As Germany has a different mobile phone system than many other countries, your phone may not be compatible with the German system. It is wise to ask your phone company if your phone works in Europe before you plan to move abroad. The largest advantage of using your mobile from home is the ability to keep your existing telephone number. One disadvantage is the cost. If you are not planning to use your mobile phone often, the roaming charges you need to pay in Germany may be affordable. However, if you require a mobile phone on a daily basis, it would be wise to purchase a SIM card (the chip card in your phone that allows it to function) from a German provider. You may have to ask your telephone company if it is possible to use a different SIM card in your existing phone or not. If not, you will have to purchase a phone here.
There are many different mobile phone providers in Germany. Each offers its own special prices and options. Flat rates for using your mobile (called “Handy” in Germany) in all German telephone networks can range anywhere from 50 to 100 Euros per month. Some of these packages include the use of the Internet and text messaging while others do not. If you use your telephone less frequently, you can either opt for a contract with a company for a small monthly fee or purchase a pay as you go telephone card. The first option includes a fixed amount of free minutes per month, over and above this you will pay per minute for calls and per text message. Your telephone bill will be automatically booked from your bank account, as in the case with a flat rate. With pay as you go, you purchase a certain amount (15, 30, 50 etc Euros) and can telephone in any German network until the amount is exhausted. The price per minute of a “pay as you go” telephone card is usually more expensive than having a contract with a telephone company.
Mobile phones can be purchased at most electronic shops, department stores or online. It is wise to shop around as prices can vary. If you decide to purchase a German SIM card and sign on with one of the many companies, the company you have chosen may have attractive offers on mobile phones.
If you would rather rent a phone than buy one, many companies offer this option. Please keep in mind that this option may be more expensive than purchasing a phone.
Please note that using your mobile phone while driving is prohibited in Germany unless you have a headset or installed loudspeaker.