In general, the mobile world in Germany is hugely underdeveloped. The prices are high, real coverage is a joke (especially outside of big cities – but also within cities it is often really bad) and the contract terms are hugely in favour of the providers (you have to cancel your contract 3 months before it’s expiration or it will be prolonged by another year). MobileShop is the largest European webshop for smartphones and consumer electronics. New SIM-free mobile phones. Best prices, fast delivery, warranty. Mobile phone Germany prepaid plans overview Most of the SIM cards can be obtained in supermarkets, or local stores for around 10€. They come with no minimum costs and no minimum commitment. Most of them bill 9 cent per SMS and per minute. Mobile phone contracts in Germany It is worth noting that mobile phone contracts in Germany, in contrast to many other EU countries, tend to be relatively inflexible. They are normally for a minimum of 24 months and often contain a clause that allows them to be renewed automatically as soon as the original contract expires. The Ultimate Guide to Choosing Your Mobile Phone Carrier in Germany. July 19, 2019 Last Updated On January 16th.
- Germany Mobile Phones & Portable Devices Drivers
- Germany Mobile Phones & Portable Devices Driver Download
According to the latest study of network coverage, this is the ranking of the German providers (sorted by reception quality):
- T-Mobile/Telekom (Congstar)
This ranking is also reflecting the prices, with T-Mobile usually being the most expensive and Vodafone & O2 being more affordable.
It is difficult to give a general recommendation on which carrier you should choose, because each region or even part of a city could have a different network coverage (see network coverage check below). In big cities you should have a good service with any German carrier. However, when you are traveling by bus or train, your carrier choice could make a big difference.
This is why we can recommend Deutsche Telekom’s young brand “congstar”: Congstar uses the same network as T-Mobile, but is more affordable. Congstar’s Do It Yourself Prepaid offer lets you design your own plan according to your needs. In our opinion: A good deal. If you want to save some money on your mobile phone plan and the reception is not of big importance, you should choose the cheaper plans by O2 or third-party providers.
If you are just looking for a sim card that offer you as much high speed internet as possible, you should read our overview of the best data plans in Germany!
Check the individual network coverage
Before deciding on a network provider, you can check their network coverage by searching for your ZIP-code / city and address:
- Telekom (Congstar) (check network coverage)
- Vodafone (check network coverage)
- O2 (check network coverage)
- [E-Plus is now O2] (check network coverage)
Germany Mobile Phones & Portable Devices Drivers
Generally speaking, there are two different types of networks in Germany: D-network (mostly used by T-Mobile and Vodafone) and E-network (mostly used by O2). In 2014, O2 (Telefónica) bought E-Plus, which means that both carriers use the same network now. The E-network is transmitting the signal on higher frequencies, which do not have a reach as high as the D-network’s. Additionally, the D-network operates more transmitting stations. These could be some of the reasons why O2 and E-Plus have a worse signal quality and a lower reach. It can also be said that the D-network gives you better reception inside of building than the E-network. Many third-party providers are still advertising their network being part of the D-network (“D-Netz Qualität”), as this is known to be more reliable.
If you need to contact customer service of either of the above providers, have a look at the different options to contact your provider.
Is my phone compatible with the German network?
Usually, most smartphones support various network frequencies and are compatible with the German network. However, if you are unsure, you could check your phone’s supported network frequency bands.
GSM (2G): Voice calls and text messages; some very slow data transmission as well.
UMTS (3G): Voice call and data transmission; speed usually up to 384 kbit/s.
LTE (4G): Voice call and data transmission; speed usually up to 100 MBit/s.
Germany Mobile Phones & Portable Devices Driver Download
For GSM service in Germany, your phone needs to support the FDD frequency bands 3 (1800-MHz) and 8 (900-MHz).
For UMTS, Germany uses band 1 (2100-MHz) like most of the world (except USA).
For German LTE data service, your phone needs to support the LTE-FDD bands 1 (2100-MHz), 3 (1800-MHz), 7 (2600-MHz) and 20 (800-MHz). If some of the bands are not supported by your phone, your connection speed will probably not reach the usual LTE speed and will be limited.
For example, Vodafone and O2 use band 20 (800-MHz) in rural areas as well as cities.
Deutsche Telekom (Congstar) also uses band 20 (800-MHz) on the countryside, but mostly makes use of band 3 (1800-MHz) in cities. Deutsche Telekom (Congstar) also started using band 8 (900-MHz) for LTE, while Vodafone and O2 still use that frequency band for GSM.
As always, if you have any questions, just write us an email: [email protected] or contact us via Facebook Messenger for immediate responses.
There are four main providers in Germany:
- T-Mobil (D1, www.t-mobile.de): operated by the former state monopoly Deutsche Telekom.
- Vodafone (D2, www.vodafone.de): Formerly Mannesmann, the D2 network was taken over by Vodafone and is aggressively trying to expand market share.
- E-Plus ( www.eplus.de): It positions itself as an low-cost provider, offering a wide range of calling plans for people who use their mobiles infrequently. Coverage of the E-Net is not as good as D-Net.
- O2 ( www.o2online.de): The youngest competitor in the market, O2 is aggressively marketing itself and has rapidly gained market share. It offers a unique 'home zone' plan which allows you to call on fixed-line-tariffs when you're in an area of about 500 meters around your home. Even though these home tariffs are a little more expensive than normal fixed phone rates, O2's Genion tariff can be an attractive option if you don't want to get a fixed line or want a single phone number.
Germany operates on a GSM network, so if you're coming from Europe and many other countries, your current mobile will probably work in Germany. If you are coming from North America or parts of Asia, you will probably have a CDMA phone which will not work. For a GSM phone, you need to check whether your phone is unlocked as some phones are network-specific (e.g. some Orange handsets). If your phone isn't locked, you just need a new SIM card.
As in many European countries, German mobile operators bet heavily on the future of UMTS by paying very high license fees. This new technology enable fast wireless data transfers via mobile and many other services.