VodafoneEditVodafone has opened 4G/LTE on its own prepaid offers (but not its MVNOs) with speeds up to 500 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 2016 Vodafone opened 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. Note that unlike in other Vodafone countries, Switzerland and Turkey are not included in their roaming zone at domestic rates and charged much higher.
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.
Note that certain stores (Saturn/MediaMarkt, for instance) and some merchants on eBay don't sell actual Vodafone starter packets, but sell Mobilcom-Debitel starter packs instead. The outer packets look very similar to Vodafone starter packs, but have a Mobilcom-Debitel logo on the upper left of the packet with a note to activate the SIM on www.md.de/freischalten instead of the Vodafone website (if the store does not take your ID and activate it for you). 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.
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#.
Data feature packsEdit
Voice plans with data for 4 weeks (= 28 days):
- CallYa Talk&SMS: no included volumes, data must be added (see below) - free
- CallYa Special S*: 750 MB (+100 MB) LTE data, 200 min or SMS to all networks: 7.99 EUR
- CallYa Smartphone Special: 1 GB (+100 MB) LTE data, 200 mins or SMS to all networks: 9.99 EUR
- CallYa Allnet-Flat: 2 GB (+100 MB) LTE data, unlimited texts and voice to all networks: 22.50 EUR
()= If you are able to circumvent the German geo-restriction of the Mein Vodafone app in the Play or App Store, another 100 MB per month are given out for free for app use on the Special and Allnet-Flat plans. Users can check how to install geo-restricted apps from this manual.
(*) The 'CallYa Special S' doesn't appear on Vodafone's website, but it exists nevertheless - it seems to be the exact plan the 'Callya Smartphone Special' was up until January 17th, 2017 before Vodafone bumped it up to 1 GB, only for 2 EUR less.
As a promotion extended to the18th of June, 2017, Vodafone is offering a special offer called GigaBoost for customers with the tariffs 'CallYa Smartphone Special' and 'CallYa Allnet-Flat'. You can get 10 GB extra Data, when you top up 10€. The 10 GB can only be used in Germany, not in the EU. Attention: You have to download the Mein Vodafone app from the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store first. Then, activtate the 'Giga Boost' and then do the top-up. Otherwise, you will not get the 10 GB extra Data. When you have questions, go to a Vodafone Shop and ask for 'Vodafone GigaBoost for Callya'
Speed is a max. of 500 Mbit/s on LTE, when volume is used up, it will be reduced to 32 kbps. To all plans these LTE data add-ons valid for 4 weeks (28 days with auto-renewal) can be booked:
- 150 MB: 2.99 EUR
- 500 MB: 5.99 EUR
- 1 GB: 9.99 EUR
- 2 GB: 19.99 EUR
- 4 GB: 29.99 EUR
To activate go online or text the data size of the pack (e.g. '1 GB') to 70888 or use the Tarifmanager by callling 22044. To cancel any of the data packages, visit wap.meincallya.de before the renewal date.
Every plan can be activated once and combined with other plans. If you run out of data within a plan period, you can activate any other plan as long as it has not been booked in that period. Another way is to activate additional 250 MB or 600 MB for one-time usage, valid for 7 days. You can activate this option multiple times, it's non-recurring and it can be added at any time, even if you still have enough data volume:
- 250 MB: 2.99 EUR, one-time, non-renewing. To book follow this link to the Vodafone Center website.
- 600 MB: 5.99 EUR, one-time, non-renewing. To book follow this link to the Vodafone Center website.
Activation can also be done by sending the data size of the pack (e.g. '250 MB') to 70888.
Again, the included allowances of all CallYa plans and top-ups can be used without surcharges in all over the EU/EEA (but not Switzerland), mostly on 4G/LTE Vodafone and partner networks.
Data-only SIM: WebSessions Edit
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.
- mini, micro, nano SIM
Restrictions (VoIP, Messaging) Edit
There are no restrictions using VoIP services like Facetime or Skype (effective 2015). Vodafone doesn't officially allow them, but they don't block them either (like Deutsche Telekom/Congstar used to have)
- APN for CallYa talk & data SIM: web.vodafone.de
- APN for WebSessions data-only SIM: event.vodafone.de
- Website in German only: http://www.vodafone.de/
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). EU consumption is at domestic rates.
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 Edit
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 called Mein otelo.
Surf SIM (and stick) Edit
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.
More infomation Edit
- APN for Handy Karte talk & data SIM: data.otelo.de
- APN for Surf SIM data-only SIM: event.otelo.de
- Website in German only: http://www.otelo.de
LIDL Connect Edit
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 32 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 on which international roaming is blocked.
Since 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#.
Data feature packages Edit
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:
|Package||Price||Data||Dom. Calls / SMS|
Combo packs: Data & Calls & SMS bundles
|Smart XS||4.99 €||200 MB||100 mins/SMS|
|Smart S||7.99 €||1 GB||300 mins/SMS|
|Smart L||12.99 €||1.5 GB||600 mins/SMS|
|All-Net Flat||19.99 €||2 GB||unlimited|
|3.99 €||150 MB||-|
|6.99 €||500 MB||-|
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.
Data-only SIM Edit
Lidl offers two more good data-only packages on a special SIM. It's available:
- as SIM-only: Surf-Karte for 9.99 € with 10 € credit preloaded
- with a 3G USB dongle (unlocked Huawei E3531): Internet-Stick for 29.99 € with 10 € credit
These two data-only plans are offered for this SIM:
- daily rate: 24 hours, 1 GB - 1.99 €
- monthly rate: 30 days: 5 GB - 14.99 €
The daily rate is not charged, on days when no data are used, the monthly rate will not auto-renew. Note, that the data-only SIM is not available for international roaming.
- APN: web.vodafone.de
- Tethering is banned, but works anyway
- VoIP is banned, but works anyway on all devices
- Website: http://www.lidl-connect.de
EDEKA mobil EditEDEKA 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.
Data feature packsEdit
There is no data outside of packages. They offer these combo or data-only packages valid for 30 days:
|Package||Price||Data||Dom. Calls / SMS|
Combo packs: Data & Calls & SMS bundles
|Smart S||6.95 €||250 MB||200 mins/SMS|
|Smart M||8.95 €||1 GB||300 mins/SMS|
|Smart L||14.95 €||1.7 GB||300 mins/SMS|
|Internet-Flat S||4.95 €||150 MB||-|
|Internet-Flat M||9.95 €||1 GB||-|
|Internet-Flat L||19.95 €||3 GB||-|
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:
- 250 MB for 1.95 €
- 750 MB for 5.95 €
- 1.5 GB for 9.95 €
Add-on packs are all valid for 14 days after activation and will not renew.
- Combo mini/microSIM and nano-SIM available.
Settings and more infoEdit
- APN: data.access.de
- Tethering or hotspot use is not possible through data.access.de, use web.vodafone.de instead
- Hotspot use = tethering is not possible through all Apple devices (running on iOS)
- Website in German only
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.
Online orders (http://www.fyve.de) are only delivered to German postal addresses for a 2.50 € fee. Starter-packs are offline available at service stations (like Shell, Esso, Agip, Jet) and at the shops of The Phone House (https://www.phonehouse.de/). Starter-pack costs 10 € whether for miniSIM or microSIM, this includes 10 € credit. Starter packs contain a combo mini- and micro-SIM. Nano SIMs are only available online.
Postal deliveries are already activiated. If you have bought it in a store, you need to activate it online here (in German only) or by phone 01806 543015.
To top-up any Vodafone refill voucher (so-called "CallNow cash card") can be used. They are widely available in kiosks, supermarkets or service stations all over Germany.
Data feature packsEdit
Online or by app you can customize your plan and add domestic voice, SMS or data. It's valid for 30 days and can be changed every month. Here are their monthly data options:
|Surf-Flatrate M||5 €||150 MB|
|Surf-Flatrate L||10 €||500 MB|
|Surf-Flatrate XL||15 €||1 GB|
|Surf-Flatrate XXL||20 €||3 GB|
Data can only be used when booked on plans before. All packages automatically renew, if there is a sufficient balance on the account. The packages can be cancelled or changed every month online, by calling 22922 or by app.
After using up all high-speed data volume, speed is reduced to GPRS. All allowances are valid in the EU/EEA too while roaming abroad.
- Tethering is allowed (at least you are allowed to use a 3G stick)
- APN: web.vodafone.de
- Website (in German only): http://www.fyve.de
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).
Note that Lycamobile is not giving out domestic packages for EU roaming yet inspite of the new rules. Roaming is so for only available at the high standard default rate per MB.
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 PayPal or PaySafeCards or swap credit from other Lycamobile SIM cards even of a different country for a surcharge. Balance check is by *131#.
Registration can be made online in English or by calling 323.
Data feature packs Edit
0.19 € per MB is charged, if no data bundle is booked or all data used up. These domestic monthly data bundles are available:
|500 MB||7.99 €||*139*11500#|
|1 GB||9.99 €||*139*11000#|
|2 GB||12.99 €||*139*12000#|
|3 GB||14.99 €||*139*13000#|
|5 GB||19.99 €||*139*15000#|
|10 GB||29.99 €||*139*15100#|
Lycamobile will automatically renew your bundle once it expires. 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 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 won't roll over:
- 500 MB: 6 EUR, activation: text 115002 to 3535
- 1 GB: 9 EUR, activation: text 110002 to 3535
- 3 GB: 14.99 EUR, activation: text 130002 to 3535
- 5 GB: 19.99 EUR, activation: text 150002 to 3535
- APN: data.lycamobile.de
- Username: lmde (lowercase L, not capital i)
- Password: plus
More information Edit
- Website in English
- Lycamobile's website claims they will keep a number active 180 days, since it was last used and credit stays valid for 90 days.
- VoIP is allowed except using the Lebara Talk app
- Tethering seems not to be allowed and effectively blocked. They are known to sniff and kill tethering connections.