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Roaming GSM in Europe
June 24, 2010 4:56 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for the best pre-paid GSM sim card I can buy here in Germany, that will give me semi-decent data rates (I'm not expecting miracles) and roaming to a good portion of Europe (Germany, Austria / France / UK / Switzerland ).

Voice and/or SMS rates don't really bother me, it's for emergency net access, and I already have a non-carrier locked smartphone. Pointers to what to get and where to buy it would be awesome. I am currently in Dusseldorf, but will be in Berlin next week and would love to have something by then.
posted by lych to Travel & Transportation (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
If you're going to roam a lot, I would buy a new sim card in every country. Roaming charges still mostly suck.
The cheapest providers generally offer service on the smallest of the four gsm Networks (E-Plus) but the coverage is usually decent, especially in larger towns. "Base" offers different flatrate / everything included packages and also prepaid options.
The options of this provider on the E-Plus Network are even easier to understand. Everything is 9 Eurocents per minute and you can book 1 GB of Data for €9,90 that has to be used up in 30 days. (The option autorenews if you don't cancel.)
Both Symio and Base seem to charge you 51 Eurocents per minute making a call to Germany while roaming in foreign parts and 22 Eurocents per minute to recieve them. Calls to different countries than Germany while roaming are likely to be more expensive.

I am sorry, that I can't give you more information but phone rates are a horrible mess and I have not been keeping up.

In Germany you will not pay for incoming calls. When roaming in different countries, callers will pay the standard rate to your German phone number and you will pay the roaming charges.

The GSM phone market in Germany is covered by four networks: T-Mobile, Vodafone, O2 and E-Plus. Everybody else just resells minutes/bytes they purchased form those four.
posted by mmkhd at 5:42 PM on June 24, 2010


I am sorry, that I didn't read the "more inside" part of your question. There are lots of places that will sell you sim cards. Saturn will probably be the easiest for you to find to find. There is one in the "Sevens" mall on the Königsallee (well known (expensive) street for shopping, but Saturn prices will be the same everywhere in Düsseldrof). Alternatively you can enter any shop of the four carriers I mentioned in my first post. They're everywhere.
If you just want to do data + data roaming occasionally and you have access to a laptop then the cost structure of Vodafone Websessions will be easiest to understand: €30 Euros for a 3G USB Stick, €20 for the pure sim card (you have to ask if you can simply stick it in your phone). The sim card only option comes with three vouchers for a day each. Data access is €4 per day in Germany and €15 per day in the countries you mentioned above. There are cheaper daily 3G rates but Vodafone is the only one with a roaming cost structure that I can understand.. Vodafone Websessions are available in any Vodafone shop (Düsseldorf list).
posted by mmkhd at 6:06 PM on June 24, 2010


I used a T-Mobile pay as you go SIM in the UK and it was great. Unlimited data for £2.50/5 days. I assume it would work well in Germany too.
posted by zippy at 6:17 PM on June 24, 2010


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