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How to get a SIM card in Germany?

Updated: Sep 22, 2023

Germany's mobile phone network offers reliable coverage across the country, allowing you to stay connected with loved ones back home. The network provides both 5G and 4G coverage, enabling high-speed internet access and seamless streaming. Many providers also offer affordable international calling and texting plans to help you stay connected with friends and family around the world. Whether you're a student, expat, or traveler, having a reliable mobile phone is essential for feeling at home in Germany.

Buy SIM card in Germany

It's no surprise that Germany has one of the best mobile networks in Europe. As with other European countries, Germany uses GSM. Therefore, you wouldn’t find a big issue in connecting to a German network.

Can I use my mobile phone in Germany?

Most international mobile phone operators in the world such as Jio and Airtel from India, or AT&T and Verizon from the US have partnership with German providers. Therefore, if you’ve bought an international roaming plan from your provider and enabled international roaming on your phone, you should automatically get connected as soon as your flight lands in Germany.

To avoid surprises, we recommend you check with your home operator about their connectivity and tarif in Germany before traveling.

How to get a SIM card in Germany?

You may want to consider buying a German SIM card or sign up for a German mobile contract if you are moving to Germany or staying for a short to longer period of time.

In our opinion, getting a local SIM card is the most cost-effective option. Unlike some countries, Germany has many mobile operators to choose from. There are some companies that offer discounts when you sign up for their internet, or TV services.

The process of getting a German mobile plan is relatively straightforward. In most cities, there will be a store of one of the major operators. Either you can visit one of their local outlets in your town or you can also order a SIM card online or. However, if you visit a store, there’s likely less chance that the shop assistants speak English.

Documents required to get a German SIM card
  • Passport - most stores would want you to show your passport and they make a copy on the spot.

  • Copy of your visa or residence permit

  • Shops rarely ask for your registration certificate, or Meldebescheinigung

  • German bank account (IBAN) if you are signing up for the post paid plan

Even if you buy online, you'll still have to provide your registration documentation during the activation process. Each provider's activation process will differ, but generally it can be done through a video ID check or a postident through Deutsche Post.

With a German mobile bank like Revolut, Wise or N26, you can open a bank account in Germany online.

Is it possible to complain about a German mobile operator?

Yes! In case of problems about the service of an operator, every German mobile operator will have its own complaints process. This information can be found on their website easily.

Nevertheless, if you wish to file a complaint against the operator itself, you can contact the German Federal Network Agency (Bundesnetzagentur), which is the telecom regulator in Germany.

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