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First time travel to Germany and Austria - Cellular Question

Hello guys...

I am traveling to Munich staying there for 4 days then traveling to Salzburg for one before I visit Vienna for 5 day. I want to buy a sim card mainly for data but I am not sure which company I should go for and if Vodafone is reliable or there is something else that is better. Moreover, I will be flying to Munich so is there a place where I can go to for buying the sim-card?

Thanks a lot for your time.

Posted by
810 posts

You might want to read the article here on the web site Travel Tips section, Phone & Technology.

If your provider is T-Mobile you might not need a sim card. That's who we have and are able to use our phones for text and data free. There is a per minute charge for calls.

Posted by
17 posts

Thank you...but would T-mobile work in Munich as well as Vienna? Can I get it from Munich airport or I have ONLY buy it from Vienna?

Posted by
800 posts

Not sure about other carriers, but I have used my Verizon phone (an iPhone 6) all over Europe with no issues. I just notify them as to when I'll be there and what countries and they set it up. I prefer this as I don't need to carry multiple phones and I have all my contacts, etc, as normal. My last trip was Bavaria, Austria, and the Czech Republic and I had great coverage everywhere.

Posted by
16941 posts

T-Mobile is a US provider, although Deutsche Telekom is a majority shareholder. So if you have T-Mobile here, it will also work in Germany and Austria. I just used it. Voice is charged at $0.25/ minute, but text and data are free, although the data speed might be reduced.

If you don't have T-Mobile now, you probably want SIM, and maybe someone else can comment on a good one to cover Germany and Austria.

Posted by
6021 posts

I suggest reading the link that was provided and see if you have any questions.
Mine to you would be?

  • Have you traveled before and used a Foreign SIM in your current phone? If not, then are you certain your phone is unlocked?
  • Who is your current carrier? You may need to discuss with them your travel, what plans are available through them, if none or too expensive, then if you are able to install a different SIM.

For example, if you have ATT, you cannot install a different SIM while on contract easily, you would need an unlocked phone. Verizon does allow you to install other SIMs, but there is a procedure or settings that may need to be changed. T-Mobile allows use in Europe, as does Google Fi.

If all looks good for a SIM, then I suggest going with Vodaphone. Have the address of a store in Munich (there is a big one along the main drag) go in, they will help with the best option, install it, and verify that it is working. This has worked for me, but there are some reports that some stores are stricter about National anti-terrorism measures that require a permanent address (my hotel was fine in my instance).

Posted by
17 posts

I was looking at the link that you suggested and I found "Lycamobile" they provide good rates BUT can I find this provider in Munich airport or I have only to order it online? As I am leaving to Munich soon and there is no time to purchase and send it online.

Thank you

Posted by
1523 posts

Free WiFi is practical everywhere (hotels, restaurants, cafés), at some places even on the streets (e.g. Vienna). Do you really need a SIM card?

Posted by
720 posts

Suggestion: Use WiFi to download the data apps you need (Maps?) when it is available to cut down data needs on the move. And buy a disposable "Handy" little phone at the airport or at Aldi for calls and limited data use.

Check the Aldi website for their Aldi-talk Options.

https://www.alditalk.de

Mobile phones use two different technologies GSM and CDMA.

https://www.pcmag.com/news/300986/cdma-vs-gsm-whats-the-difference

Europe uses GSM and my wife's (bought in Europe) Vodaphone iPhone (GSM) worked much better in the US than my US bought Sprint iPhone (CDMA) worked in Europe. When we moved home she just popped a US ATT SIM card in and she was good to go. No way my somewhat older iPhone can be changed so it will go the way of the Dinosaurs soon.

So, Question 1 - Who is your carrier in the US? Question 2 - Is your phone unlocked, so a new SIM card can be added? If you add a SIM card how long will you be committed to their Electronic Billing (ours was an annual plan)?

Vodaphone is fine and everywhere. Google Vodaphone stores in Munich.

Posted by
17 posts

Thanks to all of you who put the time and efforts to reply to me and try the best to help me.

I don't have a Vodafone nor T-mobile. My phone in unlock and the reason that i want to have a sim is because I am a female who is traveling alone and I like to be prepared to worse case scenarios. I was in Amesterdam last year and I bought a sim with 4G data I believe it was for EU 20 which is not a bad offer for two weeks most importantly it gave me a peace of mind.

I would be so grateful if any one can help me in picking a sim card that can work in Bavaria as well as Austria.

Thanks again to each one of you who made it easy for me to arrange my thoughts and tried to help me.

Posted by
1523 posts

All SIM cards work across the EU, provided that roaming is included.

Posted by
2 posts

HI @al_helu, we just got back and had a lot of luck purchasing a SIM card. We also wanted to use it for Data in our iPad. We still had to set it up in one of our phones, but we were then able to put our original SIM card back in our phone and add the European SIM card to our iPad for use while we were in the car driving. Very helpful when trying to book our AirBnB! :) Also, as another traveler mentioned, there is free WIFI almost everywhere you go. Hope that helps and have fun! :)

Posted by
17 posts

Hello kcmoog

Thank you so much for the help. I am glade that you had a good experience.

Posted by
6021 posts

As I mentioned earlier, now that it is clear you have an unlocked phone and have used European SIMs in it before, then once in Munich, go to the nearest Vodaphone store. They will take care of you, install the SIM and make sure the phone works. If you search "Vodaphone Munich" in google maps you will see locations in central Munich, must be about a dozen of them.

Posted by
823 posts

If you have a spare compatible GSM phone at home, look into Google Fi before you leave. (I have a review in the technology forum.) It saves the time and hassle of hunting for a SIM retailer and only costs $10. per GB.

I did notice a lot of retail stores on the "land side" of the Munich airport but I wasn't looking for a SIM card.

Vodafone is big throughout Europe but I think T-Mobile is king in Germany (and they have WIFI hotspots everywhere Germany). I also saw a lot of O2 stores and I had good luck with them in the UK.

Posted by
17 posts

Work2Travel

Thank you for the advice. Unfortunately I don't have a GB. Sim card is my only solution. What is O2? is it a cell phone company?
You suggest that I should go with T-mobile but does it cover Austria?

Thank you

Posted by
1523 posts

You suggest that I should go with T-mobile but does it cover Austria?

The selection of a certain mobile phone operator has an effect only on the price of the SIM card, its features, and the contract conditions, but not where it is functioning (as long as roaming is enabled).

As said before, all SIM cards in the EU cover all EU countries, by law having to charge the same fare in all EU countries as in the country where the SIM was issued. You just have to make sure that you buy a SIM card which includes roaming (voice and data), i.e. is not restricted to the issuing country. You should also make sure that the SIM card can be recharged online from abroad, i.e. being in a different country as that where it was issued.

And as also said before, free WiFi is available virtually everywhere in Austria, reducing the need for a SIM card drastically.

Posted by
17 posts

Thank you wmt1 for your valuable advice

These are great tips that I will keep in mind. Thank you again, my gratitude is also extended to each one who tried so hard to help me inorder to make my trip smooth.