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What SIM card would you recommend for a smartphone user for travel in Germany?

It would be probably the only or the most important connection to the Internet, so large amounts of data and relatively fast transfer is an issue.

I need to stay in touch with friends and family, so the calls to other EU countries should be as cheap as possible.

For to the first criteria, I found the T-Mobile offer interesting. The internet costs 10 Euros/month and after reaching the transfer limit it stays relatively fast. According to tests (Galileo from Pro7, AFAIR) it has also the best coverage. However, calls to other countries are very expensive.

For to second criteria, Lebara and Mobilka are interesting. The calls are very cheap, but there are problems with signal strength in many locations, where T-Mobile has no problem. The voice quality, at least in Lebara, is also limited. They both have mobile internet with unlimited transfer, but after reaching the high speed limit, the transfer is reduced to 64 kbps, which is too slow.

I've found out that O2 has foreign calls at moderate prices, but I haven't yet checked for details. There are so many other options, making it is hard to compare them all without spending the whole weekend on it. So, if someone has found a better option than having 2 SIM cards and constantly switching them, this answer would be greatly appreciated.

  • Just a thought, could you use T-mobile and then use skype (or similar)? I've done this a lot, both in my own country and when traveling. – Alendri Nov 23 '12 at 1:54
  • Do you need it in cities or on the countryside? Coverage varies widely among network providers (which are yet again not always identical with the SIM card providers). – npl Jul 13 '18 at 20:40
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I can recomend you to buy a SIM-card from Aldi talk or Fonic

  • Alditalk: 11 cent/min & sms in Germany, 12 cent/min to EU-landline, and 29 cent/min to EU-mobile. There is also 1500MB high speed data package for only 10 Euro. The signal strength is not the best(E-Plus network) but it's OK

  • Fonic: 9 cent/min & sms in Germany and EU-landline, 29 cent/min to EU-mobile. 500MB high speed package for 10€, but the first month is free.The signal is a little bit better that Alditalk(Fonic is using the O2 network)

  • T-mobile has indeed the best signal stregth, but they are much more expensive

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    I've had a good experience with Fonic. They also have a very convenient website (though it is in German, it's usable through Google translate), which allows you to perform almost all the actions you might need. Also, they have a customer service number which (usually after only a short wait) gets you straight to an English-speaking human. This is a big plus for non-German speakers who can't get through the automated voice menu in German. – Joe Dec 3 '12 at 10:39
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Update in August 2017

The below-mentioned companies Lebara and Lycamobile are still probably the cheapest throw-away SIMs available in Germany. But since the new EU roaming regulation has started to be in effect in June 2017, things have become way easier.

If you're from a European country, you can just use your own SIM with your own data. If you plan to travel across Europe from abroad, you can buy a prepaid SIM card* in the first country and keep using it. In that case, remember to top up enough credit.

*Important: since July 1st 2017 SIM cards have to be registered in Germany. Therefore the costumers have to identify themselves (ID, passport) and they need an adress in Germany!


The answer by Dirty-flow is by now (September 2015) a bit out of date.

Right now the easiest way to get a throwaway SIM is to go to a kiosk or very small store and look for Lebara and/or Lycamobile stickers on the door or windows. Especially in larger cities it's very easy to find those stores. In Berlin every Spätkauf has those SIMs.

The SIMs are usually given for free, or for a very small fee, in which case they include credit. The store will often help with activating them. Mostly activating just means putting them in the phone and waiting. Sometimes visiting the provider's website and logging in with the SIM number is required.

You can purchase credit in the same place. Usually in 5 Euro steps. You'll be given a receipt that has a number that you can use to text it to the top-up service. After that you can book packages with another text service. Some of those packages are good for mobile-data-only. You can get 1GB for 9.90 EUR, for example.

Giving a name to register the SIM is not required.

There are also a lot of packages for calling to non-EU countries cheaply.

Alternatively you can always get Skype credit and do landline-calls to your home country through Skype, which is often way cheaper.

  • I usually get these SIM cards for visitors in Germany for playing Ingress. Data works quite well. A lot of other European countries have Lebara as well for similar prices. I've used it in NL and FR. – simbabque Sep 14 '15 at 14:50
  • Very useful thanks you. I got a question here, in some countries I visited, there are sim card scams going on everywhere; even in big Vodafone verified resellers. Is that so in Munich as well? – sepehr Jun 2 '17 at 16:21
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    @sepehr I don't think anyone would do an open scam in a shop in Germany. I usually get Sims in tiny Turkish phone shops. They are always safe. They will be especially in Munich. But Vodafone will be more expensive. Use Lyca, lebara or turkcell. – simbabque Jun 2 '17 at 16:54
  • What kind of scam? – TorstenS Aug 22 '17 at 13:07
  • @TorstenS I have no idea. But in any case, it seems unlikely that employees in an ordinary phone store in Germany would try to scam customers. – simbabque Aug 22 '17 at 13:18
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Especially to make calls back home while in Germany there are still another offer: Ortel Mobile.

They offer quite good rates to make calls from Germany to other countries.

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