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Deutsche Telekom (formely T-Mobile) Edit

Telekom

Deutsche Telekom is the previously state-owned, incumbent provider. It's still the biggest telecommunications company in Germany with the best network. For a time it was called T-Mobile like in the US, but has reverted to its old name in Germany. While it caters mostly for postpaid, it still offers prepaid that used to be called Xtra Cards. Note that their rates are the highest in the country and are sold often cheaper by its subsidiary Congstar and MVNOs, not to mention its competitors.

In 2015 they opened all own prepaid products for 4G/LTE. Note that 4G/LTE for prepaid on Telekom network is available through its own brand and clones like EDEKA Smart (available in EDEKA supermarkets). Resellers have been barred from 4G/LTE. This is opening up in 2019 with congstar, Norma connect and most recently ja! and Penny mobil (see below).

Telekom has won all network tests within the last decade in the country. It offers coverage where no other network covers and speeds mostly faster than its competitors. It should be the first choice if you go to remote or rural areas. Their 4G/LTE network is well optimized because Telekom uses 1800 MHz frequency band not only in towns, but also in the countryside. It's also known to cover the major festivals with additional back-up.

On the downside, it's indoor power on 4G/LTE is often lower compared to Vodafone or o2. That´s because Telekom mainly uses 1800 MHz (and sometimes 2600 MHz) in towns without any 800 MHz fallback. To fix this problem, they now add 900 MHz LTE/4G where 800 MHz is not available. Note that Berlin's underground U-Bahn system is only covered by 2G so far unlike o2.

Some of its resellers like Lebara, ja! or Penny mobil or Lifecell are on 2G and 3G only. This is not recommeded for data use anymore as 3G is been degraded and covers only a limited part of the country.

Availability Edit

The magenta-coloured Xtra Cards used to be sold all over the country. In 2015 they changed name and portfolio. They can be ordered online and sent to a German postal address, in their stores called 'Telekom shop' (locator) and many other kiosks, service stations, electronic market chains, post offices and other outlets. Basically, they now offer two product lines for prepaid:

  • MagentaMobil Start for voice, text and data
  • Data Start for data-only

While the new voice & data card is available all over, you may have to look for their data-only card either online or in Telekom shops. Both starter packs are for 9.95 € including 10 € credit and come in all three sizes. SIM cards should be activated in Telekom Shops at the point of purchase showing your ID. Some shops may be picky about the address. So think of one (hotel, B&B, etc.) before. All SIM cards sold elsewhere need to be activated online through a video ID. For this you need to have a stable internet connection through a WiFi and your passport and address ready. Voice & data lines can't be switched with the data-only line.

Recharges called "Xtra Cash" are sold in most supermarkets, kiosks, service stations and even at ticket machines all over the country. Minimum amount for top-up is 15 €. SIM cards and their credit stay active for 2 years after the last top-up. To check credit, type *100# <call>

SIM card registration Edit

Telekom is the most restrictive brand in Germany when it comes to registration of you SIM card. You can (theoretically) have it registered in one of their T-Punkt stores or by video ID. Both ways they used to insist on a certified address. This means your passport (without address) is not sufficient, German passports are affected too, but any national ID card containing an address may easily pass. If you want to register a SIM on Telekom network bring along something official with your name and home address like a driving license or an utility bill. Otherwise, try Lebara (see below) instead for their network, that is known to be much more open to foreigners.

MagentaMobil Prepaid (for voice, SMS and data) Edit

Their new voice and data SIM card has been opened for 4G/LTE and was previously called MegantaMobil Start. It comes in different varieties. For data you can choose among these plans below in up to 300 Mbit/s on 4G/LTE all valid for 28 days:

Package Data Voice & SMS Price Add-ons
Basic (#) free HandyDayFlat: 1.49 €

with 50 MB for 24 hours

S unlim. on-net 2.95 €
M 1.5 GB unlim. on-net

+ 100 mins

9.95 € SpeedOn options (for 31 days):

S: 500 MB: 4.95 € (for 7 days)

M: 500 MB: 7.95 €

L: 1.5 GB: 14.95 €

XL: 2.5 GB: 19.95 €

L 2 GB unlim. on-net

+ 200 mins

14.95 €
XL 3 GB unlim. all-net 24.95 €

(#) = the Basic plan without a monthly fee requires a special starter that is hard to find. The most common distributors are post offices and postal agencies. You can't downgrade another plan to this Basic plan.

For data you can book their Handy DayFlat: this is their pre-enabled default rate. 1.49 € for only 50 MB within 24 hours. Having reached included volume, speed will be throttled to 64 Kbit/s or you can buy another package for the same price.

All packages auto-renew after 28 days and can be activate online on http://pass.telekom.de or by calling customer service at 2202 (for free). Beyond the included data volume, your speed will be throttled to 64 kBits/s. Or you can add one of their SpeedOn packs. The SpeedOn add-ons don't auto-renew, but are once-off (for prices see table above).

From 2016 on you can use their Telekom WiFi Hotspots for free with unlimited data. Telekom and partner FON have the biggest "WLAN"-hotspot network in the country with more than 1.5 million hotspot points. To get access data, just text 'open' to 9526.

Prepaid DayFlat unlimited Edit

This daily rate can be added to each prepaid base plan with data: It contains unlimited data for 24 hours at 5.95 €. Speed is up to LTEmax (at 500 Mbit/s) and activation is through the landing page http://pass.telekom.de/ which can only be reached through a Telekom mobile number (no WiFi or VPN). That's why data can be still be used roaming abroad, but the offer can't be activated there, only on the German Telekom network. Having used up your 24 hour period, the plan can be activated again (only in Germany) or regular rates apply instead.

Data Start (data-only) Edit

Their data-only product is aimed at modems, tablets and routers. It contains text or voice at a higher price and can't be switched from a voice SIM card. It has been opened to 4G/LTE with up to 300 Mbit/s. When you insert the SIM in your device, http://pass.telekom.de appears and you can choose one of their 4 data options:

  • Pass S: 500 MB for 24 hours: 2.95 €
  • Pass M: 1 GB for 7 days: 7.95 €
  • Pass L: 2 GB for 30 days: 14.95 €
  • Pass XL: 5 GB for 30 days: 24.95 €

Packages don't auto-renew. Data will be throttled to 64 kbps, when having used all volume. But you can buy a new package on their website anytime. That's where you can check your data consumption too.

EU roaming (data only in Switzerland) Edit

All allowances can be used at domestic rates for roaming in the EU and EEA. In Switzerland data in domestic German packages is included, but not voice or SMS.

Technical info Edit

  • Tethering is allowed and supported
  • VoIP used to be banned and blocked, but on their new SIM cards and plans it's now open

More info Edit

congstar Edit

Congstar

Congstar is a subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom and a cheaper alternative to access the Telekom network, but remains still more expensive than most of its competitors. They stayed on 2G and 3G only so far, but got finally 4G/LTE in 2019 on most of its plans.

Availability Edit

The new starters are labeled with "prepaid wie ich will" = prepaid the way I want. Try to get a starter pack with no plan pre-enabled. The ones with a plan require a Germany bank account and are called Surf Mix or Smart Mix. Mini, micro and nano SIMs are available.

They can be ordered online to be sent to a German postal address, but for online purchase, payment must be made by direct debit to a German bank account. So better buy it offline at the shops of Deutsche Telekom (called T-Point), or other sales outlets. The purchase at a T-Punkt stores has the advantage to have it (theoretically) registered there.

The starter pack costs 9.99 € with mini/micro or nano SIM and 10 € preloaded (= 5 € from the start, another 5 € after activation). Credit cards and non-EU accounts are not accepted; not having one of these, buy in stores by cash.

Congstar prepaid cards can be topped up with their own vouchers bought in the shops named above or any prepaid voucher of Deutsche Telekom for Xtra Cards even more widely available. To check your balance dial *100#.

SIM card registration Edit

Congstar as a subsidiary of Telekom is the most restrictive brand in Germany when it comes to registration of you SIM card in their T-Punkt-Stores (see Telekom above). Unlike Telekom it also offers video verification through both WebID and PostID and in postal agencies through Post Ident. They register nationals of about 100 countries (for details see Vodafone for WebID and O2 for PostID).

Data feature packages Edit

Their default rate without a plan or package is expensive 0.99 € per 24-hour-day for 25 MB, then speed will be throttled to 64/16 kbit/s. Max. speed of all SIM cards is 25 Mbit/s regardless, if they are on 3G or 4G. But 4G-enabled SIM cards give you a much better coverage throughout the country.

Congstar offers different packages with data in 2G and 3G up to 25 Mbit/s, but no 4G/LTE. You can choose between these plans valid for 30 days:

  • Congstar wie ich will (congstar they way I want): fully customizable plans of minutes, SMS or 0-5 GB data. For data you can choose one of these packages valid for 28 day in a 3G or 4G/LTE option:
Data Price

3G

Price

4G/LTE

Voice/SMS Add-ons (3G or 4G)
500 MB 3 € 4 € 100 mins/SMS:

+ 2 €

unlimited:

+ 4 €

250 MB: 5 €
1 GB 5 € 6 € 500 MB: 5 € or 1 GB: 9 €
3 GB 8 € 9 € 1 GB: 9 €
5 GB 15 € 16 € 1 GB: 9 €

They also sell these three pre-configured combo packages with a 9.99 € start-up fee from which 5-10 € is refunded. These packages also got optional 4G/LTE access in 2019. All packages are valid for 28 days:

  • Prepaid Basic S: 100 mins, 400 MB 3G for 5 €, in 4G/LTE 6 €, add-on: 200 MB: 4.90 €
  • Prepaid Allnet M: unlimited mins, 2 GB 3G for 10 €, in 4G/LTE 11 €, add-ons: 500 MB 4.90 €, 1 GB 8.90 €
  • Prepaid Allnet L: unlimited mins, 4 GB 3G for 15 €, in 4G/LTE 16 € per month, add-ons: 500 MB 4.90 €, 1 GB 8.90 €

All regular (not the add-on) packages auto-renew, if not cancelled or changed before in your personal account. The speed of the add-on packages is according to the base plan activated.

EU roaming (data only in Switzerland) Edit

All allowances can be used at domestic rates for roaming in the EU and EEA. In Switzerland data in domestic German packages is included, but not voice or SMS. 4G/LTE is available or not according to domestic plan.

VoIP (Skype, WhatsApp calls, FaceTime...) Edit

Congstar has a strange dual policy about VoIP. On some tariffs with data packages it still actively blocks communications with OTT apps like Skype. If you plan to use VoIP services, you can only make it work using a VPN app.

More information Edit

  • Blackberry use and P2P are not allwowed
  • Tethering is allowed
  • APN: internet.t-mobile

ja! mobil and Penny Mobil Edit

Ja! penny

The REWE group, one of the biggest retailers in the country, sells ja! mobil and Penny Mobil with a very similar portfolio. Both operate on the Telekom network in 2G and 3G only and finally 4G/LTE on most of its tariffs in October 2019, managed by Congstar which is their official MVNO provider.

Availability Edit

ja! mobil is exclusively sold by Rewe supermarkets and Toom hardware stores while Penny Mobil can be only found in all branches of their discounter store chain called Penny. Like in other discounter markets, SIM cards are not on display but have to be asked for at the check-out cash register. Starter packs are for 10 EUR with 5 EUR credit preloaded in the tariff lines shown below. As as a starter better get the Prepaid Start package, not Prepaid Smart package, if you don't like a smart plan (see below). Mini, micro and nano SIM are available.

Top-up vouchers can be found in every Penny, Rewe or Toom store or just use any Telekom voucher like their 'cash&carry' cards available everywhere.

SIM card registration Edit

Starter packs need be registered online by a video ID before connecting to the network:

Both operators are managed by Congstar and offer PostID through video or Post Ident in an postal office for about 120 countries. So buy them only, if you are sure that you will be able to register them as there a no other ways.

Data feature packages: Edit

During activation you have to choose a tariff line. They have the following options, either dubbed as Penny mobil oder ja! mobil valid for 28 days:

Plan Data Voice max. Speed Price
Easy SpeedOn 9 ct/min 3G 32 Mbit/s free
Basic 750 MB 100 mins 4G/LTE 25 Mbit/s 4.99 €
Smart 2 GB unlimited 4G/LTE 25 Mbit/s 7.99 €
Smart Plus 4 GB unlimited 4G/LTE 25 Mbit/s 12.99 €
Smart Max 6 GB unlimited 4G/LTE 25 Mbit/s 19.99 €
Data 5.5 GB no voice 3G 32 Mbit/s 14.99 €

As plans can hardly be changed, select the right plan by choosing the relevant starter pack.

For more data you can add SpeedOn packages. For the Easy plan only 200 MB for 4.90 € are available. For all other plans you can add 500 MB at 4.90 € or 1 GB at 8.90 € for extra volume. To activate a SpeedOn text "Speed M" to 7277 for 200 MB or 500 MB or "Speed L" to 7277 for 1 GB.

EU roaming Edit

You can use data all over the EU/EEA and additionally in Switzerland at domestic German rates without surcharges.

More information Edit

  • APN: internet.t-mobile
  • tethering is allowed, but VoIP has been blocked in the past

Lebara Edit

Lebara new

new logo

Lebara (formerly Lebara mobile) from the UK is the main competitor of Lycamobile on the ethno market. In Germany they operate a MVNO on the good Telekom network in 2G and 3G only, no 4G/LTE yet.

Availability Edit

Their SIM card is sold online to be sent to a German postal address or offline at many outlets (store locator) for free.

To top-up you can buy one of their special vouchers or add 10€, 20€, 30€ or 50€ by credit card online. Check balance by *141#.

Activity period is only for about 6 months. So if you don't use the card for 6 months or longer, it will be deactivated.

SIM card registration Edit

Lebara mobile remains the most accessible brand on the Telekom network when it comes to SIM registration. You can get it registered by showing you ID card or passport and ANY address in many (but not all) of their resellers stores. These special stores are called 'Lebara Registration Partner' and can be found through this locator.

Otherwise, you can register it showing your ID document to a webcam over the internet what Lebara calls Web ID and is shown here. Note, that they are only able to register citizens of about 60 countries by their passport and 30 countries by the national ID document which are specified on this list. For other countries you need to go to a Registration Partner (see above).

Data feature packs Edit

Data by default is 0.19 € per MB. Better add one of these data bundles each valid for 28 days:

Data

Price

Activation

1 GB 9.99 EUR DATA1000
3 GB 14.99 EUR DATA3000
5 GB 19.99 EUR DATA5000
10 GB 29.99 EUR DATA10GB

After texting the activation code to 55255, confirm by sending JA to 55255. Speed is up to 7.2 Mbit/s, throttled after the quota to 64 kbit/s. Package will renew itself after 28 days, if there is credit. To unsubscribe text 'HALTDATA<size in MB>' to 55255 at least 24 hours before expiration. All packages can only be booked once per month, but these add-ons are can be added to all packages:

  • 100 MB: 1.99 €, activation: PLUS100MB
  • 1 GB: 4.99 €, activation: PLUS1GB
  • 3 GB: 9.99 €, activation: PLUS3GB
  • 5 GB: 14.99 €, activation: PLUS5GB
  • 10 GB: 19.99 €, activation: PLUS10GB

Add-on data is valid for the rest of the running time of the base plan. To activate text code to 55255.

EU roaming (except Switzerland) Edit

Roam like at home is applied to all allowances in the EU/EEA. Switzerland is excluded.

More information Edit

  • APN: internet.t-d1.de (on iOS it can be set only via installing an app which sets up a profile)
  • Tethering is allowed according to this site, but VoIP is likely blocked (see Telekom above).

Lifecell (formerly: Turkcell Europe) Edit

Lifecell new

new logo

Lifecell is a Turkey-based provider offering a SIM card issued in Germany mainly catering for the Turkish migrants market. In 2018 they made a relaunch and changed their brand from Turkcell to Lifecell to attract a wider audience. It operates on Deutsche Telekom's 2G and 3G network, no 4G/LTE, with speeds up to 18 Mbps.

Availability Edit

This SIM card is called Lifecell and comes with a German number (+49). It can mainly be found in shops and service points in the cities where many people with Turkish origin live (store locator) or online sent to a German postal address. The starter pack is for 9.95 € and comes with 7.50 € credit pre-loaded and another 2.50 € bonus, when you top-up for the first time.

Top-ups can be made online , by Prelado or using special Turkcell/Lifecell refill cards sold e.g. in EDEKA markets. Original Telekom reload cards don't work. Check balance by *144#.

SIM card registration Edit

Registration has to be made by Online ID made through a cam on the internet or Post ID in a postal office or service point. At both places you have to show your ID card or passport.

Data feature packages Edit

Base price is a low 0.02 € per MB. These data packages are offered for 28 days:

Package Data Voice Price Activation
Super M 2.5 GB 200 mins 9.99 € Super M
Super Data M 3 GB 9.99 € Data M
Super L 4 GB 400 mins 14.99 € Super L
Super Data L 4.5 GB 14.99 € Data L
Super Data XL 6 GB 19.99 € Data XL
Super XL 8 GB unlimited 24.99 € Super XL

To activate a package text its name to 77733. For more data you can add Speed On add-ons of 400 MB for 3 €, 1 GB for 5 € and 2 GB for 10 € by texting the volume to 77733. Otherwise data speed will be throttled to 64 kbit/s for overuse.

EU and Turkey roaming Edit

Lifecell has implemented EU roaming regulations and doesn't charge any surcharges in the EU/EEA area. For roaming in Turkey two special packages are offered valid for 28 days:

  • 1.5 GB data and 200 mins in Turkey: 19.99 €. For activation: text 'Türkei Pass' to 77733. This roaming package can be renewed anytime.
  • Alternatively you can use the Super and Super Data packs from above for a 5 € surcharge in Turkey too. To activate, text "Türkei Data" to 77733.

More info Edit

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