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Which cell provider

I'm thinking I will buy a local SIM card when in Austria for a phone I bring with me. It looks like there are 3 providers: A1, T-Mobile and Drei (3).

Are they really any different? Should I just shop for the price I want for the package I want? I seem to recall that one of the supermarket chains had good deals as well.

Also, will an Austrian card roam into Germany with no charges?

Posted by
622 posts

There used to be a lot of posts on choosing cell phones/plans on the Technology part of this Forum, although i have not checked up on how recent any of them are. My personal experience is several years old now. We picked up an ALDI-talk SIM when we went in the before times. But we also have dual-SIM capable phones now so you should check what capabilities you already have for dual SIM operation AND whether your phone can handle an e-SIM which you can install before you go.

Posted by
12329 posts

I use my US TMobile account flawlessly and economically all over Europe from London to Tirana.

Posted by
509 posts

I suggest you sign up for Google Fi, which works in most European countries.

Posted by
1752 posts

can you explain Google Fi to me? It's some weird cell/wifi hybrid system right? Sometimes it's one, sometimes the other. But since many (if not most) wifi networks are locked, how does it get in?

Posted by
4290 posts

Just go to Hofer (the Austrian version of Aldi) and buy a Bob or Yess SIM card which you’ll need to register. Then buy units as you like.

Posted by
1358 posts

It looks like there are 3 providers: A1, T-Mobile and Drei (3).

These are the three providers which operate the physical infrastructure for mobile communication in Austria. They rent their networks to virtual providers which sell communication services without having an own network. In fact there are about 30 providers you can choose from. Because of this high competition Austria is a low-cost country regarding mobile communication (e.g. as compared to Germany).

Whatever you buy, make sure that roaming and data roaming is included if you want to use it in Germany. Also make sure that you can top up your balance online via internet, should you be in Germany, where you won't get the reloading cards for Austrian providers.

Very popular is HoT which is available in every Hofer supermarket (the Austrian equivalent to Aldi).

Posted by
400 posts

I agree with James - I use my T-Mo account. I think calls are $0.25/min. to the US. I have no need to use my phone as a phone, but rather for wireless access. You get the slowest speed via the cell system, but you can find free wifi nearly everywhere. Unless you plan on spending an enormous amount of time on the phone or plan on live streaming your travel there is really no urgent need for a local provider.

Posted by
1752 posts

Hofer yes, I think that's the deal I saw mentioned. Thanks.

Posted by
417 posts

Phred, the whole wifi aspect of Google Fi never took off in earnest, not in the US, anyway. So it's basically a google-provided bulk cell traffic via whatever operator is available, at about 20 cents a minute when abroad and free when on wifi (but not in all countries), plus data at what now seems totally outrageous $10 a gig.
Still, more than adequate for the price, good coverage, access to decent google-branded devices, worked better for me (in post-Soviet space) than T-Mobile. The ridiculous data charges are offset by the fact that wifi is generally much more widespread in Eu. Still, I always go with a cheap disposable smartphone with a local SIM (for incoming calls from Ubers, guides, etc) and keep my US phone as backup.