Casual Survey: mobile telephony / data providers in Germany

Which mobile provider do you use here in Germany? What do you like/dislike about them? Think about coverage. Billing. Pre-paid vs. contract. Perks. Roaming (EU and beyond). Especially welcome are your comparisons between operators/plans.

I’ll start:
I’ve used Debitel pre-paid for phone service. O2 for pre-paid data services in Germany. Vodafone and Telekom for business and personal telephony and data plans.

Seems like they all are the pits on the DB stretch between Regensburg and Nuremberg. Vodafone and Telekom are just okay for coverage in our apartment. O2 doesn’t work at all there — good thing we don’t need them to and didn’t move there with O2 contracts in place. But I like their pre-paid surfstick plan (with which I use a mifi instead of their stick and am publishing this now).

So, your turn now.

8 thoughts on “Casual Survey: mobile telephony / data providers in Germany”

  1. Fiz

    I can’t help you much in general, but if you are worried about coverage there is one thing to keep in mind. There are only four actual cell phone networks: Telekom, Vodafone, E-plus and O2. The others, including Debitel, are just resellers or additional brands. So that leaves E-plus. Debitel offers several networks. It is possible that you have already tried them all.

    Personally I have been a happy O2 (contract) customer for years, but that doesn’t seem like the best option for you.

    1. cliff1976

      Thanks Fiz. I have not yet tried E-Plus (is BASE a brand of theirs? I think they share retail outlets). Back when we were Debitel customers we recharged T-Mobile (as they were known then) SIM cards with purchased minutes.

      For those keeping score globally: Vodafone and Verizon have the same corporate parent (I believe it’s Vodafone who owns Verizon), and O2 is a division of Telefónica. And of course T-Mobile is a subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom I mean T-Mobile, er…Telekom.

      What about Sprint and AT&T? They beholden to anyone? In cahoots with foreign operators, scheming for world domination?

  2. Frau Dietz

    I’m with Simyo, whoever they’re a reseller or whatever of. My sister-in-law signed me up with them when I got here simply because she’s with them and can now call me for free. My husband therefore (eventually) also signed up with them. Sometimes takes a while for coverage to sort itself out after I’ve been somewhere unreachable but I actually think that’s down to my handset – I had the same problem with T-mobile in the UK.

    In other news, I’ve been trying to get in contact with you (your email address doesn’t show up on Blogger so couldn’t email you); my tweets don’t seem to reach you. I would really like to ask you something so if you wouldn’t mind being asked something, please would you email me or tweet me? Thank you!

    1. cliff1976

      According to, Simyo is a subsidiary and reseller of E-Plus network stuff. I have yet to try them out here in the Regensburg area for coverage. Something to keep in mind.

      Wow, just headed over to their website — racier than I expected, slogan-wise:

      Die Pille fürs Handy — Endlich sorgenfrei Monat für Monat.

      I think I prefer the screaming-Bavarian-Schlager approach klarmobil takes:

      Klarmobil uses E-Plus and Telekom networks, so maybe their coverage would be better than just O2.

  3. ann

    I have simyo (post paid option). We’ve been happy with them and I can call the US for only 12 cents a minute (great for when I am out shopping for somehting for my parents and forget a size or need info). Obviously that’s not for regular calls.

    I am looking for something I can use for my web book now that my flat rate contract has expired and I only need to use the web book away from home on occaision. I was thinking that a system with a per day of use charge would be the best option for me. (I don’t need a stick (I think) because I have an internal modem.)

    1. cliff1976

      The best option I found for pre-paid non-contractual usage on an occasional basis was O2‘s surfstick option. Even though I’m not using their stick — just the SIM card that came with it. I pay €3,50 a day or €25 a month for flat rate service from them — all the bandwidth they can offer me, up to 2GB daily (I think), at which point they don’t shut me off, but rather just throttle the connection. It’s relatively convenient to buy a day or month’s worth of service for Windows and Mac machines and their surfstick, or if your SIM-card device (my mifi, in this case) can send SMSs.

      That was the reason I initially decided to go with O2 — that, and never having used anyone but Telekom and Vodafone networks in Germany before.

      1. TheHighPriestess

        We’ve been using Blau for data (we’ve been without landline from January until yesterday). This seemed to be the cheapest when we looked in Jan.

        Trying to run an internet business using this has led us to find one annoying thing that’s in the fine print of the fine print of *all* the providers – the unlimited data per month thing has a catch. For the monthly prepaid, you get 5 GB at full speed. After that, they slow your connection to an absolutely miserable unusable crawl.

        Blau seems to reset the limitations on a calendar monthly basis. If you start your month on the 15th, there’s a little cheeky partial go around.

  4. clickclackgorilla

    I use a prepaid. Basically I’ve weaned myself off of long telephone calls since coming here. Never realized how spoiled I was with all those free minutes nights and weekends I used to have for 20 bucks a month in the US. For international calls I use skype, and I have an O2 surfstick as well (convinced them that I was still a student and got it for 20 a month instead of 25, wohoo).

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