Telephone and Internet

For migrants with a visa

Telephone and Internet – For immigrants with a visa

© Colourbox.com

Making phone calls in Germany with a SIM card from another country often leads to problems. Many cards do not work in Germany, and making calls with foreign SIM cards is very expensive.

There are several ways to make calls from a mobile phone in Germany. Here is a list with information on various providers:

Handytarife.de: Overview of mobile communication providers

Mobile phone contract

© Colourbox.com One possible option is a mobile phone contract. This, however, requires a German bank account and an identity document. In this way, service providers check whether a customer can really pay his bills. Caution: Do not sign a contract you do not understand. Instead, ask someone to help you with the translation. A mobile phone contract is usually valid for one to two years. Often it is not possible to cancel the contract before then. The bill must usually be paid at the end of the month during the contract period. Please note! If you are planning to switch to another service provider once the contract expires, you need to cancel the contract in due time. This must be done at least three months before the end of the contract, otherwise the contract could automatically be renewed again for a period of one to two years.

Prepaid SIM card

© Colourbox.com Another option is to buy a prepaid SIM card. These cards are available for a small amount of money at most supermarkets, petrol stations or kiosks. This again requires signing a contract. However, you only need to provide your address to have the card activated.

Did you buy the prepaid SIM card directly in the shop of a mobile service provider? Then it is also possible to activate the card directly in the shop. Here you will also receive assistance. Did you buy the prepaid SIM card in, for example, a supermarket? Then the card must be activated by phone.

Once the prepaid SIM card has been activated, you need to add credit. The credit is used to pay for calls, SMS and internet surfing. If you need more credit, you can buy a top-up card. Top-up cards can be purchased at the same shops that sell SIM cards, for example supermarkets, petrol stations or kiosks. There is a long number on the top-up card. To add credit, enter this number into the mobile phone.

Do you want to make an international call from Germany? In this case, expect to pay a transfer fee of 15 cents, even for short calls. Calls to Syria, Eritrea and the Balkan states are particularly expensive. Here is a list of international call rates from various providers:

Billiger telefonieren.de: International call rates

Sometimes it is also possible to buy certain additional tariffs where you receive a certain amount of free minutes for international calls.

Mobile data

© Colourbox.com A smartphone with a prepaid SIM card can also be used to surf the Internet. This, however, quickly uses up credit. For this reason, it is cheaper to buy a suitable data bundle. This allows you to use mobile internet for a certain period of time at a fixed price or buy a certain amount of data volume.

WLAN

If you want to surf the internet for free, you can use WLAN networks. Many cafés, libraries and other public buildings offer free WLAN. Would you like to find free WLAN networks in your area? The website "Freie Hotspots" will help you find a nearby public internet access point.

Public WLAN networks in Germany

For asylum seekers

Telephone and Internet – For asylum seekers

Making phone calls in Germany with a SIM card from another country often leads to problems. Many cards do not work in Germany, and making calls with foreign SIM cards is very expensive.

There are several ways to make calls from a mobile phone in Germany. Here is a list with information on various providers:

Stiftung Warentest: Information on providers

Mobile phone contract

One possible option is a mobile phone contract. This, however, requires a German bank account and an identity document. In this way, service providers check whether a customer can really pay his bills. This can often be difficult for refugees. Caution: Do not sign a contract you do not understand. Instead, ask someone to help you with the translation.

Prepaid SIM card

A prepaid SIM card is a convenient solution for refugees. These cards can often be purchased for a small amount of money at supermarkets, petrol stations or kiosks. This again requires signing a contract. However, in this case you only need to provide your address to have the card activated. Are you not yet registered in Germany? In the first three months after your arrival, you can state the address of the initial reception centre where you live. As soon as you have moved to a different accommodation facility, you must notify your provider of your new address. If you do not report your new address, you will be sent an SMS. If you do not respond and notify your service provider of your new address within 14 days, the SIM card could be locked. Have you been staying at the initial reception centre for more than three months? Then this deadline can be extended.

Did you buy the prepaid SIM card directly in the shop of a mobile service provider? Then it is also possible to activate the card directly in the shop. Here you will also receive assistance. Did you buy the prepaid SIM card in, for example, a supermarket? Then the card must be activated by phone.

Once the prepaid SIM card has been activated, you need to add credit. The credit is necessary for making calls, writing SMS and surfing the internet. If you need more credit, you can buy a top-up card. Top-up cards are available at the same shops that sell SIM Cards. There is a long number on the top-up card. To credit your prepaid card, enter this number into the mobile phone.

Do you want to make an international call from Germany? In this case, expect to pay a transfer fee of 15 cents, even for short calls. Calls to Syria, Eritrea and the Balkan states are particularly expensive. A list with cheap call rates to various countries can be found on the following website, in the info sheet "Cheap mobile phone tariffs for refugees".

Stiftung Warentest: Mobile phone tariffs for refugees

Sometimes it is also possible to buy certain additional tariffs where you receive a certain amount of free minutes for international calls.

Mobile data

A smartphone with a prepaid SIM card can also be used to surf the Internet. This, however, quickly uses up credit. For this reason, it is cheaper to buy a suitable data bundle. This allows you to use mobile internet for a certain period of time at a fixed price or buy a certain amount of data volume.

WLAN

If you want to surf the internet for free, you can use WLAN networks. Many cafés, libraries and other public buildings offer free WLAN. Would you like to find free WLAN networks in your area? The website "Freie Hotspots" will help you find a nearby public internet access point.

Public WLAN networks in Germany

Some refugee accommodation facilities also offer free WLAN.