Deutsche Telekom (formely T-Mobile) Edit
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 prepaid products for 4G/LTE.
The magenta-coloured Xtra Cards used to be sold all over the country. In September 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 can be activated in Telekom Shops or online on their website and can't be switched between the lines.
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.
MagentaMobil Start (voice, SMS and data) Edit
Their new voice and data SIM card has been opened for 4G/LTE. It comes with a base rate and includes all calls within the Telekom network and to one specified domestic landline number. For data you can choose among these tariffs below in up to 300 Mbit/s on 4G/LTE:
- XS: without data for 28 days: 2.95 €. For data you can book their Handy DayFlat: this is their pre-enabled default rate. 0.99 € for only 25 MB within 24 hours. Then speed will be throttled to 64 Kbit/s or you can buy another package for the same price.
- S: 100 MB for 28 days: 4.95 €
- M: 500 MB for 28 days: 9.95 €
- L: 1 GB for 28 days: 14.95 €
Packages renew themselves and can be booked 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 for extra spreed for 31 days: Add-on XS with 100 MB at 1.95 € only for S plans, Add-on S with 250 MB at 4.95 €, M with 500 MB at 7.95 € and L with 750 MB at 9.95 € only for M and L plans.
In October 2016 Telekom added two new features to its prepaid SIM for the S, M and L plans and to all Data Start plans for hotspot use and EU data roaming:
- you can now 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.
- data roaming in all countries of the EU/EEA mostly in 4G/LTE is now included at German rates and taken from your domestic package allowances. For overuse, you will be throttled to 64/16 Kbps on roaming too. Note, that most calls and SMS within the roaming area are not included as they are with Vodafone (see below).
Data Start (data-only) Edit
Their data-only product is aimed at modems, tablets and routers. It contain text or voice at a higher price and can't be switched from a voice SIM card. It has been opened to 4G/LTE 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 three data options:
- Flat S: 500 MB in 24 hours: 2.95 €
- Flat M: 750 MB in 7 days: 9.95 €
- Flat L: 1 GB in 30 days: 14.95 €
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. Free Telekom hotspot use and EU data roaming without surcharges (see above) is now added too.
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
- APN: internet.t-mobile
- To check credit, type *100# <call>
- Website: http://www.t-mobile.de (in German only)
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 stay on 2G and 3G only so far, no 4G/LTE yet.
The new starters are labeled with "prepaid wie ich will" = prepaid the way I want it. 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. Offline, starters are available at the shops of Deutsche Telekom, some outlets of the drugstore chains of Rossmann, dm and Müller, the supermarkets of extra, real, Kaufland, Netto, Penny and many service stations and kiosks. Be aware that some of these stores may not have Congstar products in stock.
The starter pack costs 9.99 € with mini/micro or nano SIM and 10 € preloaded (= 5 € from the start, another 5 € after activation). For registration, you need to go online and use Google Translate.
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#.
Default Data Rate Edit
There is no data from the start. The first time you connect to the net, you will be directed to http://datapass.de, where you can set your plan. Two default rates are offered:
- messaging option for free: Max. 32 Kbit/s (both downstream and upstream), up to 1 GB per month, then further throttled to 2 Kbit/s.
- Surf Tagesflat = day "flat" for 0.99 €: for 24 hrs at 7.2/1.4 Mbit/s, throttled beyond already 25 MB to 64/16 Kbit/s, but no charge if you don't use data on any given day.
Data Feature Packs Edit
Online on your personal account or the datapass.de site, you can customize with a monthly data package:
- 100 MB: 2 €
- 300 MB: 4 €
- 500 MB: 8 €
These bundles have a max speed of 7.2 Mbit/s. All three bundles can be doubled in volume to 200, 600 or 1000 MB and in speed from to 14.2 Mbit/s by adding a Datenturbo add-on for 5 € per month.
After depleting the data quota, speeds are reduced to 64 Kbit/s downlink and 16 Kbits/s uplink. But you can upsize even several times per month: the 100/200 MB bundle with another 100 MB, the 300/600 MB bundle with another 200 MB and the 500/1000 MB bundle with another 300 MB for 4.90 € each with the Speed on add-on.
All regular packages auto-renew if not cancelled or changed before in your personal account.
Internet Stick / Surf Card Edit
Alternatively, congstar sells USB dongles (= internet sticks) with an own tariff line and the same tariff without hardware as Surf Card. It can be used in phones too and also has voice. It's sold online or at the stores named above, but is often hard to find, especially without a modem.
The USB stick is a SIM-locked ZTE MF190 and sold with the SIM for 29.90 € including 10 € credit. The SIM-only "Surf Card" for 9.90 € with 5 € included. This tariff can not be changed to a regular line.
Default rate is a 24 hour daily rate for 2.49 € and 500 MB included. Beyond this quota, speed will be throttled form 7.2 Mbit/s to 16 kbit/s. You can add two monthly packages:
- 1 GB: 12.90 €
- 3 GB: 19.90 €
VoIP (Skype, WhatsApp calls...) Edit
Congstar has a strange dual policy about VoIP. On its voice 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 like Cyberghost.
In contrast to that, on all data-only plans like the surf card packages VoIP is now officially supported and proved to be working.
More Information Edit
- Website (in German only): http://www.congstar.de
- for online purchase, payment must be made by direct debit to a German bank account. Credit cards and non-EU accounts are not accepted; not having one of these, buy in stores by cash
- Blackberry use and P2P are not allwowed
- Tethering is allowed
ja! mobil and Penny Mobil Edit
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 good Telekom network in 2G and 3G only and are managed by Congstar which is their official MVNO provider.
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 get the Prepaid Start package, not Prepaid Smart package.
Top-up vouchers can be found in every Penny, Rewe or Toom store or just use any Telekom voucher like cash&carry cards available everywhere.
Starter packs can be registered online or by phone:
- for Penny: http://www.pennymobil.de/aktivierung.html, 0180 5 588656
- for ja! mobil: http://www.jamobil.de/aktivierung.html, 0180 6 010257
Both websites are only in German, so you may use Google Translate. Phone lines for activation are only open Mon-Sat 7am-9pm and cost 0.20-0.60 € per call.
During activation you have to choose a tariff line. For data choose "ja! mobil data" or "Penny Mobil data". All the options below are only for this line. It can't be changed later anymore but it has voice and text too.
Data Feature Packs Edit
Default rate is the daily rate: 1.95 € for 500 MB on a calendar day (0-24 hrs). Speed is up to 7.2/1.4 Mbps, using more data, speed will be reduced to 64/16 kbps. There is no charge when you don't connect to the web. This is the cheapest daily "flatrate" on the Telekom network available in Germany right now. Furthermore, a monthly rate is available:
- Monats Daten Flat: 3 GB, 14.95 €
- Speed-on: 500 MB add-on for Monats Daten Flat, 4.90 €, can be booked several times
Speed is up to 7.2 Mbps, then throttled to 64/16 kbps. Packages and add-ons can be booked online in your "service world" (= personal account) or by calling customer support at 6250. Monthly packages will renew if there is enough credit and not deactivated as shown above.
is allowed, but VoIP, peer to peer and Blackberry use are officially banned
SIM sizes Edit
mini, micro and nano SIM are available
More information Edit
- Telekom actively blocks VoIP
Lebara mobile Edit
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.
Their SIM card is sold online to be sent to a German postal address or offline at many outlets (store locator) for free. Registration can be made online switch to English or by calling 5588 from Lebara.
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#.
Data feature packs Edit
Data by default is 0.19 € per MB. Better add one of these monthly data bundles:
|unlimited @ 64 kBit/s||3.99 EUR||text CHATFLAT to 55255|
|500 MB||7.99 EUR||text DATA500 to 55255|
|1 GB||9.99 EUR||text DATA1000 to 55255|
|3 GB||14.99 EUR||text DATA3000 to 55255|
|5 GB||19.99 EUR||text DATA5000 to 55255|
|10 GB||29.99 EUR||text DATA10GB to 55255|
After sending the activation code, confirm by sending JA to 55255. Speed is up to 7.2 Mbit/s, throttled after the quota to 64 kbit/s, while their 'Chatflat' remains at that speed all the time. Package will renew itself after one month 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.
- APN: internet.t-d1.de (on iOS it can be set only via installing an app which sets up a profile)
More information Edit
- website in English
- nactivity period is only about 6 months, e.g. if you don't use the card for 6 months or longer, it will be deactivated.
- Tethering is allowed according to this site, but VoIP remains blocked (see Telekom above).