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Kritiker (Offline)
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Default Buying a German SIM card from Canada - 29-05-2011, 18:34

Greetings:

I have been looking at various German SIM cards and browsing and searching the very informative threads here at prepaidgsm.net.

Things certainly seem to have changed since I last bought a pair of Ortel SIM cards by mail in 2007. It's too bad these have long expired and cannot be reactivated. The E-Plus network must have improved in the intervening years. Then I experienced more lost calls than I would have expected.

One problem I am facing involves choosing a vendor. It seems that Fonic, Solomon Pro and Ortelmobile are two that members here seem to recommend. The other problem involves online ordering, shipping and registering the two SIM cards I require.

Which vendor:
I will be spending about 4 weeks in Germany, about a week in the Netherlands and several days each in France, Switzerland and Austria. I will be making and receiving calls/SMS primarily from/to Canada and Germany and perhaps a few from France.

The per minute rates (0.08€ - 0.15€ plus a call-setup fee in some cases) and SMS rates (0.13€ - 0.25€) all seem decent enough. It's the roaming that may be a little more variable. Ortelmobile has a decent Netherlands to Germany rate but I have been unable to find its roaming rates. It almost looks like I just add the origin country to Germany to destination country rates together but I don't believe that it could be that simple. Ortelmobile has not answered any of my inquiries.

I am continuing to check the various companies' rates starting with your very informative prepaidgsm.net operators list (but, Edeka, for example, doesn't seem to be there). Am I correct in inferring that the D1 and D2 networks are the most widespread/reliable followed closely by E-Plus and that O2 is not quite as good?

Buying, registering and activating the SIM cards.
I have several problems and choices in buying these two SIM cards.

My problems:
  1. I have only a one hour stop-over in München before arriving in Amsterdam. That doesn't give me enough time to find a store in the München airport to buy the SIMs there. I don't suppose that I can buy German SIMs in Amsterdam airport or the Netherlands.
  2. I seem to need a German bank account to order and/or activate some of these cards.
  3. In some cases, e.g. solomo pro, I actually have to go through the ordering process, step-by-step, in order to find out what the requirements are. I am worried that I will go through it all and then find that I am unable to have the cards shipped to me or that I may be unable to activate them when I get them.
  4. We are expecting a postal strike soon.
As I see them my options are:
  1. Buy the SIM cards on-line. A 10€ Ortelmobile starter SIM kit costs three to five times that if I buy from a U.S. source. Buying direct is cheaper, if the company will sell and ship them to me..
  2. Buying the SIM cards when I arrive won't work because I first arrive in Amsterdam with only a quick plane change in München.
  3. I could have a friend/relative buy them for me online and have them shipped to me here or to my first hotel in the Netherlands. But doesn't the shipping address usually have to match the billing/bank address?
  4. I could have the friend or relative buy it in a store and mail it to me here (but we may get a postal strike).
Sorry for the long list but have I missed anything? Any suggestions? Thanks.

Last edited by Kritiker; 29-05-2011 at 18:50..
   
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kuba.g (Offline)
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Default 29-05-2011, 19:09

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kritiker View Post
Ortelmobile has a decent Netherlands to Germany rate but I have been unable to find its roaming rates.
You mean the Dutch Ortelmobile, right?
Then you can find these prices here: Ortel Mobile - Tariffs
For example, calling from Germany to any EU country costs €0,46/min.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Kritiker View Post
Am I correct in inferring that the D1 and D2 networks are the most widespread/reliable followed closely by E-Plus and that O2 is not quite as good?
In Germany it is, best to worst: T-Mobile, Vodafone/O2, E-Plus. Correct me if I'm wrong.


Mobile internet sim cards:
INT: abroadband, NL: Simyo, *bliep, BE: Colruyt Mobile, MEDIONmobile, LUX: Orange, PL: mBank Mobile,
DE: Congstar, MEDIONmobile, IE: Vodafone, CH: OK Mobil, SwissCom, SE: Telia, ES: MásMovil,
GR: Cosmote, IT: TIM, RO: Vodafone, RS: mt:s, BY: Privet, UA: Kievstar, MD: Moldcell

Feel free to consult me about sim cards in the Benelux and Poland.
   
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bylo (Offline)
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Default 29-05-2011, 19:20

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kritiker View Post
But doesn't the shipping address usually have to match the billing/bank address?
FWIW I've purchased SIMs, e.g. yesss.at, online and had them shipped to the first hotel in my itinerary. I used a Canadian credit card (TD/CT) with a Canadian billing address without any difficulty.

In the case of yesss.at, they will only ship SIMs within Austria. I don't know if the German carriers have the same restriction, i.e. will ship only to German addresses.

Postal strike? Canada Post is still in business?


Phones: Google Galaxy Nexus, Samsung Galaxy Gio, Motorola KRZR K1
SIMs: 7-11 SpeakOut CA, A1-B.free/tele.ring/yesss! AT, Mobal
R.I.P.: UM, UM+
   
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Kritiker (Offline)
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Default 29-05-2011, 20:32

Quote:
Originally Posted by kuba.g View Post
You mean the Dutch Ortelmobile, right?
Nope, I meant German Ortelmobile. A dutch SIM card I could pick up in The Netherlands when I arrive but since I am spending most of my time in Germany I need a German SIM card. The German Ortel cards have a decent rate from The Netherlands to Germany of about 0.25€ (or so). It is the German roaming rates I cannot find, for example the cost of a call to Canada from The Netherlands using a German Ortel SIM card.

Quote:
In Germany it is, best to worst: T-Mobile, Vodafone/O2, E-Plus. Correct me if I'm wrong.
So far I haven't discovered any comparable priced choices for the T-Mobile net, but then I haven't finished looking yet.

Last edited by Kritiker; 29-05-2011 at 20:44..
   
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Kritiker (Offline)
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Default 29-05-2011, 20:39

Quote:
Originally Posted by bylo View Post
FWIW I've purchased SIMs, e.g. yesss.at, online and had them shipped to the first hotel in my itinerary. I used a Canadian credit card (TD/CT) with a Canadian billing address without any difficulty.
I did that in 2007 but the various German web sites now seem to be far more restrictive in what they allow. In some cases one needs a German bank account or credit card to order/register or the delivery is restricted to Germany, etc.
Quote:
Postal strike? Canada Post is still in business?
Well now, that depends upon what we mean by in business, doesn't it?
   
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Default 29-05-2011, 21:30

Quote:
Originally Posted by kuba.g View Post
In Germany it is, best to worst: T-Mobile, Vodafone/O2, E-Plus. Correct me if I'm wrong.
The ranking is rather Vodafone, T-Mobile, O2 and after a huge gap eplus.
eplus is still a discount network with an inferior network, that regularly suffers from congestions making phone calls impossible and data over the eplus-network is a total mess, too.

@Kritiker
I would recommend a Fonic SIM for your purposes. Getting a Fonic SIM in Munich is a question of minutes. For further information on Fonic see Germany - Fonic - Prepaid Wireless Internet Access


terminals: Huawei: P6; Nokia: Lumia 630 Dual SIM, 1200; Asus: Fonepad 7 ME372CG; Huawei data: E5830s, E1762, K3765, EM770 in Asus Eee PC 901 GO; Qualcomm Gobi 2000 in Sony VAIO VPC-Z12X9E/X
postpaid: DeutschlandSIM Flat M; prepaid: DE: Aldi Talk, Lidl; UK: 3; HU: T-Mobile; BG: MTel, vivacom; INT'L: toggle mobile
VoIP: sipgate.de (German DID); sipgate.co.uk (British DID); ukddi.com (British DID); sipcall.ch (Swiss DID); bgopen.net (Bulgarian DID); InterVoip.com
   
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Motel75 (Offline)
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Default 29-05-2011, 22:51

Yes, agree with Inquisitor. Fonic is an obvious choice (cheap domestic and international calls and data) and easy to find. There's a Müller drugstore in the middle of Terminal 1 of Munich airport that should have Fonic SIMs.


Current DE: Edeka Mobile, Netzklub, Lidl Mobile; PL: Heyah; UK: Giffgaff; US: T-Mobile; IT: Vodafone; FR: B&You
Former DE: Vodafone, T-Mobile, O2, Blauworld, 01051mobile, Solomo, Lycamobile, Simyo, Congstar, Fonic; PL: Era, Sami Swoi, Orange, POP, iPlus, Heyah, Carrefour Mova, Telepin Mobi, Play; UK: Vodafone, T-Mobile, Virgin; US: T-Mobile, AT&T CZ: Vodafone, Oskar; ES: Lebara; GR: Vodafone, Wind; TR: Turkcell
   
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Kritiker (Offline)
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Default 30-05-2011, 20:45

Thanks all. I am able to focus my efforts a bit thanks to your help. More later.
   
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Kritiker (Offline)
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Default 31-05-2011, 16:24

So I have a good idea now about availability etc. and calling rates within Germany. Thanks.

Looking at Solomo Pro (E-plus) and Fonic (O2), I find that Solomo Pro has considerably cheaper roaming rates than Fonic.

For example, a call from the Netherlands to Canada costs 0.26€ (via call back) with Solomo Pro but 1.29€, per minute, with Fonic. Other calls from Europe but outside Germany to Europe or Canada seem to cost the same.

Calls from the Netherlands to Germany are 0.46€ on Fonic and 0.26€ - 0.46€ on Solomo Pro .

Is the O2 network that much better than the E-Plus? Any other reasons to choose Fonic over Solomo Pro or the other way around? Can both be topped up using the Internet and non-German credit cards? Do Fonic SIM cards really not expire? The Fonic Kostenschutz is of little use to me. Have I missed something? Any further advice? Thanks.

Last edited by Kritiker; 31-05-2011 at 16:30..
   
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kuba.g (Offline)
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Default 01-06-2011, 02:08

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kritiker View Post
Calls from the Netherlands to Germany are 0.46€ on Fonic
Will decrease to €0,40/min by 1 July 2011.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kritiker View Post
Is the O2 network that much better than the E-Plus?
For mobile data there is a huge difference which I have experienced myself. For calls I have only heard there are a lot of dropped calls etc. The network is clearly the worst in Germany.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kritiker View Post
Can both be topped up using the Internet and non-German credit cards?
Yes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kritiker View Post
Do Fonic SIM cards really not expire?
Yes.


Mobile internet sim cards:
INT: abroadband, NL: Simyo, *bliep, BE: Colruyt Mobile, MEDIONmobile, LUX: Orange, PL: mBank Mobile,
DE: Congstar, MEDIONmobile, IE: Vodafone, CH: OK Mobil, SwissCom, SE: Telia, ES: MásMovil,
GR: Cosmote, IT: TIM, RO: Vodafone, RS: mt:s, BY: Privet, UA: Kievstar, MD: Moldcell

Feel free to consult me about sim cards in the Benelux and Poland.
   
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