will need a mobile phone in Germany for a two week trip, but need the number NOW
December 9, 2008 3:10 PM Subscribe
I will need a mobile phone in Germany for a two week trip, but need the number NOW; what are my options and how does that translate to SIM / top-up jargon?
I am going to be traveling in Germany for two weeks at the end of the month. I will need basic mobile phone connectivity, including the ability to send and receive SMS text messages. My current phone (in the USA) won't work, and anyway I want a phone number local to Germany to reduce hassle while I'm there.
I've rented mobile phones overseas before, but it appears to be less common in Europe. I haven't been able to find a place to rent a phone in Germany. T-Mobile does NOT rent out phones.
I would be arriving in Munich and departing about 2 weeks later from Paris. That's right -- at the end of the trip we are actually heading over to Paris for a few days. So bonus points for the ability to return the phone in Paris.
Now, I'm not averse to spending $50 or so and just buying a cheap phone, as long as it can do texting. But I want the phone number assignment now, before we leave. In past mobile phone rentals (e.g. to New Zealand), I've received my phone number assignment immediately upon reservation, and so I've been able to give that number out to everyone before I leave.
So, if I'm going the buy-a-cheap-phone route, is there a way to get a phone number assignment now? Would I need to purchase a German SIM card (with German phone number) now and then buy the phone when I arrive? If I have a friend buy it now for me in Munich, will the phone number be printed on the card, or will they require a phone to learn what the number is?
Is a $50 price for a cheap new phone reasonable, or will I need to plow through the used hassle? Note no service contract, obviously.
Finally, I guess I'll be getting pay-as-you-go cards to "top up" my phone for service. What kind of cards / service / prices can I expect? SMS pricing? Incoming free? Forgive me, but I'm not very experienced with GSM ...