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eSIM in Germany

Written by
Janine El-Saghir
Looking to stay connected in Germany hassle-free? Dive into our guide on the best eSIM options. Explore offerings from top eSIM providers like Telekom, Vodafone, and O2, whether you need an eSIM with a contract plan, a prepaid eSIM, or a free eSIM. Learn how to buy online and activate your eSIM in Germany.
At a glance...
  • If you need a German phone number and your mobile phone supports eSIM, you can get a prepaid eSIM. All three major German providers, Telekom, Vodafone, and O2, offer the option to buy a prepaid eSIM online. With Vodafone, you can order the prepaid eSIM immediately, while with Telekom and O2, you can request it after activating the regular SIM card. To activate your SIM or eSIM, you require your passport and a German address (a temporary accommodation address is fine).
  • If you’re planning a longer stay and have a German bank account, you can get an eSIM with a mobile contract. All three major German providers offer the option to change from SIM to eSIM in the shopping cart after selecting a contract with or without a mobile phone on their website. Telekom and O2 also offer monthly cancelable contracts, while Vodafone offers only 24-month contracts.
  • For a short stay as a tourist, if you don’t need a local phone number, getting an international eSIM data plan from Holafly or Airalo might be best.

Telekom MagentaMobil Prepaid
Prepaid SIM (eSIM can be requested after activation)
Excellent network coverage
From 1GB to unlimited data (up to 300 Mbit/s)
From 50 minutes to unlimited calls and SMS
Roaming in the EU, UK and Switzerland
Free internet access at 10,000 Telekom hotspots
Mobile app in English
€9.95 one-time connection fee
Cost / 4 weeks
from  €4.95
Vodafone CallYa
Prepaid SIM or eSIM
Great network coverage
From 1GB to unlimited data (up to 500 Mbit/s)
From 100 minutes to unlimited calls and SMS
Roaming in the EU and UK
Mobile app and customer service in English
Cost / 4 weeks
from  €4.99
O2 Prepaid
Prepaid SIM (eSIM can be requested after activation)
Good network coverage in urban areas
From 6GB to unlimited data (up to 300 Mbit/s)
Unlimited calls and SMS
Roaming in the EU
Everything in German
Cost / 4 weeks
from  €9.99
Telekom MagentaMobil
SIM or eSIM with a monthly or 24-month contract
Excellent network coverage
From 5GB to unlimited data (up to 300 Mbit/s)
Unlimited calls and SMS
Roaming in the EU, UK and Switzerland
Free internet access at 10,000 Telekom hotspots
Mobile app in English
€39.95 one-time connection fee
Monthly fee
from  €34.95
Vodafone GigaMobil
SIM or eSIM with a 24-month contract
Great network coverage
From 5GB to unlimited data (up to 500 Mbit/s)
Unlimited calls and SMS
Roaming in the EU and UK
Mobile app and customer service in English
Monthly fee
from  €23.99
O2 Mobile
SIM or eSIM with a monthly or 24-month contract
Good network coverage in urban areas
From 4GB to unlimited data (up to 300 Mbit/s)
Unlimited calls and SMS
Roaming in the EU
€39.99 one-time connection fee
Everything in German
Monthly fee
from  €19.99

eSIM providers in Germany

Telekom, Vodafone, and O2 are the biggest eSIM providers in Germany. All these providers offer Germany eSIM plans, ensuring you have various options to choose from. So, whether you’re looking for a prepaid eSIM data plan or a contract, these providers have you covered.

Let’s delve deeper into what each provider offers to make your Germany stay connected.

Telekom

Telekom, known internationally as T-Mobile, is Europe’s largest telecommunications company. It’s the go-to German mobile provider for those seeking superior quality and coverage. However, this quality comes at a cost, with plans being pricier than those of its competitors.

Telekom has consistently claimed the title of the best mobile network in Germany for the past twelve years. Its excellent coverage and reliability make it a top choice for those who prioritize quality and don’t mind higher prices.

Vodafone

Vodafone is the second-largest mobile network in Germany. It uses the D2-Netz network and delivers exceptional internet speed and good area coverage.

Vodafone offers:

  • A range of data plans
  • Unlimited calls
  • SMS
  • A mobile hotspot feature

This means you can stay connected, whether you’re making calls, sending text messages, or using the internet on your phone or other devices.

O2

Operated by Telefónica Germany since 2005, O2 is the third-largest mobile network in Germany. It offers the lowest prices and the highest data volume, making it an excellent choice for those living in larger cities.

However, it’s worth noting that O2’s rural network has limited coverage compared to Telekom or Vodafone’s more comprehensive coverage.

All three networks provide discounts for combining internet and TV services in your contract. It could be worth inquiring about these offers when signing up.

International eSIM data plans in Germany

If you’re a tourist who doesn’t need a local phone number, there’s another option for you — international eSIM providers. Specifically, Holafly and Airalo offer national eSIM data plans for Germany. These plans do not require real-name registration like national carriers do and can be set up before arrival in Germany.

Holafly

Holafly offers prepaid eSIM data plans with unlimited data in Germany. The pricing is based on the number of days you’re traveling for:

  • 5 days for $19.00
  • 10 days for $29.00
  • 15 days for $39.00
  • 30 days for $49.00
  • 60 days for $79.00
  • 90 days for $99.00

This means you can enjoy unlimited data access with data roaming throughout your trip without any extra cost or hassle.

Airalo

Airalo is another popular choice for tourists seeking cheap eSIM data plans. The smallest plan is 1 GB for 7 days for just $5.00, and the biggest plan is 20 GB for 30 days for $26.00. So, whether you’re planning a short trip or a month-long exploration, Airalo has you covered.

Best eSIM in Germany

The best eSIM in Germany are Telekom MagentaMobil, Vodafone GigaMobil, and O2 Mobile. Each of these offers unique features and benefits, ensuring that there’s something for everyone.

Telekom MagentaMobil

Telekom offers both contract and prepaid eSIM plans. The cheapest eSIM with a contract starts at €34.95 per month for 5 GB, and the cheapest prepaid eSIM starts at €4.95 per 4 weeks for 1 GB.

All plans include access to the 4G and 5G networks, calls and SMS messages to all German networks, free internet surfing at all Telekom hotspots within Germany, and EU roaming including UK and Switzerland.

How to get a Telekom eSIM?

Getting a Telekom eSIM card is a straightforward process, thanks to the convenience of eSIM technology. If you’re opting for a contract plan, simply follow these steps:

  1. Select the contract plan on the Telekom website.
  2. Select the eSIM option in the shopping cart.
  3. You will receive your new eSIM profile as a QR code online in the customer center.
  4. Just scan the QR code with your mobile device’s camera to load your eSIM profile, and you’re all set.

To get a prepaid eSIM, you first have to purchase a standard prepaid SIM card and activate it. After activation, contact Telekom customer service, who will provide you with a code to activate your eSIM.

Vodafone GigaMobil

Vodafone offers both contract and prepaid eSIM plans. The cheapest eSIM with a contract starts at €23.99 per month for 5GB. The cheapest prepaid eSIM starts at €4.99 per 4 weeks for 1GB. All plans also include 5G data, calls and SMS messages, and no roaming charges in the EU and the UK.

Additionally, Vodafone offers discounts if you also have internet and landline connected, or if you’re under 28 years old. This means you can enjoy high-speed internet and seamless connectivity at a lower cost.

How to get a Vodafone eSIM?

Getting a Vodafone eSIM is a hassle-free process. Here’s how to do it:

  1. If you’re opting for a contract, choose your GigaMobil tariff online — with or without a cell phone.
  2. Then select eSIM in the shopping cart.
  3. After completing your order, you will see your eSIM data in MyVodafone.
  4. Download your eSIM to your smartphone.

For a prepaid plan, when choosing a prepaid CallYa tariff online, you can choose between a physical SIM card or an eSIM. With an eSIM, you will receive two emails from Vodafone after ordering. One will contain the QR code (activation code), and the other will contain the ePIN (confirmation code). Scan the QR code to install the eSIM and enter the ePIN during the installation process.

O2 Mobile

O2 offers both contract and prepaid eSIM plans. The cheapest eSIM with a contract starts at €19.99 per month for 4 GB. The cheapest prepaid eSIM starts at €9.99 per 4 weeks for 6 GB. All plans also include 4G LTE and 5G data, calls and SMS messages, a flexible contract (24 months or monthly cancelable), and free EU roaming.

However, it’s worth noting that O2’s website and mobile app are only available in German. This might be a bit challenging for non-German speakers. But if you’re comfortable with the language, O2 offers an excellent range of eSIM plans to choose from.

How to get an O2 eSIM?

If you’re opting for a contract, when ordering online, you pick whether you want to receive an eSIM or a physical SIM card directly in the shopping cart before checking out. O2 will send you your eSIM profile by letter for security reasons. After you have received the welcome letter, you can install the eSIM profile on your device.

For a prepaid plan, first, order the new tariff regularly. As soon as you have received and activated the physical SIM card, arrange the exchange into eSIM with the O2 customer service team.

Free eSIM in Germany

Vodafone and O2 offer free prepaid eSIM plans. Vodafone CallYa Classic is €0 per 4 weeks (3 cents per MB, 9 cents per minute or SMS). O2 Prepaid Free Card is €0 per 4 weeks (99 cents per day for 30 MB, 9 cents per minute or SMS).

To get a free prepaid eSIM from Vodafone, you can order it directly from their website. But with O2, you can request it after activating the regular SIM card.

Tips for using eSIM in Germany

Before diving into the world of eSIM in Germany, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, verify if your device is eSIM-compatible. Most recent iPhones and Androids support eSIM, as well as some laptops, tablets, and smartwatches.

When selecting an eSIM for Germany, consider factors like network coverage, data speeds, plan validity, device compatibility, and the level of customer support.

To activate a prepaid eSIM in Germany, choose an eSIM plan from a local provider, verify your identity through a video call or at a post office, and then activate the eSIM on your device. Just remember, identity verification requires a valid ID, passport, or residence permit, and a German address, which can be temporary or permanent accommodation.

Final thoughts

Choosing the best eSIM in Germany largely depends on your needs and circumstances. Here are some options to consider:

  1. Telekom: Offers the best availability and most extensive mobile network, but can be expensive.
  2. Vodafone: Offers the fastest mobile data speeds and overall great quality at a better price.
  3. O2: Provides competitive pricing and good coverage, but may not have the same network reach as Telekom or Vodafone.

Just make sure that if you opt for a contract, you’re usually tied to a 24-month commitment. Also, make sure you have an unlocked phone that supports eSIM.

Whether you’re a resident looking for a contract plan, an expat seeking a prepaid plan, or a tourist on a short trip, there’s an eSIM plan for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

No, not all phones support eSIM. Most recent iPhones and Androids, as well as some laptops, tablets, and smartwatches do support eSIM.

To get a prepaid eSIM in Germany, select a plan from a local provider, verify your identity, and activate the eSIM on your device.

You need a valid ID/passport, or residence permit, along with a German address, which can be temporary or permanent accommodation.

A free eSIM plan offers services such as data, calls, and texting at a small cost for a specific duration. This includes offerings like Vodafone CallYa Classic and O2 Prepaid Free Card.

You can get a free eSIM plan in Germany by ordering one directly from Vodafone’s website or by requesting it from O2 after activating a regular SIM card.

About the author
Janine El-Saghir Read more
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