How to dial a number
How to dial a phone number in Germany.
I review a selection of mobile phone data, flat rates and prepaid plans from Smartmobil, Telekom, Vodafone, Lebara and fraenk.
Short overview before getting into details: I recommend *Smartmobil or *fraenk if you need an affordable sim that includes mobile data. I personally use Smartmobil in Berlin and for traveling in Europe and never had any issues. It just works.
*Telekom plans are more expensive but offer more data and better coverage.
Costs for mobile phone plans are split among these lines in Germany:
I do NOT recommend buying a combined package of mobile phone and plan. The phone will be tied to your provider for a given time and in the end, it is usually more expensive than signing up for a mobile plan without a phone and buying a smartphone separately.
All these costs are usually paid each month or prepaid. Prepaid means you transfer money to your phone card and it stops working once all the money is used up. Prepaid is a good SIM card option for students as this is the fastest and easiest way to get a German phone number. *O2 is a popular prepaid provider.
Mobile phone contracts in Germany charge monthly and withdraw money directly from your bank account. You need a German bank account for this kind of contract.
You need to identify yourself with official documents to buy a German SIM card. These are the papers you need:
Besides the costs, you need to check for:
All prices and other data checked 27. December 2023. Prices are not guaranteed. Please check the providers' websites for prices.
|Type of contract
|Starting at 39.- EUR / month. Free calls and SMS to all German networks
|24 months contract duration
|300 MB download speed
|++ Telekom network
|Starting at 24.- EUR / month. Free calls to all German networks
|24 months contract duration
|5 GB. Unused data can be carried over into the next month.
|500 MB download speed. Unlimited data plan available for 80.- EUR / month
|+ Vodafone network
|Starting at 10.- EUR / month. Free calls and SMS to all German networks, roaming for Switzerland included
|Can be cancelled monthly
|22 MB download speed
|++ Telekom network
|Starting at 7.- EUR / month. Free calls and SMS to all German networks
|Can be canceled anytime but the 24 months option saves you 30.-
|50 MB download speed
|+/- O2 network
|Starting at 10.- EUR / month plus a one-time fee of 50.- EUR. Free calls and SMS to all German networks
|225 MB download speed
|+/- O2 network
Freefunk is the only provider with unlimited data usage. The costs are 1.- Euro per day and you can cancel anytime source. However, there are reports that Freefunk terminates contracts with users with heavy bandwidth usage source.
*1&1 DSL plans combine internet at home and 2 SIM cards with a 500MB internet connection and an SMS/call flat rate in one contract.
I highly recommend NOT going to a shop unless you have issues with address verification as, in my experience, you might get talked into a less favorable contract.
I use the *Verivox website to compare plans. The advantages are:
Follow these steps to get the best mobile phone contract in Germany:
The German phone network is notoriously bad outside urban areas in my opinion. I live in Berlin and it works fine here, including most of the time on the U-Bahn (metro). Once I leave Berlin for more remote parts of Germany the connection often just stops working or the data connection becomes very slow. *Telekom is your best option if you need to stay connected outside of urban areas.
Navigating using Google maps on highways is usually never an issue. Make sure you use the map download option once you plan to drive to remote areas. Your phone connection can also be very spotty or not exist at all when using the train in Germany source.
You can easily compare mobile providers and their networks by checking the Netz label next to the provider name on *Verivox if connectivity is important for you.
Mobile phone data and call prices can become very expensive if you use your mobile phone plan in a country outside the EU. Please note that Switzerland is not part of the EU so you might want to disable data usage when visiting Switzerland, and also when using Google maps to drive through, as this can become very costly!
I am using *Smartmobil and experienced that the phone connection would just stop working in another EU country depending on the network. Buying a local SIM card might be the most reliable option when traveling abroad with your German SIM card.
Decide whether a prepaid or running contract is best for you. Use *Verivox to find the best offer or go to a local shop and bring ID and passport and anything which can verify your address in case that doesn't work for you.
An overview of the different types of work visas in Germany. A starter guide for everybody who wants to work in Germany.
What is the procedure when visiting a doctor or a hospital in Germany? How long do I have to wait for appointments? What is the quality of the treatment? What are the cos...
A honest review of Fyrst, Holvi, Kontist, Finom and Wise.
The best German bank accounts in 2024 for expats. A honest review of N26, DKB, 1822direkt, bunq, ING-DiBa and many more.
The German Blue Card visa is an option for a permanent residence permit if you are looking to work in mathematics, IT, natural sciences, engineering or human medicine or ...
An independent 2024 review of the best German public and private health insurance plans for singles, couples and families including expat health insurance for visa applic...
Public vs private health insurance in Germany for foreigners. Your options and why cheap plans might turn out to be more expensive in the end.
What to pay attention for when applying for private health insurance in Germany.
A guide to getting a German work visa for employees. This visa allows you to work and live in Germany.
Get your money back if you have to cancel your trip because of Corona.
This guide walks you through the all the necessary steps to remotely find a job in Germany, including an overview of the most important job search engines and common appl...
Freelance artists or publishers in Germany are entitled to cheaper healthcare plans via the Künstlersozialkasse (KSK). A step by step guide.
A review of the most useful health apps in Germany.
A step by step guide to get a visa to freelance in Germany.
You can't do all the work at home anymore and need help? Follow this step by step guide to get help covered by your German health insurance.
A step by step guide to find a doctor which speaks your language in Germany based on your ZIP code.
A step by step guide to get your money back if an airline cancelled a flight but does not refund the money.
A honest review of German internet providers and how the pick the best one for your location (and save money).
A step by step guide to register an address in Germany. This is called Anmeldung an necessary to get a tax id, open a bank account or to sign up for health insurance.
The essentials to run a business, consultancy or freelance in Germany: register, get a tax number, healthcare, invoicing.
All about the German student visa, the application process and required documents.
A guide to find the best electricity company in Germany, including comparison websites, and companies with English support.
Our guide shows you the necessary steps to open a bank account as a foreigner in Germany.
An introduction into the German tax system for employees.
83% of German households have a private liability insurance. Get protection for as little as 43.- Euro per year. A review for expats including dog liability.
Find an English speaking tax consultant close to your address.
The fastest way to do your taxes in Germany without speaking German. A review of Wiso, Smartsteuer, Wundertax, Sorted.
Introduction into taxes in Germany for consultants, freelancers and other self-employed. This article gives you an overview of the most important types of taxes.
A bureaucratic nightmare with a happy end.
A checklist of steps to do after you found a flat: registration, electricity and internet providers, moving services, useful insurances and warnings of possible scams.