Basics: the mobile contract

It is often cheaper to sign your own mobile contract in Germany. However, you should avoid long-term contracts with which you are often bound to a provider for up to two years and can only change tariff with great difficulty.

Prepaid contracts without a fixed contractual period are more suitable. With a prepaid contract you first acquire credit (usually €10), which you can then use to make phone calls and surf the web. Once the credit is used up, it can be topped up. Prepaid contracts can be found in pharmacies, supermarkets and petrol stations. You receive the SIM card for your mobile in the shop and can later acquire more credit.

But only sign contracts that you really understand. Have someone who speaks German well accompany you or show them the contract before you sign it. This is particularly the case for contracts from mobile operator employees that visit you in your accommodation.

In order to sign a mobile contract, you must give your address. Here you can initially use the address of the Erstaufnahme (initial reception). If you move to a new accommodation, you have to inform your mobile provider of your new address. You have to inform your provider about your address after no more than three months. You are often requested to do so in an SMS.

Choosing a tariff: overseas calls, data volume and making calls within Germany

When choosing a tariff, it is important to compare various providers. The charges can vary greatly from one another, depending on which countries you want to phone. You should expect a charge of 15 cents per call. Longer phone calls are therefore proportionally cheaper. Fundamentally, prices per minute of more than 35 cents are considered expensive.

Well-known providers for overseas tariffs include Blauworld (Iraq), Lebara (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan), Lycamobile (Jordan, Lebanon, Nigeria, Pakistan, Syria, Turkey), Mobi (Eritrea), Mobilka, NettoKom (Iraq), Ortel Mobile (Afghanistan) and Star World (Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia, Serbia). You can find detailed information online directly with the providers. All companies also offer additional data options with which you can surf the web on your phone. Compare prices here, too!

If you want to make lots of calls within Germany, an additional mobile contract is often worthwhile. Providers for cheap overseas calls are usually particularly expensive for calls within Germany. This also applies to data tariffs. If, for example, you only use chat services such as Viber, WhatsApp or Skype, then a German data tariff is sufficient. You are connected overseas via the internet and not via the phone network.

Major German providers of prepaid contracts include Congstar, Aldi Talk, Telekom, O2, Vodafone and E-Plus. You can also find information on this on the internet with the providers or in person in the shop.

Free Wi-Fi

The Freifunk.Hamburg initiative offers free Wi-Fi access across the entire city. For this, select the “Hamburg.freifunk.net” (SSID/WLAN name) network. You can find access under knotenkarte.de or with the help of the “freifunk” app for iOS and Android.

Furthermore, regional internet providers are currently creating the free MobyKlick Wi-Fi network. In order to use the Wi-Fi, at the access point select the “MobyKlick” (SSID/WLAN name) network and “Ich habe keine Benutzerdaten (I do not have an account)”. You must then enter your mobile number. You will then receive your access details via SMS. You can then surf for free until midnight on the following day. You can find the first access points at: www.mobyklick.de/index.php?id=availability.

Otherwise, there are not very many cafes and shops in Germany that offer their customers free Wi-Fi. A multilingual listing for Hamburg can be found at: www.hamburg-tourism.de/infos/mobile-angebote/w-lan-hotspots.

You can also get 30 minutes of free internet access from Deutsche Telekom at the Hamburg Hauptbahnhof and Altona and Harburg train stations (SSID/Wi-Fi name: Telekom).

Last Updated: 27.07.2017

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