- 1 Basics
- 1.1 2G,
3G, 4G and 5G frequencies
- 1.2 Coverage
- 1.3 Availability
- 1.4 Activation and registration
- 1.5 Tethering (Mobile hotspot use), VoIP, VoLTE, WiFi calling
- 1.6 Recharging your SIM card
- 1.7 Managing your SIM card
- 1.8 Validity of SIM cards
- 1.9 International roaming
- 1.10 Which network (and operator) to choose:
- 1.1 2G,
- 2 Deutsche Telekom (formely T-Mobile)
- 3 Vodafone Germany
- 4 O2 Deutschland (by Telefónica)
- 5 congstar (on Telekom)
- 6 otelo (on Vodafone)
- 7 Blau (on O2)
- 8 Discounter brands
- 9 Ethno providers
- 10 Special offers
There are now three network operators in Germany:
A 4th network is about to be started in 2022/3:
- [1&1 (not yet started, 5G only, with roaming on O2 in 2G and 4G)]
All other offers mentioned below are secondary, ethno and discounter market brands, service providers or MVNOs on the three network operators shown above. MVNOs are popular for prepaid in Germany and often cheaper than the MNOs. They now have gathered a prepaid market share of more than 1/3, which is among the highest in the world.
All three incumbent network operators share the polish market in 2021 and can be considered "market leaders":
- Telekom has the largest mobile service revenue and most business customers
- Vodafone has given out the most SIM cards, but many of them are for IoT/M2M devices like cars rather than people
- Telefónica with its flagship brand O2 is market leader by private customer numbers and data consumption
Some visitors are surprised to find out that the leading industrial powerhouse in Europe has still got patchy mobile networks. The German word for black spot called "Funkloch" (literally translates as a "wireless hole") is all around. Don't expect Korean or Japanese speeds and coverage. Users, politicians and major CEOs alike now put pressure on the operators to improve the situation. Compared with other European countries coverage and speeds are sometimes less and slower, but sold at rather high prices. That's why a new network operator is going to be started soon and you may consider using a cheaper EU-issued SIM card roaming in Germany without surcharges for a short visit.
3G, 4G and 5G frequencies [3G: 3G was on 2100 MHz and really never fully covered the country. It has been shut down in 2021 by all three network providers. So for data on the internet you now need to have a 4G/LTE device.]
4G/LTE: LTE has been rolled out on most common 4G frequencies in Europe on all operators: 800 MHz (band 20), 1800 MHz (band 3) and 2600 MHz (band 7). From 2017 on 900 MHz (band 8) and 2100 MHz (band 1) has been re-farmed from 2G and 3G. Band 28 on 700 MHz was added in 2019. You need to have a device with 4G on Bands 1, 3, 7, 8, 20 and 28 for good coverage. Other frequencies are rare to find and only used by one provider.
5G: has started in a few places in 2019 on both Telekom and Vodafone, later on o2:
- Telekom uses n78 (3500 MHz) and a lot of n1 (2100 MHz) in DSS, refarmed from 3G and covers already almost 50 % of the country
- Vodafone uses n78 (3500 MHz) and n3 (1800 MHz) in the cities and n28 (700 MHz) on the countryside and covers less than Telekom
- O2 only uses n78 (3500) to cover limited city centres so far
- [1&1 will built out a combined 4G/5G network on Band 7 (2100 MHz) 4G and n78 (3500 MHz) 5G, but will rely on O2 roaming for 2G and 4G]
The coverage of all three network providers has improved in recent times. All boast a population coverage of 98-99% on 4G/LTE in 2020 or roughly 90% of the surface leaving occasional black spots, that remain mostly in the countryside. All three networks give out detailed coverage maps that may be a bit optimistic:
The physical coverage of all sub-brands is equal to the coverage of their network. While all brands have now given access to 4G/LTE, for 5G only the own network brands of Telekom and Vodafone were opened for prepaid customers so far as an option for surcharge.
When it comes to network tests by OpenSignal, umlaut, Tutela and others, Telekom mostly scores the most points what coverage and speeds are concerned, typically followed by Vodafone. O2 used to trail on 3rd place, but this has changed in recent years and O2 has matched or surpassed Vodafone's performance in some cities and regions to compete for the 2nd spot now.
The German prepaid market looks often confusing to foreigners. You can get new SIM cards almost everywhere, but not registration. The most convenient way to purchase a SIM card for a visitor is to go to one of the big supermarkets, drugstores, service stations, electronic market chains or right away to an operator's store or post office and look for one of the providers shown below. Remember that MVNOs tend to be slightly cheaper than their associated MNOs:
Most SIM cards can be used for data as well as phone calls and SMS messages. Data-only SIMs have become very rather rare in Germany as a voice or text "flat" is given out for a minimal price. The standard voice rate is around 9 cents per minute for a domestic call (to any domestic mobile or landline) and about 9 cents for a domestic SMS, but most offers now include a voice/text "flat" (= unlimited) and a certain data volume.
First eSIMs are available in Germany for prepaid customers by Telekom and its subsidiaries only. But you need to buy a physical SIM and activate it first to swap it to an eSIM profile later in a rather complicated process. That's why they still can't be recommended for short-time visitors. Note that some international vendors have roaming eSIMs with data for Germany available, if you need to get an eSIM.
Activation and registration
There used to be much confusion about how to register and activate a German SIM card, since the law has been tightened in 2017. Now you have to show your ID document (like passport or national ID card) to prove that you are the person registering. By law, all SIM cards in Germany now need to be registered on your name verified by your ID document (and an address) to be activated. Similar to Poland and Austria many more places sell SIM cards, than are allowed to register. This may leave you with a newly purchased SIM card, that doesn't work as you still need to register.
Note that all already activated SIM cards before 2017 don't need to be verified for identification and keep on working like they did before. The stricter law only applies to all newly activated prepaid SIM cards from July 2017.
For all available options mentioned below you'll need and should prepare two things before:
- an original valid ID document like your passport, national ID card or any other internationally acknowledged ID document with your name and a photo on it. (Syrian and Afghan nationals also need to show their visa or "Aufenthaltstitel").
- a German street address consisting of street name, house number, postal code (called Postleitzahl or in short PLZ in German) and the name of the location. You can give any German address, as you don't need to have residency there. Normally, it won't be verified in any way. But it should exist as some systems run a plausibility check. So you might use your accommodation address or that of a friend who you know. Some providers however want to have your home address from where you come from instead.
There are three major options available for this new verification system, where and how to register a SIM card. Some can be swift and easy, others may need some knowledge of German language or the help of an interpreter, and not all options are open for all brands and nationalities. As many foreigners face difficulties here, we go into detail:
Registration in the store of a provider (point of sale verification)
This is the usual way you may know from other countries. This option is only possible for providers and brands that are present in physical stores like those of the network operators Telekom, Vodafone, O2 and a few secondary brands and SIM cards purchased there, but no other brand or even the same SIM brand bought somewhere else can't be registered. This option is the recommended way for unexperienced users, who don't speak any German as in most shops some English-speaking staff is to be found.
Unfortunately, some tricks are common in stores: some vendors may want to charge you for this service, but this is not allowed. Only pay the given price on the sleeve of the package. Some are picky about your address, but any logical address (home address in home country, hotel address, place where you stay etc.) must be accepted. When your ID document doesn't show any address, it can't be checked, which is fine too.
Most reseller brands sold in supermarkets, service stations and kiosks can't be registered at their point of sale. The so-called ethno providers Lebara Mobile and Lycamobile have set up own registration points in their sales outlets which are shown on their website. As these brands are popular with immigrants, it may be the easiest way, if you carry a very "unusual" passport coming from overseas.
To find the stores you should go to a shopping center or a downtown high street from Monday to Saturday during business hours (roughly 10am - 8pm). On Sundays or at airports a much smaller choice is available, if any at all. Some other IT stores have set up registration points for SIM cards like the big electronic appliance markets of the MediaMarkt / Saturn group, Euronics and EP (Electronic Partner). But they will only register SIM cards sold in their store and no others.
Registration by video identification (called Video Ident, Online ID or WebID)
This latest state of the art technology has now become the standard way for registration of new prepaid SIM cards in Germany. It can be used for all brands and operators. Here you need your pre-purchased SIM from any sales point (supermarket, kiosk, gas/petrol station, newspaper stand, postal agency, etc....) and do the ID check through a video connection. For this you need to have your SIM card with its numbers, your ID and an address ready. Furthermore you need a rather fast and stable internet connection and cam and microphone. This can be done through your smartphone, tablet or laptop or in any internet café like you do a Skype or WhatsApp video call.
Of course, this high speed internet connection may pose a problem, as you don't have a connection yet. But more and more WiFi hotspots are opening up in the country (locally rather referred as WLAN than WiFi). For instance most restaurants and hotels, public buildings, libraries, shopping malls, airports, transport systems etc. give free internet access. You need to accept the conditions for the WiFi network, but you don't normally need to give a phone number, most often only an email address.
This online registration option remains the swiftest way to activate most brands as many resellers don't do it at the point of purchase. This applies to all supermarket brands or SIM cards that you buy off the shelf. You can't be sure to get an English-speaking agent available all the time, but most Germans speak at least basic English. To find the right online address for your VideoIdent session look for the words registrieren, aktivieren or freischalten on the website of the provider or the sleeve of the starter pack. First enter your details like full name, birth date and address there and you will be forwarded to the video system.
Note that some providers are not able to register all passports from small countries overseas so far, but all up-to-date European documents are all accepted, except of drivers licenses. So coming from a rather unusual overseas country, check before, if this is an option for you. Online registration hours are normally 8am-10pm, but not 24/7.
Theoretically, you can do the Video ID from abroad too e.g. at home, before your journey starts with a SIM card, that you have pre-purchased online. Ebay.de and Amazon.de are usual marketplaces for German SIM cards and online distribution remains legal, as SIM cards must not be delivered already activated. Some eBay merchants offer pre-registered SIM cards on someone else, but this is illegal and not recommedned as your SIM card may be switched off.
Registration by PostIdent in post offices
There are other ways offered by most providers like PostIdent at postal offices. This option is often suitable for passports, that are not accepted through the online way. Here you need to go to a postal office that does PostIdent which is normally done in the larger outlets, not in the small agencies that double as a kiosk. For this way you need to first fill in you data on the website of the operator, so that it can be verified. Then you can make a print out of the PostIdent code form to be shown at the post office. This is not essential anymore. You can also take the PDF-file with or only copy the two number codes shown on the "print out". Like any other ways, this service is completely free too. Post offices don't only register SIM cards sold there, but almost any. All countries are supported, even small ones. If in doubt, check here.
You need to go the nearest post office which you can find here on the map. Enter your current location, click on Filtern, open the list of Leistungen auswählen and click on PostIdent durchführen. Thus you will only be shown these agencies, that are capable of doing PostIdent. Just show up with your passport and the print-out (or PDF-file on the phone) to be verified. As data is processed electronically, this way only takes some minutes. But for registration you are restricted to business hours of the post offices typically of 9am-6.30pm MON-FRI and 9am-1pm SAT in Germany without any chance on Sundays and Bank holidays.
So as a visitor to Germany you have essentially these options depending where you are:
- before entering the country: The EU has scrapped all roaming fees in the union. So if you come from another EU/EEA country, it might be better to take your SIM from there and use it for roaming in Germany at the domestic rate. Some restrictions apply, see our European Union chapter.
- buying online: There are many German SIM cards offered on eBay.de, Amazon.de and other online platforms. This market remains legal. However, most dealers will sell you an unregistered SIM card, which you can register already at home on the internet showing your ID in a video chat. Some merchants offer you some help with registration like doing it through WhatsApp. This is illegal and you may face disconnection. This way you will have an already running connection when entering the country.
- while staying in Germany: Try to go to the branded stores of the operators like O2, Vodafone, Telekom or other chain stores. If you don't speak German, better don't buy the SIM, where it can't be registered like in a service station, supermarket or newspaper kiosk as long as you are not familiar with the video registration scheme. This is unfortunately true for the cheaper brands from Aldi, Penny, Netto or Lidl supermarkets or online operators. If you have stable WiFi at your place, it's easy to make the video call. As a last resort you can go to an area where a lot of foreign citizens live like Turkish living areas and to the small phone stores there run by immigrants. They'll often know a way too and do it probably for a small surcharge. Another good option are post offices where some branded SIM cards are sold and registration is made at the same spot using PostIdent.
Check each provider in our list, because rules and options vary slightly between operators and brands.
Tethering (Mobile hotspot use), VoIP, VoLTE, WiFi calling
Tethering is usually allowed with all the shown offers below, except through the free ad-sponsored SIM of Netzclub and Lycamobile. VoIP calls through apps are now officially allowed or at least tolerated and not blocked anymore by all providers. VoLTE (known as HD calling in some regions) is now possible on most SIM cards, but not abroad while roaming and depending on the handset that you use. WiFi calling (or VoWiFi) is possible on all brands of Telekom and O2 providers.
Recharging your SIM card
German SIM cards can be topped up in many ways, but only few of them are suitable for visitors as some of them require German payment systems.
- when you are in Germany:
- Buy a top-up voucher locally called Ladebon in many stores with a PIN to enter. The vouchers of the network operators are most widely available. You can use:
- Telekom vouchers for congstar and ja!/Penny mobil, Edeka connect and Kaufland mobil
- Vodafone vouchers for otelo, Fyve and Lidl Connect
- eplus vouchers for Aldi Talk, ortel Mobil, ay yildiz and NettoKOM
- O2 vouchers for O2 my Prepaid (Loop), Tchibo and Netzclub.
- for Lycamobile and Lebara, you need special vouchers which are less widely distributed. Note that the billing systems of eplus and O2 haven't merged fully yet and you can't use one voucher for the other brand.
- Go to one of the three major drugstore chains (Rossmann, Müller, dm) or to large retailers like Edeka, Rewe, Netto, Kaufland, Aldi, Lidl or other chains to top-up most brands and pay at the cash register with an internatl. MasterCard, VISA and sometimes even AmEx.
- Newspaper kiosks, postal agencies, some petrol/gas stations, some supermarkets or even ticket machines of some public transport companies are further top-up points. Look for the logo of the provider, but acceptance varies according to provider.
- Most German retailers don't sell scratch cards, but hand out a paper slip with a PIN code instead. In supermarkets this usually involves either picking up a tag on display close to the cash register or asking the cashier for a Ladebon (= recharge voucher) for your provider. You will be issued a paper slip containing the voucher PIN to be entered in your phone.
- Buy a top-up voucher locally called Ladebon in many stores with a PIN to enter. The vouchers of the network operators are most widely available. You can use:
- When you are in Germany or abroad (trying to keep an existing SIM card alive, topping up before arrival from abroad or while roaming abroad):
- some SIM cards can be topped-up with international credit cards (VISA, MasterCard) and sometimes PayPal on the websites of the provider. But some foreign credit/debit cards have been rejected in the past and a few providers may add a small surcharge for the transaction
- other SIM cards still don't allow online top-up by credit cards or have disabled that. Here you will need to use 3rd party agencies instead
- Xoom by PayPal and Amazon sells top-ups for most brands without surcharges (only currency coversion fees may apply)
- as a last resort international top-up agencies can do the transaction for a high surcharge of up to 10%.
Top-ups of most major brands carry a minimum of 15 €, which can be inconvenient because of the remaining credit. Lycamobile and Lebara let you recharge from 10 € and Lidl Connect, Aldi Talk (only at their own Lidl / Aldi stores) and Vodafone (through its own website only) for as low as 5 €.
Managing your SIM card
German providers give you different ways to manage your SIM card e.g. to check credit, top-up, check remaining allowances or change plans, renew packages or add-ons for more data.
- on your online account you can register and log in to perform all the necessary tasks
- by entering certain USSD codes (like *123#)
- by calling customer support (sometimes available in English)
- by using the app of the provider (which may be geo-restricted on the Google/Apple app stores)
Provider apps are a good tool to do all necessary tasks. The major problem with most German providers is, that most of them are offered only in the local Play Store for Android or App Store for Apple. Coming from a different country, they won't be displayed to be installed even if you are using a SIM card of the very same provider. How this obstacle can be bypassed, is written in detail in this manual. As text on apps can't be easily transferred to a translator tool, you should be cautious as long as you don't understand basic German because some of them may hide payable 3rd party services to be activated by a few clicks.
Validity of SIM cards
Most German SIM cards are valid for at least one year without use or top-up before they will be discontinued. The exact time depends on the provider and ranges from Lebara with only 90 days to Telekom and congstar with 15 months. Credit stays valid as long as the SIM card is active. Legally, topped up credit must not be lost and the provider is obliged to give it back to you after having switched off the SIM. But the procedure is so complicated and for a fee, that it makes no sense to apply for a small amount. You can keep SIM cards of O2 and it's subsidiaries alive for a minimal fee, if you top it up with 1 Eurocent per year by SEPA bank transfer, if you have a bank account in the SEPA area.
International roaming 
Beware that without having activated a (domestic) data package, some providers still sell high domestic as well as roaming base rates because of an excessive domestic default rate of up to 0.24 € per MB in the country. That's why you always should buy data packages or a plan before turning on data.
Roaming in Switzerland is now mostly excluded from the "roam like home" zone of German providers and often billed very high as this country doesn't belong to the EU/EEA roaming zone. If you are looking for a cheap roaming option from Germany to be used in Switzerland too, you have a rather limited choice:
- Deutsche Telekom: Magenta Mobile Prepaid, congstar, Kaufland mobil and Penny/ja! mobil: with data in Switzerland at EU = domestic German rates taken from the domestic package, but not for calls or SMS in Switzerland, not even incoming.
- Aldi Talk still offers 500 MB add-ons for 7 days valid in Switzerland too at 4.99 € and another one for calls from Switzerland
- ay yildiz still has Switzerland included in its EU zone and gives all volumes in packages without surcharge according to Roam like at home
- Vodafone with CallYa offers a Swiss add-on package at 9.99 € with 1 GB for 14 days in Switzerland
All other providers now charge excessively for roaming in Switzerland (Vodafone charges 500 times as much compared to the EU!). So better buy a new SIM card in Switzerland, when you plan to stay there for longer. Check our Swiss article for details.
The following list shows the most important players on the German prepaid market that can be bought in shops nationwide. Many other providers compete for special segments and local or limited audiences or are available online only. The German prepaid WIKI has an updated extended survey (in German only, use Google Translate): www.prepaid-wiki.de with additional information.
Because of the huge number of offers we have to exclude some minor providers. This article now follows a new order:
- first the (actual) network providers (MNOs) Telekom, Vodafone, O2 are mentioned in the usual order in detail
- then their most important secondary brands congstar, otelo, blau ordered in the same way
- followed by the most widely distributed supermarket brands that you can find only in their stores collected in one section in alpha order
- followed by so-called ethno providers ay yildiz, ortel mobil, Lebara and Lycamobile that cater for the international market
- to be closed by some special offers like the Freebie Netzclub and the PayPal-paid Freenet Funk offer
Deutsche Telekom (formely T-Mobile)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 it is still 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 other MVNOs, not to mention its competitors.
Telekom has won most network tests and rewards within the last decade in the country. It offers coverage where no other network does and speeds often faster than its competitors. It should be the first choice, if you go to remote or rural areas. It's also known to cover the major cultural festivals with additional back-up. All resellers give out 4G/LTE with the same footprint, but 5G NR is only sold by Telekom's own brand on some prepaid plans as an option so far.On the downside, it's indoor power on 4G/LTE is sometimes lower compared to Vodafone or O2. That's because Telekom mainly uses 1800 MHz (B3) and 2600 MHz (B7) in towns without any 800 MHz (B20) fallback. To fix this problem, they haved added 900 MHz (B8) and 2100 MHz (B1) where 800 MHz is not available. 3G was closed down in 2021 and 5G has started on 3500 MHz (n78) as well as on 2100 MHz (n1) on the previous 3G spectrum through DSS. Telekom covers already 99% of population by 4G and will reach about 90% by the end of 2021 on 5G.
The magenta-coloured Xtra Card 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:
- Magenta Mobil Prepaid for voice, text and data
- Data Prepaid for data-only
While 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 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.
Telekom (and its sub-brands) is the only German provider that sell eSIMs to prepaid customers. But you need to first buy and and activate a physical SIM to swap it to an eSIM profile explained here.
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 15 months after the last top-up. Online you can top-up by credit card on telekomaufladen or by using one of the many service companies. To check credit, type *100# <call>
Magenta Mobil Prepaid (for voice, SMS and data)
Their new voice and data SIM card has been opened for 4G/LTE and was previously called MagentaMobil Start. It comes in different varieties. For data you can choose among these plans shown below in up to 300 Mbit/s on 4G/LTE and optional 5G, all valid for 28 days:
|Package||Data||Voice & SMS||WiFi||5G||Price||Add-ons|
|no||free||($) HandyDayFlat: 1.49 €
with 50 MB for 24 hours
|S||unlim. on-net||no||2.95 €||unlimited for 24 hrs: 4.49 €
500 MB for 7 days: 4.95 €
500 MB for 28 days: 7.95 €
|M||2 GB||unlim. on-net
+ 200 mins
|Flat||Promo||9.95 €||unlimited for 24 hrs: 5.95 €
500 MB for 7 days: 4.95 €
500 MB for 28 days: 7.95 €
1.5 GB for 28 days: 14.95 €
2.5 GB for 28 days: 19.95 €
5G access for 28 days: 3 €
|L||3 GB||unlim. on-net
+ 300 mins
|XL||5 GB||unlim. all-net||Flat||Promo||24.95 €|
(#) = the Basic plan without a monthly fee requires a special starter that is hard to find. The most common distributors are post offices and postal agencies. You can't downgrade another plan to this Basic plan.
($) = For data you can activate their HandyDayFlat: 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. You can't activate SpeedOns on the smaller plans.
5G: The M, L and XL plans give free 5G access for 12 weeks as a promotion, thereafter optional 3 € per 28 days for 5G access. The MAX plan includes access to 5G and limits data in EU/EEA/CH/UK roaming to max. 56 GB.
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).
In 2018 they introduced their XL Dayflat, now redubbed as unlimited DayFlat that can be added to any plan. It's truly unlimited data at max. speed for 24 hours and a good option for short-time heavy data users. It's sold for 5.95 € on the M, L and XL plans and 4.49 € on the S plan and can be activated through https://pass.telekom.de/.
From 2016 on you can use their Telekom WiFi Hotspots for free with unlimited data on most plans. 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.
Data Prepaid (data-only)
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. All plans have been opened to 5G. When you insert the SIM in your device, http://pass.telekom.de appears and you can choose one of their 5 data options:
|DayFlat||unlimited||24 hours||9.95 €|
|S||1 GB||24 hours||4.95 €|
|M||2 GB||28 days||9.95 €|
|L||4 GB||28 days||14.95 €|
|XL||12 GB||90 days||29.95 €|
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 (+ UK and Switzerland)
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 for voice or SMS; even incoming calls are charged extra. The UK is included in surcharge-free roaming until at least the end of 2021.
- Tethering is allowed and supported
- VoIP used to be banned and blocked, but on their new SIM cards and plans it's now open
- By law, all SIM cards in Germany now need to be registered on your name verified by your ID document (and an address) to be activated.
- VoLTE and VoWiFi possible
- APN: internet.t-mobile
- Website (in German only): http://www.t-mobile.de
Vodafone GermanyVodafone is considered the number two network in Germany, that has become the biggest market for the UK-based provider. Additionally, they bought cable providers and focus on combined offers. They cover more than 98% of the population by 4G/LTE, but can't totally match Telekom up to now. Their 3G network was shut down in 2021. You need to have a 4G/LTE device for data.
Vodafone mostly uses 800 MHz (B20) frequency band for 4G/LTE away from large cities. Additionally, 700 MHz (B28), 900 MHz (B8), 1800 MHz (B3), 2100 MHz (B1) and 2600 MHz (B7) are employed.
5G has been started in 2019 on n78 (3500 MHz) and later on n3 (1800 MHz) in the cities and n28 (700 MHz) in the countryside through DSS reaching less than 20% of the population so far. All own branded Vodafone prepaid SIM cards may been opened for 5G, no other prepaid brands. n28 is supported by very few handsets so far.
Their prepaid card is called "CallYa" and available at their stores (store locator) and many more outlets for 9.95 € with 10 € credit or 14.95 € with 15 € credit. If you have a German postal address, you can order a free unregistered Freikarte online to be delivered by mail within a few days.
Note that certain stores (Saturn/MediaMarkt, for instance) and some merchants on eBay don't sell actual Vodafone starter packs, but Mobilcom-Debitel starter packs instead. The outer packs look very similar to Vodafone starter packs, but have a Mobilcom-Debitel brand on the upper left of the packet. They offer the exact same tariffs as a regular Vodafone SIM, can be topped up with the exact same vouchers as a regular Vodafone SIMs, but don't participate in Vodafone promotions.
CallYa SIM cards are valid for an indefinite period. The CallYa prepaid contract ends only with a notice. Your credit balance will not be forfeited. If you don't use your prepaid card for more than 12 months, they may terminate your CallYa contract. You will receive a German SMS asking if you want to keep your CallYa card. Then you have 4 weeks to make a rechargeable activity to your card (making a call, sending SMS or do a top-up) to keep it stay active. When the deadline expires, your CallYa shall be blocked and inactive accordingly.
All SIM cards need to be registered and verified. This can be done in their branded stores at purchase. That's why it's recommended to buy them there (click here to search for a list of stores in your area).
Unfortunately, some Vodafone stores follow an unofficial policy of charging 10 € for the registration or apply a 55 € minimum balance to the CallYa plans. So stay polite, shop around or use other ways like WebID or PostIdent. There you do the verification through a video chat which is available for most countries: list of approved IDs
Recharge vouchers are for sale all over the country in supermarkets, service stations and kiosks among others starting at 15 € or online through their website using a credit or debit card (Visa or Master) for as low as 5 €. To check your balance, dial *100#.
Starter and base plans
These voice plans with data up in 4G/LTE up to 300 Mbit/s and optional 5G for a surcharge are valid for 4 weeks (= 28 days):
- CallYa Classic: no included volumes, data must be added (see below): free (only online)
- CallYa Start: 1 GB data, 50 mins/SMS to all EU networks: 4.99 €
- CallYa Allnet Flat S: 3 GB data, unlimited domestic mins/SMS: 9.99 €
- CallYa Allnet Flat M: 5 GB data, unlimited domestic mins/SMS: 14.99 €
- CallYa Digital: 15 GB and unlimited domestic voice/SMS: 20 €
Unlimited domestic on-net calls on the Vodafone network are included for free to all options. Speed is a max. of 500 Mbit/s on 4G/LTE or 5G. When volume is used up, it will be reduced to 32 kbit/s. The Vodafone Flex plans were discontinued in 2020. For optional 5G access, you need to text "5G" to 80808 and get 28 days for 2 € extra.
Data feature packages
To all plans above, these data add-ons valid for 4 weeks (full 28 days with auto-renewal, regardless of base plan) can be added:
- 400 MB: 2.99 €
- 800 MB: 5.99 €
- 2 GB: 9.99 €
- 5 GB: 19.99 €
- 7.5 GB: 29.99 €
- and a day "flat" of 10 GB (EU cap: 2.8 GB) for 24 hours: 4.99 €
To activate go online or text the data size of the pack (e.g. '2 GB' or 'Day') to 80808 or use the Tarifmanager by calling 22044. To cancel any of the data packages, use their Mein Vodafone app or your personal account before the renewal date.
Vodafone CallYa Black
Vodafone launched another new premium prepaid plan called CallYa Black in 2019. It includes unlimited calls and SMS to all numbers in Germany and 50 GB data on 4G/LTE for 79.99 € for 4 weeks. 38 GB can be used for roaming in the EU. On top of that it contains 500 mins to all networks in the EU. It's promoted as a plan especially for tourists and fair visitors and can be only bought in some Vodafone flagship stores.
Restrictions (VoIP, Tethering)
There are no restrictions using VoIP services like Facetime or Skype (effective 2015) anymore. The same applies to mobile hotspot use aka tethering. VoWiFi is not enabled and VoLTE may need manual activation by customer service, if not working.
Vodafone was the first provider in Germany that allowed allowances of all prepaid plans and top-ups to be used without surcharges in all over the EU/EEA, mostly using 4G/LTE Vodafone and partner networks. 5G roaming is offered in the UK, Spain, Italy and Ireland. Only for the day flat limits are established.
Note, that roaming in Switzerland is charged extra at very high 4 € per MB. They now offer a special package of 1 GB for 14 days in Switzerland at 9.99 € by texting "CH1GB" to 80808. For roaming in Turkey without restrictions, they offer a special package with 500 MB at 10 € for all prepaid plans.
- APN for CallYa voice & data SIM: web.vodafone.de
- Website in German only: http://www.vodafone.de/
O2 Deutschland (by Telefónica)O2 Deutschland, owned by Spanish Telefónica, has now grown from Germany's smallest network to its biggest after the merger with eplus in 2014/5, according to customer numbers. In the following years both networks have been consolidated while some problems occurred with coverage and congestion. Since 2020/21 O2 has improved a lot and many network tests see them now on par with Vodafone in most regions, but still trialing Telekom.
2G is on 800 and 1800 MHz, 3G used to be on 2100 MHz but is now phased out and will be discontinued by the end of 2021. From now on you need a 4G/LTE device for data on 700, 800, 900, 1800, 2100 and 2600 MHz (Bands 1, 3, 7, 8, 20, 28) with the most frequently used bands in bold. 4G/LTE is supported by all brands and resellers of O2, but in different max. speeds. 5G has started in 2020 in city centres in certain hotspots on n78 (3500 MHz), but is not yet available for prepaid. Note, that the newly combined O2 network sometimes shows as "E-Plus" on phones as they are using the old network MNC code of eplus (03) for their new network instead of that of the former O2 (07) network.
The cheapest offers in the country are currently hosted on the O2 network, while the best rates are not sold by the operator, but some secondary and discounter brands led by Aldi Talk (see below). Though O2 has improved in recent times, it's still not flawless and lacks coverage in the countryside of some regions and suffers from overcrowding in hotspots. Some events like the Oktoberfest in Munich are well covered, but for many summer festivals it has proven to be a bad choice. For public transport in Berlin, it's at the moment the only network that covers the whole underground system of both the U-Bahn and S-Bahn in 4G/LTE.
Telefónica hasn't fully merged their two billing systems yet. You still need to use old eplus vouchers or refill cards to top-up the old eplus brands like AldiTalk, NettoKOM, ay yildiz and ortel Mobil.
LIke all German operators O2 has implemented EU roaming at domestic rates from 2017 in all EU/EEA countries. Switzerland has been excluded from their European roaming zone and is charged much higher. Until at least the end of 2021 the UK will belong to the Euro-zone. The Channel Islands are included, the Isle of Man is not.
Maximum transfer speed
2G up to EDGE, 3G up to HSDPA (now phased out and discontinued by the end of 2021) and 4G/LTE is up to 225 Mbps.
O2's own branded prepaid product used to be called Loop, then changed to O2 Prepaid and now called O2 my Prepaid. It's sold at a somewhat higher price than some discounted secondary brands. These starters are offered in stores or online:
- O2 Freikarte: without credit, only sold online and sent to a German postal address. If you have a German mail address (or know someone who has), you can get the SIM for free. It's on the Prepaid 9ct plan by default.
- O2 Prepaid: with My Prepaid Basic and 10 € credit: 9.99 €
- O2 3,5 GB Allnet Flat: with My Prepaid S (see below): 9.99 €
- O2 6,5 GB Allnet Flat: with My Prepaid M (see below): 14.99 €
- O2 12,5 GB Allnet Flat: with My Prepaid L (see below): 19.99 €
Starter packs are sold online (to be sent to a German postal address), in O2-branded shops (locator), in many service stations, postal offices, supermarkets, electronic chain stores and kiosks. A triple size SIM card in mini, micro and nano is given out.
O2 top-up vouchers can be found there and many other places too for 15, 20 or 30 €, eplus vouchers don't work. To add value, type *103*<voucher code>#. Alternatively, you can use a bank transfer, their app or a top-up agency like Xoom. Both SIM card and credit stay valid for 6 months after the last recharge. If you have a SEPA-based bank account in Europe, you can add amounts as low as 1 cent to keep it alive or top-up less than 15 € by bank transfer (details in German).
Check balance by *101# and validity by *102#.
Their SIM needs to be registered and activated before it connects to their network. You can do it at the point of purchase in an O2 store or in certain electronics markets like MediaMarkt or Saturn. It's the place to go, when you have been declined by another provider like Telekom. O2 is very open about all kinds of valid IDs from all nations in their stores and also accepts Aufenthaltstitel from refugees.
The other ways and only options, if you have bought the SIM somewhere else or online is through PostID/WebID on video or Post Ident in a postal agency. For video ID you need a stable internet connection and a device with microphone and camera and start here (click on English on top right). It's offered around the clock in 5 languages including English. Alternatively, PostIdent in a postal agency is offered only at business hours, but accepts all ID documents.
Default data rate
Default rate outside packages on all tariffs is a "day flat" of 0.99 € per calendar day with up to 30 MB high speed data at max. 225 Mbps and with 4G/LTE included, beyond throttled to 32 Kbit/s.
Data feature packages
These tariff lines for 28 days are offered:
|My Prepaid 9 ct.||not incl.||9c min/SMS||free||Starter|
|My Prepaid Basic||150 MB||9c min/SMS||1.99 €||myPrepaidBasic|
|My Prepaid S||3.5 GB||unlimited||9.99 €||myPrepaidS|
|My Prepaid M||6.5 GB||unlimited||14.99 €||myPrepaidM|
|My Prepaid L||12.5 GB||unlimited||19.99 €||myPrepaidL|
Activation is online, through the app or by texting "START <code>" to 5667.
These add-on packages for more data are offered on all three plans valid for 28 days:
- Data Pack S: 400 MB: 2.99 €, activation: Start DataPackSPlus
- Data Pack M: 800 MB: 5.99 €, activation: Start DataPackMPlus
- Data Pack L: 4 GB: 9.99 €, activation: Start DataPackLPlus
- Data Pack XL: 13 GB: 19.99 €, activation: Start DataPackXLPlus
Recently, they added a daily rate to their portfolio. By texting "Start DayflatL" you get 25 GB for 24 hours in LTE Max priced at 4.99 € as an add-on.
All add-on packages also renew automatically, if there is enough balance and have not been stopped before. To stop all plans go online, through the app or text "Stop" instead of "Start" followed by the code to 5667.
Data-only SIM: O2 go Prepaid
This SIM has only data, no voice and is aimed at tablets and modems and generally not a good deal. It's sold in a separate starter pack which you may only find in O2 stores. It's called O2 go prepaid for 9.99 € with 500 MB valid for 6 months after activation. These packages can be activated for more data on up to 4G/LTE and only 21.4 Mbit/s:
|1 calendar day 0-24 hrs||500 MB||2.99 €|
|10 flexible calendar days||10 x 500 MB||19.99 €|
|1 month||300 MB||4.99 €|
|1.25 GB||14.99 €|
|6 GB||24.99 €|
|10 GB||34.99 €|
Activation is online through your O2 account. Having used up data quota, speed will be throttled to 64 Kbit/s.
- APN: it works with any, abroad sometime "internet" is needed
- Tethering and VoIP are allowed or remain at least unblocked
- VoLTE and VoWiFi are enabled
- More info (in German): http://www.o2online.de/
congstar (on Telekom)
Congstar is a subsidiary and secondary brand of Deutsche Telekom giving a less expensive alternative to access the Telekom network. They are on 2G and 4G/LTE up to 25 Mbit/s.
Congstar starter packs are labeled with Prepaid Allnet or "prepaid wie ich will" (prepaid the way I want). The other ones require a link to a SEPA bank account and are postpaid plans called Surf Mix or Smart Mix.
They can be also 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-Punkt) or other sales outlets. Purchase in a T-Punkt store has the advantage to have it registered there.
A starter pack costs 9.99 € and 10 € preloaded (= 5 € from the start, another 5 € after activation). You can top up by credit/debit card, PayPal. direct charge on a SEPA account or cash cards. Congstar prepaid SIM cards can be topped up with their own cash cards bought in the shops named above or any prepaid voucher of Telekom (Xtra Card) more widely available. SIM is valid for 15 months of the last top-up. To check your balance dial *100#.
You can register congstar in a Telekom store, if you buy it there. Otherwise through video verification (WebID and PostID) online and in postal agencies through PostIdent.
Data feature packages
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 Kbit/s, max. speed is 25 Mbit/s
You can choose between these plans valid for 28 days:
- Congstar wie ich will (congstar they way I want): fully customizable plans of minutes, SMS and 0-5 GB data:
|500 MB||3 €||100 mins/SMS:
+ 2 €
+ 4 €
|1 GB||5 €|
|3 GB||8 €|
|5 GB||15 €|
For more data, you can add speed-on packages for 28 days or short-term data passes:
- Speed-on: 500 MB: 3 €, 1 GB: 5 €, 3 GB: 8 € and 5 GB: 15 €
- Datenpässe: 10 GB for 24 hours: 5 €, 15 GB for 48 hours: 8 €, 20 GB for 7 days: 20 €
They also sell these three preconfigured combo packages with a 9.99 € start-up fee from which 5-10 € is refunded, valid for 28 days:
- Prepaid Basic S: 100 mins, 500 MB: 5 €, add-on: 200 MB: 4.90 €
- Prepaid Allnet M: unlimited mins, 3 GB: 10 €, add-ons: 500 MB 4.90 €, 1 GB 8.90 €
- Prepaid Allnet L: unlimited mins, 5 GB: 15 €, add-ons: 500 MB 4.90 €, 1 GB 8.90 €
All regular (not the addon) packages auto-renew, if not cancelled or changed before in your personal account.
All allowances can be used at domestic rates for roaming in the EU/EEA and the UK. In Switzerland data in domestic German packages is included, but not voice or SMS.
- Tethering and VoIP are allowed
- VoLTE and VoWiFi are enabled
- APN: internet.t-mobile
- Website (in German only): http://www.congstar.de
otelo (on Vodafone)
Otelo is a subsidiary and secondary brand of Vodafone and uses its network on 2G and 4G/LTE in up to 25 Mbit/s.
Their starter packs are available online on their website to be sent to a German postal address or offline in the electronic stores of EP: Electronic Parter, Euronics and other places like some service stations. The prepaid starter pack is called Handy-Karte for 4.95 € with 5 € credit on it.
Top-ups can be made with cash cards sold at the shops mentioned above or by Vodafone CallNow vouchers, even more widely available. SIM card and credit will stay valid for at least 12 months after your last top-up. Check balance by *100#.
Registration is made online here by entering your personal data. Verification is through WebID every day 7am-11pm over a video chat. Alternatively, you can go to a post office after having entered your data and print out a QR code (or by showing it on the phone) with your ID document.
Data feature packages
There is no base rate as you need to activate a plan with data to access internet. This is their prepaid tariff including voice, text and data or data-only for 28 days:
|Smart S||750 MB||100 units||4.95 €|
|Smart M||1 GB||200 units||6.95 €|
|Smart XL||3 GB||300 units||7.95 €|
|Smart XXL||5 GB||300 units||14.95 €|
|Internet XS||500 MB||3.95 €|
|Internet S||1 GB||4.95 €|
|Internet M||3 GB||9.95 €|
|Internet L||7 GB||19.95 €|
Units are minutes or SMS. Activation is by app, online account "mein otelo" or account server 12430. These add-on packages can be added for extra data valid for 14 days:
- 500 MB: 1.95 €
- 1 GB: 5.95 €
- 2 GB: 9.95 €
- 10 GB for 24 hours: 4.99 €
Data will be throttled for overuse to 64 Kbit/s. All plans auto-renew, extra data is not.
EU Roaming 
All included allowances can be used for roaming in the EU/EEA including the UK without surcharges at domestic rates. Switzerland is excluded.
- Tethering and VoIP works
- no VoLTE or VoWiFi
- APN for Handy Karte talk & data SIM: data.otelo.de
- Website in German only: http://www.otelo.de
Blau (on O2)
Blau used to be a MVNO of eplus and made a relaunch in 2015 as a subsidiary and secondary brand of Telefónica. Blau uses the network of O2. in 2G, 3G (until end of 2021) and 4G/LTE in up to 25 Mbit/s.
Blau starter packs can be found at a large number of retailers at many service stations, some supermarkets, the big electronic market chains and at most O2-branded stores too. Blau sells a variety of starter packs:
- Blau 9cent Starter: 9.99 € with 10 € credit in 9cent plan plus 10 MB data
- Blau Allnet S Starter: 9.99 € with 10 € credit in Allnet S plan
- Blau Allnet M Starter: 14.99 € with 15 € credit in Allnet M plan
- Blau Allnet L Starter: 19.99 € with 20 € credit in Allnet L plan
- Blau Surf M: 9.99 € with 10 € credit in Surf M plan
Their starter pack can be registered online by video chat (online available in German only) or by going to a post office for PostIdent. When you buy it in an O2 store, let them do the activation.
At many places mentioned reload vouchers can be bought. Any eplus voucher can be used or use bank transfer from every SEPA account for smaller amounts. Check credit by *100#, to top-up type *104*<voucher code>#. The SIM card is valid for intially 6 months and if you have topped it up by at least 2.50 € for 12 months.
Data feature packs
On Blau data by default outside of packages is 0.24 € per MB in 10 KB units. All packages last for 28 days. High-speed data will be used up to the specified limit, after reaching it, there will be a downgrade to GPRS/EDGE speed.
|Smart packs: Data, call & SMS bundles:|
|Allnet S||7.99 €||3 GB||unlimited|
|Allnet M||12.99 €||6 GB||unlimited|
|Allnet L||17.99 €||12 GB||unlimited|
|Surf XS||2.49 €||300 MB||-|
|Surf S||3.99 €||1 GB|
|Surf M||6.99 €||3 GB||-|
|Surf L||9.99 €||5 GB||-|
For the Surf line, they also sell a daily 24 hrs package of 10 GB at 4.99 €. All packages must be activated through your personal account. They will auto-renew, if not stopped. Combo and data-only packs can't be mixed. The data-only packages can only be added to a Surf plan.
For EU/EEA roaming Blau applies Roam like at Home principles on all plans and tariffs. The United Kingdom is still included, Switzerland is not.
- Tethering is allowed and VoIP is not blocked
- APN: it works with any
- Website in German: https://www.blau.de
This section shows the major supermarket brands in Germany. Many German retailers sell their own brand exclusively and they remain popular for the mass market. Buying a SIM card in a retailer store has some disadvantages: you can't be registered there and they will give you only minimal support on location if any. So better check, if this option applies to you. On a plus side, you will always have a place to top-up by vouchers there as long as you visit the same chain store.
The 8 most popular brands that are available nationwide are on:
There are other brands as well, but they only copy the plans of those mentioned above and are harder to find. The brands in this section are sorted in alphabetical order.
The mentioned brands are only available in the chain stores of the retailer, nowhere else, not even on the internet. They are often not on display, but only cards for the starter packs are placed close to cash register area. After purchase you will be given a SIM card, that's all. But this will be unactivated as long as you don't register it. Don't expect any specific support in a supermarket. You need to call phone support instead, that is not always available in English.
Registration can't be done at the place of purchase in the retail markets, but must be done later. That's why they are not a good option for an instant access to the internet. Generally, all mentioned brands offer two different ways for registration:
- online through a video chat. Here you first enter you personal data on the website of the provider (look for SIM freischalten, aktivieren or registrieren) and will be redirected to an employee in a video call when you need to show your ID document. For this you need a device with cam, mic and a stable internet connection. This option is normally available 8am-10pm and the swiftest way.
- on location in a post office. Here you first enter your personal data on the website of the provider (look for SIM freischalten, aktivieren or registrieren) and will be given a QR code to be shown in a post office together with your ID document. This code can be print out or shown on the phone. This way, activation is restricted to usual business hours of the post office and may take a little longer.
As a golden rule, you can always top-up your provider in the chain store where you have bought it. Most other providers can be topped up there too, but you need to know which voucher you need as only Telekom, Vodafone, eplus or O2 vouchers are sold (see above). These are usually no scratch cards, but Ladebons in form of an usual checkout receipt. It will be separate from the rest of your purchases. Don't throw it away as long as you haven't entered the long PIN code into your phone. Usual top-up values start at 15 € and go up to 50 €. Aldi and Lidl offer for their own brands a 5 € top-up option, that is only available in their own stores.
Aldi Talk (on O2)
Aldi Talk is the most popular supermarket brand in Germany available nationwide in all Aldi stores or online. It offers 2G up to EDGE, 3G up to HSPA+ (until the end of 2021) and 4G/LTE at max. 25 Mbit/s over the O2 network. Starter packs are sold for 9.99 € with 10 € balance preloaded. SIM management is done through mein Aldi online account or mein Aldi Talk app.
Top-ups are made through Aldi Talk or eplus vouchers by typing *104*<voucher PIN># or via SEPA bank account. Initial validity is 1 year and top-ups of 5 € give 4 months, of 15 € 12 months, and of 30 € or more 2 years of validity. Check it by *102# and balance check is by *100#.
- default data rate is a high 0.24 € per MB. So better add packages from the start.
- monthly packages all valid for 28 days:
|Pack||Price||Data||Calls / SMS|
|S||7.99 €||3 GB||unlimited|
|M||12.99 €||6 GB|
|L||17.99 €||12 GB|
|S||3.99 €||1 GB||-|
|M||6.99 €||3 GB||-|
|L||9.99 €||5 GB||-|
|XL||14.99 €||10 GB||-|
- daily packages add-on packages for 24 hours:
- 1 GB: 1.99 €
- 10 GB: 3.99 €
- add-on packages for extra data valid until the end of the base pack:
- 1 GB: 2.99 € for Combo S; Data S, M
- 2 GB: 4.99 € for Combo S, M, L; Data M, L
- 5 GB: 9.99 € for Combo M, L; Data L, XL
- 8 GB: 14.99 € for Combo L; Data XL
Activation is done 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 don't dial this code, ALDI will automatically try to activate a new data plan after expiration of the present one.
Aldi applies EU/EEA roaming with the UK, but not Switzerland included. For roaming in the EU/EEA/UK and Switzerland included they offer an add-on of 500 MB for 7 days at 4.99 €. This package can be activated online or by ALDI Talk app. When expired (by volume or time) it doesn't automatically renew, but can be activated again.
- APN: it works with any
- VoIP, VoLTE, VoWiFi and tethering enabled
- More information (in German): www.alditalk.de
Edeka smart (on Telekom)
In 2018 retail chain Edeka changed networks from Edeka mobil on Vodafone network to their new brand Edeka smart on Telekom network in 2G and 4G/LTE up to 300 Mbit/s. They resell Telekom at slightly lower prices without 5G access. Edeka smart starters are sold in larger Edeka supermarkets (locator). eSIM is offered after having bought and activated a physical SIM through this link . Top-ups are sold in Edeka chain stores, use any Telekom voucher or top-up online. Credit and SIM card will stay alive for 1 year after the last top-up, balance check by *100#. SIM management is through online account or own app.
Default data rate is an excessive 1.49 € per day rate for 50 MB. These starters and recurring plans for 28 days are offered:
|Basic||day use||9c/min||free||9.95 € with 10 € credit|
|combi S||1 GB||50 mins||4.95 €||4.95 €|
|combi M||3 GB||200 mins||9.95 €||9.95 €|
|combi L||5 GB||300 mins||14.95 €||14.95 €|
|combi XL||8 GB||unlimited||24.95 €||24.95 €|
|combi MAX||unlimited||unlimited||94.95 €||94.95 €|
The same Speed-on add-ons as for Telekom Prepaid (see above) are offered and even the unlimited day flat can be added for 5.95 €. For all other details check Magenta Mobil Prepaid above, When volumes are used up, speed is throttled to 32 Kbit/s.
- APN: internet.telekom
- VoIP, VoLTE, VoWiFi and tethering enabled
- Website in German: https://www.edeka-smart.de/
ja! mobil / Penny mobil (on Telekom)
ja! mobil and Penny Mobil are two brands of the Rewe retail group with a very similar portfolio. Both operate on the Telekom network in 2G and 4G/LTE up to 25 Mbit/s. ja! mobil is sold by Rewe supermarkets and Toom hardware stores. Penny Mobil is sold in all branches of their discounter store chain called Penny. Starter packs are for 10 € with 5 € credit. Top-up vouchers can be found in every Penny, Rewe or Toom store or use any Telekom voucher. Unused SIM cards may be discontinued 12 months after last top-up.
During activation you have to choose a tariff plan between following options, all valid for 28 days:
|Easy*||SpeedOn*||9 ct/min||free||see remarks below|
|Basic||1 GB||100 mins||4.99 €||200 MB: 4.90 €|
|Smart||3 GB||unlimited||7.99 €||500 MB: 4.90 €
1 GB: 8.90 €
|Smart Plus||6 GB||unlimited||12.99 €|
|Smart Max||12 GB||unlimited||19.99 €|
|Data||5.5 GB||no voice||14.99 €|
(*) For the Easy Plan you need to add data for 4 weeks: 500 MB: 2.99 €, 1 GB: 3.99 €, 3 GB: 6.99 €, 5 GB: 12.99 €. For extra data you can add to 500 MB a SpeedOn S, 1 GB SpeedOn M and 3 or 5 GB SpeedON L Pack (see table right column).
To all options a short-time Datenpass can be added to be activated on their website: www.datapass.de
- 10 GB for 24 hours: 5 €
- 15 GB for 48 hours: 8 €
- 20 GB for 7 days: 20 €
Abroad you can use all included data all over the EU/EEA plus Switzerland and the UK without surcharges. Swiss roaming is only for data, not voice or SMS.
- APN: internet.t-mobile
- VoIP, VoLTE, VoWiFi and tethering enabled
- Website of ja! mobil in German: http://www.jamobil.de/
- Website of Penny Mobil in German: http://www.pennymobil.de/
Kaufland mobil (on Telekom)
In 2020 the retail chain Kaufland switched partners and changed from O2 to the Telekom network with their new brand called Kaufland mobil. It can't be mixed with the old K-Classic mobil. Speed is up to 25 Mbit/s on the Telekom 4G/LTE network.
Kaufland mobil is sold by Kaufland hypermarkets (Check Filialsuche on https://www.kaufland.de/#). Starter packs are for 9.99 € with 10 € credit preloaded. Top-up vouchers can be found in every Kaufland store, but no Telekom vouchers. Insert *133*<voucher PIN># or reload online by credit card or PayPal here. Check balance by *144#. Credit and SIM card stay valid for 1 year after the last top-up.
During activation you have to choose a tariff line. They offer the following combo plans for 28 days:
|Smart XS||1 GB||100 mins||4.99 €||200 MB: 5 €|
|Smart S||3 GB||unlimited||7.99 €||500 MB: 5 €
1 GB: 9 €
|Smart M||6 GB||unlimited||12.99 €|
|Smart L||12 GB||unlimited||19.99 €|
Speed is throttled to 64 kbit/s, when quota is used up. For add-ons text "Speed-on XS", M or L to 77733. To deactivate your option and check data balance, go online on your account.
(*) = The Basic plan can be added by one of these 4 data-only plans for 28 days;
- Surf-Flat S: 500 MB - 3 €
- Surf-Flat M: 1 GB - 5 €
- Surf-Flat L: 3 GB - 8 €
- Surf-Flat XL: 5 GB - 15 €
To activate text "Surf-Flat #" to 77733 where # stands for size. By their "Messaging-Option" to 77733 you can add 1 GB for free at 32 kbit/s to be used for messengers. All included data can be used all over the EU/EEA plus Switzerland und the UK without surcharges. Swiss roaming is only for data, not voice or SMS.
- APN: internet.t-mobile
- VoIP, VoLTE, VoWiFi and tethering enabled
- Website of Kaufland mobil in German: https://www.kaufland-mobil.de/
Lidl Connect (on Vodafone)
In 2015 Lidl changed network partners for their new brand Lidl Connect "powered by" Vodafone network in 2G and 4G/LTE capped at 25 Mbit/s. Starter packs are available in all Lidl discounter stores (store locator) sold at 9.95 € with 10 € credit. Top-up by credit card online (some foreign cards may not be accepted) or vouchers sold at Lidl discounter stores or any Vodafone cash card called 'Call now'. To top-up by voucher, type *100*<voucher PIN>#. To check account balance, type *100#. SIM management is through your personal account called "Mein Kundenkonto", or their app. Initial SIM and credit validity is for 12 months. A top-up of 5 € gives 6 more months, of 15 € and more 12 months of validity.
There is no data use outside of packages. As monthly bundles they offer combo packs or data-only bundles valid for 28 days:
|Package||Price||Data||Calls / SMS||Speed Buckets|
|combo packages with data, voice and SMS|
|Smart XS||4.99 €||1 GB||100 mins/SMS||500 MB: 0.99 €|
|Smart S||7.99 €||3 GB||unlimited||1 GB: 2.99 €|
|Smart L||12.99 €||6 GB||unlimited||2.5 GB: 4.99 €|
|Smart XL||17.99 €||12 GB||unlimited||5 GB: 8.99 €|
|Data S||750 MB||2.99 €||250 MB: 0.99 €|
|Data M||3 GB||6.99 €||1 GB: 2.99 €|
|Data L||5 GB||9.99 €||2.5 GB: 4.99 €|
|Data XL||10 GB||14.99 €||6 GB: 9.99 €|
Combo and data-only packages auto-renew. Speed-buckes stop when depleted or their base pack has run out and won't auto-renew. Speed Buckets are valid for 14 days only, not for 28 days. Having reached the included data volume, speed will be throttled to 64 kbit/s otherwise.
To all packages (including Basic) you can add these three extra packages:
- 10 GB for 24 hours: 4.99 €
- 500 MB for 28 days: 3.99 €
- 1 GB for 28 days: 6.99 €
All allowances can be used for roaming in the EU/EEA without surcharges. The UK is still included, Switzerland is not.
- APN: web.vodafone.de
- Tethering and VoIP calls are enabled, VoLTE is starting, but no VoWiFi
- Website: http://www.lidl-connect.de
NettoKOM (on O2)
NettoKOM is the prepaid brand of Netto discounter markets in Germany. There are two chains called Netto: this SIM is only sold by Netto Markendiscount without the dog in their logo. It's run on the network of O2 with 2G, 3G (until the end of 2021) and 4G/LTE up to 25 Mbit/s. They sell two starters:
- NettoKOM Basic: 9.99 € with 10 € credit in Basic plan (data at 0.24 € per MB)
- NettoKOM Smart S: 9.99 € with Smart S plan (see below) and 10 € credit included
At many places reload vouchers can be bought. Any eplus or blau voucher can be used or make a bank transfer from a SEPA account for smaller values; while Aldi and O2 vouchers won't work. Check credit by *100#, to top-up by code, type *104*<voucher code>#. Credit and SIM card will stay valid for 12 months after the last top-up.
On NettoKOM data by default is at high 0.24 € per MB. All packages last for 28 days. When given high-speed data limit is reached, there will be a downgrade to 56 Kbit/s:
|Combo packs: Data, Call & SMS bundles (Spar-Paket)|
|Smart S||7.99 €||3 GB||unlimited|
|Smart M||12.99 €||6 GB||unlimited|
|Smart L||19.99 €||12 GB||unlimited|
|Internet-Flat S||7.99 €||3 GB|
|Internet-Flat M||12.99 €||6 GB|
|Internet-Flat L||17.99 €||12 GB|
All packages are auto-renewed at the end of the month. To stop call 1155 and dial 83. For more data you can add 1 GB for 2.99 €, 2 GB for 4.99 € or 5 GB for 9.99 € running for the remaining period of base package.
"Roam like at home" principles for EU/EEA roaming at domestic rates are employed. The UK is still included, but Switzerland is not.
- APN: it works with any
- NettoKOM website in German: http://www.nettokom.de/
Tchibo mobil (on O2)
Tchibo mobil is the brand of Germany's leading coffee roaster store chain and one of the oldest MVNOs in Germany. It operates on the O2 network in 2G, 3G (until the end of 2021) and 4G/LTE up to 25 MBit/s. They are not sold in all supermarkets or bakeries with a Tchibo section, but mostly in own branded Tchibo stores. To be sure in this store locator, you need to look for own branded Tchibo stores, indicated by a golden coffee bean on a blue background. Most Tchibo stores can actually register SIM cards, but are often not familiar with foreign passports.
You need to buy a starter set in Prepaid Tarif, not in Smartphone Tarif or Tablet Tarif as the two latter are postpaid and you need to have a German bank account. Only the prepaid tariff stays prepaid all the time and you can add all packages later. Starter price is 9.99 € with 10 € credit loaded. To top-up you can use Tchibo vouchers from 10 € sold in Tchibo stores, O2 cash cards from 15 € sold in many more places or through a SEPA bank transfer. Enter code by *103*<voucher PIN>#. Check balance by *101#. If you haven't used your SIM card for more than 12 months, it may get discontinued.
Default rate is high 0.24 € per MB. Tchibo offers these combo or data packages valid for 28 days:
|Combo packs - Data, text and call bundles:|
|Smart S||7.99 €||1 GB||unlimited|
|Smart M||9.99 €||3 GB||unlimited|
|Smart L||14.99 €||6 GB||unlimited|
|Smart XL||19.99 €||10 GB||unlimited|
|Data S||9.99 €||4 GB||9 ct/min|
|Data M||14.99 €||7 GB||9 ct/min|
|Data L||19.99 €||12 GB||9 ct/min|
Data beyond included allowance is throttled to 64 Kbits/s. Activation is made through app, online account or by *104#. Tchibo offers also a daily rate with 10 GB for 24 hours at 4.99 €. Data upsizes can be made up to three times per month and run until the month is over by app or call center: 300 MB for 2.99 €, 1 GB for 4.99 € or 3 GB for 9.99 €.
All allowances can be used all over the EU/EEA at domestic rates. The UK is still included, Switzerland is not.
- APN: it works with any
- More info: https://www.tchibo.de/prepaid-tarif-c400035511.html
This section is devoted to providers that are aimed at immigrants, foreign workers or expats who still have strong connections to their old home. Special ethno providers offer not only cheaper IDD call rates, but also a competitive offer for the German market. Telefónica has two brands: ay yildiz caters mainly for people of Turkish origin, home of Germany's largest immigrant population, while ortel mobil caters for a broader international audience. The usual two UK-based providers Lebara and Lycamobile are active in Germany too.
The below mentioned brands are often sold in special stores, independent phone outlets, internet cafés or other meeting points of the immigrant population. These tend to be found in inner city areas. You can easily spot them by their logo displayed on the outside. Support varies in these stores from nil to expert level and depends on store and luck.
In these stores they are accustomed to rare ID documents or undocumented foreigners. So for some of them may find a solution found there. Adding to the usual ways of registration over the internet via video call or in a post office, many local stores offer registration on location. Ask before purchase, if they are really able to register you and how long it takes, when you need to go online instantly.
You can top-up your provider in the local store, where you have bought it. Their vouchers are rarely to be found, but all of them can be topped up online by credit/debit card.
ay yildiz (on O2)
ay yildiz (meaning moon and star) is aimed at the Turkish market in Germany. It's now part of Telefónica and uses the network of O2 in 2G, 3G (until the end of 2021) and 4G/LTE in up to 25 Mbit/s.
Starters are available from many kiosks at railway stations, service stations or small stores catering for Turkish migrants. They can also be ordered online to be sent to a German postal address. They are sold for 9.99 € giving 7.50 € credit and another one-time bonus of 2.50 €, if you top up by 15 € or more. Top-ups can be made using eplus or Aldi Talk vouchers, online by registering your debit/credit card or by bank transfer from a SEPA account. Check balance by typing *100#. To top up by code, type *104*<voucher code>#. Validity is for 6 months after last top-up and can be checked by *102#.
Their prepaid line is called aystar. Default data rate is a high 0.29 € per MB. These monthly packages are valid for 28 days:
|Combo packs: Data & call bundles|
|Smart S||9.99 €||3 GB||200 mins||6 €|
|Smart M||14.99 €||6 GB||400 mins||9 €|
|Smart L||19.99 €||9 GB||unlimited||15 €|
|Smart XXL||24.99 €||15 GB||unlimited||20 €|
|Smart Max||34,99 €||25 GB||unlimited|
|4.99 €||1.5 GB||-||3 €|
|9.99 €||4 GB||-||6 €|
|14.99 €||7 GB||-||9 €|
|19.99 €||11 GB||-||15 €|
|29.99 €||20 GB||-||25 €|
|39.99 €||30 GB||-|
Included calls in combo packages are to all German lines and Turkish landlines. When included data volume is used up, speed will be throttled to 56 kbit/s. You can reset data for more high speed data for the given rates. To activate any package, use their app or go to your personal account. All monthly packages auto-renew after 28 days, if there is credit. Alternatively, you can add 1 GB for 4.99 €, 3 GB for 9.99 €, 6 GB for 14.99 € or 12 GB for 19.99 € for extra data. They also offer two day tickets for 24 hours to be added with 10 GB for 4.99 € or 20 GB for 7.49 €.
Abroad, EU/EEA roaming is given out for all volumes without surcharges. As one of the few providers in Germany, Switzerland, Andorra, the UK and Monaco remain within the surcharge-free EU zone of ay yildiz. They also offer special roaming packages to be used Turkey on Türk Telekom valid for 30 days:
- 1 GB in Turkey: 9.99 €
- 2 GB in Turkey: 14.99 €
- 4 GB in Turkey: 24.99 €
Turkey roaming packages can be activated multiple times online and skip Turkish censorship. In summer 2021 these data volumes were doubled as a promotion. So check before going to Turkey.
- APN: it works with any
- VoIP, tethering, VoLTE and VoWiFi are all enabled
- Website (in German and Turkish only): http://www.ayyildiz.de
Lebara (on Telekom)
Lebara (formerly called Lebara mobile) from the UK operates on Telekom network in 2G and 4G/LTE in up to 18 Mbit/s. SIM card is sold online to be sent to a German postal address or offline at many outlets (store locator) for free. 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 online what Lebara calls Web ID or go to a post office.
To top-up you can buy one of their special vouchers or add 10€, 20€ or 30€ by credit card online. Check balance by *141#. Note that its activity period is only for about 3 months plus a grace period of 20 days. So if you don't use the card for 3 months or longer, it will be deactivated.
Data by default is 0.19 € per MB. Lebara offers a lot of different bundles. Because of limited space, we only show data bundles valid for 28 days:
|2.5 GB||9.99 €||DATAS|
|5 GB||14.99 €||DATAM|
|7.5 GB||19.99 €||DATAL|
|14 GB||29.99 €||DATAXL|
|25 GB||49.99 €||DATAXXL|
|50 GB||79.99 €||DATA3L|
After texting the activation code to 55255, confirm by sending JA to 55255. Speed is throttled after having reached quota to 64 kbit/s. Package will renew itself after 28 days, if there is credit. To unsubscribe text 'HALTDATA<size>' to 55255 at least 24 hours before expiration. All packages can only be activated only once per month, but these add-ons are can be added to all packages:
- 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. For talk, text and data, they offer combo tariffs as well as special IDD packages for certain countries.
In the EU/EEA Roam like at home is applied to all allowances without surcharges. Unlike other brands on the Telekom network, Switzerland is excluded, but the UK remains included for now. For cheap roaming in Turkey they offer two packs on Turkcell network there (bypassing local censorship):
- 1 GB in Turkey: 9.99 €, activation: TURPASS1
- 2 GB in Turkey: 14.99 €, acitvation: TURPASS2
- APN: internet.t-d1.de
- VoIP and tethering are possible, but not VoLTE or VoWiFi
- Website in English: https://mobile.lebara.com/de/en/
Lycamobile (on Vodafone)
Lycamobile from the UK is the main competitor of Lebara and operates on the Vodafone network on 2G and 4G/LTE in up to 42.2 Mbit/s. SIM card is sold online to be sent to a German postal address or offline at many outlets (store locator) for free without credit. Registration and verification is done in their stores by showing your ID document (click on Registration). There and at service stations, supermarkets and kiosks, you can find Lyca's reload vouchers starting at 10 €. You can try to top-up online on your account by credit card, because some (but not all) international cards are accepted. As a last resort you can also use PayPal or a PaySafeCard or swap credit from other Lycamobile SIM cards even of a different country for a surcharge. Balance check is by *131#.
High 0.15 € per MB is charged as default rate, if no data bundle is activated or all data is used up. They offer many different bundles. We only show here the data bundles valid for 28 days because of limited space:
|4 GB||all||9.99 €||*139*11000#|
|7 GB||all||14.99 €||*139*13000#|
|11 GB||all||19.99 €||*139*15000#|
|20 GB||17 GB||29.99 €||*139*15100#|
|30 GB||22.5 GB||39.99 €||*139*25100#|
|50 GB||45 GB||79.99 €||*139*50100#|
Lycamobile will automatically renew your bundle after 28 days. To cancel the auto-renewal dial *190# before the expiry date and follow the instructions or call Customer Service for free on 322 before the expiry date. Speed will be throttled after having reached the quota to 56 Kbit/s. Only one of the bundles above can be activated per month. For more data, they offer add-on packages, which can be added to the running packages above. Note that extra volume is only valid for the running time of the base package and won't roll over:
- 500 MB: 6 €, activation: *139*115002#
- 2 GB: 9 € , activation: *139*110002#
- 5 GB: 14.99 €, activation: *139*130002#
- 10 GB: 19.99 €, activation: *139*150002#
On add-on packs no EU cap applies. A new base bundle can only be activated 28 days past the old one. Aside from data only-bundles, they offer combo bundles, bundles for 3, 6 and 12 months and bundles with IDD mins to certain countries. VoIP is allowed except using the Lebara Talk app. Mobile hotspot use seems not to be allowed and effectively blocked. They are known to sniff and kill tethering connections.
Abroad, Lycamobile customers can use their bundle allowances while roaming in EE/EEA including the UK. Unlike most other providers in Germany, these are governed by a strict Fair Use Policy (FUP). You can only use up to the limit shown as EU cap in the table, while smaller packs, add-on packs and the default rate give all their domestic volume without surcharges in EU countries.
- APN: data.lycamobile.de
- Username: lmde (lowercase L, not capital i)
- Password: plus
- VoIP is allowed, but not the Lebara Talk app, tethering remains blocked; VoLTE and VoWifi are not enabled
- Website in English: https://www.lycamobile.de/en/
ortel mobile (on O2)
Ortel Mobile is another brand of Telefonica aimed at migrants, not only the Turkish market like ay yildiz. It uses the o2 network on 2G, 3G (until the end of 2021) and 4G/LTE in up to 25 Mbit/s. Ortel mobile starter is sold at airports, service stations, some supermarkets, O2-branded stores and in inner cities at small shops targeting immigrants and migrant workers or online to be sent to a German postal address. Different starters are offered:
- Freikarte = free SIM without any allowances only available online
- SIM card with 10 € credit: 9.95 € and another bonus of 10 € for the first top-up
- Internet Starter with 4 GB data: 9.95 €
- World Starter with 3 GB and 200 mins: 9.95 €
To top-up use eplus vouchers sold everywhere. Online top-ups by credit card or PayPal have been disabled, but can be made through agencies. Note that ortel reserves the right to discontinue any SIM card that hasn't been used for the last three months, but normally gives you 6 months after the last top-up.
Default rate is the usual overpriced 0.25 € per MB (in 10 KB units). These packages are available for 20 days:
|Combo packs - Data & Call bundles:|
|Smart World S||9.99 €||3 GB||200 mins *||SMARTWORLD S|
|Smart World L||19.99 €||8 GB||250 mins *||SMARTWORLD L|
|Smart World XL||29.99 €||15 GB||unlimited*||SMARTWORLD XL|
|Smart World XXL||39.99 €||25 GB||unlimited*||SMARTWORLD XXL|
|All-Net S||14.99 €||5 GB||unlimited||ALLNETS|
|All-Net M||19.99 €||9 GB||unlimited||ALLNETM|
|All-Net L||24.99 €||15 GB||unlimited||ALLNETL|
|9.99 €||4 GB||-||STARTDATAS|
|14.99 €||7 GB||-||STARTDATAM|
|19.99 €||11 GB||-||STARTDATAL|
|29.99 €||20 GB||-||STARTDATAXL|
|39.99 €||30 GB||-||STARTDATAXXL|
|79.99 €||50 GB||STARTDATAMEGA|
(*) = These calls are to all networks of Germany and Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, Pakistan, Puerto Rico, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, USA and landlines of Kazakhstan, Russia and Slowenia.
For activation, text code to 55300. When included volume is used up, speed will be throttled to 56 kbps. 'All packages don't include SMS. All monthly packages auto-renew if there is credit and not stopped. This can be done online on your account. For extra data, you activate the same package again ahead of time or add 1 GB for 4.99 €, 3 GB for 9,99 €, 6 GB for 14.99 € or 12 GB for 19.99 € by texting 'START MEHR#GB' to 55300 with # as volume. They also offer two day packages valid for 24 hours with 10 GB for 4.99 € or 20 GB for 7.49 €, activation by texting 'STARTDATATICKET#' with # as S or L to 55300.
Roam like home with roaming at domestic rates in EU/EEA countries is valid for all allowances and packages. The UK is included at least until the end of 2021.
- APN: it works with any
- Website mostly in English (only your account is in German only): http://www.ortelmobile.de/
Finally two special offers are presented, that are in breach of our usual policy of this wiki of not including online-only offers and non-prepaid offers: netzclub is a Freemium offer and can be an option for users, who only need very little data. Funk by Freenet boasts an unlimited daily rate somewhere between pre- and postpaid with a unique layout. Both are accessible to foreigners with some tricks.
netzclub (on O2)
Netzclub is a free ad-sponsored SIM card with a 200 MB high speed volume per month without any charge. As a subsidiary of Telefónica, it uses the O2 network in speed up to 25 Mbit/s on 2G, 3G (until the end of 2021) and 4G/LTE. After reaching 200 MB a throttle is activated at 64 Kbit/s. Netzclub is based on the Freemium model. A basic allowance is given out for free, in the hope that you purchase more for pay.
Order and registration are only done online, because this SIM isn't sold offline in any stores. It will be sent to a German postal address free of charge within 5-7 days up to one SIM per person and a maximum of 3 SIMs per household (same last name and address). Change the option from SEPA bank transfer to top-up using vouchers (called Aufladung mit O2 Guthabenkarte) during the registration process to order the card without a bank account and mandatory first payment. To register the SIM card you need to use video ID or go to a German post office with your ID document.
You'll have to be willing to accept some ad mails to the given email account and some advertisement 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. They offer two starter plans valid for 28 days:
- Sponsored Surf Basic 2.0 with 200 MB per month for free
- Hero: with 2.5 GB and 200 units as minutes or SMS: 9.95 €
There is no need to have credit to use the free 200 MB data per month. To top up use O2 vouchers from 15 € or Tchibo cashcards from 10 €. To use SEPA bank transfer (starting from 0.01 €), check this site (in German). The SIM card and credit are valid for 8 years as long as you are willing to receive ads.
When the 200 MB free data quota is used up, you can continue to use it at a much slower speed (@ 64 kBit/s) for free or add one of these options valid for 30 days: 500 MB: for 6.95 €, 1 GB for 9.95 € or 3 GB for 14.95 €. Take care, if you choose these packages with auto-renewal. This may be a bad deal in the long term: the monthly pack renews every month as long you have enough credit and overrides the free data allowance in the next month. To discontinue you have to call customer service +49176 888 93939 or simply be low on credit to prevent auto-renewal.
As long as you receive advertisement mails and SMS' your unused credit has an unlimited validity, which is unique for German prepaid SIM cards. If you choose not to use the card anymore, you can have your outstanding credit transferred to a SEPA bank account. All allowances can be used in EU/EEA roaming too at domestic rates including the UK, even the free sponsored rate.
- APN: pinternet.interkom.de
- Tethering and VoIP are not blocked anymore, VoLTE and VoWiFi are enabled
- More info (in German): https://www.netzclub.net
Freenet Funk (on O2)
Freenet Funk hit the German market in 2019 and provided a totally new tariff model similar to Swype in Switzerland. It has a daily rate for real unlimited data based on a calendar day and is linked to a PayPal account. It's one of these new hybrid offers between pre- and postpaid as a daily debit will be charged on your PayPal account. As foreigners can get it too with some tricks, as long as you have a PayPal account, we show it here as an exception. It's offered by mobile provider Freenet on the O2 network in 2G, 3G (until the end of 2021) and 4G in up to 225 Mbit/s.
The first obstacle is the ordering of the SIM card which is available online only. As this offer is totally app-based, you need to download the Funk app from Google or Apple store. Users outside Germany may notice, that the app is absent from their stores. That's why you need to get the app from other sources there. The SIM card can only be ordered to a German postal address, making it inconvenient for usual travelers. But it may remain an option, if you have a friend or local address or stay for longer in the country. You can also employ a mail forwarding service to get the SIM card abroad, eSIM is not offered. Delivery in Germany usually takes 2-3 working days and SIM card must be activated in the upcoming 4 weeks.
Funk is formally considered postpaid, not prepaid - they call it PayPal-paid. That's why the usual prepaid registration process with ID documents doesn't apply and you are supposed to be verified by your PayPal account, which you need to link to your Funk SIM. All management is done through their app, which is quite graphic. 10 € are charged only for activation, while order and delivery is free. Two options are offered:
- for 0.69 € per day: max. 1 GB (overuse: throttled to 64 kbit/s)
- for 0.99 € per day: unlimited data
Both rates include unlimited domestic calls and texts and can be switched everyday by app. It will be charged day by day on your PayPal account, if not stopped. You can pause anytime by app. If you stop for more than 30 days per calendar year, you will be charged a non-activity fee of 0.29 € per day making this option unsuitable for occasional users. Tethering and VoIP is allowed, VoLTE and Wifi calling is enabled.
Abroad, EU/EEA roaming rules apply and you can use up to 1 GB per day in the union including the UK, irrespective of your tariff option. Outgoing calls and texts are blocked abroad as well as IDD calls and texts from Germany, but incoming calls and texts can be received in the EU. You can terminate anytime your SIM contract by app.
- APN: it works with any
- VoIP, tethering (but officially no "stationary use") are allowed, VoLTE and WiFi calling are enabled
- More info (in German): https://www.freenet-funk.de/