Buying A SIM Card In Germany
Germany is a country that has played a big role in part of Europe and the world’s history. When you are getting ready to travel and you’re all packed up, you may not be wary that a small thing would inflict heavy costs on your phone if you are not wise.
Part of integration with the local community as a foreigner is the purchase of local SIM cards so your expenses will be just like the locals.
As mentioned in my post buying a sim card in the USA, it is important to make efficient use of your smartphone abroad. I suggest that you buy a sim card in Germany to avoid those hefty charges that your regular provider will hit you with.
I have put together this research to enrich you with the whole concept SIM cards, what to look for and what to expect.
What are the requirements of owning a SIM card in Germany?
In July 2017 a policy was enforced in Germany regarding the use of photo Identification and addresses to purchase SIM cards. However, for tourists, the addresses of the hotels you stay in apply in this case. The point of purchase will determine your hotel’s addressed and they can use Google to determine it.
Who are the Mobile Internet Service providers in Germany?
Germany’s population of 80 million is monopolized by a few big providers of mobile internet. Standard European mobile internet companies are available in Germany. These include:
There are factors you should seriously take into account when buying SIM cards both when in Germany and anywhere else. They are:
- 4G connectivity
The three SIM card providers listed above have different coverage range. Germany’s 4G coverage maps show that T-Mobile and Vodafone have a better coverage range as compared to O2.
However, the assessment from a lot of countries concludes that mobile internet companies with smaller 4G networks offer better deals on prepaid SIM cards.
T-Mobile offers its prepaid data SIM card in three packages. They are:
- €10 Data Package
You are awarded free calls and texts to other T-Mobile numbers in Germany. You receive a data bundle of 1GB accessible throughout Europe. These services are charged €10 and they are valid for 30 days.
- €15 Data Package
For €15, you have free calls and texts on the same network. However, there is an addition of 100 free minutes to call any network across Europe.
The €15 data package is an upgrade from the €10 package in terms of data. You are allowed browsing of up to 1.5 GB across Europe.
This package can sustain you throughout your tourism trip as it covers 30 days.
- €25 Data package
All services at this rate are viable anywhere in Europe. All calls and texts across Europe are free across at this rate. What’s more, you get 1.5GB data bundle which you can still access from anywhere in all Europe.
- They have excellent coverage in rural areas of Germany.
- Telekom offers the best coverage in the country.
- They have pricey packages.
Vodafone has just two data plans for SIM cards that are worthwhile for tourists. These Plans include:
- €10 Data Package
There are free calls and texts to get in touch with other Vodafone subscribers in Germany.
200 minutes or texts are awarded to be able to contact numbers from other service providers within Germany.
You get a data bundle of 1.5 GB that you can use from anywhere in Europe.
- €22.50 Data Package
You can call or text other Vodafone users in Germany for free. This is the package for data guzzlers. The data bundle amounts up to 3GB and it can be cashed in throughout Europe.
- It has an overall average in performance in cost, coverage, and speed.
- Its packages are flexible to cover various price levels.
- Vodafone has an inconsistent rural coverage.
This is the most limited of the mobile internet service providers. They have only one package to offer. You can attribute this to a smaller 4G coverage and network. However, the data package will be cheaper due to the small network.
- €10 Data Package
The user gets free calls and texts to numbers on the O2 network. You are awarded 300 minutes to reach numbers on other networks within Germany. The package comes with an internet bundle of 1.25GB which is valid in all Europe. The O2 package has a 28-day validity.
- O2 has a highly affordable package.
- It is the only provider with network reception in Berlin U-Bahn train network.
- The network has good coverage.
- It has poor rural coverage.
Where in Germany can you buy SIM cards?
For starters, the world has grown more efficient. You do not have to buy the SIM cards in Germany, thanks to online shopping platforms. A great example and recommendation would be Amazon. With their shipping capabilities, you can get your SIM card before you set out for travel!
Vodafone is an example of SIM cards available on Amazon.
- Frankfurt Airport
Purchasing a SIM card is not highly advisable especially if you are traveling deeper into the country. SIM cards tend to be quite expensive and you will have limited choices. O2 is the most available SIM card and the SIM cards are expensive in this airport despite being the cheapest among big operators.
- The Cities
Your Google Maps app comes in handy at times like these. You can search for shops around your location with the keywords as shop and the network provider.
What’s more, you do not necessarily have to Google as these kinds of shops are all over town and close to tourist centers.
- Media Markt
This is a chain of huge electronic shops across Germany. You can get the SIM card from the providers discussed in this text and more.
Keep in mind that these rates are subject to change at any time. At the time of writing, these are the current rates. Germany has one setback when it comes to mobile internet. Its internet speed peaks at 27.15mbps. This speed ranks them at the 48th position in the world.
Vodafone appears the better deal despite its average ratings. It offers the best value for money. What’s more, it is the network with the largest data bundle.
I wish you an exciting trip!
If traveling to the USA, check out our buying a SIM card in the USA post here.
If you enjoyed our buying a sim card in Germany guide, have a look at all our travel gear guides here:
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