Main TOM BIHN website
 
emailus@tombihn.com

COMMUNITY FORUMS

Welcome! We're glad you are here. This is the place to ask for bag advice, help other people out, post reviews, and share photos and videos.

x

First, select your desired search engine:

  • Google Search
  • DuckDuckGo
  • Original Forum Search Engine

User Tag List

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 17
  1. #1
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Posts
    141
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    SIM card for Germany?

    My SO's mother will be traveling to Germany in a few weeks for a family event. Can anyone suggest what mobile company I should get a SIM card for? Im hoping I can get something over here so I can set her phone up for her; however, if it would be cheaper to get a card at the airport or elsewhere I can walk her through that, too. (I know it's easy to install, but I want to take as much effort out of it on her end as I can.)

    She'll be there for 9 days or so, so a couple gigs of data should be enough for her to use iMessage and skype home. she'll be in Landstuhl, if that makes a difference.

    Thanks for the help!
    DLBC (black Dyneema) **Missing **, Synapse 25 Black Dyneema/Ultraviolet), Synapse 19 (Navy/Wasabi), Aeronaut 45 Black Dyneema/Ultraviolet), PCBP for TriStar (Iberian), Synapse 19 (Navy/Solar), Ristretto for iPad (Black/Wasabi), Large Shop Bag (Island),mini Q-kit, various packing cubes, stuff sacks, and pouches.

    Retired but not forgotten: TriStar (Black/Wasabi), Aeronaut 45 (Navy/Solar), Synapse 25 (French Blue/Steel).

  2. #2
    Forum Member bradnd99's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Share
    San Pedro, CA
    Posts
    146
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    When I went to Germany, I just got a T-Mobile card there. It was easy and they did it right in the store.

  3. #3
    Forum Member bchaplin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    1,917
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Sorry I don't have an answer, but I wanted to see if @bradnd99 could clarify if it was easy for a non-German citizen to purchase a SIM card there. I've heard conflicting reports on this.
    ----
    All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.
    Edmund Burke

  4. #4
    Forum Member kathryn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Share
    Minneapolis
    Posts
    580
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    If it's just for data and texting, have you considered a US T-Mobile SIM and plan? I have T-Mobile in the US, and I get unlimited international data and text included in my regular plan. Depending on the country, the speed is sometimes 3G or slower, but I have never had that cause problems. Also, it doesn't cover every country in the world, but Germany is definitely on the list (along with the rest of Europe). When I arrive in a new country and turn my phone's mobile connection back on, I get a confirmation text that it's on the local network, and data/text are free along with whatever the local price per minute for calls is.
    "I'm more of a creative problem solver with good taste and a soft spot for logistical nightmares. ― Maria Semple, Where'd You Go, Bernadette

  5. #5
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Share
    Florida
    Posts
    9
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Nealopp,

    I just returned from spending the last 3 months (July to end of Sep) living and working out of the Landstuhl/Kaiserslautern area. I reside in Florida and have been with T-Mobile for many years and have covered a good bit of ground traveling with them as my sole carrier. As has already been mentioned by others, T-Mobile has a pretty seamless plan for text/data in many overseas areas. What makes it so great, is that you don't have to "do" anything. I traveled back and forth between 10 countries during my 3 months (Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Portugal, Switzerland, Czech Republic, France, Scotland, Ireland and Germany, of course) via car, train, and plane. When I crossed into each country, my phone would send me a text message welcoming me to that country, along with the notification that data/text were free and how much for local calls--as Kathryn stated above.

    I had no issue anywhere I went, other than the same glitches I encounter at home--some areas are slower than others, or have service drop-out in less populated areas. If you go online to T-Mobile's website, they list the countries covered. It has become a pretty extensive list, and of course, includes Germany. This might be helpful if she plans to travel in the future. I can only speak to my plan, but it doesn't cost anything extra, which is beautiful. My overseas bill looks the same as my home bill in regards to texting/data.

    I don't know if your SO's Mom has time to set this up, or even if she would care to, but if she did, then she wouldn't have that worry as she moves around from the US to Germany. I know this really doesn't address your SIM card question per se, but I hope this helps. Perhaps you could drop into T-Mobile and see if they have a setup that suits her? This method is something you could set up for her over here. However, if the folks she is visiting have a connection over there, perhaps they could assist her when she arrives?

    I don't have any experience with any carrier except T-Mobile. Maybe someone else can weigh in? I was with them when they were Powertel, then Voice Stream, then T-Mobile (I think that was the order)--over a decade anyway.

    I am super jealous. Germany is fantastic. I can't wait to go back. Beautiful, full of very fun and kind people, more chocolate then you can shake a stick at, and glorious Latte Macchiatos! Is it heaven? Maybe Take Care.

  6. #6
    Forum Member bradnd99's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Share
    San Pedro, CA
    Posts
    146
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I didn't have a problem as a non-German citizen. I first got the SIM on a trip in 2014 and when I was back last year, it was easy to refill.

    The salesperson in the store took a bunch of info, including my passport info I believe, but it didn't seem like a problem at all.

    I ended up getting a Data only sim. I think I did something like 500MB per day for 3. Since I was only there for a few days, I got more data for the same price as a week pass.

    Their system is easy to use. I think I put money on my account at the store and then I got a text message notifying me when I had to refill.

  7. #7
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Posts
    141
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    @bradnd99 thanks for the advice about t-mo. I'll pass it on, assuming it's not difficult ot purchase for a non-German citizen (though, she's a german-born, naturalized US citizen, not that it matters). [edit: looks like you beat me by a minute. thanks!]

    @kathryn, quickly browsing the T-mobile site, it seems like that's only availabe for the simple choice plans, and not prepaid data plans? Hoping not to sign her up for a plan that she'll then have to cancel a couple weeks later.
    Last edited by nealopp; 10-12-2015 at 11:37 AM.
    DLBC (black Dyneema) **Missing **, Synapse 25 Black Dyneema/Ultraviolet), Synapse 19 (Navy/Wasabi), Aeronaut 45 Black Dyneema/Ultraviolet), PCBP for TriStar (Iberian), Synapse 19 (Navy/Solar), Ristretto for iPad (Black/Wasabi), Large Shop Bag (Island),mini Q-kit, various packing cubes, stuff sacks, and pouches.

    Retired but not forgotten: TriStar (Black/Wasabi), Aeronaut 45 (Navy/Solar), Synapse 25 (French Blue/Steel).

  8. #8
    Forum Member binje's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Posts
    467
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I got mine at Aldi ("AldiTalk"). It was inexpensive, about 12 Euros, but I had to set it up myself and it was not easy because I don't know much German. You'll need a German address for any SIM card in Germany. I used the address of the hotel I was in at the time of setup. There were quite a few steps and I cut-and-past the text into Google Translate to get an idea of what I was agreeing to. Sounds like T-Mobile would have been easier, but I rather expected an in-store option to ask for proof of address.

    If she just wants to use iMessage and Skype, she'll probably be able to do that in her hotel using wifi. We put our locked phone in airplane mode for the duration and used an old unlocked flip phone for in-country calls and texts using AldiTalk.

    If your mom's not very tech savvy, it's probably best to purchase a data plan ahead of time. Unless, as kathryn mentions, she's already on T-Mobile.

  9. #9
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Posts
    29
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    When my boyfriend and I went to Germany last December we each got a SIM card. The first store we found was an Ortel store. We each paid 20 Euros cash for the SIM and plan which would last 30 days and could be refilled. The plan gave each of us 1 gig of data and some prepaid voice time with reasonable connection rates.

  10. #10
    Forum Member threeteez's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Posts
    361
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    My daughter was in Spain for a study abroad this summer and we found Viber to be a great way to communicate via texting (free app, uses wifi connection). Skype too, though we mostly used Viber. I had added a limited international calling/data plan for her iPhone through Verizon in case she needed to make an urgent call/use data away from wifi as a safety net.
    She used CityMaps2Go, an offline map app which she put on the phone before she left which was very helpful navigating/walking around the different cities. That app wasn't free, but it was worth it. Others in her group actually got it after she was able to get her companions from place to place easily.

  11. #11
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Posts
    141
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Thanks everyone for all the advice! I'll be sure to pass the ideas on. Since she speaks German and her rather is still a citizen, I think the cheap-easiest thing might be for her or her brother to grab a prepaid card, and use his address.

    For myself, though, that T-mobile plan sounds mighty interesting if I'm in the position to travel internationally!
    DLBC (black Dyneema) **Missing **, Synapse 25 Black Dyneema/Ultraviolet), Synapse 19 (Navy/Wasabi), Aeronaut 45 Black Dyneema/Ultraviolet), PCBP for TriStar (Iberian), Synapse 19 (Navy/Solar), Ristretto for iPad (Black/Wasabi), Large Shop Bag (Island),mini Q-kit, various packing cubes, stuff sacks, and pouches.

    Retired but not forgotten: TriStar (Black/Wasabi), Aeronaut 45 (Navy/Solar), Synapse 25 (French Blue/Steel).

  12. #12
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Share
    Okanagan Valley, Canada
    Posts
    50
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    One important point to mention is that for your SO's mother to use any other SIM cards in her phone, the handset must be unlocked. You'll need to verify that before she leaves. It would help to have some idea which cellular network she's using at home, and what type of phone she's using? With a short trip of only nine days, using some type of roaming plan with her home network may be the easiest method.

    To summarize the options....

    > Use a roaming plan with the home cell network.

    > Use a SIM purchased in Germany (in that case, the phone number and terms of the calling plans would also change and the card would have to be topped up when the credit is depleted).

    > Use a SIM from one of the travel phone firms (there are many). That option would allow you to set-up the phone prior to the trip. This may not be the best option as data charges tend to be expensive. That can be dealt with by only using data in areas where Wi-Fi is available.

    With the latter two options, the phone handset must be unlocked.

  13. #13
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Posts
    141
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    @duster Thanks for the unlock advice. She'd be using her daughter's old Verizon iPhone 5s, which comes sim-unlocked from the factory and can be fitted with a proper SIM card for international use (I double checked by popping in my ATT SIM and getting a signal and data.)

    The international roaming plan that VZW offers is horrible. It's like $40 for 100 phone minutes, some texts (i can't remember how many, or if it's unlimited), and 100 MB of data. Pretty much unusable if you're hoping to use it for anything but a phone call machine.

    I just listened to the Extra Pack of Peanuts episode they did a couple weeks ago on phones. Their recommendations were (in this order):

    1) PUt yourself on a T_Mobile plan for your primary cell plan. This included int'l data when abroad. Obviously, this is a choice for people that travel internationally frequently enough AND live in a decent T-mo service area.

    2) Pick up a prepaid local SIM and use it with your unlocked phone. That's what, in the end, I'm going to suggest she do in this case.

    3) Turn on international roaming with your carrier (while it's super expensive, it's even more so if you don't turn on this option and instead just use your phone on your regular plan).

    Finally, from my research, it seems that US Verizon iPhones after a certain generation (at least the 5, maybe earlier) come SIM-unlocked from the factory. So, while you're stuck on the Verizon network at home [that is, you can't switch to another CDMA network], if you're in range of a GSM network (which is the standard for most of the world), you just need to pop in the appropriate card in most cases.
    DLBC (black Dyneema) **Missing **, Synapse 25 Black Dyneema/Ultraviolet), Synapse 19 (Navy/Wasabi), Aeronaut 45 Black Dyneema/Ultraviolet), PCBP for TriStar (Iberian), Synapse 19 (Navy/Solar), Ristretto for iPad (Black/Wasabi), Large Shop Bag (Island),mini Q-kit, various packing cubes, stuff sacks, and pouches.

    Retired but not forgotten: TriStar (Black/Wasabi), Aeronaut 45 (Navy/Solar), Synapse 25 (French Blue/Steel).

  14. #14
    Volunteer Moderator
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Share
    Honolulu, HI
    Posts
    5,242
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by nealopp View Post
    Finally, from my research, it seems that US Verizon iPhones after a certain generation (at least the 5, maybe earlier) come SIM-unlocked from the factory. So, while you're stuck on the Verizon network at home [that is, you can't switch to another CDMA network], if you're in range of a GSM network (which is the standard for most of the world), you just need to pop in the appropriate card in most cases.
    Yes, this behavior started with the iPhone 5. You can read @bchaplin's posts in the traveler's report: first overseas trip with an unlocked iPhone 5 thread for details. (This was a US Verizon iPhone 5).

    HTH

    moriond

  15. #15
    Forum Member bchaplin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    1,917
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    @nealopp, I think the list you posted is a pretty good overview of the options. Yes, as a Verizon customer, I definitely don't suggest you use their international plan, though I do keep the international feature activated on my phone. In a pinch, it helpful to be able to send a few texts or even make a quick phone call. However, I never use Verizon data overseas. If the Verizon SIM remains in the phone, it is imperative to turn off data roaming, so as not to get whopped with a huge bill as a lot of data usage happens automatically, even if the phone isn't being used. As soon as I can upon arriving in a new country, I actually remove the Verizon SIM card from my phone. A paperclip or SIM remover tool is needed to do this, and I always have a tiny baggie to store the SIM in so it does not get lost.

    For your case I think that buying a local German SIM is the most economical plan.


    For the sake of completeness of listing all options, I would also add that Project Fi is a pretty tempting service for someone who is based in the U.S. but travels a few times a year. It is basically like the T-Mobile plan (in fact they probably use T-Mobile's international roaming agreements).

    Pluses: Cost is only $20/month plus data. Easy to cancel or freeze service. Data is $10 per GB in any of the 120 countries they cover. You only get billed for data used (i.e., consume 1.2 GB for a month and you pay $12).

    Minuses: Many parts of the world, including Africa*, are not included. Data speeds are slow overseas, (no LTE), though probably adequate for most traveler's needs. Only three phones work with the service, and none of them are the iPhone. It would be pretty lacking as one's only cell phone service, as they use the T-Mobile and Sprint networks** in the U.S. If I got a Project Fi phone, it would be in addition to my Verizon phone, not instead of.

    * A few African countries are on the list, but not very many, and not the one I go to. However, coverage is pretty good in Europe, South America and parts of Asia. They have a full list here, and their FAQ contains more info.

    ** No criticism of T-Mobile or Sprint, by the way. They work well for a lot of people. But within the U.S., I travel to some out-of-the-way areas where they do not have coverage.
    Last edited by bchaplin; 10-14-2015 at 05:33 AM.
    ----
    All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.
    Edmund Burke

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •