Getting A SIM Card In Germany – Part 1

We know you have recently moved to Germany. You want to stay connected with your family and friends wherever they are. You will be amused to know that Germany has a high-quality mobile phone network with good 4G coverage. The country has ever-growing numbers of mobile network providers. These operators offer excellent SIM and mobile options, especially for newcomers and visitors.

Table of Contents

Mobile Network In Germany

Germany is known for its high-quality mobile network, and it helps ex-pats and visitors to connect easily. Germany uses the GSM network like other European countries. However, your smartphone will work in Germany hassle-free if you are from a country using the CDMA network.

Germany has a well-developed 4G network, and most citizens enjoy the services of 4G and 4G+ connectivity. The coverage varies between regions and German mobile operators. The rural areas in the country’s east have limited 4G coverage. You will be able to access 3G in these particular areas. The larger cities have local 5G networks.

Wi-Fi Connectivity In Germany

Germany is not providing free public Wi-Fi widely across the country. Free Wi-Fi is available in museums, libraries, stations, and airports with limited usage. You can also set up Wi-Fi at your home in the country.

Can I Use My Mobile In Germany?

The expats can easily connect their mobile phones to the local mobile network provider if they come from a country that uses the GSM network. However, people who are coming from countries that use the CDMA network also be able to connect with a modern smartphone. It is advisable to always check the connectivity and costs with your home country operator before traveling so that you can avoid any unexpected situations.

If your phone cannot connect to the local network, you can purchase a low-cost mobile phone once you arrive in Germany. You can get it for €30 approximately, which will allow you the calls and messages. To buy a German sim card, you need a valid ID and proof of address in Germany. If this is not possible for you, you can buy a SIM card from another EU country and take advantage of free EU roaming in Germany. Picking up a world phone before traveling to Germany is the best option.

Suppose you are relocating to Germany and planning for a more extended stay. In that case, you should buy a German SIM card and sign up for a German mobile contract. To get the SIM card with a low-cost option, you must show the proof of address in Germany. There are plenty of German mobile operators in Germany, and you can choose one. Some German mobile operators such as Vodafone and Telekom offer discounts if you sign up for their internet, home phones, and TV packages.

German Mobile Operators

Telephone services in Germany are increasingly competitive. There are a lot of choices for the expats in the country. Because of it, ex-pats can shop around and can explore the options. You can also find the options for any other connections you might need, such as TV and home internet. That’s how many providers offer various discounts if you take both services such as mobile and home internet.

Here is the list of the mobile operators in Germany.

  • Blau
  • Congstar
  • Lebara
  • O2
  • Telekom
  • Vodafone
  • 1&1 

O2, Telekom, and Vodafone cover 30% of the market. These three networks are famous for being the best in terms of coverage. Suppose you have an unlocked phone compatible with the German mobile network. In that case, you can choose the mobile operator of your choice. However, if your previous operator is available in Germany, you can stay with the same provider.

Prepaid SIM vs. Mobile Contract

  • Prepaid SIM: When choosing a mobile phone connection in Germany, you will have two options: a prepaid SIM card and a mobile phone plan contract. Prepaid SIMs are the fastest and easiest way to get a working phone number without signing any contract. These are also a great option and a simple way to make calls, send text messages and use mobile data.
  • Mobile Contract: The other way to get a German SIM card is to opt for a mobile phone contract. With a mobile phone contract, you pay less for calls, texts, and mobile data in case you use your phone a lot. This is the best option if you plan to stay in Germany for an extended period. The mobile phone contracts tend to be for 12 and 24 months. The mobile phone contract can be a good choice if you want a smartphone.

Mobile Contracts In Germany

You can see that the German phone contracts are cost-effective as compared to the prepaid SIM cards. Mobile phone contracts offer a certain number of call minutes, text messages, and mobile data allowance. The cost of the mobile plan depends on the tariff chosen by you. So always select the mobile phone contract wisely according to your usage. You can also get discounts on your mobile phone plan if combined with your internet, home phone, and TV connections.

How To Get A Mobile Phone Plan Contract In Germany

In Germany getting a mobile phone, the contract is straightforward. You can do it either online, or you can visit your local telecoms outlet. You can find the stores of the leading operators in most German towns and cities.

Let’s look at the list of documents you need to sign up.

  • The proof of identity could be your passport.
  • The evidence of address in Germany will be your registration certificate.
  • The German bank account to make the payments. 

If you buy the mobile contract online, you need to go through an activation process where you will provide your registration documents. Each network provider in Germany has an activation process that can be done via webcam and at your local post office. Suppose you do not have a German bank account, then you can apply for the bank account within minutes. For this, you need to sign up with a German mobile bank like N26. To get more information, please visit our article Bank Account Comparison.

German SIM Cards

Compared to lengthy mobile phone contracts, you can get more freedom with the prepaid SIM cards in Germany. However, SIM cards are more expensive when calling, messaging, and using mobile data. This is a good option for the people who don’t use their phones too much and stay in Germany for a short time. However, according to German law, anyone purchasing a German SIM card must provide a valid ID and proof of address in Germany.

All German mobile operators provide German SIM cards, so shop around and get the SIM card per your requirement. SIM cards are available from several resellers, including supermarkets and telecom shops. You can also get it online by providing a valid ID and address proof. You can add mobile credit online through your operator’s app and buy top-up cards from the retailers. These top-up cards are available for €5, €10, and €20.

Most of the operators are providing prepaid tariffs. These tariffs allow you to choose a specific allowance of minutes, texts, and mobile data for four weeks. There is no contract like mobile plans in Germany; you can cancel anytime.


This is how you will have a brief about the mobile networks and providers in Germany. You can quickly determine your choice for SIM cards and mobile plan contracts according to your planning to stay in Germany and use. Getting the network provider is simple; you need your documents to buy it online or from the outlet.

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