There are now only three network operators left in Germany:
Deutsche Telekom (formerly known as T-Mobile)
o2 (owned by Telefónica) currently merging with E-Plus (acquired by Telefónica) - see below:
E-Plus was acquired by Telefónica, owner of o2, in 2014 to join and become one single network. So far Telefónica merged both networks either by national roaming between them or by network integration of E-Plus into o2. Both networks are planned to be fully merged and all of E-Plus switched off or over in 2017.
All other offers mentioned below are MVNOs of one of the 3 network operators above. MVNOs are particularly popular for prepaid in Germany and are mostly cheaper than the MNOs. They now have a market share of more than 40% which is amongst the highest in the world.
2G and 3G: GSM up to EDGE speed is on 900 and 1800 MHz, 3G is on 2100 MHz like in most of Europe. Almost the entire country is covered by 2G. 3G/UMTS up to DC-HSDPA+ speed is available in most of the populated areas with some blank patches left in the countryside.
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).
The most convenient way to purchase a SIM card for a visitor is to go to one of the big supermarket, drugstore, service station or electronic market chains and look for the providers described below. MVNOs tend to be generally cheaper than their MNOs:
on Telekom: congstar, Lebara mobile, ja!mobil, Penny Mobil and more
on Vodafone: Otelo, Fyve, EDEKA mobil, Lycamobile, LIDL Connect and more
on o2 (and former E-Plus): ALDI Talk, Blauworld, NettKOM, Ortel mobile, WhatsApp SIM, AyYildiz, FONIC, NetzClub and more
Most SIM cards can also be used for phone calls and text messages. Data-only SIMs are rare in Germany. The standard voice rate is around 9 ct per minute for a domestic call (to mobile or landline) and about 9 ct for a domestic SMS.
By law, all SIM cards need to be registered first to be activated. Registration is not often done in shops but online or by phone. But this may pose a problem: Remember, you don't have a working phone or internet access yet! Additionally, there are still few open WiFis in the country. Phone activation can be tricky too, because of the language. Online registration is usually in German only, but possible with the help of an online translator. Look for the words registrieren or freischalten on their website and keep phone and SIM numbers ready.
Foreign addresses are usually not accepted, so use any German address instead, as your personal data will mostly not be verified. But you need to give a valid German street address: name + street name + house number + postal code + city. If you do not have a German address, use your name with c/o name and address of someone else, e.g. the hotel you'll stay. Registration can take some minutes up to a few hours, until your SIM card finally connects with the network. You may need to switch off and on your device to connect.
Update 2016: Right now, only two operators Fonic and Lidl Connect are verifiying your given address by sending you a letter. If you want to use your SIM card for longer and have given an address where you can't be verfied choose another provider instead.
The government plans to change this validation process as online registrations have led to many fake SIM accounts. A new registration scheme with showing an ID card or passport is intended, but not yet finally implemented. So be prepared to show your documents at the point of purchase in the future.
Tethering is usually allowed with all the shown offers below, except the free ad-sponsored SIM of Netzclub and Lycamobile. Some providers don't supply a profile for the iPhone, but don't block it otherwise. VoIP calls are officially allowed only by o2 and some of its MVNOs. Other operators like Vodafone still officially ban them in their T&Cs without any real consequences. Only Telekom (and thus its MVNOs) has actively blocked and scrambled VoIP in the past, but opened some tariffs for it now.
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 bank accounts or German-issued credit cards.
when you are in Germany only:
Buy top-up vouchers called Ladebons 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, Vodafone vouchers for Otelo, Fyve, Edeka and new LIDL Connect; E-Plus vouchers for Aldi, Ortel, Whatsapp, ay yildiz, Blauworld and NettoKOM and o2 vouchers for Loop and Netzclub. For Fonic, Lycamobile and Lebara, you need special vouchers which are less widely distributed. Note that the billing systems of E-Plus and o2 are not merged yet.
Go to one of the three drugstore chains (Rossmann, Müller, dm) or to cash and carry markets like "real" to top up most brands and pay at the cash register with MasterCard, VISA and even AmEx.
When you are in or out of Germany (trying to keep an existing SIM card alive, topping up before arrival from abroad or while on roaming):
You can top-up with most international credit cards (VISA, MasterCard) on the websites of most providers. But some foreign credit cards may be rejected.
The website/app prelado.de does recharges without fees. Again, it might be picky about credit cards from out of the country, but accepts PayPal if you have a positive balance on your account.
As a last resort international top-up agencies can do the transaction for a variable surcharge.
For roaming in other EU countries the operators charge very different rates. Vodafone and most of its MVNOs let you use your included bundle volumes without surcharges abroad, Telekom charges you 5ct/MB while o2/E-Plus still excessive 23ct/MB. So for roaming abroad in another EU country, it's best to use Vodafone or their resellers otelo, Fyve, Edeka or Lidl Connect and others.
Deutsche Telekom (formerly T-Mobile): The former market leader has still the best network, what coverage and speed is concerned. This comes at the highest prices of all 3 operators. 4G/LTE is only available on Telekom's own offers. Its resellers (MVNOs) only market speeds up to 3G so far and in some tariffs VoIP is still blocked and scrambled.
Vodafone: They have a good coverage throughout the country, not fully on par with Telekom given out at lower prices. Like its competitor 4G/LTE is only on its own brand. All resellers stay on speeds up to 3G for now. It has the cheapest roaming offer for all EU countries (excluding Switzerland) right now selling EU voice, text and data allowances at domestic rates in packages.
o2 (with E-Plus): The newly consolidated o2 network and new market leader has a good coverage and 3G speeds in towns and cities, but can't match overall coverage in the countryside for now. 4G/LTE is open on o2's own brand and on some resellers too like AldiTalk making it the cheapest offer on LTE in the country right now. It's the only network that covers the Berliner U-Bahn (metro, underground, subway) in full length by 3G and 4G/LTE.
UPDATE 2016: The old E-Plus LTE network on 1800 MHz has been switched off in June 2016 and all LTE traffic is now routed through o2's own LTE network mainly on 800 and 2600 MHz. This has led to congestion and slow speeds even below 3G rates in major city centers in summer 2016. So if you experience slow 4G speeds, switch to 3G instead to get faster access.
Telekom for the best coverage and speeds at the highest prices
Vodafone for the cheapest roaming if you want to use it elsewhere in the EU
o2 (incl. E-Plus) for the cheapest domestic rates on LTE or Berlin public transport
==== Basic choices ====You have the choice between the network operator and one of its many resellers (MVNOs). The operator gives better support and offers LTE at higher prices, while many resellers give better rates, but often stay on 3G with a minimal customer support.
To obtain a good deal, data packages must be booked on the SIM card after activation. As weekly rates are hard to find, there is basically the choice of:
daily packages for short-time heavy users (available from 500 MB to 1 GB per day)
monthly packages for other users (available from 100 MB to 10 GB per month)
Take care that the default rate is often charged very high at around 20-30 ct per MB while data in packages are between 0.3-2 ct/MB. So buy packages right from the start, shut off data before the purchase and enable only when this has been confirmed (see here).
The following list shows only the most important players on the German prepaid market. Many other providers compete for special segments and audiences. The German prepaid-WIKI has an updated extended survey (in German only, use Google Translate): www.prepaid-wiki.de.
The following operators are sorted according to network.Normally, the biggest network is ranked first in our articles. Because of the special situation in Germany (the biggest has the worst coverage), this list follows the historical order of the networks usually used in the country.
Deutsche Telekom is the previously state-owned, incumbent provider. It's still the biggest telecommunication 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:
the MagentaMobil Start for voice, text and data
the DataStart for data-only
While the new voice & data card is available all over from September 2015, you may have to look for their data-only card either online or at 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 which gives them the longest validity in the market.
Their new voice and data SIM card has been opened for 4G/LTE. It comes with a monthly base rate of 2.95 € and includes free unlimited voice and text within the same network and to one domestic landline number. For data you can change among these tariffs below in up to 50 Mbit/s on 4G/LTE:
Xtra 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.
Data Start S: 100 MB for 30 days: 2 €
Data Start M: 500 MB for 30 days: 7 €
Data Start L: 1 GB for 30 days: 14 €
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: XS with 100 MB at 1.95 € only for Data Start S, S with 250 MB at 4.95 €, M with 500 MB at 7.95 € and L with 750 MB at 9.95 only for Start M and L.
Their new data-only product is aimed at modems, tablets and routers. It doesn't contain text or voice and can't be switched from a voice SIM card. It has been opened to 4G/LTE up to 50 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.
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#.
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.
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:
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.
The REWE group, one of the biggest retailers in the country, sells ja! mobil and Penny Mobil with a very similar portfolio. Both are 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.
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.
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.
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.
Data use is only possible by subscribing to a data bundle. These monthly data bundles are available:
text DATA500 to 55255
text DATA1000 to 55255
text DATA3000 to 55255
text DATA5000 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. 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.
Vodafone has opened 4G/LTE on its own prepaid offers (but not its MVNOs) with speeds up to 250 Mbit/s. They cover 90% by 4G/LTE in 2016. As with all MNOs in Germany, their offers are higher priced than their MVNOs, but they may give you a better service, 4G/LTE and have more service and top-up points.
In May 2016 Vodafone opened most of its prepaid plans for EU roaming without surcharges. This means that you can take any Vodafone plan or those of its MVNOs and use the included or added allowances for roaming at domestic German rates. This is by far the cheapest roaming solution for Europe in Germany right now. Note that Vodafone's Websessions, otelo's surf plans and all offers of Lycamobile are not included.
Their prepaid card is called "CallYa" and is available at their stores (store locator) and many more outlets for free without credit, 9.95 € with 10 € credit or 14.95 € with 15 € credit. If you have a German mail address (or know someone who has), you can order online and have a "Freikarte" (= free SIM without credit) sent to you by mail for free that is already activated. Thus, you can skip registration process.
Recharge vouchers are for sale all over the country in supermarkets, service stations and kiosks amongst others starting at 15 €. To check balance, dial *100#.
Every plan can be booked once and combined with other plans. If you run out of data within a period, you can activate another plan as long as it has not been booked in that period. Another solution is to book additional 250 MB for one-time usage, valid for 7 days. You can book this option multiple times, it's non-repeating and it can be added at any time, even if you still have enough data volume:
Aimed at tablets, routers and modems, Vodafone sells data-only SIM cards called WebSessions without voice. In March 2016 4G/LTE was opened with speeds up to 50 Mbps. You need to buy a special SIM card "WebSessions Freikarte" either online for free. Or get it in an Vodafone store (locator see above). They may be harder to find than regular Call ya SIM cards. These data SIM cards can be topped up online by credit card or using regular Vodafone top up vouchers available everywhere. The vouchers can be redeemed through a link on the WebSessions start page.
If you use a non-Vodafone USB dongle, you need to download Vodafone's Mobile Broadband Software to your computer and choose WebSessions as tariff. The first time you connect to the internet, you will be redirected to the WebSession start-up page where you can choose a package:
WebSessions Basic: 200 MB: 4.99 €
WebSessions S: 1 GB: 14.99 €
WebSessions M: 3 GB: 24.99 €
WebSessions L: 5 GB: 34.99 €
All packages are valid for up to 30 days or until used up. Then you can book another bundle. There are no data outside of these bundles.
Otelo is a subsidiary of Vodafone and uses its network on 2G and 3G only up to 21 Mbit/s, no 4G/LTE so far. The included allowances of talk&data SIMs, not the Surf SIM, can be used for roaming in the EU/EEA without surcharges (see Vodafone above).
Their starter packs are available online on their website to be sent to a German postal adress or offline in the electronic stores of EP: Electronic Parter, Euronics, Saturn, Media Markt. Furthermore at the check out of some supermarkets, Rossmann and some service stations. They sell three different prepaid starter packages:
Handy-Karte: 4.95 € with 5 € credit and another 5 € bonus for the first top-up.
Surf SIM: 4.95 € with 3 € credit for data-only
Surf Stick: 29.90 € including the Surf SIM and a USB 3G dongle, currently a locked Huawei E303
Registration is made online here (in German only, use Google Translate). Top-ups can be made with cash cards sold at the shops mentioned above or Vodafone CallNow vouchers, even more widely available.
Handy Karte is their tariff for phones including voice, text and data. For data you need to book a package. They offer these bundles:
Internet Flat 750 for 9.99 € per month including 750 MB
Internet Flat 150 for 3.99 € per month including 150 MB
Data is up to 21 Mbit/s and will be throttled for overuse to 64 kbit/s. You can upsize this bundle by weekly add-ons called Extra Data:
150 MB: 1.99 €
500 MB: 5.99 €
1 GB: 9.99 €
Take care: add-ons are for a week only and don't renew, while the base monthly "Flat" auto-renews. To purchase or cancel call 12430 from otelo for free or do it online on your personal account calledMein otelo.
This tariff line can't be switched to a Handy Karte and is data-only without voice nor text. A bundle needs to be booked for connection. At the first data connection, you will be redirected to their main page to choose a bundle:
500 MB in 9 minutes: 0.19 €
500 MB in 99 minutes: 1.99 €
1 GB in 30 days: 9.99 €
3 GB in 30 days: 19.99 €
Data is a max. 7.2 Mbit/s and will be cut off after having reached the quota. You will be then redirected to the selection page again. Again, this product line is not available for free EU roaming.
In October 2015 LIDL changed partners: Now LIDL exclusively sells their starter packs under the new label LIDL Connect as a MVNO on the Vodafone network in 2G and 3G (up to 21.6 Mbit/s, see coverage above). Rates are pretty similar to the old Lidl Mobile tariff. For SIM cards purchased before October 2015 at Lidl's, see FONIC Mobile in the FONIC section below.
The included allowances of new Lidl Connect SIMs can be used on roaming in the EU/EEA without surcharges. This doesn't apply to their Data-only SIM (see below).
Since October 2015 their new starter packs are available exclusively in all Lidl discounter stores (store locator). They are not on display, but have to be asked for at the checkout desk. They are sold at 9.95 € starter price containing a 10 € credit. A triple-size SIM card is given out. Try to get the "Classic" line that is their default rate that can later be switched to any other line (but the "Internet stick" tariff). You need to register you SIM card online here to have it activated within an hour.
Recently, Lidl Connect started to verify given postal adresses by sending a letter. Better choose another provider, if you can't be verified there and want to use your SIM card for longer. It might get suspended.
Top-up by credit card online (but some foreign cards may not be accepted) or vouchers sold at Lidl discounter stores starting from 5 € or any Vodafone cash card called 'Call now' (for min. 15 €). To top-up by voucher, type *100*<voucher PIN>#. To check credit of your account, type *100#.
There is no data use outside of packages. So get one of their monthly bundles, either as combo pack or a data-only bundle, all valid for 30 days:
Dom. Calls / SMS
Combo packs: Data & Calls & SMS bundles
For more data after combo or data pack is used up, so-called "Speed Buckets" data add-ons can be booked on every running pack. These are valid for 14 days only:
150 MB: 1.49 €
300 MB: 3.49 €
500 MB: 4.99 €
To activate a package, go to your personal account called "Mein Kundenkonto", use their app or call customer service at 0172 22220 (at 0.49 € per call). The combo and data-only packages auto-renew after 30 days, if you have enough credit. Add-ons stop when depleted or their base pack has run out and won't auto-renew. When having reached the included data volume, speed will be throttled to 64 kbit/s otherwise.
EDEKA mobil is the MVNO of the big supermarket chain in Germany on the Vodafone network in 2G and 3G only with speeds up to 21 Mbit/s (no 4G/LTE yet, see Vodafone). The included domestic allowances of all their packages can be used all over the EU/EEA for roaming without surcharges.
There is no data outside of packages. They offer these combo or data-only packages valid for 30 days:
Dom. Calls / SMS
Combo packs: Data & Calls & SMS bundles
Calls between Edeka mobile customers are free and not debited for the combo allowances. All packages auto-renew after 30 days. Packages can be booked online on your personal account or by calling 22922. Same ways to cancel packs. When included volume is used up, speed will be throttled to 64 kbps. Or you can buy data add-ons:
150 MB for 1.95 €
500 MB for 5.95 €
1 GB for 9.95 €
Add-on packs are all valid for 14 days after activation and will not renew.
Fyve use the Vodafone network on 2G and 3G only (max. 21 Mbps), no 4G/LTE, which is pretty good in terms of coverage. The included domestic allowances of all packages can be used on roaming in the EU/EEA without surcharges.
Data can only be used when booked on packages. All packs automatically renew, if there is a sufficient balance on the account. The packages can be cancelled or changed every month online or by calling 22922.
After using up all high-speed data volume, speed is reduced to GPRS. The Flatrate M can be upsized by the add-on "SurfON Paket" for another 150 MB and 5 € only by calling 01805 543012. The calling costs are refunded on the Fyve account.
Lycamobile from Britain is the main competitor of Lebara mobile on the ethno market. In Germany it is operating a MVNO on the Vodafone network in 2G and 3G only, no 4G/LTE yet. Lycamobile doesn't offer Vodafone's included roaming, but its own roaming bundles instead (see below).
Their SIM card is sold online to be sent to a German postal address or offline at many outlets (store locator) for free without credit.
There and at service stations, supermarkets and kiosks, you can find Lyca's reload vouchers. 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 PaySafeCards or swap credit from other Lycamobile SIM cards even of a different country for a surcharge.
Lycamobile will automatically renew your bundle once it expires. Charge for the bundle will be deducted from your main balance at the time of auto-renewal of the bundle. To cancel the auto-renewal dial *190# before the expiry date and follow the instructions or call Customer Services for free on 322 before the expiry date.
Speed is up to 7.2 Mbps and throttled after having reached the quota to 56 kbit/s. Only one of the bundles above can be booked 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 will not roll over:
Lycamobile offers cheap roaming bundles to be used in certain countries only. All packages are valid for 30 days and can't be renewed ahead of time. For more info see Euro5. Note, that the free roaming offer of other Vodafone MVNOs doesn't apply to Lycamobile, as it uses a different billing system.
o2, owned by Telefónica, has now grown from Germany's smallest network to its biggest after the merger with E-Plus, what number of subscribers is concerned. The shops of E-Plus/Base have been rebranded and each customers can use also the both 2G and 3G networks nationwide and 4G/LTE. This gives a better coverage in the countryside, but still not as widespread as Telekom or Vodafone. 4G/LTE has been opened for prepaid in 2016 on its own brand and some of their MVNOs.
Like all network providers in Germany o2 charges higher rates than its resellers. The reason to add the MNO is the opening of their 4G/LTE network to new prepaid customers in February 2016. o2's own prepaid product is called Loop, but you can get their 4G/LTE now on some resellers much cheaper.
o2 likes to call its starter packs Freikarte (= free card) because they are mathematically sold for free:
for free ('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, that is already activated. Thus, you can skip registration process.
6.99 €: with Loop Smart S (see below) pre-booked
9.99 €: with Loop Smart M (see below) pre-booked
14.99 €: with Loop Smart L (see below) pre-booked
Loop 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.
Top-up vouchers can be found there and many other places too for 15, 20 or 30 €. To add value, type *103*<voucher code>#. Alternatively, you can use a bank transfer, their app or a top-up agency like prelado. SIM card and credit stays valid for 6 months after the last recharge. Check balance by *101# and validity by *102#.
Their SIM needs to be registered and activated before use. This is done online on their website or by calling 0800 800 2002 (for free from another phone) and takes some minutes or hours to take effect.
While Smart S-L contains unlimited calls to o2, the Smart All-In has unlimited calls and texts in all domestic networks. On all bundles unused data rolls over to the next month. From 29/3/2016 all newly activated SIM cards include the very disputed "Datenautomatik": Having used up all data volume in M or L tariffs o2 automatically adds up to 3 "Datensnacks" ("data snacks") of 100 MB for 2 € each, in XL 250 MB for 3 € each. Only after the 3 added "snacks" (or all balance) are used up too, speed will be throttled to 32 kbps.
This SIM has only data, no voice and is aimed at tablets and modems. It is sold in a seperate starter pack called o2 go prepaid for 9.99 € with 500 MB valid for 6 months after activation. These packages can be booked for more data on up to 4G/LTE:
1 calendar day
10 calendar days
10 x 500 MB
Activation is online through your o2 account. Having used up data quota, speed will be throttled to 64 Kbps.
Daily Flat = Tagesflat (per calendar day = 0:00h - 23:59h) = 1.99 € (after 500 MB per day, speed drops to 56 Kbit/s). There is a price cap of 20 € per month, so if you use it for 10 days, the remaining days are free. For subscription text START TAGESFLAT to 36 642 (free). The fine print is that after 5GB/mo, the speed also drops to 56 K.
Monthly Flat = FONIC Classic Internet with 500 MB = 9.95 € - lasts for 30 days (after 500 MB, speed drops to 56 Kbit/s). For subscription text START HANDYINTERNET to 36 642 (free).
You will receive a confirmation SMS and you need to reply JA to that to confirm. This will be confirmed again, then another SMS that your request is being processed, finally a confirmation that the option is active along with the end date or a message that you don't have enough credit. The whole process can take some hours on the o2 net. Warning: If you use the internet before getting final confirmation, it will be charged at the standard rate per MB (see above). Staying active, the monthly flat renews automatically if you have sufficient credit and the daily flat will remain your default rate. Text STOP TAGESFLAT or STOP HANDYINTERNET to 36 642 to prevent them from renewing.
When you have exceeded the data quota in the running time of the package, you'll get a SMS info and speed will be reduced to approx. 64 kbit/s. Unlike with Lidl mobile, there is no upsize possibility for the package.
FONIC SIMs are available online for 9.95 € but for registration you need to have a German bank account. Bought offline this is not required. Starterpacks are sold at the drugstore chains of Müller and dm, the cash'n'carry stores of 'real' and the petrol stations of Jet amongst others. Top-up vouchers can be found there, at LIDL supermarkets (see below) and Rossmann. Be aware that o2 vouchers called Loop or Tchibo vouchers can't be used. FONIC SIM cards can be reloaded by bank transfer from abroad too. This may take a few days and is described here (in German).
The SIM needs to be activated and unlocked before use. First of all you need to register, either over the phone or online (in German). iPhone users should disenable FaceTime to prevent it from sending SMS. It then may take up to a couple of hours for the activation to take effect. You will receive a welcome SMS from FONIC when this has happened. Then you can use the PIN on the back of the FONIC credit-sized card to unlock the SIM. The unlock won't work until the phone number has been activated. If you activate the Fonic Smart S plan for example, you will be stuck with that plan for a month before you can change it!
Fonic is one of the few providers so far to verify given postal adresses by sending a letter there. Better choose another provider, if you can't verified at the given address and want to use your SIM card for longer. It might get suspended.
SIMs in a starter packs are normally standard size, but with perforations to break out the micro-SIM if required. If you want a nano SIM, you need to buy and register a standard/micro SIM first, then order a new nano-SIM card from here. You will be sent a nano card (to a German address only) with mini and standard adaptors for a surcharge of 10 €, which is inconvenient if you need a nano SIM.
In October 2015 LIDL changed partners. All old LIDL mobile SIM Cards sold until September 2015 in their stores are rebranded into FONIC mobile. The old tariffs have grandfathering and are similar to regular Fonic rates. Top-up vouchers are still sold, but no old Fonic starter packs at Lidl's anymore. From now on you'll have to choose a FONIC top-up voucher, not a LIDL-branded voucher for topping up their old SIM cards. We don't list FONIC Mobile as SIM cards are only available online to be sent to a German postal address. To see their rates, check their pricelist. The new Lidl offer is called LIDL Connect (see above) on Vodafone network.
NetzClub is a free ad-sponsored SIM card with a 100 MB high speed volume per month without charge. As a subsidiary of o2, Netzclub uses the combined E-PLus/o2 network, which is still good in performance mainly in the big cities,
Order and registration are only possible online. The SIM is not sold offline in any stores. The SIM card will be sent to a German address free of any charge within 5 - 7 days. So you must have a German postal address to enjoy the offer. They will only send out one SIM per person and a maximum of 3 SIMs per household (same last name and address). Change the option from bank transfer to top up using vouchers (Aufladung mit o2 Guthabenkarte) during the registration process to order the card without a bank account and without a mandatory first payment.
You 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. You can influence this a bit through the type and number of interests you select in your ad preferences. This is how this service is paid for after all. If you don't want junk ads, consider other offers instead.
There is no need to have credit to use the free 100 MB data per month. To top up use o2 vouchers called "Loop" from 15 € or Tchibo cashcards from 10 €. To use bank transfer (from 0,01 €), see this site (in German): []
When the 100 MB free data quota is used up you can continue to use the flatrate at a slower speed (32 kBit/s) for free or choose one of these options:
Activation to 22233
until end of free
100 MB cycle
until end of free
100 MB cycle
Take care, if you choose surfpacks with auto-renewal. This may be a bad deal in the long term: the monthly Surfpack 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 0176 888 93939 (9c/min) 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 pay as you go prepaid cards. If you choose not to use the card anymore you can have the left credit transferred to a German bank account.
2G up to EDGE (220 Kbit/s), 3G up to HSPA+ and 4G/LTE at max. 21 Mbit/s. As an old E-Plus reseller, it now uses the combined E-Plus/o2 network on 4G/LTE too, making it one of the most popular MVNOs and one of the best deals in the country right now. For free roaming on o2 network you may need to enable data roaming on some devices.
Daily package: 24 hours data plan (after 1 GB throttled to GPRS speed): € 1.99. For activation see below. Daily and monthly packs can be mixed. The daily bundle is activated by using a different APN (see below). Thus, monthly and daily flats can be used simultaneously by switching to the appropriate APN.
Monthly packages (all valid for 30 days):
Dom. Calls / SMS
Combo packs: Data & Calls & SMS bundles
300 mins / SMS
600 mins / SMS
unlimited mins / SMS
Activation is 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 do not dial this code, ALDI will automatically try to activate a new data plan after expiration of the present one.
Refill in the table means that you can refill the same data allowance again for the running time of the package by calling 1155, online or using the ALDI Talk app at the given price.
Starter packs are exclusively available in any Aldi Store, Germany's leading discount supermarket chain. They are not on display in the shops. You have to ask at the cash register (check-out) for it. SIM cards are available for € 12.99 with € 10 balance preloaded. Or order online to be sent to a German postal address for the same price.
Reloads can be made with ALDI Talk vouchers from ALDI stores or any E-Plus vouchers widely available by typing *104*<voucher PIN>#. While E-Plus vouchers start at 15 €, you can find 5 € denominations only at Aldi stores.
ALDI talk charges slightly different call rates than the other providers shown. A domestic call to landlines or mobiles and a domestic SMS is billed with € 0.11/min (instead of 9 ct elsewhere). This doesn't need to be a disadvantage: "Community calls" (meaning Aldi to other Aldi numbers) are charged with 3 cents/min only and all calls are charged from the 2nd minute by the second (60/1) instead of by the minute (60/60) like most other providers do.
ALDI offers this only add-on for data roaming outside of Germany in all EU countries, Norway and Switzerland. For 500 MB in 7 days 4.99 € are charged. This package can be booked online or by ALDI Talk app. When expired (by volume or time) it doesn't automatically renew, but can be booked again. This can be a good deal for a light roaming data volume or if you need Switzerland included. For more data better check Vodafone (see above) or buy a local SIM in the destination country.
Blau used to be a MVNO of E-Plus and made a relaunch in 2015. It's now a subsidiary of Telefónica. With the relaunch Blau stopped all data packages and only offers combined bundles. That's why their sub-brand Blauworld and their similar discounter brand NettoKOM are featured instead.
Blau, Blauworld and NettoKOM all use the network of E-Plus/o2 which has a fair coverage nationwide and a very good performance in the cities. Their 2G is up to EDGE, 3G is up to HSPA+ and 4G/LTE up to 21 Mbit/s. It uses the combined E-Plus/o2 network. For free roaming on o2 network you may need to enable data roaming.
Default tariff line on NettoKOM is the "9 Cent Tarif". Blauworld is a different brand of Blau aimed mostly at foreign workers. These SIM cards are often sold side by side with Blau and are easy to be mixed up. But their tariffs can't be changed to Blau (see above). Generally Blauworld now offer better packages for data and better rates for calling abroad than Blau.
Blauworld starter packs can be found at a large number of retailers for 9.95 € with 10 € preloaded: at many service stations, some supermarkets, the big electronic market chains and at most o2-branded shops too. NettoKOM starters are exclusively sold at Netto discounter markets (locator).
Starter Pack with SIM card can be activated for NettoKOM online (in German only) for Blauworld online ( available in English) or both by calling 1155 (in German only). After visiting their website, there are 3 steps for activation, after these steps SIM card is activated within an hour.
At these places mentioned above reload vouchers can be bought too. Only Blau-branded or or any E-Plus voucher can be used; while Aldi and o2 vouchers will not work. Check credit by *100#, to top-up type *104*<voucher code>#.
On NettoKOM or Blauworld data by default outside of packages is for € 0.24 per MB in 10 KB units.
Their packages called "Internet-Flat" last for 30 days. High-speed data will be used up to the specified limit, after reaching it, there will be a downgrade to GPRS/EDGE speed.
Internet-Flat 100 MB: € 4.90, for activation call 1155 and press 8111
Internet-Flat 250 MB: € 5.90, for activation call 1155 and press 8112
Internet-Flat 1 GB: € 9.90, for activation call 1155 and press 8113
Internet-Flat 3 GB: € 14.90, for activation call 1155 and press 8114
Internet-Flat 1 GB: € 9.90, for activation call 1155 and press 8151
Internet-Flat 3 GB: € 14.90, for activation call 1155 and press 8181
Internet-Flat 5 GB: € 19.90, for activation call 1155 and press 8141
All monthly "flats" are auto-renewed at the end of the month. To stop call 1155 and dial 83.
Monthly "flats" can be reset in volume as often as you like within the running time of the package. When the initial traffic is used up, a SMS is sent out which needs to be confirmed with "JA" to double the initial volume: another 100 MB or 250 MB for 3 €, 1 GB for 6 €, 3 GB for 9 € or 5 GB for 15 €.
This product with its Turkish name (meaning moon and star) is directed to the Turkish migrants market that is the biggest immigrant group in Germany. Ay yildiz is a subsidiary of the now defunct E-Plus group (Telefónica) and uses therefore the combined networks of E-Plus and o2. For free roaming on o2 network in 3G and 4G/LTE you may need to enable data roaming.
2G up to EDGE (220 Kbit/s), 3G up to HSPA+ with roaming on o2, 4G/LTE up to max. 21 Mbit/s.
Their starter pack contains a combined mini-/micro-/nano- SIM card. It's available from many kiosks at railway stations, service stations and can most often be found in small stores caring for Turkish migrants. It can also be ordered online to be sent to a German postal address. They charge 9.99 € for the package and give a starter credit of 7.50 € and another bonus of 2.50 €, if you top up by 15 € or more. You need to register and activate in online here.
Top-ups can be made almost everywhere. All E-Plus vouchers including Aldi talk codes can be used. Check credit by typing *100#, to top up, type *104*<voucher code>#.
They now offer only one tariff line called "aystar". Default data rate is a high 0.29 € per MB. So buy packages valid for 30 days:
Combo packs: Data & Call bundles
Included calls in combo packages are to all German lines and Turkish landlines. When included volume is used up, speed will be throttled to 56 kbit/s. You can reset data volume for more high speed data for the given rates.
To activate a package, text code to 77770 or call 1155 and follow instructions (that are only in German). All packages auto-renew after 30 days, if there is credit.
1 GB: € 9.90. Activation: text "DATA1000" to 77300
3 GB: € 14.90. Activation text "DATA3000" to 77300
5 GB: € 19.90. Activation: text "DATA5000" to 77300
10 GB: € 39.99. Activation: text "DATA10GB" to 77300
VoIP is officially only allowed with the 5 GB pack, but possible on other packs too. When included volume is used up, speed will be throttled to 56 kbps. The data pack can be upsized online on your account: For the 1 GB pack, you get another 1 GB for 3 €, for the 3 or 5 GB pack a reset for 9 € and for the 10 GB a reset for 30 €.
All monthly packages auto-renew if there is credit and not stopped. This can be done online on your account.
online from Ortel to be sent to a German postal address only (normally takes 2-3 working days)
for free: without credit
for 9.95 €: with 10 € credit and another 10 € bonus on the first top-up
at their vending partners in Germany like Shell service stations or "real" supermarkets, o2-branded stores and generally in inner cities at small shops targeting immigrants and migrant workers for 9.95 € with 7.50 € credit. Take care, there are two starter packs: one with a smartphone option prebooked and the other without. Take the one without.
Top-ups with E-Plus vouchers are sold everywhere or online on your account by international credit card (Visa or MasterCard). Some non-European and UK-issued credit cards may not be accepted. Use PayPal or a PaySafeCard vouchers instead.
Ortel mobile offers a EU roaming package called Cross. It gives out 750 MB data, 300 minutes outgoing calls and unlimited incoming calls for € 20 per month in all of the EU/EEA countries plus Switzerland. More info here: Euro4. The Vodafone offers (see above) are now a better deal for roaming, but don't include Switzerland that Ortel does.
WhatsApp SIM used to be an innovative joint venture between E-Plus and the popular social messenger app WhatsApp. It's targeted at WhatsApp users for social messaging and VoIP calls through this app.
Maximum Transfer Speed 2G up to EDGE, 3G up to HSPA+ and 4G/LTE up to 21 Mbit/s. WhatsApp uses the combined network of E-Plus/o2. For free roaming on o2 network in 3G and 4G/LTE you may need to enable data roaming.
In September 2015 they have changed the rules, but old customers have grandfathering. The free allowance is now only 10 MB per month and not specific to WhatsApp anymore. Take care, that the 10 € plan (see below) is set by default and you have to reset it to the free basic allowance before use.
All other data are charged at € 0.24 per MB. This now also applies to WhatsApp. So better buy a package, if you going to use more.
The starter pack is available online to be sent to German postal address or offline at many service stations like Shell or post offices for 10 €. The starter packs include a first data package of 10 € which can be discontinued before start and 5 € bonus credit, giving a total of 15 € credit.
It needs to be registered online here before use. For topping up, any E-Plus voucher widely available can be used.