Best Mobile Operator in Germany – Compare the Top Plans in 2022

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After moving to Germany, one of the first things to do is to get a German mobile phone number. In general, you have two choices: Getting a mobile phone contract or using a prepaid SIM card in Germany. In this guide, we will talk about the best mobile network in Germany. You will also find a comparison of the best mobile operators and the best prepaid SIM card plans to use in Germany.

A summary of the best mobile operators in Germany

If you don’t have much time, here are the highlights of the 4 operators that offer the best mobile phone contracts with 24-month fixed term in Germany. 

 

Vodafone

O2

1&1

Telekom

Monthly price (from)

29.99 € for 4 GB

19.99 € for 3 GB

0 € in the first 6 months, and then 19.99 €, for 5 GB

39.95 € for 6 GB

One-time fee

0 €

39.99 €

19.99 €

39.95 €

Mobile network

Vodafone

O2

O2

Telekom

Contract term

24 months

24 months

24 months

24 months

Download speed (up to)

500 MBit/s

500 MBit/s

500 MBit/s

300 MBit/s

Upload speed (up to)

100 MBit/s

50 MBit/s

50 MBit/s

50 MBit/s

5G

Discount for young people

Under 28 years old

Under 29 years old

Up to 28 years old

Under 28 years old

Discount for self-employed people

Χ

Χ

Discount for senior people

Χ

Over 60 years old

Χ

Χ

Discount for kids

Χ

Χ

Χ

English service

English app and partial customer support in English

Χ

Χ

Χ

Other features

Enjoy your favorite app without using data from your regular data plan

Include UK roaming until 31.12.2022

 • 20 € bonus for carrying over an existing no.

 • Include UK roaming until 31.12.2022

Include Switzerland and UK roaming

 

More info

More info

More info

More info

If you prefer to use a prepaid SIM card or flexible contract, here are the highlights of the best mobile providers in Germany:

 

WinSim

O2

Lebara

SIMon Mobile

Blau

Contract type

Postpaid flexible contract

Prepaid plan

Prepaid plan

Postpaid flexible contract

Prepaid plan

Price (from)

4.99 € for 3 GB (per month)

1.99 € for 150 MB (4-week)

9.99 € for 3 GB (4-week)

8.99 € for 8 GB (per month)

7.99 € for 3 GB (4-week)

One-time fee

19.99 €

0 €

0 €

 

0 €

9.99 € – 19.99 €

Unlimited minutes and SMS

Mobile network

O2

O2

Telekom

Vodafone

O2

Download speed (up to)

50 MBit/s

225 MBit/s

18 MBit/s

50 MBit/s

25 MBit/s

Upload speed (up to)

32 MBit/s

50 MBit/s

2.5 MBit/s

25 MBit/s

11.2 MBit/s

English service

Χ

Χ

Χ

Χ

Other features

• One of the cheapest in the market
• Only 19.99 € monthly for 25 GB 

1 € starting bonus

50-1000 international minutes included

• Monthly cancellable

10 € – 20 € starting bonus

 

More info

More info

More info

More info

More info

Looking for an unlimited internet SIM card in Germany? See below for the best unlimited internet SIM card plans in Germany:

 

O2 Unlimited basic

O2 Unlimited Smart Flex

O2 Unlimited Max

Vodafone Red XL Unlimited

Telekom MagentaMobil

Monthly price (24 months contract)

29.99 €

39.99 €

59.99 €

79.99 €

84.95 €

Monthly price (flexible contract)

29.99 €

39.99 €

59.99 €

NA

99.95 € (for 4 weeks)

One-time fee

39.99 €

39.99 €

39.99 €

0

39.95 €

Download speed

2 MBit/s

10 MBit/s

500 MBit/s

500 MBit/s

300 MBit/s

Upload speed

1 MBit/s

5 MBit/s

50 MBit/s

100 MBit/s

50 MBit/s

5G

 

More Info

More Info

More Info

More Info

More info

Keep on reading for more details about each of the best mobile operators in Germany.


Note that the data in the above tables and in the following sections are accurate as of the date when this article is written. These offers from the mobile providers in Germany can change at any time in the future. Please check the mobile providers’ websites directly for the latest information.

Which mobile network is the best in Germany?

In Germany, there are three mobile network providers:

  • Telekom
  • Vodafone
  • O2 (Telefónica)

According to this test, Telekom is the best mobile network provider in Germany. The test considered different factors such as coverage and 5G reception. Vodafone is slightly behind Telekom and O2 comes in third place.

 NetworkIn GermanCoveragePrice
TelekomD1-networkD1-NetzThe bestMost expensive
VodafoneD2-networkD2-NetzSecondMiddle
O2E-networkE-NetzThirdCheapest

Both D1- and D2-network are known as the D-network (D-Netz). The D-network has better coverage than the E-network. But the E-network can support more calls at the same time in a specific area. 

So, if you live in a big city, you can choose the E network. If you live in a rural area, or if you are traveling a lot, then D network will be better for you.

Read also: Best Internet Providers in Germany – Top 4 Comparison

Third-party mobile providers

You can get a mobile phone contract directly from Telekom, Vodafone, or O2. But you will also see contracts offered by many different third-party mobile providers in Germany. It is because they are renting airtime from one of the three mobile network providers. 

No matter which mobile provider you choose, you are always using your phone and internet on one of the three mobile network providers in Germany. You will usually find on the third-party mobile providers’ websites which mobile network they are using. Some third-party mobile providers in Germany also let you choose between the D-network or the E-network.

Which mobile network is the cheapest in Germany?

As you can guess, quality comes with a price. Telekom is the most expensive mobile network in Germany, while O2 is the cheapest.

Third-party mobile providers in Germany tend to be more expensive if they rent airtime from Telekom. There are more third-party mobile providers who are using the O2 network in Germany. They usually offer mobile contracts at more affordable prices.

Mobile network coverage in Germany

The quality of your internet and mobile phone reception can be very different depending on where you are. Sometimes, even different parts of the same city can have different network coverage.

In the big cities in Germany, you shouldn’t have any issues no matter which mobile provider you use. But if you are in a rural area, you may have no reception at all. The mobile network coverage in Germany can be very different depending on the regions and the mobile operators.

Which mobile network should you choose in Germany?

It really depends on your individual situation. If you need to travel often in Germany (e.g. by bus or train), you should choose your mobile operator carefully. Your mobile and internet connection may be unstable during your travel. In that case, mobile operators that use the Telekom or Vodafone network will better for you as they have a more comprehensive mobile coverage in Germany.

On the other hand, if you do not travel much (or if you only bike or drive), then the O2 mobile network may be good enough for you. In my case, I do not travel much. And I am mostly either at home or in the office, where Wi-fi is available. So, I am using O2 for many years now without any issues. The O2 mobile network is also cheaper than the Vodafone or Telekom network.

To decide which mobile network you should choose in Germany, you should first check the network coverage in your area. Just enter your address and you can see the availability on the map for each mobile network.

Check mobile network coverage for

The 5G availability in Germany

1G, 2G, 3G, 4G, and 5G represent different generations of mobile networks. 1G and 2G are the early mobile generations that only deliver voices. In the early 2000s, 3G was developed that brought mobile data. The 4G LTE started in the 2010s. It is faster and it also permits a lot more connections than 3G.

In 2019, the 5G mobile network was introduced to Germany. 5G is significantly faster than 4G. It also has more capacity and lower latency than 4G. 

Telekom and Vodafone have expanded their 5G coverage in many areas in Germany. O2 is still expanding its 5G mobile network and has significantly less 5G coverage across Germany. 

The 4G mobile network covers most places in Germany now. However, the 5G mobile network is not available everywhere in Germany. But it is expanding slowly. 

To give you an idea, the below map shows the availability of a 5G mobile network in Germany. Places with no color mean that there is no 5G mobile network coverage yet. You can see that the 5G mobile network covers the big cities but not the rural areas yet.

5G mobile network availability in Germany_best mobile operator in Germany_my life in germany
Source: Bundesnetzagentur. January 2022.

How to get a mobile phone contract in Germany?

In Germany, you can only buy a SIM card if you have a valid ID and proof of address (registration with the city hall). This applies to both mobile phone contracts and prepaid SIM card plans in Germany. If you want to pay the mobile phone bill with your bank account in Germany, you will also need to provide your bank account information to the mobile operator.

In case you do not have a bank account in Germany yet, you can open an account easily online. Here are some free bank accounts in Germany with English services: Opening a Bank Account in Germany – 6 Best Bank Accounts With English Services

Unless you are signing up for a prepaid plan, your mobile operator in Germany will do a credit check on you. This is to make sure that you can pay the mobile phone bill after receiving the service. The credit check in Germany is called SCHUFA. You can read more about it here: What is SCHUFA – How to get SCHUFA in Germany?

The best mobile phone contract operator in Germany

Many mobile phone contract providers in Germany offer contracts that last for 24 months. That is why it only makes sense to get a mobile phone contract if you plan to stay in Germany for a long time

When you have a mobile phone contract in Germany, you will pay your bill at the end of each month. Your mobile phone bill amount will usually be deducted directly from your bank account in Germany.

It is quite common to get a mobile contract in Germany together with a new cell phone. You will usually get some discount when you buy a new cell phone and get a mobile contract at the same time. So, it can be a good option if you want to get a new mobile phone in Germany.

You will find below the 4 best mobile phone contracts with 24-month fixed term in Germany. The selection is based on my personal experience, quality and reputation of the mobile operators, contract flexibility, and thorough research.

1. Vodafone

Vodafone is based in the UK. It uses the D-network and is one of the largest mobile operators in Germany. Its website is in German. However, you can choose to use English in its app. On its website, it also states that most of its customer service agents can speak English

One good thing about the Vodafone mobile contract is the Vodafone pass. You can choose between chat, social, music, and video to get a pass without using data from your regular plan.

For example, if you choose social, you can have unlimited data for using social media such as Facebook or Instagram. If you choose the video pass, you don’t have to worry about data when you are watching movies on Netflix.

Vodafone offers mobile phone contracts in Germany with a 24-month duration. If you want to stay flexible, you can also choose to use their prepaid plans so that you are not tied to the long contract period.

Some highlights of the Vodafone mobile phone contract:

  • Start with 4 GB for 29.99 EUR per month (24-month contract)
  • 5G available
  • Discount for young people under 28 years old
  • Discount if you also get the Vodafone’s internet and landline
  • Discount for self-employed people
  • Possible to finance a new phone with a phone contract
  • EU roaming included
  • Up to 500 MBit/s download speed and 100 MBit/s upload speed
  • English app and partial customer support in English
  • Vodafone pass: use your favorite app without using data from your regular data plan

Sign up with Vodafone now!

vodafone_best mobile phone contract in Germany

2. O2

O2 is a global brand name owned by the Spanish telecommunications company Telefónica. It is one of the largest mobile operators in Germany and it uses the E-network. O2 is very popular, especially in big cities. However, its signal in rural areas may not be as strong.

One good thing about the O2 mobile contract is flexibility. You can choose a flexible mobile contract where you can quit with a one-month notice.

Some highlights of the O2 mobile phone contract:

  • Start with 3 GB for 19.99 EUR per month
  • 5G available
  • Discount for young people under 29 years old
  • Discount if you also get the O2’s internet and landline
  • Discount for self-employed people
  • Discount for senior peopleover 60 years old
  • Possible to finance a new phone with a phone contract
  • EU roaming included (the UK is also included until 31.12.2022)
  • Up to 500 Mbit/s download and 50 Mbit/s upload speed
  • A one-time connection fee of 39.99 EUR

Sign up with O2 now!

best mobile phone contract operator in Germany_O2

3. 1&1

1&1 is a German company and it is using the O2 network. It is one of the best mobile operators in Germany.

1&1 offers mobile phone contracts in Germany with a 24-month duration. If you want to stay flexible, you can also choose contracts that you can cancel monthly. These plans will be more expensive than the 24-month contracts though.

Some highlights of the 1&1 mobile phone contract:

  • Start with 5 GB for free in the first 6 months, and then 19.99 EUR per month (24-month contract)
  • 5G available
  • 20 EUR bonus if you join 1&1 with an existing phone number
  • Discount for young people up to 28 years old
  • Discount if you also get the 1&1’s internet and landline
  • Discount for kids
  • Possible to finance a new phone with a phone contract
  • EU roaming included (the UK is also included until 31.12.2022)
  • Up to 500 Mbit/s download and 50 Mbit/s upload speed
  • A one-time fee of 19.99 EUR

Sign up with 1&1 now!

1&1 best mobile phone contract in germany

4. Telekom

Telekom used to be under state ownership. It was privatized in 1995 and has a headquarter in Bonn. It is the largest telecommunication provider in Europe by revenue.

Telekom uses the D-network which has the best mobile network coverage also in the rural area in Germany. Because of the high quality, Telekom is one of the most expensive mobile phone provider in Germany.

Telekom offers mobile phone contracts in Germany with a 24-month duration. If you want, you can choose a flexible mobile contract where you can quit with a one-month notice.

Some highlights of the Telekom mobile phone contract:

  • Start with 6 GB for 39.95 EUR per month (24-month contract)
  • 5G available
  • Discount for young people under 28 years old
  • Discount if you also get the Telekom’s internet and landline
  • Possible to finance a new phone with a phone contract
  • EU roaming included (including Switzerland and UK)
  • Up to 300 Mbit/s download and 50 Mbit/s upload speed
  • A one-time fee of 39.95 EUR

The best prepaid SIM card and flexible contract in Germany

The 5 best prepaid SIM card plans and flexible contract in Germany

To make it easier for you, you can see the 5 best prepaid SIM card plans and flexible contract to use in Germany below. The selection is based on my personal experience, quality and reputation of the mobile operators, and thorough research.

1. WinSim

WinSim offers both 24-month contracts and flexible mobile contracts at the same price. If you choose the flexible contract, you will have to pay a one-time fee of 19.99 Euro.

WinSim uses the O2 network. It has one of the cheapest prices in the market. WinSim is the best mobile operator for you if you want to have a lot of mobile data at a low price in Germany.

Some highlights of the O2 prepaid SIM plans:
    • Start with 3 GB for 4.99 EUR per month
    • Only 19.99 EUR per month for a plan with 25 GB! 
    • Unlimited mobile phone minutes and SMS
    • EU roaming included
    • Up to 50 MBit/s download and 32 MBit/s upload speed
    • Monthly cancellable postpaid contracts

Sign up with WinSim now!

winsim_flexible mobile contract_best mobile operator in Germany

2. O2 prepaid plan

If you just need very limited mobile usage, O2 has a prepaid plan where you pay 9 cents per minute or SMS. In this plan, you can also pay 99 cents per day for up to 30 MB of data usage.

If you need some mobile data but do not want to pay a high tariff, O2 prepaid plans are for you.

Some highlights of the O2 prepaid SIM plans:
  • Start with 150 MB for 1.99 EUR (4 weeks)
  • 1 EUR starting bonus
  • Unlimited mobile phone minutes and SMS
  • EU roaming included
  • Up to 225 MBit/s download and 50 MBit/s upload speed

Sign up with the O2 prepaid plan now!

best mobile phone contract operator in Germany_O2

3. Lebara

Lebara is the only mobile operator in Germany that has an English website and customer service. It is using the Telekom network which offers the best coverage in Germany. The key feature of the Lebara prepaid SIM card plan is that you can get phone minutes to make calls to 50 countries abroad

Some highlights of the Lebara prepaid SIM card plans:
  • Start with 3 GB for 9.99 EUR (4 weeks)
  • Unlimited mobile phone minutes and SMS
  • EU roaming included
  • English website and customer service
  • Include 50-1000 international minutes 
  • Up to 18 MBit/s download and 2.5 MBit/s upload speed

Sign up with Lebara now!

Lebara prepaid mobile phone contract plan

4. SIMon Mobile

SIMon mobile is a brand under Vodafone. It offers 2 simple plans. One plan is for people who need to get a new German mobile phone number. The other is a discounted plan for people who carry over their existing German phone number to SIMon Mobile.

Note that these are not prepaid plans. However, they are flexible contracts where you can cancel with a one-month notice. SIMon Mobile uses the D-network that has very good coverage in Germany.

A key feature of SIMon Mobile plans is that you can pause your contract for up to 3 months. It is good for people who need to stay flexible. For example, if you need to travel for a longer period.

Some highlights of the SIMon Mobile plans:

– Start with 8 GB for 8.99 EUR per month
Unlimited mobile phone minutes and SMS
EU roaming included
– Up to 50 MBit/s download and 25 MBit/s upload speed
Simple and easy-to-understand contract
Monthly cancellable postpaid contracts

Sign up with SIMon Mobile now!

best postpaid flexible mobile phone contract in Germany_Simon mobile

5. Blau

Blau is a mobile network brand owned by O2. It is using the O2 network and offers very affordable mobile phone data plans. Blau offers different plans including:

  • 24-month mobile contracts
  • flexible contracts (monthly cancellable)
  • prepaid SIM card plans.

If you only want to use your mobile phone without the internet, you can use Blau’s basic plan. In this plan, you will pay 9 cents per minute or SMS. You do not need to pay if you don’t use your phone.

If you need mobile data and want to stay flexible, Blau’s prepaid SIM card plan is for you.

Some highlights of the Blau prepaid SIM card plans:
  • Start with 3 GB for 7.99 EUR (4 weeks)
  • 9.99 – 19.99 EUR one-time fee
  • 10 – 20 EUR starting bonus
  • Unlimited mobile phone minutes and SMS
  • EU roaming included
  • Up to 25 MBit/s download and 11.2 MBit/s upload speed

Sign up with Blau now!

Best prepaid sim card plan in Germany_Blau

The advantage of using a prepaid SIM card in Germany

If you plan to stay in Germany for a short term, you may want to get a prepaid SIM card instead of a mobile phone contract in Germany. The advantage of using a prepaid SIM card in Germany is the flexibility.

With a prepaid SIM card plan in German, you have no commitment and do not need to be tied for a long period. All you need to do is to purchase a prepaid sim card in Germany, activate it, and top up the balance. If you have no money left on your balance, you will have to recharge it before you can continue to use your mobile phone plan in Germany.

It is usually pretty easy to top up your balance. Many mobile operators in Germany let you pay with your mobile app. You can also buy credits in the supermarkets.

Activating your prepaid SIM card in Germany

After buying your prepaid SIM card in Germany, you need to activate it by going through an identification process. Similar to getting a mobile phone contract in Germany, you will need your valid ID and proof of address to register your prepaid SIM card. This is required by German law since 2017.

The identification process may be a little different among different mobile phone operators. You can usually do so online via your webcam, or at your nearest post office.

How to get a prepaid SIM card in Germany?

You can buy a prepaid SIM card online. Or you can also buy it in a local store such as kiosks and gas stations. A prepaid SIM card plan in Germany can be very cheap. It is suitable for students or anyone who wants to stay flexible.

The best unlimited internet SIM card in Germany

If you are looking for an unlimited internet SIM card, it is good to know that all the 3 biggest mobile operators in Germany offer that.

3 Best unlimited internet SIM card in Germany

1. O2 unlimited plan

O2 offers 3 different unlimited internet SIM card plans in Germany:

  • Basic plan – 29.99€ per month – 2 MBit/s download speed
  • Smart plan – 39.99€ per month – 10 MBIT/s download speed
  • Max plan – 59.99€ per month – 500 MBit/s download speed

Note that for each plan, you can just either a 24-month contract or a flexible contract. If you choose a flexible contract, you can quit monthly. The benefit of choosing a 24-month contract is that you may get a 100 EUR changing bonus.

Sign up now with O2 unlimited plan here!

best mobile phone contract operator in Germany_O2

2. Vodafone

Vodafone also has an unlimited internet SIM card plan in Germany. It is called Vodafone Red XL Unlimited. It costs 79.99 € per month with a 24-month contract. It has a high download speed of 500 MBit/s

Sign up now with Vodafone unlimited plan!

Vodafone_best mobile phone contract unlimited mobile data plan

3. Telekom

Telekom has unlimited internet SIM card plans in Germany:

Both plans have a one-time fee of 39.95 €. The download speed of both the unlimited plans can reach 300 MBit/s. 

Can you use the unlimited internet SIM card as home internet in Germany?

Many mobile operators do not allow you to use their unlimited internet SIM card as home internet in Germany. If they find out that you are using your mobile data too much from your home address, they may cancel your mobile contract or stop your connection. 

So, you want to be careful and read the terms and conditions to see what you are allowed to do or not. Unless you are a heavy internet user outside of your home, I would suggest getting a good home internet and a decent mobile phone contract that is just enough for your outside usage. As you can see, it can be pretty expensive to get an unlimited internet SIM card in Germany.

If you are looking for the best home internet operator, check out this detailed guide: Best Internet Providers in Germany – Top 4 Comparison

8 factors to consider when choosing the best mobile phone contract in Germany

There is no one best mobile phone contract for everyone in Germany. It all depends on your individual need. When choosing the best mobile phone contract in Germany, you should consider the below factors.

1. The mobile phone contract term

If you stay in Germany for the long term, you can sign a mobile phone contract (usually a 24-month term). If you want to stay flexible, get a contract that you can quit with a one-month notice.

2. The price of the mobile phone contract

Don’t just look at the monthly price. You should also consider other costs such as the one-time fee. If there is a discount for the first 6 months of a 24-month contract, you should do some calculations to see the real average cost per month during the term.

Some mobile phone providers in Germany also give you a bonus if you carry your existing phone number to them.

3. The number of minutes and SMS

Many mobile phone contracts in Germany offer unlimited minutes and SMS nowadays. But if you have low usage, you may want to choose a minute package.

4. Mobile data

Consider how much mobile phone internet you need. If you are not a heavy user, you can choose a cheaper package with less mobile data. If you want to watch movies during your daily commute in Germany, it may make sense to get an unlimited internet SIM card.

5. Internet speed

Do you need very fast mobile internet? Do you watch a lot of high-quality videos on your phone? If so, you may want to pick a plan that includes 5G. If you just need a decent internet for occasional usage, then 5G may not be absolutely necessary.

6. Mobile network and coverage

Depending on where you live, you should choose either the D-network or the E-network. You can choose the E-network if you live in a big city. Choose the D-network if you live in a rural area or if you travel often.

Before signing up any mobile phone contract in Germany, use the network coverage check on the providers’ websites to see if the plan has coverage in your area. You should choose your mobile phone operator based on where you live and spend the most time in Germany.

7. Bundled package

If you have just moved to Germany, you may also need to get your home internet, TV, and home phone. In this case, it may be easier and cheaper to get a bundled package. 

8. Coverage outside Germany

When you have a mobile phone plan in Germany, you don’t have to worry about roaming charges within the EU since 2017. But this does not include the EEA countries and Switzerland. 

So, if you need to travel often to these countries, you may want to find a mobile phone contract that excludes roaming charges to such countries as well.

Should you use a mobile phone contract or a prepaid SIM card in Germany?

It really depends on your need. For me personally, a prepaid SIM card is great because I seldom use my mobile phone in Germany. I do not need a lot of mobile data because I am mostly at home or in my office. And I can use the Wi-Fi there.

You can see in the below table the difference between mobile phone contracts and prepaid SIM card plans in Germany.

 

Mobile phone contract

Prepaid SIM card

Short or long term stay

Good if you stay in Germany for the long term

Good if you stay in Germany temporarily

Flexibility

Inflexible – Usually 24-month contract

Flexible – Switch mobile phone operator or cancel any time

Payment

• Pay a fixed monthly fee

• Usually with direct debit

• Pay-as-you-go: Service stops when you run out of credit

• Need to top up credit regularly to call, text, or use mobile data

• You can top up online or at local stores

Internet

• Can have a bigger mobile data plan

• Very fast internet

• More internet at a lower price

Slow internet

• More expensive if you need a lot of mobile data

Get an optional new mobile phone

 

Χ

Get an optional home phone, TV, and internet package

Χ

Which one is cheaper?

Cheaper if you use your phone a lot

Cheaper if you don’t use a lot of mobile data and don’t need very fast internet

Use a tool to compare mobile operators in Germany

There are many different mobile operators and different types of phone contracts in Germany. It can be quite overwhelming when you have to decide which mobile operator in Germany is the best for you.

If you are unsure, try using a comparison tool like Dein Handy or Verivox. These tools help you to compare different mobile phone contracts so that you can choose the best one.

You can use their filters to select the best mobile phone contract in Germany that suits your need. For example, you can filter based on the below information:

  • Mobile phone contract duration
  • Mobile data amount
  • Mobile internet speed
  • Price
  • Mobile operator
  • Mobile network
  • Contract with mobile phone financing or without
  • 5G included or not

6 Tips to save money on your mobile phone bill in Germany

1. Determine your usage

Before signing up a mobile phone contract in Germany, consider how much minutes, text, and internet data usage you really need. An unlimited internet SIM card in Germany may seem great because of the unlimited minutes, text, or high-speed internet. But if your mobile usage is low, it is better to go for a smaller plan or a prepaid plan. You will end up paying less.

2. Use a prepaid plan or a flexible contract

With a prepaid plan or a flexible contract, you do not need to commit for a long term. If you have just moved to Germany and are still unsure about your usage, you may want to start with a flexible plan. These plans let you quit with a one-month notice. You can also upgrade or downgrade your plan easily. 

After a few months in Germany, you may have a better idea of how much mobile usage you really need. You can still switch to a fixed-term mobile contract afterward.

3. Use a free app to call internationally

When I call my family back home, I always use a free app such as WhatsApp instead of making an international call. With an app, I only need to use my mobile data. I also try to call when I have Wi-Fi available (e.g. at home). This way I can do a long video call with my family back home without worrying about the cost.

Surely, sometimes this may not be possible. For example, when I have to call some government authorities back home, I need to call their phone number. In that case, I will use an app such as Skype to call internationally. With Skype, I can pay either per minute or with a subscription. In any case, it is much cheaper than calling directly with my mobile phone plan.

4. Read the fine print

Don’t sign a contract if you don’t understand it. Take the time to read and understand all the terms. For example, is there any one-time fee? What is the price if you use more minutes/ SMS/ mobile data than your plan? How long are the contract term and notice period?

You should understand clearly the cost structure. Do not rush to sign a contract. You don’t want to have a bad surprise when you receive your bill later.

5. Change your mobile phone operator after the fixed term

If you decide to go for a fixed-term contract, you should look for another mobile phone operator in Germany after the fixed term. 

Many contracts give you a discount in the first 6 months. But after the first 6 months, you will have to pay the regular (higher) price. By switching your contract, you can enjoy a discount again in the first months with your new mobile phone operator in Germany. This will lower your cost in the end.

6. Buy a second-hand mobile phone in Germany

When you move to Germany, make sure you have an unlocked phone with you. If your phone is locked, you will need to get a new mobile phone in Germany. If you like to get the latest smartphone, getting a mobile phone contract with the financing of a new phone can be a good deal.

However, if you don’t need a fancy latest smartphone, you can also buy a second-hand mobile phone in Germany. You can use a platform such as Rebuy to buy a second-hand mobile phone which is much cheaper than a new one

On Rebuy, you can choose the quality of the second-hand mobile phone. For example, you can choose second-hand phones in a good, very good, or almost new condition. You can also get a 36-month guarantee. I find this a much better option than buying a brand new phone. It is also much better for the environment.

Using your mobile within the EU

Starting in 2017, there are no more roaming charges within the EU. It means that you can use your minutes, text, and mobile internet data in the EU at your domestic rate in Germany. No extra roaming charges will be incurred because you are outside Germany.

However, be careful that this does not include EEA countries and Switzerland. You may have to pay a higher charge if you use your mobile in these countries. 

Note that some mobile operators in Germany may not charge you roaming fees when you use your mobile in Switzerland. It is important to read the fine prints before your travel to understand if you have to pay roaming charges or not. It can get very expensive if you misunderstand the terms!

Can you carry over your existing mobile phone number if you switch to another operator in Germany?

If you are changing from a German mobile operator to another operator in Germany, you can carry your existing mobile phone number with you.

First, you need to cancel your existing mobile phone contract with your current operator in Germany. Once you have passed the fixed contract period (e.g. 24 months), you have the right to cancel your mobile contract monthly. Notify your current mobile operator in Germany that you want to keep the phone number with you.

When you sign up with your new mobile operator in Germany, it will ask you if you want to carry over your existing mobile phone number. 

When you tell them you want to do so, it will take a few days for your mobile phone number to change from your old to your new mobile operator in Germany. So, you should start the switching process already a few weeks before your old contract ends.

Is there public Wi-Fi in Germany?

Compared to many other countries, free public Wi-Fi is not widely available in Germany. However, you should be able to find public Wi-Fi in places like restaurants, bars, hotels, or airports. If you are a student, you will likely find Wi-Fi as well in your university.

Just be careful when you are using public Wi-Fi in Germany. Do not conduct sensitive transactions like online banking while you are using public Wi-Fi. 

In fact, I highly recommend using a VPN service when you are connecting to the internet because of the following reasons:

  • VPN protects you from hackers and malware.
  • VPN protects your privacy by allowing you to browse the internet anonymously.
  • You can avoid being incorrectly targeted by law firms when streaming content online.
  • You can access geo-blocked content.

Even top VPN services like NordVPN costs only 2 – 3 Euros per month. For more details, check this out: VPN in Germany – Comparison of the best VPNs

How to cancel your mobile phone contract in Germany?

In the past, it was very complicated to cancel your mobile phone contract in Germany. You had to pay attention to the notice period and cancel your mobile phone contract on time. If you miss the cancellation time, your contract would be automatically renewed for another year. 

Luckily, a new rule was passed in December 2021. Now, if you have passed the minimum duration of your mobile phone contract (e.g. 24 months), you will have the right to quit your contract monthly. You can see more information from the Federal Network Agency here.

How to make a complaint about your mobile operator in Germany?

All the mobile providers are regulated by the Telecommunications Act (Telekommunikationsgesetz) in Germany. If you are not happy with your mobile service, you should contact your mobile provider in Germany and try to solve the issues with them. 

In case you have a conflict with your mobile provider in Germany that you are unable to resolve, you can also contact the Federal Network Agency (Bundesnetzagentur) for help. Just submit your complaint to them along with any supporting documents. They will provide a mediation service between you and your mobile operator in Germany.

Conclusion

It can be overwhelming at the beginning. But it is possible to get a decent mobile phone contract in Germany at a good price. Just take some time to have a look at the different offers by the mobile operators. I hope you find this article useful when choosing your mobile phone contract in Germany 🙂

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Disclaimer

Please be aware that we picked the best mobile operators in Germany based on our personal experience, online review, and in-depth research. We do not provide a complete market overview.

Note that the data in this article is accurate as of the date when this article is written and is subject to change any time in the future. Our blog makes no guarantee as to the accuracy or timeliness of the information in this article. And we do not accept any form of liability resulting from reading this article. If you need any more details or the latest information, please refer to the mobile providers’ websites directly. 


Which mobile provider do you use in Germany? Do you use an unlimited internet SIM card in Germany? Are you happy with your mobile operator? Which mobile operator do you think is the best in Germany? Leave a comment below and share your experience! 

Moving to Germany or new in Germany? Check out our Resources Page for all the help you need!

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