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Thread: prepaid service in Germany?

  1. #1
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    prepaid service in Germany?

    Hi all-

    taking a trip to Germany in Sept.-Oct, and I need to know what carrier would be the best coverage and pricing for mostly local calling and unlimited data- ie: laptop tethering with my Galaxy S2. Ortel, Vodaphone, T-Mobile, etc? Does T-Mobile use the same frequency bands as in the USA? (bad choice then)

    Do I need to order a SIM on the web, or can they be purchased at local convenience & grocery stores, etc.

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    I am also taking a trip to Germany and would like to know if I can take my MIFI 4510L (Verizon) and purchase a Germany only SIM card with data enabled and use it to access the internet with my smartphone and IPad 2.

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    I've found some information around the web, but it all seems to be 2+ years out of date..

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    For information as current as possible, look on www.prepaidgsm.net. I think the Verizon phone will be SIM-locked. You will need an unlocked phone to be able to use a prepaid SIM. T-Mobile in the US & Germany use different bands. Germany is 900 & 1800 MHz for GSM and 2100 MHz for 3G. T-Mobile in the US has only 1900 MHz but roams on 850 MHz and uses AWS (1700+2100 MHz) for 3G. AWS is not compatible with the European UMTS band. A phone for use in Germany needs 900 and/or 1800 and/or 2100 MHz.
    Donald Newcomb

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    looks like either tmobile or O2 has the bests prepaid for data and vmnot sure going to look when i get there next week. just hardware unlcocked my iphon4 any additional feedback would be appreicated.?

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    Thumbs up

    O2 has a good deal, though registering a foreign address can be problematic.
    Outside major cities in the middle/eastern part of Germany there's usually only
    EDGE coverage. T-mobile has better 3G/UMTS coverage, but a lot more expensive.

    Have a look at my experience with O2 prepaid internet in Germany


    Cheers!
    Traveling by 4x4 truck in Asia and the Middle-East
    http://www.laptop-junction.com

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    thanks i wanna use my iphone 4 with either 02 or tmobiles microsims i see tmobile has a prepaid iphone package will ask when i get there going to use the gevey hardware unlock to unlock the iphone 4...

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    After chatting with the folks at prepaidgsm.net, it seems the best choices for vacation or business visitors is a couple subsidiaries of o2, Fonic and Lidl. Fonic is o2's 'discount' brand, but runs on the same network and has the same coverage. Lidl is an MVNO run by a grocery store chain, also hosted on o2. Both require prepaid vouchers which are available all over Germany, the latter only in Lidl stores, the former in many other pharmacies, convenience stores and electronics stores too. Both brands offer voice+data (smartphone) and data-only (USB keys) services.

    Here's an English page with details about fonic's services and setup:
    http://prepaid-wireless-internet-acc...id=EZ6F0CoQkzM

    and Lidl:
    http://prepaid-wireless-internet-acc...id=zvh-mPullGt

    -both help pages written up by one of ppgsm's senior contributors.

    I've been warned away from e-plus-based MVNO's as their coverage and network speed is generally much poorer than the 3 big operators - T-Mobile, Vodaphone or o2. They may be slightly cheaper but you'll get what you pay for.

  9. #9
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    Thumbs up

    Currently connected with O2 in Germany - works ok, though T-mobile (A1) has better 3G/UMTS coverage.

    To get a foreign address registered one needs to go to a O2 / T-mobile shop. The T-mobile guys managed to register a foreign address after some experimentation. (They never done that before).

    With O2 the address registering software in the shop just wouldn't accept the postcode of my foreign address. After an hour they reluctantly entered the shop address as my address.

    Before I tried 3 other places - not O2 / T-mobile shops to buy a simcard. They all refused to register a foreign address - only when i could show a identity card with a German address or any other official documents.

    Of all countries I visited, Germany is by far the most strict with simcard registration. All other online offers where useless because it can only ordered and shipped to a German address. Be prepared to take this hurdle, it takes some time to get this done.

    Cheers!

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    Quote Originally Posted by laptopnomad View Post
    Currently connected with O2 in Germany - works ok, though T-mobile (A1) has better 3G/UMTS coverage.
    This was my understanding too- T-Mobile is obviously the best coverage, being the incumbent wired carrier, Deutsche Telekom. But Vodaphone and o2 are a close second, e-plus (Dutch carrier KPN) is far behind.

    Quote Originally Posted by laptopnomad View Post
    To get a foreign address registered one needs to go to a O2 / T-mobile shop. The T-mobile guys managed to register a foreign address after some experimentation. (They never done that before).

    With O2 the address registering software in the shop just wouldn't accept the postcode of my foreign address. After an hour they reluctantly entered the shop address as my address.

    Before I tried 3 other places - not O2 / T-mobile shops to buy a simcard. They all refused to register a foreign address - only when i could show a identity card with a German address or any other official documents.
    This is interesting, and maybe a bit troublesome. German members on ppgsm indicate that purchasing the sim/kit itself might be a hassle as retailers may be wary of selling to foreigners, but registration online is simple - as long as you feed it a valid German address, it does not *validate* the address for residency. So it could be a hotel, business, even the train station. If you register the card or kit manually in-store and staff insist on proper identification, OF COURSE it will be a hassle- I don't know of any national cellular carrier that requires registration and allows foreigners to do so with a foreign address- the systems usually aren't even designed to recognize it. Rogers and Telus here in Canada certainly don't. But it's a matter of finding a retailer who will not insist on registering the SIM in the store by hand. This is why (I would hope) purchasing at Lidl or another convenience/pharmacy-type store would be the best bet for short-term use, because all they care about is the retail sale and setting it up is your problem. I am techically inclined so I think this is a non-issue, for others less savvy this may be a hassle especially in a foreign language.

    I won't even go into asking why a prepaid, essentially disposable SIM card needs to be registered at all..

    Quote Originally Posted by laptopnomad View Post
    Of all countries I visited, Germany is by far the most strict with simcard registration. All other online offers where useless because it can only ordered and shipped to a German address. Be prepared to take this hurdle, it takes some time to get this done.
    lol You've obviously never tried to use a cellular phone in Japan as a foreigner, have you?
    There is no such thing as a prepaid SIM or phone without being a native Japanese, or 'resident alien', the Japanese equivalent of a US green card, and even then you must register and validate your address and employment. If you are a vacationer or business traveler, you roam with your own carrier or rent the kit at 3x the price. There are warnings, often around train stations and electronics stores not to loan your SIM or purchase phones for others(only criminal foreigners and yakuza would want these- yes, there are posters to that effect around the country).

    **EDIT: I'm certainly not advocating providing false information, but fundamentally the automated self-help registration systems of most cellular carriers are not designed to accept registration info for users other than their own territory. And unless there is an actual legal requirement to do so (which salesdroids the world over are almost universally ignorant about anyways) there's no need for the carrier to have a way to contact you with a prepaid service, since you cannot incur an outstanding debt. 99% of the time their only intent is to annoy you with marketing anyways.
    Last edited by amrando; 09-16-2011 at 10:33 AM.

  11. #11
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    I have no direct experience....

    but I've done some research for the next time I'm going to visit Germany and want to use my unlocked quadband gsm phone there.

    I've looked at:

    Fonic

    http://www.fonic.de/html/eth_tarif_uk.html

    and Tchibo

    http://www.tchibo.de/Handytarif-Guen...400004834.html


    both offer 9 C/min calls in Germany and to the US (landlines), 9 C/sms in Germany and comparable

    internet tariffs.

    Both should be available where I plan to be staying.

    Both sims cost $10, Fonic you get 10 Euro credit and Tchibo only 5 Euro

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