are now charging me ludicrous amount of money. They called me again however when they hear I speak English, they just hang up without saying ANYTHING. This is just horrible and unacceptable.

  • Reply Jakub Hort 03/12/2019 at 09:07

    Hello Bastien,

    do you know what is the correct way of dealing with tarif when I am leaving Germany? I have a contract until the end of next year and with abmeldung I know that I can terminate it right now. But the price is pretty good and I would like to keep it. Is that possible? Or will the provider find out after few months that I am out of germany and make me pay some fees or end the contract?

    Thanks a lot!
    Jakub

  • Reply Samantha Decker 03/09/2019 at 01:55

    I’m sorry but this is all utter bullshit.

    I walked into a vodaphone this week and got a prepaid card with my passport and an address– no formal proof of address required. This article had me scared to even try to get one, but frankly it was EXACTLY the same as in Spain or the UK. Do some research before you tell people what they can’t do. You are steering a lot of people the wrong way.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 08/09/2019 at 15:38

      Hey Samantha. Thanks for the feedback. Good that it worked for you. I am not reporting what is happening, but rather what the law says should happen. It’s up to the seller to enforce this law so that might mean you just need to try your luck.

    • Reply Tesudo Yamasaki 20/12/2019 at 17:20

      Samantha:

      At a time when my passport still showed my non-German address, I have been asked to bring proof of address in Germany for identification. So I am kind of glad that it worked for you.

      I have to say, though, the changes in legislation (I think it’s EU-wide) regarding SIM card registration has been getting a lot tougher. I have been turned away from multiple outlet because they needed either a German ID or German passport.

    • Reply Tesudo Yamasaki 20/12/2019 at 18:09

      Back in the days when my passport still showed my non-German passport, I have been asked to show other proofs of my address (paystub, or utility bill, for instance) in order to get my SIM card registered.

      However, for reasons unknown, I have been turned away from outlets who offered SIM registration (aka Postident) service because they claimed a German (ID) Personalausweis or a German passport are required to complete the process. If I try to do this on-line, they will automatically default me to the Postident option, starting from square one. This has never happened to me before until now.

  • Reply Rahul Desai 30/08/2019 at 15:45

    Hi, thanks for the info! I’ll be moving to Germany by 17th September. I wanted to know, does Germany have something like 2 year contracts that also give you a handset as part of the plan? Haven’t been able to find such plans with any provider

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 02/09/2019 at 09:40

      Hey Rahul. Yes, that’s something you can easily find, although it might require a payment upfront.

      • Reply Sneha 15/10/2019 at 05:03

        Hello. Thanks for the information but where can I find these deals along with the handset. Couldn’t find any website or link which has combo deals of handset with sim and call plan. Pls suggest

        • Reply Fred 23/11/2019 at 09:41

          Note that all my hardware from Deinhandy came unlocked so I was able to sell one of the S9+ and both of the tablets immediately at a price which basically covered the cost of the enhanced tariff over the 2 years. There are some very good deals to be had in Germany but be sure check the website ratings for the company making the offers and their terms of cancellation. There are a lot of companies to avoid and huge holes to fall down for the unwary so do your homework first.

  • Reply Honeybuns 29/05/2019 at 02:31

    Hello thank you for the helpful info, I need your help with a question
    I was going to buy a used phone from Germany, If the phone is Sim-unlocked but still under contract, what would happen? cause I don’t want to get scammed
    Can the company block the phone with IMEI number?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 01/06/2019 at 14:45

      Hey there. I’m not sure about the sense of your question. What kind of contract would that be?

      • Reply Fred 23/11/2019 at 08:49

        Look in Mydealz for the best offers as found by other people. Deinhandy have some good ones but Black Friday is the best day for such deals. Saturn and MediaMarkt can be good too. Start looking early as many go very quickly. Last year I got 2 x S9+ phones plus 2 Android E1 tablet for a 46 Euro per month tariff. That came with 5gb of monthly data on the Vodafone Smart L Plus tariff which on its own is 36 Euro. So effectively I got all the hardware for 240 Euro total over the 2 years. Be warned that these contract auto renew at a higher tariff after the 24 month period if you don’t cancel . This has to be done at least 3 months before the end of the contract or it will run for another 2 year.

    1 2 3 4

    Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.