Welcome to Germany! To help you settle, you will want to have a local phone number and mobile internet available. For that, you have two options. Either you are getting a mobile contract that binds you for usually 24 months or you can get a flexible and more affordable prepaid SIM card and choose the phone plan most suitable to you.
To help you make a choice and not feel overwhelmed by the chaotic offer of mobile phone plans out there, we have selected the best prepaid SIM card in Germany in this article and the best mobile contract providers in Germany in another article.
Which is the best mobile network in Germany?
According to the latest in-depth study across the entire country done by Connect magazine, Deutsche Telekom (T-Mobile) is the best mobile network provider in Germany in terms of internet and phone reception. Vodafone comes in second and Telefónica (O2) as last.
Telekom, Vodafone, and O2 (owned by Telefónica) are the only three mobile network providers in Germany. Deutsche Telekom used to be state-owned and still has the best network coverage. Vodafone and O2 are closer to closing the gap each year but have not done so yet. Below you can see a map of so-called dark spots of all three providers in Germany.
What is the best SIM card in Germany for internet?
As mentioned before, Telekom has the best 4G/LTE coverage and availability, however, to determine what the best SIM card in Germany for internet is, you have to consider where you live and where you spend a lot of time.
To find out which provider is best for your location, you can use the following network coverage checks. Simply enter your address.
As a general rule of thumb, Telekom and Vodafone have the most advanced 5G availability so far and the fastest internet in general. O2 has very good availability in cities, however weak spots in rural areas. Should you be living in Berlin and using the subway system a lot, O2 is your best choice, as it is the only network that covers the entire subway system in Berlin.
What are the best prepaid SIM cards in Germany?
Prepaid SIM cards offer the best value for money when it comes to mobile communication in Germany. We have chosen the top resellers of each mobile network to give you the best overview and options.
All websites are in German; however, they are very straight forward. We recommend using Chrome’s Translate to English function to navigate easily.
Here are our top picks for the best prepaid SIM card in Germany.
1. Lidl Connect
Lidl Connect is the prepaid mobile offer from the big German supermarket LIDL. It uses the Vodafone network lines and offers LTE internet speed. Lidl offers different plans. Its basic Smart S plan was recently awarded as the best Prepaid Tariff by the renowned magazines CHIP and Connect.
The Smart S plan offers unlimited phone calls and SMS and 3 GB LTE data. It costs 7,99 euros for 4 weeks. The biggest plan, Smart XL brings 7 GB data for 17,99. The card costs 9,99 euros; however, it comes with a balance of 10 euros. So basically, it is for free.
Once you activate your card, you can select the data plan you would like to choose on your Lidl online account. You can change the tariff whenever you want or add data packages when needed.
With Lidl, you can either manually wire money every 4 weeks to your account or activate an automatic recharge from your bank account or via Paypal of let’s say 10 euros, each time your balance drops below 10 euros.
I use Lidl Connect and am very happy with the value for the price. I have the automatic recharge activated and do not need to worry about running out of credit or being tied to a long contract.
Of course, you also have the option to buy a top-up balance card at a Lidl supermarket. You will find them at the cashier counter.
2. Aldi Talk
Aldi Talk is the direct competitor of Lidl, not only in terms of the prepaid mobile phone offer but also with its core product, the supermarket. Aldi offers a very similar product as Lidl; however, the most significant difference is that Aldi uses the O2 network, which is the smallest network in Germany. The O2 reception in cities is excellent, whereas, if you spend a lot of time in rural areas, it is not a good choice for you.
The Paket S plan offers unlimited calls and texts and 3 GB LTE data. It costs 7,99 euros for 4 weeks. The biggest plan, Paket L brings 7 GB data for 17,99. The card also costs 9,99 euros; however, it is preloaded with a balance of 10 euros. So it is basically free as well.
When you compare mobile phone contracts, those using O2 are always cheaper than those using Vodafone or Telekom. Therefore Aldi offers the same product for the same price on a weaker and cheaper network.
Once you activate your card, you can select the data plan you would like to choose on your Aldi account. You can change the plan online, whenever you want.
With Aldi, you can also manually wire money every 4 weeks to your account or activate an automatic recharge of let’s say 10 euros each time your balance drops below 10 euros.
Of course, you again have the option to buy a top-up balance card at an Aldi supermarket. You will find them at the cashier counter.
Congstar is a telecommunication provider, who offers internet for your home, mobile phone contracts, and prepaid SIM tariffs. Congstar uses the Telekom network lines and therefore offers the best coverage.
The Prepaid Allnet M plan offers unlimited calls and 3 GB LTE data, while each text costs 9 cents. The plan costs 10 euros for 4 weeks. Congstar’s biggest plan is the Allnet L plan with 5 GB LTE data, unlimited calls, and 9 cents per text. It costs 15 euros for 4 weeks. The SIM card costs 9,99 euros and brings a 10 euros balance for the M plan and a 15 euro balance for the L plan.
With Congstar, you have a great variety of topping up your balance. The comfort method is similar to Aldi or Lidl, where a fixed amount is recharged on a specific date or for your particular tariff. Another very convenient option is recharging via WhatsApp.
winSIM is an online mobile phone and SIM reseller. winSIM does not offer prepaid options; however, it provides very attractive post-paid plans without a 24 months contract. This means that your fixed tariff’s price will be charged to your account every month via direct debit. The notice period to cancel the ‘contract’ is 30 days at the end of each month. So if you send your notice on March 25th, your contract will end on April 30th.
With such a contract, you receive great value and have the benefit of not topping up your balance in advance, while still staying flexible.
winSIM uses the O2 network lines and offers all-inclusive calls and texts and data packages ranging from 100 MB to 20 GB. The monthly price ranges from 4,99 euros to 19,99 euros. A 5 GB data plan costs 8,99 euros.
There is a one-time purchase fee of 19,99 euros per SIM card. winSIM offers the option to choose the phone number of your choice for a one time fee of 19,99 euros.
Word of warning: winSIM automatically tops up your data, should you use up your data plan before the end of the months. Those top-ups are very pricey compared to the regular plan. Be sure to deactivate this function online. In German, it is called ‘Datenautomatik’.
How to get a prepaid SIM card in Germany?
You have two options to buy a prepaid SIM card in Germany:
1. Buying a prepaid SIM card online
Follow the link of one of the four mentioned resellers (Lidl Connect, Aldi Talk, Congstar, and winSIM) to buy a SIM card online. You will have to enter your address, and the card will generally arrive in 2-3 days.
2. Buying a prepaid SIM card in a local store
You can buy Lidl Connect and Aldi Talk at the respective supermarkets. You can also find prepaid SIM cards at gas stations, kiosks, and electronic shops.
Once you hold your card in hand, you need to activate it. Since July 2017, all prepaid SIM cards need to be registered in person or via VideoID, to prevent crime and misuse.
You will need your official ID card or passport and a German home address to register. Online is the fastest way and only takes a few minutes. However, not all passports are supported online. Should your nationality not be valid for online identification, you can go to your closest post office.
Once you activated the card, you can choose the tariff you like and your preferred top-up method in your online account.
🔥 Tip No.1: All SIM cards are Triple-SIM, meaning they are compatible with all SIM sizes and fit in all phones.
🔥 Tip No.2: Be sure that you have an unlocked phone to use the SIM card in Germany. Should your phone be locked, you can also purchase a new phone from the provider or any other shop.
Prepaid SIM cards from resellers offer better value compared to sim cards and contracts from the network providers directly. Lidl Connect is our top choice for the best prepaid SIM card in Germany, due to its D-network, low price, and easy handling.
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If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. We are happy to help.