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djinks 26-01-2016 08:21

Best GSM card for data
A few years back, Lidl occasionally had a good promotional rates for GSM starter cards that would give me 5GB of high speed (but not the highest) data for 30 days for 15EUR on the O2 network. Is there anything similar available now?

wolfbln 27-01-2016 16:27

Hi. You still get 5 GB 3G data at Lidl for 15 €, but now only with a big catch. In November Lidl changed from O2 to Vodafone network. They rebranded their mobile line to Lidl Connect.

While you can still buy a monthly surf package of 5 GB for 15 €, you now need to get this USB dongle in the starter pack to get this plan. The starter set is sold at 29.99 € with 10 € credit in Lidl markets or online. It includes this unlocked Huawei E3531-S2. Nobody knows why Lidl adopts this unusual policy. You can use the SIM where you want. May be they still have a pile of unused, old 3G USB sticks around.

Lidl's main rival Aldi on the retail scene has its own starters sold at 12.90€ with 10€ credit preloaded. They sell regular data packages of 5 GB for 15€ to be booked on them. It's even on 4G/LTE but in cities only (on 1800 MHz LTE, on eplus-network with free 3G roaming on O2 elsewhere - still not as good as Telekom or Vodafone in the countryside, but fine in cities).
Other providers like Blauworld or Ortel give you their starter packs for free (10€ price with 10€ preloaded), but will charge you 19.90€ for 5 GB on the same network.

Generally, there is no good or best SIM card around. It all depends on your data - speed - coverage - frequency needs and the device you bring from the US. Remember, here, totally different frequencies are used for 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE and only few devices can cope with all. More details on the offers: or on current promotions (in German):

djinks 27-01-2016 18:46

Thanks for your response. It looks like Aldi-Talk for me. I still have 1 or 2 Lidl starter kits at the house in Germany but looks like they are not worth activating except for emergencies. They have 10EUR credit on them but will only yield 500MB without exceeding credit. (All my calls will be VOIP).

There is an Aldi close by, much closer than Lidl or the drug stores. I avoided E-plus when I was last there because I was advised that the network was congested. The O2 network was fine. Even though 3G, I was getting 7mbps, which was enough for my usage. I already have an O2 USB surf-stick that I can use if I need.

Device will likely be a Galaxy Note 3 (unlocked) or Nexus 6 (factory unlocked). I will probably pick up a few of the new FreedomPop global SIMs (200MB free/month) for travel to and from Europe.

djinks 28-01-2016 01:39

Thanks for your informative response.

I had one or two more of the old Lidl starter kits that I left where I stayed. They had 10EUR credit each. Seems they are only good for 500MB each now, so I will not activate them, leave for emergencies.

I will probably use Aldi-Talk the next time I am there. There is an Aldi very near. Three years ago, I avoided Aldi-Talk because the E-plus network was reported as congested. I guess that has changed. Is there any way I can control which network (E-plus or O2) I am on?

wolfbln 28-01-2016 04:30


Originally Posted by djinks (Post 48399)

I will probably use Aldi-Talk the next time I am there. There is an Aldi very near. Three years ago, I avoided Aldi-Talk because the E-plus network was reported as congested. I guess that has changed. Is there any way I can control which network (E-plus or O2) I am on?

There is no need to avoid Eplus network. It has now the same owner than O2 and Telefónica is merging the networks. On Eplus you can use 3G roaming of O2 for free now.
There are only two cases where I'd stay away from Eplus/O2:
1.) coverage on the countryside outside of cities is not on par with Telecom.
2.) if you need ultra high speeds of > 5 Mbps for e.g. video streaming. Then LTE speeds on Telekom and Vodafone are mostly higher, but the prices for their LTE rates too.

If you have a 1800 MHz LTE device and stay in cities and 3G on 2100 MHz for populated areas, you are fine with eplus. They don't block VoIP, but of course they don't like you using it.

BTW. old Lidl SIM cards purchased before November 2015 are still valid and work on O2. But they are not distributed anymore by Lidl and are rebranded in Fonic mobile now.

At Aldi, it's the same game like in Lidl stores. Starter packs are not on display and have to be asked for at check out. Aldi SIMs need to be registered online like all other providers to be activated. This works pretty fast within an hour normally.

inquisitor 31-01-2016 00:01

Just for clarification:

What used to be marketed as "Lidl Mobile" has been rebranded to "Fonic Mobile" (not to be mixed up with just "Fonic") since Lidl started partnering with Vodafone and selling their services under the "Lidl Connect" brand.
Although Lidl continues to sell vouchers for the old product (just buy Fonic vouchers) you have to be careful because vouchers for the new product "Lidl Connect" will not work for the old SIM cards and vice versa.

During the past 2-3 performance of the eplus network has improved substantially and they used to have an even better 3G coverage than O2. However as part of the acquisition of eplus by O2 both networks are in the process of technical merger. As a first step 3G roaming has been enabled between O2 and eplus so customers of both networks will automatically register on whichever network gives a stronger signal. As a result 3G coverage for O2 and former eplus customers has immediately expanded significantly.
So no matter if you opt for AldiTalk or your old Lidl Mobile SIM cards, you will have the same 3G coverage. However when it comes to 4G AldiTalk provides the advantage of some urban LTE1800 coverage while Lidl Mobile SIM cards remain excluded from any 4G service for the time being.

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