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.
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.
- T-Mobile : Magenta Mobil S for 26.90€/month
- Vodafone : Smart M for 24.90€/month
- O2 : o2 Blue All-in M for 26.99€/month
- 1&1: All-Net-Flat Young offer for 14.90€/month
- Base : Base All-in for 25€/ Month
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 :
- Simply : from 12.99€/month (my recommendation)
- o2Freikarte: from 10,99€/month
- Fyve : from 10€/month
- Simfinity : from 14.90€/month
- WhatsApp Sim by Eplus : from 10€/month (most flexible and recommended if you text more than you call)
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
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.