Based on Travel October 2014
Easy but expensive. Head to a Vodafone store ask for a pre-pay or “top up” sim card with data. You can also ask for the “Call Ya” prepaid plans.
Easy. I’ve had experience with Vodafone before so when I arrived in Germany I just went straight to a Vodafone store in the centre of Cologne (there are a LOT of them). I walked in, asked for a sim, gave them my Canadian (Alberta) driver’s license and walked out with a SIM card.
Vodafone, Telekom Deutschland, O2, e-plus
All providers GSM 850/900/1800/1900/2100
World Phone Compatible
Admittedly, I really should have shopped around for a sim card in Cologne but I had a drindl to buy…Editor’s note: Due to the author’s preference for drindls over saving money on data on this particular trip this article may not be our most helpful.
My friend and I (on the way to buy dirndl’s and leiderhosen) stopped at a Vodafone store in central Cologne (Koln, Keulen). We waited for a representative to help us and kindly requested this transaction be done in English to spare her from my hybrid Dutch, German, Spanish language that I bust out the odd occasion when I try to order an americano from a coffee shop run by Italians in Germany. I digress…
Apparently Vodafone recently launched a 4G LTE pre paid plans and is the only provider who does so in Germany. Catch is, you pay for 4 weeks. So while it’s 10 euro a week I was told I had to pay for 4 weeks regardless. These packages are called “Call Ya” and if you’re around for a while it’s a decent deal. You get (per week):
- Free calls to other Vodafone users
- 0.09 euro / min to other users in Germany
- Unlimited domestic SMS
- 250 MB of data
So it’s kind of like getting a contract phone plan without the contract.
All of us going to Oktoberfest were from abroad whether it was Canada or the Netherlands so all calls and sms’s (except between my friend who also got a Vodafone sim) were going to be charged long distance. The rates were:
- .29 euro / sms
- 0.03 euro / min + .15 euro surcharge for each phone call
I made a point of live posting to Instagram to make sure I ate up all my data. Also to show everyone at home the debauchery that was Oktoberfest.
The coverage was good. I used it on hour drive from Cologne to Munich with no problems as well as our 9 + hour drive back to Amsterdam the Sunday of Oktoberfest. Side note: Traffic in Germany is bruuuuuutal because of all the road construction and the fact that it was a high holiday. If you plan to roadtrip please allow yourself some extra time and settle in for the long haul. My dreams of flying down the autobahn were quickly dashed.
Also Oktoberfest was awesome. If you go be prepared to get up very early and stand in line to get into a beer tent (seriously you need to be there by 7:30 am …). There’s a good McDonalds outside of the fair grounds that provided sustenance as well as a good meeting spot Editor’s note: What’s a good McDonalds? Slightly cleaner bathrooms?.
If anyone has found a better data plan in Germany please feel free to share it with us! Would love to hear about your experience. It does appear that there are several resellers on Vodaphone‘s network (though you may miss out on 4G LTE, if that’s at all important to you) that offer shorter term, or buy the mb plans that would likely be more suitable for shorter trips. Regardless, like most Western European countries, it is very easy to procure a SIM card and data in Germany, and there are several options. There for a few weeks, grab a Vodafone card. There for a few days, check out your closest supermarket, and grab a delicious beer while you’re at it.