Getting temporary cell service in Germany


WizardStan

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So I'm going to be in Germany for "training" in a couple weeks and wonder if anyone can suggest some kind of temporary cell service I can buy. We'll actually be landing in Amsterdam and spending a day there before taking a train to Bochum if that makes a difference.
I've got a Nexus 5 which should cover at least some major networks but I can work out the details myself once I've got an idea. Basically I'm thinking if I can just buy a sim card there with some kind of low-cost daily plan (T-Mobile has an unlimited $3 a day plan in the USA, for example) that'd be swell. Any suggestions on a carrier to try and where I might be able to buy a sim card?
 

___

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Hmm I am not sure about the best deal to get, but in Germany prepaid cards are still pretty common. Some local supermarkets offer them AFAIK. But I think you need to register them with proof of identity and wait for activation.

Do you have time to meet up while you are here? I live like a 10min train ride away from Bochum (in Dortmund).
 

elw3

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I use Alditalk, they charge 4€ per month but throttle after 150mb.
There is a daily plan for 2€/1gb too but apparently you need a smartphone tool to activate that now.

No idea how "identification" works these days but activating all the crap took about 10 minutes.
 

WizardStan

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Do you have time to meet up while you are here? I live like a 10min train ride away from Bochum (in Dortmund).
I'm in "training" pretty much all day, but 5pm rolls around and I'm out. I'll need to check the schedule, I don't think they're planning to take us out for dinner any time if you want to grab a bite and some drinks.
I was hoping to find the time to travel to Ingolstadt and catch up with EvilDragon but it doesn't look like I'll be able to swing that.

I use Alditalk, they charge 4€ per month but throttle after 150mb.
That's more than enough. I just need something that'll let me send messages and stuff.
So grocery store, eh? Or is there an actual store I should look for? I can probably google for it, now that I've got a name.
 

Swordfish II

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So I'm going to be in Germany for "training" in a couple weeks and wonder if anyone can suggest some kind of temporary cell service I can buy. We'll actually be landing in Amsterdam and spending a day there before taking a train to Bochum if that makes a difference.
I've got a Nexus 5 which should cover at least some major networks but I can work out the details myself once I've got an idea. Basically I'm thinking if I can just buy a sim card there with some kind of low-cost daily plan (T-Mobile has an unlimited $3 a day plan in the USA, for example) that'd be swell. Any suggestions on a carrier to try and where I might be able to buy a sim card?
.
If you have Tmobile you should have free text, MMS and 2g data there already. Voice costs money, but FB messenger and Skype can make voice calls over the limited 2g data no problem.

I have used the free text/data in about 20 different countries, it's fantastic
 

elw3

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Well if that is a _grocery_ store is questionable considerding all the stuff they sell. It used to be called Aldi talk but the right name is "medion mobile".
Anyway you have to go to the checkout lady and say "eine Sim karte bitte", costs 10 bucks i think and includes enough credits.
I just wonder how that new identivication service works with aliens. They get probably confused by your passport or worse, fail to activate it cause you have no address here.
 

kuru

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You might get lucky in a proper carrier shop (telekom, o2) with your own ID and the address of your hotel.
Getting a SIM in a super market would only be a safe bet using the details of a resident.
 

levi

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In the UK, I can get a SIM card from the big three in my local supermarket, and pay using cash, without needing to prove my identity. I'd assume my operator can track where I sleep most nights, so has a pretty good idea where I live.
 

___

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@WizardStan
I have to get an LTE prepaid card for a job, so I just had too look up some deals. Vodafone Germany has a deal that works for us, though might be too much for you. But the identification process seems to be straight forward. You'll get the sim card from either a shop or order it online. Then you have to activate it, which you can do online and do the proof of identity thing at the same time. They offer video chat as a means of communication for that purpose, all they require is that you show your face and passport. I guess they'll have an English support queue as well but most people speak enough English here.

I just checked ALDI talk and the process is pretty much the same. You either order your simcard online or get one from an ALDI supermarket, then you need to activate the card and identify for which they offer a video chat service.
Check this link with google translate: https://www.alditalk.de/paket-300

They have a deal right now and it is apparently 12.99 for the simcard + 1,25GB LTE. Included are 300min talk time or sms, which is kind of stupid but will probably be enough. This would be for 4 weeks, after which you would need to recharge. Once you have depleted the volume you can recharge it and as far as I know there are different packages with different volumes you can buy. It is a contract though, which you can terminate at any time and will not cause ongoing costs, you need to charge the card yourself on demand as mentioned.

EDIT: Even better: https://www.travsim.us/german-data-sim-germany-internet.html
This is a service that seems to cater to your needs perfectly. It is meant for travellers who need connectivity outside of their resident countries, this deal is for people going to Germany. And the page is available in English, so you can actually decipher all that small print mumbo jumbo.

@Elw3 and @kuru you only need a German address for certain contracts, prepaid cards only need proof of identity: https://www.tarife.de/ratgeber/als-urlauber-in-deutschland-mobil-ins-internet/
 
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levi

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Seems a bit excessive for credit checking against the loan of a bit of plastic, silicon and copper weighing less than a gramme. But I guess it's a bit of a hang-over from the process where they're lending you an expensive piece of consumer electronics at the same time. And I guess you could still go over your bundled allowances and then cancel the direct debit before they can get the money off you.

In the UK it's a lot simpler to get a PAYG card. Go to supermarket, pick up sim and buy it usually for 1GBP or 1.99, and buy a top up voucher while you're at it. Then put the SIM card in your phone and top up using the code/number on the voucher.
 

___

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@levi no it doesn't have to do anything with credit checking. This is post 9/11 craziness. IIRC they installed this stupid proof of identity BS as a counter crime/terrorism measure, [sarcasm] because you know, drug dealers and terrorists are not at all concerned about someone listeing in and have no friends who could buy a phone for them and report it as lost... [/sarcasm]

Speaking of which... I just asked a friend whose profession requires a certain level of discreteness. He said you can buy an already registered and activated sim card in pretty much any arab cell phone shop. There are hundreds of these little mini markets called "Kiosk" in Bochum and Dortmund. A lot of them are open almost around the clock and they all carry sim cards by "lebara". So this would be a possibility, too.
 

levi

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Yes, Lebara also operate in the UK. They seem legit, and mainly operate by advertising cheap calls to the Indian subcontinent (bangladesh, pakistan, etc.) in corner shops run by people from those countries. But I've also seen adverts on bus shelters and on the tube.
 

WizardStan

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I've got a vodofone card, seems to work in both Netherlands and Germany (though I had to turn on roaming) for any future web crawlers that may stumble on this question.
 

TeDaDeS

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I found a Vodafone Netherlands overview of tariffs for pre-paid cards use in Europe: https://www.vodafone.nl/_assets/dow...noverzicht_prepaid_buitenland_1_juni_2017.pdf
It states that you pay per MB and it's the same price for every EU country (calling/sms same thing).

Calling/text would be ~30cent per use (1text/1minute) depending on the service configuration you have.
I think you pay 10cent per MB (it use to be 1euro for first 100MB per day). Most regions probably have free wifi somewhere.

I would assume it would be same if you buy a sim-card in a different EU country.
 

WizardStan

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I got a pre-paid 2GB card in Netherlands. It cost 20EUR. I wanted the 1GB for 15 but was told they were out, but whatever, an extra 5EUR means I don't have to worry, though I'm hard pressed to get through 4GB in a month back home.
The guy assured me it wouldn't be a problem in Germany, thanks to the aforementioned rule change, and so far it hasn't been, though we'll see if I inexplicably run out in a few days.
 
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