Phone Plans Germany
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Finding the Best Cell Phone Plan in Germany

By on August 22nd, 2016

If there’s one comment frequently made on expats in Germany forums, it’s how terrible some of the service providers in the country can be. So how do you find the best cell phone plan in Germany for you?

Funny thing is – I’ve never complained once about my plan. It might be because I’m from Canada and the service fees in Canada are disgusting. Or possibly because, my service plan in Germany rocks. I’m putting this post together to help you figure out which is the best cell phone plan in Germany for you.

 

Recent examples from Facebook forums: 

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Networks in Germany

To give you a better understanding of the way it works here in Germany, there are 3 leading networks (previously 4, until 02 bought out E-Plus).

 

T-Mobil, Vodafone and 02

Then, there are a few other cell phone providers that actually rent their networks from one of the four networks mentioned above.

Fonic, 1&1, Congstar, Blau.de, Simyo, etc.

 

Contract or Pay-as-you-go?

Most people today choose to buy into a contract simply because it is easy. You can choose how much data you would like per month, how many texts and/or calls you plan on making and then alter your package to suit your needs. However, if you’re planning on spending only a few months in Germany, then a pay-as-you-go option might be just what you need.

Contracts with the major providers, such as t-mobile and Vodafone are often binding for about 24 months in order to pay off the new phone you receive with it. If you don’t want the phone, it’s cheaper per month, but you’re usually bound for the same time.

I like to think that my contract (“SMART S“) falls somewhere in the middle. I walked into Lidl on my first day moving to Germany, found a plan that was 7.99 per month on the shelf at the checkout. I paid 10 Euro for the SIM card at the cash register only to find out that the 10 Euros I paid went right into my account so my first month was free. I also just recently received a text from Lidl telling me they are giving me an extra 200 megabytes for free, just because.

I am paying into a contract that can be canceled at anytime (however, you will be billed until the end of the month). I am also able to call the company when I leave for a couple of months and won’t be using my cell phone. They will put a hold on my account until I return (that means I don’t have to pay for the time I wasn’t using my cell phone).

You see why I’m so happy with my plan? It might not be the best cell phone plan in Germany, but it’s perfect for me.



 

Where do you buy cell phones?

Unlike North America, it is not hard to find a cell phone and it’s also not outrageously expensive if you’re just looking for a basic cell phone (even smartphone).

I paid a good penny for my Google Nexus back in Canada. After returning home from Japan Tag in Düsseldorf (dead sober, I swear), I dropped my phone and that was the end of it. In a panic, I ran to Media Markt, purchased a new Samsung smartphone for 129 Euros and popped my Lidl sim card right back into the new phone.

It really is a lot easier here.

Perhaps you are in search of the easiest way to get started and don’t mind paying the extra money each month. You can head straight for one of the networks head stores:

If you’re looking at buying into a contract or just buying the cell phone on its own, you can go to a number of electronic stores such as:

Interested in saving a few bucks on a second-hand cell? You can also check out:

For more inspiration on where to buy second-hand items, take a look at our recent post about Finding Second Hand Furniture in Dusseldorf or Amazing Flea Markets in Dusseldorf.

 

Where do you buy pre-paid plans?

  • Aldi
  • Lidl
  • Edeka
  • Penny
  • Netto
  • Rossman
  • Real-

You’re starting to get the list now, right? You can really just head across the street to any local grocer and you’re likely to find some awesome cell phone plans. Not to mention, they are likely less than 10 Euros per month.

 

Where can you compare cell phone prices?

Germany does have some pretty good comparison websites where you will be able to compare cell phone plans (with/without contracts). The best comparison website it the one you constantly see on TV commercials, Check24. Here, you can literally find the cheapest plan for your needs (checking off filters like how many GB you’d like, how much talk time you’d like, etc.)

 

I know I’m certainly not the only one with a cell phone story. What would you recommend? Or highly discourage? Would you prefer the pay-as-you-go option or monthly contracts? What is the best cell phone plan in Germany? Leave your suggestions in the comment section below!


Do you have any questions about living #LifeInDüsseldorf? Feel free to send us an email with your questions at hello@lifeinduesseldorf.com. If you have tips you’d like to share with others, we’re also accepting guest posts which include the author’s name, bio and photo. 

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8 Comments
  1. Reply

    Andrew

    October 30, 2017

    Thanks for this blog! I just moved to Cologne and I’ve been trying to find the best deal for cells here 🙂

    • Reply

      Jenna Davis

      November 2, 2017

      Thanks for your comment Andrew! 🙂 What plan did you end up going with? I’m always curious to know!

  2. Reply

    Sophie

    November 3, 2017

    So you don’t even need any ID or a credit check to take out a contract..?
    I ask because it’s like getting a mortgage out in the uk! Multiple proof of address, ID, credit history check… etc.

    • Reply

      Jenna Davis

      November 3, 2017

      Haha I’m sure it depends on what type of contract you’re looking for here. I have the ALDI/LIDL plans which you can simply pick up and purchase from the store and then you have to go online and register an account (of course, that includes my address, bank account, DOB, etc.), but they don’t force you to submit a crazy number of documents for approval. The only thing that was hard for me was that at the beginning of my time here in Germany, I didn’t have a German bank account, and I needed that in order to pay for my 7,99 phone bill. After that it was smooth sailing!

      Best,

      Jenna

  3. Reply

    Ana

    July 28, 2018

    I just moved to Dusseldorf this week and purchased a pre-paid option with Vodafone (CallYa Smartphone Special – 1.5 GB data – 9.99 euro for 4 weeks ) . I was inclined to buy LIDL’s SIM at first, but was stopped by two things: 1) LIDL SIM card does not have LTE (only 3G) 2) I was a bit suspicious that the activation of LIDL SIM may not go so smoothly as some people reported they had problems with ID verification over internet (plus following instructions on German may be a hurdle). Another option to consider might be Lycamobile – you can get 5 GB of data for the same price (9.99)

    • Reply

      Jenna Davis

      August 1, 2018

      Hey there Ana,

      The Vodafone CallYa Smartphone Special is also a great offer! I don’t think you can go wrong with either or. I’m actually on a LIDL plan (SMART S) myself and am on an LTE network… sometimes it depends on where you’re located (and not which provider you’ve selected). I also just helped my friend in Berlin set up his LIDL SIM card yesterday and was beside him through the entire activation/identification process. The entire process was actually surprisingly easy! The identification process is done through Deutsche Post and you can select between a German or English speaker for the quick video chat. We opted in for the English process because my friend doesn’t speak a word of German yet. Lycamobile is also a great option!😊

      Thanks for all your wonderful tips and advice!

      All the best,

      Jenna

  4. Reply

    Fahad

    August 9, 2018

    Thank you! This has been so helpful.

    I’m from Toronto and I’m moving to Cologne next month 🙂

    • Reply

      Jenna Davis

      August 9, 2018

      Hey there Fahad,

      I’m so glad you’ve found this post helpful! 😊
      There are tons of other resources to getting started in Germany, you can find them here: https://lifeinduesseldorf.com/getting-started-dusseldorf/

      It’s so nice knowing that we have some more fellow Torontonians joining the pack here in NRW, Germany! If you’re ever visiting Düsseldorf, give me a shout and we can meet up for some poutine! 😏 (pre-warning: this poutine is nothing like it is back home).

      Cheers,

      Jenna

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