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Germany

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Basics:Edit

There are four network operators in Germany:

  • Deutsche Telekom (formerly known as T-Mobile),
  • Vodafone,
  • e-plus (their shops are often called BASE),
  • o2.

All the offers mentioned below are resellers or MVNOs of one of the 4 network operators above.

Update 3/2014: e-plus and o2 are planning to join forces to become the biggest operator. This is delayed by the pending approval of the monopoly authorities and no deal or schedule has been worked out yet.

2G/3G Coverage:Edit

GSM up to EDGE speed is on 900 and 1800 Mhz, so many US cell phones wont work. 3G is on 2100 Mhz like in the most of Europe. Almost the entire country is covered by 2G. 3G/UMTS up to HSDPA+ speed is available mainly in the populated areas with some blank patches left in the countryside. Deutsche Telekom has still the best coverage nationwide, followed by Vodafone and e-plus/o2 which are still sufficient, if you stick mainly to urban areas.

4G/LTE (updated 3/2014):Edit

4G/LTE has been rolled out in 2013 on three different frequency bands:

  • Deutsche Telekom uses the 800 Mhz band in the countryside and 1800 Mhz in the cities.
  • Vodafone and o2 both are using the 800 Mhz and 2600 Mhz frequencies.
  • e-plus has just started on 1800 Mhz in the big centres only.

While Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone and o2 make their LTE network accessible to contract customers only, e-plus has opened its LTE net to all prepaid customers and all its providers without a surcharge, but is not available for iPhones as they are currently not "partners" of Apple.

Make a network scan, if you want to use it at one particular place and choose the network accordingly.

Availability:Edit

The most convenient way to purchase a SIM card for a tourist is to go to one of the big supermarket, drugstore, petrol station or electronic market chains and look for the providers described below:

  • Deutsche Telekom: congstar, klarmobil
  • Vodafone: Fyve, klarmobil
  • e-plus/BASE: ALDI Talk, Simyo, blau
  • o2: FONIC, LIDL mobile, NetzClub.

Most SIM cards can be used for phone calls and text messages too. Real data SIMs are rare in Germany. The standard rate is 9 cents per minute for a domestic call (to mobile or landline) and 9 cents for a domestic SMS (except ALDI, see below).

To obtain a good deal, data packages must be booked on the SIM card after activation. As weekly rates are hard to find, there is basically the choice of:

  • daily rates for short-time heavy users (from 500 MB to 1 GB per day)
  • monthly rates for other users (from 100 MB to 10 GB per month)

Activation and registration:Edit

Officially, all SIM cards need to be registered to be activated. This is enforced differently. Registration can be made online or by phone. If foreign addresses are not accepted, use your accomodation address instead as your personal data will not be verified. Registration on O2 providers may take some hours to be processed, the other operators are faster with it or wont ask for it at all.

Tethering and VoIP:Edit

Tethering is allowed with all the shown offers below, except the free ad-sponsored SIM of Netzclub. VoIP calls are officially allowed only by O2 and some of its providers. Other operators still ban them in their T&Cs, though not actively block or otherwise prevent them on their networks.

More information:Edit

The following list shows only the most important players on the german market. Many other providers compete for special segments and audiences. The german prepaid-WIKI has a more or less updated extended survey (in german only, use Google Translate): www.prepaid-wiki.de

Fyve Edit

FYVE

Fyve is using the Vodafone network which is quite good in terms of coverage and speed.

Maximum Transfer SpeedEdit

  • depends on data package:
    • Surf-Flatrates L and XL - up to HSDPA+ (7,2 MBit/s),
    • Surf-Flatrate M - up to UMTS (384 KBit/s)

Data Feature PacksEdit

All packages automatically renew if there is a sufficient balance on the account. The flatrates can be cancelled or changed every month online or by calling 22922.

  • Surf-Flatrate M: 150 MB in 30 days for 5 €
  • Surf-Flatrate L:  500 MB in 30 days for 10 €
  • Surf-Flatrate XL: 1 GB in 30 days for 15 €

After using the high speed data volume, speed is reduced to GPRS. The Flatrate M can be upsized by the add-on "SurfON Paket" for another 150 MB and 5 € only by calling 01805 543012. The calling costs are refunded on the Fyve account.

AvailabilityEdit

  • Fyve is an online only operator. (http://www.fyve.de). Online orders are only delivered to german addresses for a 5 € fee.
  • The starter pack costs 9.95 € whether for miniSIM or microSIM, this includes 1 month of the "Viel-Surfer-Paket" (150 MB) plus 5.00 € credit or 1 month of the "Flatrate-Paket"
  • Starter packs are offline available at filling stations (Shell, Esso, Agip, Jet), the drugstore chain Rossmann and at the shops of The Phone House (https://www.phonehouse.de/).
  • Reload: Any Vodafone refill voucher can be used. They are widely available in kiosks, supermarkets or filling stations.

SIM sizesEdit

  • Starterpacks contain a combi mini- and micro-SIM. Nano SIMs are only available online.

TetheringEdit

  • Allowed (at least you are allowed to use an 3G stick)

APN-SettingsEdit

  • APN: web.vodafone.de

More InformationEdit

simyo Edit

Simyo
Frank.ritterAdded by Frank.ritter
Maximum Transfer Speed

2G up to EDGE (220 Kbit/s), 3G up to HSPA+ (42,2 Mbit/s), 4G LTE (70 Mbit/s). Simyo uses the network of german carrier e-plus, which has not the best coverage but very good speeds in the cities.

Default data rateEdit

€0.24 / MB (in 10 kb units)

Data feature packsEdit

Activation or deactivation of the data packs can be done by calling 1155 from Simyo phone for free.

  • 1 GB Internetflat €9.90 - lasts 30 days.
  • 200 MB Internetflat €4.90 - lasts 30 days.
  • 3 GB Internetflat €14.90 - lasts 30 days.
  • The option to purchase more data within the running time of the pack has been discontinued

AvailabilityEdit

simyo.de is an online only operator. The starter packs are available for 9.90 € with 5 € bonus online to be sent to a german address. Offline the starter packs are sold at Aral and Shell petrol stations or the drugstore chain "dm". For topping up, any e-plus voucher widely available can be used.

SIM sizesEdit

Combined mini and micro SIMs as well as nano SIMs are available.

TetheringEdit

Allowed (free).

Technical details
Edit

  • APN: internet.eplus.de
  • User name: simyo
  • Password: simyo
  • more information (in german): www.simyo.de

ALDI TALK (MEDIONmobile)Edit

Logo alditalk index

Maximum Transfer SpeedEdit

2G up to EDGE (220 Kbit/s), 3G up to HSDPA+ (21,6 Mbit/s), 4G LTE (50 Mbit/s). Uses the network of e-plus/BASE giving not the best coverage but very good speeds in the cities.

Default data rateEdit

€0.24 / MB.

Data feature packsEdit

  • Monthly packages (30 days)
    • Unlimited Data Plan S (after 150 MB: GPRS speed): €3.99
    • Unlimited Data Plan M (after 500 MB: GPRS speed): €6.99
    • Unlimited Data Plan L (after 1.5 GB: GPRS speed): €9.99
    • Unlimited Data Plan XL (after 5 GB: GPRS speed): €14.99
Activation: online, by ALDI Talk app or dial 121*004# to activate, 123# to check status of activation, 122# to cancel data pack after the present plan expires. If you do not dial this code, ALDI will automatically try to activate a new data plan after expiration of the present one.
Upsize: The plans S, M and L can be doubled in high speed volume for 3 € for the running time of the package by calling 1155, online or using the ALDI Talk app.
  • Daily Package: 24 hours data plan (after 1 GB, GPRS speed): €1.99
The day flat is activated by using a different APN (see below). Thus, monthly and daily flats can be used simultanously by switching to the appropriate APN.

AvailabilityEdit

Starter packs are exclusively available at any Aldi Store, Germany's leading discount supermarket chain. They are not on display in the shops. You have to ask at the cash register (checkout) for it. SIM Cards are available for €12.99 with €10 balance preloaded. Reloads can be made with ALDI Talk vouchers from ALDI stores or any e-plus vouchers widely available.

SIM sizesEdit

micro SIM are available (for 15.34 €) but not at Aldi checkouts where only normal (mini) size is available.

BillingEdit

ALDI talk charges slightly different call rates than the other providers shown. A domestic call to landlines or mobiles and a domestic SMS is billed with 11 cents [min] (instead of 9 c elsewhere). This doesn't need to be a disadvantage: "Community calls" (meaning Aldi to other Aldi numbers) are charged with 3 cents per min only and all calls are charged from the 2nd minute by the second (60/1) instead of by the minute (60/60) like other providers do.

TetheringEdit

Allowed (free).

EU-Roaming PackageEdit

ALDI offers this addon for cheap data roaming outside of Germany on all EU roaming networks of e-plus. For 120 MB in one week 4.95 € are charged. This package can be booked online or by ALDI Talk app. When expired (by volume or time) it does not automatically renew, but can be booked again. This is the cheapest prepaid roaming option in Germany on the market quite below the EU price cap on data and valid for the non-EU countries of Switzerland and Norway too. For small data volume out of Germany, it can be a valid option. For bigger packages, buy a local SIM card in the respective country instead (see WIKI).

Technical details
Edit

  • APN for monthly packages: internet.eplus.de
  • APN for daily packages: tagesflat.eplus.de
  • User name: eplus
  • Password: gprs
  • more information (in german): www.alditalk.de

FONIC (aka LIDL mobile)Edit

Maximum Transfer SpeedEdit

Fonic
AngerdanAdded by Angerdan

2G up to EDGE (220 Kbit/s), 3G up to HSDPA+ (7,2 Mbit/s). FONIC uses the network of O2 Germany, which is not the best in coverage but gives still good performance in the cities.

Default data rateEdit

€0.24 / MB (in 100 KByte units).

Data feature packsEdit

  • Day Flat = Tagesflat (per calendar day = 0:00h - 23:59h) = 1.99 € (after 500 MB per day, speed drops to 56 Kbit/s). There is a price cap of 25 € per month, so if you use it for 13 days, the remaining days are free. For subscription text START TAGESFLAT to 36 642 (free).
  • Month Flat = FONIC Classic Internet with 500 MB = 9.95 € - lasts 30 days (after 500 MB, speed drops to 56 Kbit/s). For subscription text START HANDYINTERNET to 36 642 (free).

You will receive a confirmation SMS and you need to reply JA to that to confirm. This will be confirmed again, then another SMS that your request is being processed, finallly a confirmation that the option is active along with the end date or a message that you don't have enough credit. The whole process can take some hours on the o2 net. Warning: If you use the internet before getting final confirmation, it will be charged at the standard rate per MB (see above). Staying active, the monthly flat renews automatically if you have sufficient credit and the daily flat will remain your default rate. Text STOP TAGESFLAT or STOP HANDYINTERNET to 36 642 to prevent them from renewing.

AvailabilityEdit

FONIC SIMs are available online for 9.95 € but for registration you need to have a german bank account. Bought offline this is not required. Starter packs are sold at the drugstore chains of Müller, Rossmann and dm, the cash'n'carry stores of real and the petrol stations of Jet. Top up vouchers can be found there and at LIDL (see below). Be aware that the vouchers of FONIC and LIDL are interchangable, but O2 vouchers called Loop or Tchibo vouchers can't be used. FONIC and LIDL cards can be reloaded by bank transfer from abroad too. This may take a few days and is described here (in german): http://www.prepaid-wiki.de/index.php5?title=%C3%9Cberweisung_FONIC

ActivationEdit

The SIM needs to be activated and unlocked before use. First of all you need to register, either over the phone or on the fonic.de website (look for the "Freischalten" link in top right corner). iPhone users should disenable FaceTime to prevent it from sending SMS. It then takes a couple of hours for the activation to take effect. You will receive a welcome SMS from FONIC when this has happened. Then you can use the PIN on the back of the FONIC credit-sized card to unlock the SIM. The unlock wont work until the phone number has been activated.

SIM sizesEdit

SIMs in a starter packs are normally mini size but with perforations to break out the micro-SIM if required. FONIC delivers nano SIMs by request.

TetheringEdit

Allowed (free)

Technical DetailsEdit

APN: pinternet.interkom.de

more information (in german): www.fonic.de

LIDL mobileEdit

Lidl
WolfblnAdded by Wolfbln

FONIC has rebranded LIDL mobile to be sold exclusively at the LIDL discounter supermarkets in Germany. They are not on display but need be asked for at the cash register / checkout desk. Be sure to buy the Classic ("Klassik") line and not the Smart line, as Smarts require a german bank account.

Generally all the FONIC details mentioned above are valid for LIDL too. Here are the major differences:

  • Starter pack costs 9.95 € (sometimes reduced to 4.95 €) with 10 € preloaded.
  • The daily flat is not a calender day, but real 24 hrs for a 500 MB and 1.99 €.
  • The monthly flat comes in three sizes:
    • Smartphone-Internet-Flatrate S with 150 MB in 30 days for 3.95 €
    • Smartphone-Internet-Flatrate with 500 MB in 30 days for 6.95 €.
  • Both of theses monthly packs can be upsized: another 150 MB in the small pack for 1,49 € texting START LIDL SURFUP 150 and the larger pack with another 500 MB for 4.99 € texting START LIDL SURFUP 500 to 54356 respectively.
    • Monatsflatrate with 5 GB in 30 days and max. 500 MB per calendar day, then reduced to 64 kBit/s and not upsizable for 14.99 €.
  • To activate the packages text START TAGESFLAT for the daily flat, START HANDYSURF 150 for 150 MB, START HANDYSURF for 500 MB and START MONATSFLAT for 5 GB to 54356. Be aware that it may takes some hours until the request is processed and you surf on the default rate in the meantime (see FONIC above).
  • To deactivate change START to STOP in the text messages to 54356.
  • more info: www.lidl.de/de/LIDL-MOBILE

NetzClubEdit

Logo
AngerdanAdded by Angerdan

NetzClub is a free ad-sponsored SIM card with a 100 MB high speed volume per month without charge. As a subsidiary of O2, Netzclub uses O2 Germany's network, which has not the best coverage but is still good in performance mainly in the big cities,

Speed:Edit

up to 7,2 Mbit/s. After reaching 100 MB a throttle is activated at 32 kBit/s (half GPRS speed).

Availiability:Edit

Order and registration are only possible online. The SIM card will be sent to a german address free of any charge. The SIM is not sold offline in any stores. So you must have a german postal address to enjoy the offer. Furthermore, you have to be willing to accept some ad mails to the given email account and some advertisment SMS will be sent to your number as well. This can amount to 30 SMS or mails per month but is normally much less. This is how this service is paid for after all. If you don't want junk ads, consider other offers instead!

SIM sizes:Edit

The SIM sent out by mail is a combinated micro- and mini-SIM. Nano-SIMs can't be ordered with a new subscription but only as a replacement SIM for 10 € extra.

Recharge and upsize:Edit

There is no need to have credit to use the free 100 MB data per month. To top up use O2 vouchers called "Loop" from 15 € or Tchibo cashcards from 10 €. To use bank transfer (from 0,01€), see this site (in german): [[1]]

When the 100 MB free data quota is used, Netzclub sends out a SMS offering the "Surf-Pack" giving you 500 MB extra volume per month for 6.95 €. For buying this, you have to have credit and subscribe it by texting START SURFPACK to 22233. This may be a bad deal in the long term: the monthly surfpack overrides the free offer in the future and continues every month as long you have enough credit. To discontinue you have to call costumer service 0176 888 93939 (9c/min) or simply be low on credit.

Tethering:Edit

Tethering and VoIP are not allowed in the T&Cs, but not actively blocked.

APN and more informationEdit

APN: pinternet.interkom.de

more Info (in german):https://www.netzclub.net

blau.de Edit

Die günstige Prepaid SIM-Karte von Ihrem Mobilfunk Discounter - blau
Els76ukAdded by Els76uk
Maximum Transfer Speed
  • 2G up to EDGE (220 Kbit/s), 3G up to HSDPA+ (21,6 Mbit/s), 4G up to LTE (50 Mbit/s)
  • blau uses the network of e-plus/BASE which has not the best coverage nationwide but a very good performance in the big cites

Default data rateEdit

€0.24 / MB (in 10 kb units).

Data feature packsEdit

  • day flat = Tagesflat = 24 hours data use €2.40, max. 1 GB UMTS/HSDPA then reduced to GPRS/EDGE. To activate switch to the special APN (see below).
  • "Internet-Flat"  = lasts 30 days, UMTS/HSDPA will be used up to a specified data-limit, after reaching that limit, there will be a downgarde to GPRS/EDGE. All packages can be subscribed and unsubscribed by calling 1155.
    • Internet-Flat 100 MB € 4,90
    • Internet-Flat 1 GB € 9,90
    • Internet-Flat 3 GB € 14.90
    • Internet-Flat 5 GB € 19.80
    • All monthly flats can be doubled in volume. When the initial traffic is depleted, a SMS is sent out which can be confirmed with JA thus giving extra 100 MB or 1 GB for 3 € and 3 GB or 5 GB for 9 €.

AvailabilityEdit

Blau is an online operator and posts the SIM card to german addresses only, though you can request billing to a credit card, which can be any address (ie, does not have to be german). Starter packs containing a SIM card are also available from a large number of retailers for 9.95 € with 10 € preloaded: at the petrol stations of Aral, the supermarkets of Norma, Kaisers, real and Netto, the electronic market chains Saturn and Media Markt and the drugstore chain Rossmann. There, reload vouchers can be bought too. Only blau vouchers can be used; e-plus or ALDI vouchers wont work.

SIM sizesEdit

Combination Standard/Micro SIM is sent out by default; an option to select a nano SIM (at no extra cost) is presented when ordering via the web-site.

TetheringEdit

Allowed

Technical detailsEdit

APN Settings for monthly flats:

  • APN: internet.eplus.de
  • User name: eplus (also working: blau)
  • Password: gprs (also working: blau)

APN Settings for dayflat / Tagesflat:

  • APN: tagesflat.eplus.de
  • User name: eplus
  • Password: gprs

Thus daily and monthly flats can be used simultaneously, switching APNs.

More informationEdit

in german: www.blau.de

klarmobil Edit

Klarmobil.de logo
AngerdanAdded by Angerdan
klarmobil is a reseller of Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone or O2 network. But every SIM is on one network only and cannot be changed.

Their prepaid "Handy-Spar-Tarif" with the numbers beginning 0151, 0160, 0170, 0171, 0175 are on the network of Deutsche Telekom, the "Handy-Spar-Tarif" with numbers beginning 0152, 0162 and 0174 are on Vodafone network. The "Internet Dayflat" offer is on Vodafone only.

Default data rateEdit

€0.49 / MB (in 100 kb units) for the offer on Vodafone. A "day flat" of 0.95 € for 24 hrs for offers on Deutsche Telekom network. Here the speed will be reduced to GPRS after using 25 MB.

Data feature packsEdit

  • on Vodafone: "Internet-Flat 500": 500 MB in 30 days, then throttled to GPRS Speed for 9.95 €.
  • on Deutsche Telekom: "Internet-Flat 500" see above. Furthermore "Internet-Flat 200" with 200 MB high speed for 7.95 €/month and "Internet-Flat 1000" for 1 GB/Month and 12.95 €. Speed is reduced accordingly.

Alternatively, a starter pack on Vodafone network can be activated as "Internet dayflat". This can not be changed to or from the "Handy-Spar-Tarif". Activation online, by phone or fax only. The "dayflat" has (in contrast to its name) 3 available rates which are only on the Vodafone network:

  • 500 MB in 60 mins for 0.95 €
  • 1 GB in 24 hrs for 2.45 €
  • 3 GB in 30 days for 24.95 €

AvailabilityEdit

Online on: http://www.klarmobil.de to be sent to a german address only. Klarmobil is sold offline at "real" supermarkets, "Müller" drugstores and the two electronic market chains "Saturn" and "Media Markt". If you want to be sure to get the right network with the right package, try to go to Saturn or Media Markt and let them configure it there. In other stores you are left to yourself.

SIM sizesEdit

you have either the choice of a regular SIM card, a micro-SIM or a nano-SIM when ordering online

TetheringEdit

?

APN SettingsEdit

  • APN on Deutsche Telekom network: internet.t-d1.de
  • APN on Vodafone network:  web.vodafone.de
  • APN on Vodafone network with "dayflat": event.vodafone.de
More informationEdit

If you don't use more than 3€ per Month they will charge 1€ per month for "administration"....

congstar Edit

Congstar

Maximum Transfer SpeedEdit

  • up to HSDPA (7,2Mbit/s), congstar uses Deutsche Telekom network which is still the best in terms of speed and coverage

Default Data RateEdit

  • none, you need to buy a data packet

Data Feature PacksEdit

  • congstar Surf Tagesflat: 0,99€ / day (= 0:00-23.59h). You only pay for the days when you use data connection. Maximum of 200 MB per month, then reduced in speed. Activation: send SMS with Start Tagesflat to 22011
  • congstar Surf Flat Option 200: 7,90€ / 30 days - speeds reduced after 200 MB. Activation: send SMS with Start 200MB to 22011
  • congstar Surf Flat Option 500: 9,90€ / 30 days - speeds reduced after 500 MB. Activation: send SMS with Start 500MB to 22011
  • congstar Surf Flat Option 1000: 12,90€ / 30 days - speeds reduced after 1 GB. Activation: send SMS with Start 1GB to 22011
  • congstar Surf Flat Option 3000: 19,90€ / 30 days - speeds reduced after 3 GB. Activation: send SMS with Start 3GB to 22011
  • After depleting the data quota, speeds are reduced to 64 Kbit/s downlink and 16 Kbits/s uplink.
  • For the monthly flats upsize options can be booked even several times per month: 200 MB extra data for the options 200 and 500 and 500 MB extra data for the options 1000 and 3000 for 4,90 € respectively by texting the word "speed" to 7277.
  • All regular packages can be unsubscribed by swapping the word Start with Stop in the SMS.

AvailabilityEdit

  • order online: http://www.congstar.de to be sent to a german address.
  • offline at the shops of Deutsche Telekom, the drugstore chains of Rossmann, dm and Müller, the supermarkets of extra, real, Kaufland, Netto, Penny and many filling stations and kiosks.
  • The starter pack costs 9,99€ with mini/micro or nano SIM and 10 € preloaded. Try to buy a "Prepaid-Karte" and not the "Smart-Tarife" or the "Internet-Tarif" as it gives a bigger choice of options.
  • Cards can be reloaded with vouchers bought in the shops named above or any prepaid voucher of Deutsche Telekom widely available.

SIM sizesEdit

  • mini, micro and nano SIM available (according to website)


TetheringEdit

  • Allowed (at least you are allowed to use an 3G stick)

More InformationEdit

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