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Steve

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Worked in Germany for 2 months

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Europe > Germany > Useful Info
Submitted on Jun 26, 2019 Useful Info

How and where to buy a SIM card in Germany for visitors

  • Having a SIM card is extremely useful when traveling anywhere, and Germany is no exception
  • However, getting a SIM card in Germany since 2018 has become a bit tricker because of the anti-terrorism law passed in 2018 that requires identity verification
  • But it's definitely doable. I actually managed to get two SIM cards in Germany. One at the airport, and one in the city
  • Where to get SIM cards in Germany and prices:
  • At airports:
  • You need to walk around and find electronic/gadget shops in airports. They are usually the ones that would sell SIM cards
  • The ones sold in airports are usually limited to 2-3GB of data. I bought a 3GB + €5 of talk time (with a German number) card for €24.95. So data is effectively priced at around €6.50 per GB
  • There is no SIM card option at airports that's more than 3GB. So if you need to use more data, you will need to get your card in the city unfortunately
  • Also, at airports you won't be able to buy SIM card from major telecom providers like Telekom and Vodafone. The one I got was provided by Lebara, which is a small telecom and its speed was not the fastest
  • In cities:
  • The two major phone companies in Germany are Telekom and Vodafone, and they have their own stores everywhere
  • You can simply walk around town and look for their logos on storefronts. Or just google "telekom shop" or "vodafone shop" in Google maps and it will list out all their locations around you
  • I got mine from Vodafone, with 8GB of data and 200 minutes of Europe talk time for €39.99. This price was made up of €9.99 for 2GB of data + 200 minutes of talk (with a German number), and another €30 top up to get an additional 6GB of data
  • Data is effectively priced at €5 per GB
  • Even though the price per GB isn't significantly cheaper in cities than at airports, the advantage is that you have the option of buying more data, whereas at airports you can only buy maximum 2-3GB
  • Whether you get it at airports or cities depends on how much data you think you will need. If you only plan to use your phone for navigation, translation, and occasional social media updates, then the 2-3GB ones you can get at airports are more than enough for you. But if you need to consume or post more content, then you will need to get your SIM in cities to be able to get more data


  • What you need to bring with you to buy SIM cards:
  • You must bring your passport. This is the minimum requirement to get a SIM card in Germany since 2018
  • Also, you need to provide the address of your accommodation. Now, this is the requirements that doesn't seem to be enforced consistently:
  • When I got my first SIM card at the airport, I didn't get asked to provide my address at all
  • When I went to Telekom in Leipzig, I was told that I need to bring a proof of my address, and that my hotel address is not good because it needs to be a permanent address. That effectively meant I couldn't buy a card from Telekom
  • When I got my second SIM card at Vodafone (just down the street from the Telekom shop that refused to sell me a card), they were fine with putting down my hotel address
  • To be safe, I'd say bring a copy of your hotel/Airbnb reservation confirmation that has its address printed on. If you get turned away at first, don't give up, go to the next shop until one of them sell you a SIM card