Are you looking for a reliable mobile network provider in Germany? In general, for a network, you will have three options to choose from. On another hand, Germany has tens of different sim cards providers operating on main mobile networks. So what do you need to know about local mobile providers to choose the optimal deal?
The fact is that you will need a German sim card if you are coming to Germany. This article will help you to decide between which network and sim card providers to choose from. We give an overview of the mobile networks in Germany, mobile providers, and the best sim cards and mobile plans for any situation.
Mobile Networks in Germany
Germany is quite a monopolistic country where one major telecommunication company Telekom has the most control over mobile networks and internet connections. It is also the biggest problem of Germany because Telekom was slow in innovations and network development, hence, you can see that the internet is lacking in Germany and expensive.
Read more about why the internet is so bad in Germany in this post.
Overall, Germany has 3 main mobile networks:
- O2 (Telefónica)
All SIM cards providers in Germany are using one of those mobile networks. O2 is the cheapest network in the country. This means that no matter which mobile contract you have, you always make calls and surf the internet on one of these three mobile networks.
The package M from O2 is one of the best mobile plans we came across so far, but you can get a SIM card for as cheap as 1,99 EUR!
All these mobile networks differ in some way and have different coverage. For example, Telekom operates the D1 network, Vodafone the D2 network, and the O2 network has an E network.
Usually, providers who use the O2 network tend to be the cheapest, and Vodafone will be slightly more expensive, the highest price you will pay for Telekom.
During the test of the German mobile network, all providers received a “very good” rate. All of them are offering 4G internet and sometimes you can even get a 5G.
WinSIM is one of the providers we recommend, it uses the O2 network.
German Telekom is probably the most common network you will come around. They are also ahead of the other operators in the expansion of the 5G network.
You can choose a contract with or without a new phone. They also have a line of prepaid sim cards. However, Telekom charges higher prices than other network providers.
Vodafone is the second largest network provider in Germany. The company has a variety of mobile plans. The company has a variety of different mobile plans: with or without contact, with or without a new phone, special prices for young people under 28 years.
They have good and stable coverage across the country.
O2 is originally a Spanish telecommunication company that has a big share of the German market. It’s the third-largest network provider and the most affordable option in Germany.
Mobile Network Coverage in Germany
Coverage isn’t equal in whole Germany. Overall, the network quality is very good in Germany. In the countryside, however, O2 is still lagging behind.
Even if the network operators receive good and very good overall ratings, this, unfortunately, does not mean that Germany keeps up with other European countries in terms of network coverage. There are still many places lacking a 4G connection.
Problems while traveling by train
You might have noticed the disappearance of mobile connection or internet while taking intercity trains in Germany. Yes, the stability of the network is lacking behind.
If you have to take an intercity train on a regular basis, Telekom was ranked the best (score of 1.53) in the connectivity in trains, on a second-place is Vodafone (1.76) and O2 (1.79) just showed slightly lower results.
However, Vodafone is the best if you need to make calls on long-distance trains, Telekom is the best for surfing the web.
What Are the Best Mobile Plans for Internet in Germany?
Mobile plans in Germany differ between prepaid plans and plans with a contract. For someone staying shorter than 1-year prepaid option is more suitable.
Since German contracts can be quite difficult to cancel. Btw, you can read in this post, how to cancel a mobile contract in Germany, if you are in this situation.
With prepaid mobile plans, you need to top up credit in order to use data or do calls. There are also few postpaid tariffs you can choose from. Where the provider will invoice you at the end of the month for the used mobile service.
Prepaid is also meant Pay-as-you-go. Most of the mobile plans you will see in Germany belong to the prepaid section. In this case, you first purchase a SIM card and after activate it by top-up the balance.
Prepaid sim cards are best suitable to people staying in Germany short term, less than a year.
The main benefit of a prepaid plan is no commitment to any contract. But once you run out of balance, you won’t able to use a sim card. Luckily, recharging credit is very easy in Germany, usually, you can do it via your mobile app or by buying credit at any kiosk or supermarket.
Benefits prepaid mobile plans offer:
- No contract: you can quit anytime
- You pay only when using mobile services
- It’s cheap: Prepaid rates can be used inexpensively thanks to the minute and surf packages
- Flexibility: you can change your plan any time, book more/faster internet, etc.
Postpaid is the opposite of prepaid. The difference between prepaid and postpaid is when you pay. With a postpaid plan, you pay the bill at the end of the month for the used service. The amount is usually deducted from your banking account automatically. Whereas with prepaid, you have to top up a credit yourself in advance.
A post-paid plan is more suitable for people who will stay a long time in Germany because you will commit to a 12 or 24 months contract. Post-paid deals are also called “Tariffe mit Vertrag” in Germany or tariffs with a contract.
Cell phone contract
Another option to get a mobile plan in Germany is together with the cell phone. This is very common in Germany. You will basically buy a phone which is accompanied by the mobile plan.
However, the payment for the phone is stretched over 24 month period. The mobile company will deduct money automatically by the end of every month for a phone and used mobile data.
The benefit of this option is that you are getting a new phone and at the same time having access to the bigger data plans.
Best Prepaid SIM card for Mobile Data
If you are looking for a prepaid sim card just for internet usage we recommend these providers.
WinSim provides probably the cheapest deals for everyone in Germany. 5GB data for 6,99 EUR, such rates I haven’t seen yet. Since it’s a discount, the normal price will be 9,99 EUR, which is still the cheapest SIM card you will get with that amount of mobile data.
WinSim has O2 as a network provider. All SIM cards also include EU roaming, so you can surf the internet while traveling for free. A customer has an option to sign for a 24-month contract or get a sim card for a short time at the same price! Stay connected and flexible in Germany with WinSim.
You can also get only data SIM cards for internet at the cheaper rates, check it here.
O2 offers a wide range of prepaid SIM cards, where you pay 9 cents per minute of call and SMS. O2 packages have significant amounts of internet, with Prepaid S you get 3,5 GB, Prepaid M – 6,5 and Prepaid L – 12,5 GB. Sim cards will cost 9,99 EUR, 14,99 EUR and 19,99 EUR respectively.
O2 also has SIM cards for someone looking for higher internet speed and more data for the affordable price. For example, you can get 20 GB, with speed up to 225 MBit/s for only 29,99 EUR per month, all calls and SMS within Germany are included in the price!
1&1 is one of the biggest internet and sim card providers operating on an O2 network. The basic sim card starts with 3 GB at 9,99 EUR per month. You can also select the deal with the 5G internet for 19,99 EUR per month.
Fraenk is the best provider for minimalists and people who want the best price/value ratio. SIM card from Fraenk gives you 4 GB of data, flat-rate calls, and SMS for just 10 EUR per month! This offering is 100% unbeatable.
Blau is a sim card provider hosted by the telecommunication company O2. Flat rate deals include 4G internet and between 3 GB and 12 GB of data. It’s a good budget option for students: already for 7,99 EUR, you will get 3 GB of internet.
With Allnet L from Blau, you get 12 GB of data for 18 EUR per month. It’s a great deal.
Vodafone CallYa Start
- 4,99 EUR
- 1 GB
- 50 minutes for free
CallYa packages have also S and M tariffs with more data and higher prices.
Aldi Talk Paket M (O2)
- 12,99 EUR
- 6 GB
MagentaMobil Prepaid S, M, L, XL, and Max. Preis starts with 2,95 EUR and mobile data ranges between 0 bis 5 GB also unlimited internet is offered for 99,95 EUR.
The price of the sim card
For most of the mobile plans in Germany, you will need to pay a single fixed price just for the SIM card. It’s usually 9,99 EUR, only a few providers will issue a sim card for free, for example, WinSim. For all sim cards from Telekom, you must pay a single price of 9,95 EUR.
Will Be German Internet Valid in the EU?
All German mobile plans will allow you to use the internet on a phone across the EU at no additional costs. However, be prepared to pay high prices for data when entering EEA countries and Switzerland. German SIM cards won’t cover the internet at German rates in that case.
Compare Mobile Plans and Networks in Germany
You can also compare all existing SIM cards, providers, and rates in Germany via the platform Verivox.de. The search engine will give you information on:
- Sim cards with and without a phone contact
- Initial and monthly cost of the sim card
- Amount of mobile internet
- Contact duration
- Interned speed
- Price per call & SMS
Short Term SIM card for Internet in Germany
In general, you can cancel almost any prepaid SIM card in Germany at any time you want. Prepaid deals are also the cheapest option if you need a mobile network and data just for a limited time.
But even if you don’t cancel the sim card, you won’t have to pay a monthly fee, since you aren’t using the service. Some prepaid plans will require a cancellation period, but it’s usually no more than 1 month.
You can purchase a sim card online or go to one of the offices of Telekom, Vodafone, or O2. Some sim cards can be purchased in supermarkets, like Aldi and Lidl.
When buying a sim card online it will be delivered to you to the address you have written in order. The process works very well, I have ordered one Sim card online too.
Special Offers for Young People and Students in Germany
Some providers in Germany have special mobile deals for students and young people. To be able to take an advantage of them one should be under 28 years old (usually). Some of these packages you can see below.
Also read: Best sim cards for students in Germany.
Free S, M, L Junge Leute from O2
The younger generation and everyone under 29 years old can enjoy affordable packages Junge Leute (young people) from O2. It applies to all people in that category from 15 to 29 years, especially students, apprentices, and others.
When concluding a contract, you must provide appropriate proof of eligibility, so that you can benefit from the discounts.
Junge Leute S, M, L, and Unlimited Max will give you internet data and unlimited calls with SMS. Package S costs only 9,99 EUR, M – 19,99 EUR, and 29,99 EUR for L, and 39,99 for Unlimited Max. Available data range between 3 GB, 20 GB, 60 GB, and unlimited.
Young S, M, L, XL from Telekom
The biggest network provider Telekom offers the wide variety of different packages for students, trainees, and other young people in Germany. Everyone who is younger than 27 can sign.
Although the prices aren’t that cheap in comparison to other companies. So the cheapest deal S with 6 GB of data will cost you 20 EUR, M with 12 GB – 30 EUR, L with 24 GB – 40 EUR and unlimited option – 65 EUR. These sim cards also include EU Roaming even in Switzerland.
Be careful with these deals from Telekom because after 12 months the prices will be increasing, so be ready to pay 30 EUR for package S, 40 EUR for M, 50 EUR for L, and 75 EUR for unlimited.
Young M and L from Vodafone
To take advantage of a Vodafone contract at the student rate, you only need to be between 18 and 27 years old. You can choose from Vodafone young tariffs with 2 GB, 6 GB, 15 GB, and 25 GB data volume, as well as a telephone, SMS, and international flat rate.
These packages M and L are the best among those, they include 20 GB and 40 GB of data respectively as well as unlimited calls and messages. The price varies between 20 EUR and 25 EUR.
Congstar Youngster Allnet Flat Junge Leute
The Congstar packages for young people are divided into Youngster M and Youngster L. The first one has 3 GB of data for 9,75 EUR and the second one 20 GB for 19,50 EUR per month. All calls within Germany are included in the price.
Compare providers and rates for various sim cards, insurances, credits & loans, tariffs for internet, electricity, much more to find a perfect deal for your situation. You can do it all on the platform Verivox.de which will also allow you to buy from a selected provider.
Cheapest SIM Card for Mobile Data in Germany
WinSim provides probably the cheapest mobile deals for everyone in Germany. 5GB data for 6,99 EUR, such rates I haven’t seen yet. For a comparison, you get 1 GB for 5 EUR with Vodafone.
This is the cheapest SIM card you will get with that amount of mobile data.
probably the cheapest deals for everyone in Germany. 5GB data for 6,99 EUR,
Fraenk offers 4 GB of data, flat-rate calls, and SMS for 10 EUR per month!
The basic sim card starts with 3 GB at 9,99 EUR per month. You can also select the deal with the 5G internet for 19,99 EUR per month.
How to Get a Mobile Plan in Germany?
Firstly you can’t buy a prepaid sim card in Germany without a valid ID. When ordering a sim card online you will also need to leave the address where it will be delivered. This can be your address or the address of the friend in Germany.
If you decide to sign for a mobile contract you will need to present proof of address. Again it can be your place or the place of the friend.
If you’re signing up to anything other than a prepaid plan, you’ll also be subjected to a credit check on top of this.
Recommended products and services in Germany:
- Health insurance for students
- Health insurance for expats, employees, business owners, freelancers
- Liability insurance
- Car insurance
- Best price & value sim card and best deal overall including high-speed internet
- Blocked bank account for students
- Best free bank account in Germany
- Loan in Germany with minimal requirements
- Learn German on the best online platform
- Best free bank account in Austria
- Order translation of the documents online
- Check how much you can earn in Germany (for all professions)
- Free online consultation/assessment with German lawyers and tax advisors
- Compare providers and rates for various insurances, sim cards, internet, electricity, banking accounts, credits & loans, and more.
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