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Best Pre-Paid Data Plan For a Visit To Germany? 153

Posted by timothy
from the funken-arund dept.
code prole writes "With two upcoming trips to Germany, and no readily available Internet (Wi-Fi or otherwise) in the location where we'll be staying, I'm looking for a no-contract USB stick and pre-paid data plan. Vodafone has a huge selection of USB sticks but has proven to be unresponsive to questions about data plans. And the US-based T-Mobile Help Center was clueless about getting the device in Europe and using it there. Hopefully the Slashdot community has some suggestions. Any duds to avoid?"
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Best Pre-Paid Data Plan For a Visit To Germany?

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  • I recommend blau.de (Score:5, Informative)

    by pleumann (219030) on Friday March 12, 2010 @03:06AM (#31449118)

    They have good pricing for telephony and internet access, and their website is easy to use.

    OMG - first post? :)

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      If you're dead set on it, first place to visit after you land and go through customers is the Vodophone and T-Mobile store at the airport or at the main train station. I've used Vodophone for years when traveling in Germany. But I'm not sure what their data charges are as I've only gotten prepaid phones.

      • by quadrox (1174915) on Friday March 12, 2010 @03:23AM (#31449180)

        I tried getting a vodaphone callya (debitel) prepaid card - the phone and sms part works, but it refuses to do any data, although that is supposed to be included.

        I suspect that is because I have a HTC hero, which apparently is not supported very well by vodaphone (i.e. you can't pick it when you're supposed to select your phone model on their website).

        • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

          by uigin (985341)

          I have both Vodafone callya and Blau. Honestly vodafone (and O2) is ridiculously expensive without a contract. Simyo http://www.simyo.de/ [simyo.de] is another cheap alternative. All the cheap ones are pretty much the same price and adequate quality. The reason Vodafone et al get away with having the expensive prices is because Germans have this strange notion of paying extra for imagined 'quality' (the reasoning is along the lines 'it's more expensive so it must be good')

          Dave.

          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by idji (984038)
            simyo is 24c/MB so not cheap.
            Vodafone [vodafone.de] is no-contract, 19,99€ upfront and prepaid 15min/2h/24h/7days, where 7 days= 7,99€ for max 1GB
            • simyo is 24c/MB so not cheap.

              you can pay 9eur for 1gb in advance but you will have to use it until the end of the month

              • by richteas (244342)

                you will have to use it until the end of the month

                Not quite true, the 1 GB option is valid for 30 days, and the thirty day period can start and end on any day of the month.
                This is their price list, sorry, German only:
                Price List [simyo.de]
                In my case, activating the 1 GB option for my existing simyo prepaid SIM card took about a day.

        • by Weezul (52464) on Friday March 12, 2010 @03:46AM (#31449272)

          Just check their frequencies :

          http://www.prepaidgsm.net/en/germany.html

    • by carp3_noct3m (1185697) <slashdotNO@SPAMwarriors-shade.net> on Friday March 12, 2010 @03:33AM (#31449226)
      I spent a month in Germany not too long ago and i got both vodaphone and blau cards but i really preferred the blau card and this was on my blackberry, as if i would ever pay the crazy ass rates att wants, pfff. As a matter of fact I still have it in one of my spare phones (gave my number to some peoples while I was there)
    • by bemymonkey (1244086) on Friday March 12, 2010 @04:05AM (#31449316)

      Or Tchibo. Similar pricing scheme (buy 1GB at a time and use it as you please... pretty cool) and on o2 (HSDPA coverage isn't bad, with downloads regularly hitting a constant 400-500KB/s).

    • by weeeeed (675324) on Friday March 12, 2010 @04:18AM (#31449368) Journal

      Yeah, blau.de is pretty good. But you will need internet access and some basic german skills to activate the card on their website.

      100mb/30 days: EUR 3.90, activate by calling 1155 and pressing 8,1,4,1

      1Gb/30 days: EUR9.90, 1155 and press 8,1,2,1

      Unlimited/30 days: EUR19.90, dial 1155, press 8,1,3,1

      All plans auto-extend the next month, to disable dial 1155 and press 8,2,1

      APN: internet.eplus.de
      Username: blau
      Password: blau

      • Mod this up people - this is everything he needs to know for €19.90.

      • by lennier1 (264730) on Friday March 12, 2010 @05:34AM (#31449638)

        Great summary but please don't forget to mention that the "unlimited" plan contains 5GB per month at 3G speed.
        After that it's limited to GPRS. Same situation with the 1GB data plan. A common measure on many networks.

        Voice call minutes are deducted separately from the prepaid credits but blau actually has fairly good rates.

        • the "unlimited" plan contains 5GB per month at 3G speed. After that it's limited to GPRS. Same situation with the 1GB data plan.

          The 1GB plan includes 5GB at 3G speed? Where can I sign up?

      • by seifried (12921)

        1Gb/30 days: EUR9.90, 1155 and press 8,1,2,1

        This makes me angry, I pay just over twice per month and I'm on a 2 year contract. Canada sucks donkey balls for data plans.

        • I feel your pain. Arriving from Europe, I still have not got a mobile in Canada: the fees are outrageous. Never mind data, in Europe, you can get cheap prepaid for just voice and SMS that have an expiry of 6 month after the last call and are really cheap, too.

          Apparently, here, "prepaid" really means "slightly cheaper contract (add money every month, or your balance goes to 0), with outrageous fees, but hey, you also get to buy a new phone from us, which we made crappy with useless addons".

          I absolutely hate

          • by gravis777 (123605)

            You should see what AT&T charges in the US for an iPhone with 400 minutes, unlimited Data and 1000 texts a month - over $100 (not for sure how much - that is the price AFTER a corporate discount). I am hoping that when my contract expires, I can take my iPhone to Boost, but have a feeling that Apple won't like that. I really do not want to jailbreak.

            That beeing said, with as great as Boost is, they are still way above what many European providers charge. I lived in Salzburg a few years ago, and ended up

      • by egghat (73643) on Friday March 12, 2010 @10:41AM (#31451438) Homepage

        Blau.de is an ePlus reseller and ePlus is the slowest network in Germany. A lot of areas are still EDGE, many are normal speed UMTS (384kbit/s) and only a few are UMTS/3G. A kind of "official" reseller of eplus is called Simyo [simyo.de]. They offer 1 Gig data for € 9,95 valif for a month. If the gig is used up just buy a new card for 10 Euros. No plan whatsover.

        o2 is the second of the two smaller providers in Germany. Their coverage ist a bit worse than that of eplus, but in urban areas their network is usuallly faster. o2 has a prepaid plan as well called Fonic [fonic.de]. Their rate is 2,50 Euros per day. USB stick costs 60 Euros.

        Vodafone and T-Mobile are the two big providers and usually offer the best network coverage and best speed. But they are more expensive. A day with a maximum of 1 Gb costs 4,95 Euros (Vodafone Websessions [vodafone.de]) or 4,95 ;-) (T-Mobile Websessions [t-mobile.de]). Vodafone has 7 days with 1 Gb data for 9,95 as well.

        USB sticks should be no problem. If you buy one at the phone store you'll get them some Euros cheaper, but in most cases they will have a simlock, but you can go to an electronics store and buy one without a simlock. That should be the easiest part ...

        After a short check there are no pages in English on their websites (vodafone.nl has them).

        • by egghat (73643)

          Damn. I forget two things:

          I wouldn't try WLAN. 5.000 hotspots at T-Mobile seem to be a lot, but in my case (inside a city with a population of mor than 200.000) the next Wifi-spot is more than mile away. Fon is a disaster as well. But cell phone coverage and prices are good and cheap in Germany, so who cares?

          You can get prepaid cards in nearly every supermarket. Aldi uses eplus (see above) and costs 14,90 per month. AFAIK the data plans of all the other discounter data plans do not offer good data plans.

    • Seconded. Plus, the Internet prices are really the best. 24 cent per megabyte. (Install an instant messaging client on your phone [e.g. Nimbuzz], and you can send about 3000 SMS for that price). 1GB for 10€, and a real full flat for 20€.

    • by bitsmith (841565)

      I am currently on my second visit to Munich, Germany, and I can just confirm that blau.de for EUR 19.80/month just works well with my brand new Nokia N900. Internet radio and ssh sessions are just fine. Btw, you can buy them in dm drogeriemarkt stores for about EUR 7.00 (effectively EUR 10.00 credit), but you need credit EUR 15.00 more for activation (vouchers available almost everywhere), which is in German only. You also need to make a paid call to activate the SIM card.

    • by geogob (569250)

      I've been with blau.de for 2 months now. Their internet access is, I think, on of the cheapests. But, as always, the devil is in the details. Blau.de prepaid provider is on the E+ network. Of all cellphone networks in Germany, eplus is probably the worst. Coverage is limited and performances in most areas are poor (my performance comparison point is Rogers in eastern Canada). Altough the network is 3G, most of the time you won't reach 3G speeds and you often lose 3G connection. Then it usually kicks down to

    • How's blau.de for roaming throughout Europe? I'm going to be in Europe for 5 weeks this summer, part work, part vacation. I'll be spending time in England, the Netherlands, a couple days in Germany (mostly travelling) and Switzerland. Does anyone know if a plan and USB device I can either pick up in England that will work in all those places, or in the Netherlands (probably more realistic) that will work without roaming charges in both the Netherlands and Switzerland?
  • Well a lot of airports and such have free WiFi, and a lot of hotels offer internet in their rooms. On the move you should be fine by relying on internet cafe's strewn throughout the city.

    Otherwise if you're dead set on getting an GRPS dongle for your own laptop, it might not be a bad idea to just wait and buy a pre-paid one in Germany itself.

    • Re:Internet cafe's (Score:5, Informative)

      by uigin (985341) on Friday March 12, 2010 @03:15AM (#31449162) Homepage

      Actually very few places in Germany have free Wifi. The going rate is €8 per hour! (If you are asking about it, they call it Wlan)

      I agree about waiting until you arrive though. I think you'll have a lot of problems buying before you travel unless you sign up for a special tourist phone network that costs an outrageous amount.

      Dave.

      • by xtracto (837672)

        If you are asking about it, they call it Wlan)

        That would be "vee-lan"

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by postbigbang (761081)

        Uh, no.

        I had no difficulities going thru major cities in Germany this month, and getting free WiFi. The nicest place was the Corkokian Irish Bar south of the Dom in Cologne. Drink Guinness (or coffee) whilst getting blisteringly fast 802.11n. Free.

        Small towns might not have it, and most APs actually have minimal security on them. Not that we want to crack that. Seriously, there's sufficient free WiFi to prevent getting soaked tethering to some horrible data plan. Save yourself the Euros and wing it. Use Wir

  • Blau (Score:2, Informative)

    by uigin (985341)

    I find http://www.blau.de/ [www.blau.de] quite good. Aldi (http://www.aldi-nord.de/aldi_aldi_talk_95.html) are also good.

  • I would only consider Vodafone and T-Mobile as your options, these two have established cell networks, all the others borrow on these networks and as such tend to be at the bottom of the traffic prioritization.

    From my experience O2 is absolutely awful for any 3G, they are building up their own network, but if your not in range of one of their cells you can forget it.

    As for getting it, I'd wait till your here, you are mandated to provide your passport details to get any SIM card, so they probably can't servi

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by rolfwind (528248)

      Nice thing about T-mobile is that if you have a locked phone on their network in the US, you can use a prepaid or regular sim by them over there in same phone. I have tried this and it works.

      • by stefanb (21140)
        Not in general, you must have been locky. They're different companies, with different provider IDs, and the SIM lock won't accept the other's SIM. Besides T-Mobile USA has very few phones that work on the European freqencies, so you might be out of luck anyway.
      • T-Mobile in the U.S. unlocked our phones after 3 months of pre-paid use of their network. The unlocking was free. Ask them if they are still doing that.

        We sent them the IMEI numbers, and they sent us unlock codes for our 4-band GSM phones.
    • by stefanb (21140) on Friday March 12, 2010 @03:38AM (#31449236) Homepage

      I would only consider Vodafone and T-Mobile as your options, these two have established cell networks, all the others borrow on these networks and as such tend to be at the bottom of the traffic prioritization.

      Nonsense. There's four network operators in Germany: T-Mobile, Vodafone, E-Plus, and O2 Germany. While T-Mobile and Vodafone have a larger buildout (higher density, more towers in rural areas), E-Plus and O2 are not that far behind. I find that O2's network works really well in cities, with no noticable degradation compared to T-Mobile.

      All four operators have their own "value" brands, and there's a couple of MVNOs, and as far as I can tell, no priorisation is in effect for any user. If you do have coverage, chances are that you will have excellent throughput. Nothing like certain US operators...

      • by okock (701281) on Friday March 12, 2010 @04:13AM (#31449352) Homepage

        +1: If you're within cities, it generally doesn't matter, which network you use. I've learnt that Vodafone and T-Mobile are the more expensive solutions and generally like to sell you sim-locked devices.

        I'm quite happy with a cheapo-solution, using a (non-sim-lock) stick and prepaid plan from "Aldi", one of the nation wide supermarket chains. Stick: ~50€, monthly flatrate: ~15€ (careful: if you've got enough money prepaid and not cancelled the monthly flatrate, it's automatically continued the next month) or ~2 or 3 € per day. They say to limit the speed from 5GB (monthly) or 1GB (daily) on. This is a resold "E-Plus" network access.

        Windows "wizard" software is provided on the stick. Access also works well with Ubuntu "Karmic Koala" (without the windows software, of course).

      • by Jesus_666 (702802)
        Also note that the value brands are most likely cheaper than the regular ones because they were created to compete in the low-price segment. For instance, E-Plus offers regular plans but they also have the brands Simyo (for those who want very simple pricing structures) and Base (which was apparently recently retooled to a build-your-own-flatrate model).
    • by Zebedeu (739988)

      As for getting it, I'd wait till your here, you are mandated to provide your passport details to get any SIM card, so they probably can't service you overseas.

      What? I've bought a few prepaid cards in Germany and never had to give my passport details. The ask for some personal details when you register, but it's automated and over the phone, so you can bullshit all you want (I did) and it'll still work.

      You're probably thinking of contracts, but those wouldn't make sense for someone who just needs a few weeks worth of 3G.

    • by dave420 (699308)
      I'm on O2 in Germany with a Palm Pre, and the 3G is fantastic, when not in the deepest, darkest Schwarzwald.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by nacturation (646836) *

      Just find a open WLAN and use that ...

      What a great idea. From the fine summary: "and no readily available Internet (WiFi or otherwise) in the location where we'll be staying".

  • Peter from Germany (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Hi,

    There are only 4 WIFI networks in all of Germany, and all other service providers use one of these networks. Quality here is better than in the US as the population is more dense, and there are not many empty spots where reception just drops off. I have not heard of bad reception for WIFI here in Germany ever.

    Your best bet would be when you first arrive, in the hotel ask where the next MediaMarkt or Saturn is (they are like best buy) you can find prepaid stuff there. In German that would be.

    Wissen Sie

    • Just a little nitpick: Wifi != Cellular network. What most of the world calls Wifi, you in Germany call W-Lan.

      Apart from that, correct guide... (Not German, but I live close enough to Germany to know.)

  • Fonic (Score:4, Informative)

    by stefanb (21140) on Friday March 12, 2010 @03:27AM (#31449206) Homepage

    First T-Mobile USA has very little to do with T-Mobile Germany, except having the same owner. In fact, there's rumors that Deutsche Telekom wants to divest of T-Mobile USA, similarly to what the recently did in the UK. My experience has been that T-Mobile USA don't really care what's going on elsewhere in the world.

    Fonic [fonic.de] is a service brand of O2 Germany (owned by Telefonica), offering pay as you go prepaid services, both voice and data. Their data offering is 2.50 Euros per calendar day, for a maximum of 1 GB transfer volume. O2's UMTS network offers HSUPA with up to 3.6Mbps down, 384 kbps up. Their coverage tends to be concentrated in urban areas; rural areas might have no coverage. If you exceed the transfer volume, speed will be limited to 64kbps for that day. Adding credit to the account can be done through credit card, direct debit from a German bank account, or by purchasing vouchers available at many stores. The sell a USB data stick for 60 Euros.

    There's a couple more offerings, but most come with additional strings attached. With any offering, you technically will need a residency permit in the EU, with appropriate paperwork; some shops are less stringent than others. If you do have friends in Germany, have them order the package online in advance. You might want to get a seperate prepaid SIM for voice service as well, instead of international roaming.

    Finally, if you do have friends living in Germany, ask them if their DSL or cable provider has good deals on package extensions for mobile data options. For example, Alice [alice-dsl.de] offers up to ten SIM cards for free, and has a 6 Euro per month data option available. Billing would go to whomever is paying for the DSL/Cable.

    Finally, have fun!

    • Fonic is a service brand of O2 Germany (owned by Telefonica), offering pay as you go prepaid services, both voice and data. Their data offering is 2.50 Euros per calendar day, for a maximum of 1 GB transfer volume

      €2.50 a day for 97 kb/s mobile data isn't bad. Sounds quite reasonable to me. The 97 kb/s is the average speed needed to hit 1 GB in a day.

      And while 1 GB/day isn't really enough to spend all day on youtube etc., it should be plenty to keep you up-to-date on news, email (just don't download all

  • Voda or T-Mobile (Score:2, Interesting)

    by hart (51418)
    T-Mobile have hotspots all over the place (cafe's, hotels, etc) and at €29 for a month's access (pre-paid, sign up online at any hot spot) you can't beat the price. If you are absolutely certain that no wifi is available where you're going then the previous posters advice of visiting a Vodafone or T-Mobile shop when you land is spot on - both have very good networks in Germany. You can't beat the price of buying local when you arrive! Vodafone USB stick without contract: http://translate.google.com/ [google.com]
    • I'll be damned if I'm going to pay €30 a month for WiFi. Heck, you can get 3G sticks that will only cost half that and can be used anywhere. Speed might be worse, but it's by no means bad, especially in the areas you're likely to find a T-mobile hotspot.

      http://www.medionmobile.de/index3.htm [medionmobile.de]

  • some advice (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    With two upcoming trips to Germany, and no readily available Internet (WiFi or otherwise) in the location where we'll be staying

    Some kind of youth hostel or camping site? Or maybe somewhere "far" (which isn't really possible - there wouldn't be a place where you could stay, unless you're bringing your own tent) from civilization? Then make sure you're getting either D1 (t-mobile, best option) or D2 (vodafone), or any D1/D2 reseller, all others don't have worse coverage (E+, O2).

    Be careful. There are two kind of plans available: Cheap web-only through proxy-only with all ports locked (sometimes including even free access to the resel

    • You are probably talking about somthing like the Pro7 offering (using Vodafones web sessions).

      Well, I'm using that for a few weeks now, and I can say that they do NOT block everything but HTML.

      When connecting you need to open your browser to select what option you want to use (hour, day, 3 days, week, ...) and how you want to pay, but afterwards you have a normal data connection and can use all kinds of protocols and services like ssh, irc, icq, ftp, ...
      Been there, done that.

      When you disconnect and reconnec

  • by poszi (698272) on Friday March 12, 2010 @03:43AM (#31449252)
    Available here [prepaidgsm.net]. Some have decent data plans (30-month unlimited GPRS, first 5GB on HSDPA is available in O2). You will need an unlocked GSM phone and buy a SIM card in Germany.
  • 2.5 per day internet, and reasonable voice prices

  • Vodafone Websessions: [vodafone.de] Walk into the Vodafone store at the airport €30 for the UMTS (3G) usb stick, €5/day (capped at 1GB transfer volume) or 10€/week (similarly capped at 1GB). The only problem might be that they don't have the package and will have to send it to your hotel/address. It's pay as you go, after login you have to enter your credit card info.Similar offers are available from T-Online (web'n'walk €50 with a usb stick including €10 on the pre paid account.). O2 and Eplus

  • You can multiple mobile pre-paid cards in Germany ... just check at any supermarket (Aldi, Lidl, etc.), they have cheap stuff out there ... e.g. Fonic has a 2,50 daily flatrate (pay as you go, no charge on days you don't use it) that you can use up to 1Gig (slowed down to GPRS over 1G), Blau.de as was mentioned above ...

    Anyway, it seems to be lot more common and readily available here than in the US - I've been trying to find an affordable, non-contract (or short-term contract, 1month) mobile data sim (pref

  • One thing to be aware of is limits to "unlimited" plans. I was living in Holland for a number of months this Fall and was on a pre-paid Vodaphone for voice and data. The "unlimited" monthly plan was capped at 500 megs and as soon as I went over it started to eat at my pre-paid stored balance in large chunks. While this sounds like a lot, it disappeared quickly. Just be careful and be sure to ask about this for whatever plan you get.
  • by chess (40930)

    Coverage:
    http://www.t-mobile.de/funkversorgung/inland/
    http://netmap.vodafone.de/cover4internet/index.jsp?appprofile=UMTS-Maps
    http://www.o2online.de/nw/support/mobilfunk/netz/index.html
    http://eis03sn1.eplus-online.de/evportal/portal/umts

    Speed:
    T-Mobile, Vodaphone have HSDPA 7.2Gb/s, O2 has HSDPA 3.6Gb/s, Eplus has 384Mb/s (UMTS)

    Price:
    http://www.teltarif.de/mobilfunk/datenrechner.html

    As you are only interested in Prepaid, use this link and change the amount of Mb per month at the end of the URL from 310 to wha

  • If lowest price is your priority, then you should have a look at simyo.de

    They offer 1 GB for 9,95 Euros. The contingent is valid for 30 days. You can top up anytime you like, again 1 GB for 9,95 Euros valid for 30 days.

    The real flatrates of the other providers are all around 30 euros per month.

  • I just moved to Germany and had to solve the same problem... You have only one choice, O2. All the others require a long-term contract (usually 2 years) to obtain. They wave their hands about getting out of the contract if you have a "good enough" reason, but you have to grovel before them and provide documentation. The prepaid plans of all other companies do not offer data at all. A "subscription" requires a residence and a German bank account so they can automatically debit (Lastschrift) and don't wor

    • a German bank account so they can automatically debit (Lastschrift) and don't worry, they never make mistakes when debiting your account! And organizations doing Lastschrift never get hacked because they employ magic warrior fairies.

      I don't live in Germany, just a neighbouring country. I don't know if "direct debit" (that is what it's called in English) is mandatory or not, but in my country it is voluntary. You *choose* to get direct debit, or you'll simply get bills. Did you really have that much prob

      • by mcelrath (8027)

        Lastschrift is the same as direct debit, but most business seem to require it.

        Sure it works most of the time or no one would do it. But when it goes wrong you're in a world of hurt. Suddenly some hacker empties your bank account...getting your money back once it's gone is a lot harder... And in any dispute, the business has the upper hand (and that's why they like it).

        • Lastschrift is the same as direct debit, but most business seem to require it.

          Must be a German thing then. It's not here.

          Suddenly some hacker empties your bank account...

          Depends on how direct debit is handled. If indeed, the company can directly access your account it's not a good thing. However, that's not how it works in my country (as my original post indicated). Read the authorization [wikipedia.org] part in the wikipedia article. The second type is requires the bank as a third party. This is how it works here.

        • You have the right to reclaim within 6 weeks any unauthorized withdrawal from your account (Rueckbuchung). This is handled directly by the bank, with minimal paperwork, no involvement of the company that had done the withdrawal, and no way for the bank to refuse to process the reversal.

          Of course a company will contact you, and probably try to charge you extra fees or press for legal action, if the withdrawal was done correctly - but you do not need to fear that anybody could just raid your account.

          • by mcelrath (8027)

            But the onus is upon the account holder to point out fraud. By default, if the account holder does nothing, fraud or disputed transactions will be credited to the requesting party. You have to audit your statement every month to make sure it's correct.

            I have this weird idea that fraudulent transactions should be denied by default.

            • by Wdi (142463)

              You are saying you do not check your statements (such as your credit card statement - same principle!) at least once a month?

              And yes, direct debit requires authorization by the withdrawer. They need your signature under a contract or invoice, or at least some online transaction record, to obtain authorization. Banks will actually check this, at least if a certain amount is involved and if the withdrawer is not somebody they recognize as generally trustworthy by regular transactions with other customers. A d

            • by Jesus_666 (702802)
              Which would indicate that you don't use a credit card either - after all, with a CC you also have the onus to declare a transaction fraudulent.
      • by Malc (1751)

        I don't like giving my bank details to anyone. Even Visa's database has been hacked over the years, so do you expect any old company to be able to protect your data? I've been a victim of identity and fraud. At one point when the fraudsters were having trouble accessing my accounts via telephone banking, they somehow managed to find the name of my account manager and called the bank asking for her by name! She was alerted because she knows me and she realised they had the wrong accent, even though they

        • I don't like giving my bank details to anyone.

          Why not? My bank details, involve my name, my bank account number and... That's it (BIC/SWIFT eventually for international trasactions). You do know what you can do with that information? Send ME money. That's it. At least, that's how it works in my part of Europe. If indeed, somewhere else you only need those information to withdraw money, I'd keep it close to my chest too.

          Look at one of the guys who sells OpenBSD stuff in Europe: kd85.com [kd85.com]. Scroll down t

          • by Malc (1751)

            Who said anything about the US? They don't have "chequing" accounts - they don't know how to spell the "cheque" properly. With BIC/IBAN, and can make a guess at where you bank is. With some information required for setting up DD (e.g. address) I'm already part of the way there. And yes, I expect Visa to have better protection on their database than other smaller companies whose core business isn't financial. Loss of faith in their security will wipe them out... do you think the gym for instance keeps a

            • And yes, I expect Visa to have better protection on their database than other smaller companies whose core business isn't financial.

              My statement seems to be ambiguous since I was replying to the blockquoted part where you adressed small companies. So, let me restate that: I do think that Visa should have good security. I do not expect small companies to have good security. We're in agreement, on that. Having credit card information public is evidently not a good idea, because that's how you use them to

          • I don't like giving my bank details to anyone.

            Why not? My bank details, involve my name, my bank account number and... That's it (BIC/SWIFT eventually for international trasactions). You do know what you can do with that information? Send ME money.

            Bzzt! WRONG!

            http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/7174760.stm [bbc.co.uk]

            • So they can create a direct debit without the implication of a bank? Without forgery of his signature? Seems that the UK uses the first type of authorization system as referenced in the wikipedia article I linked to before. I think you see where the problem is, no?

              Also, since it's not clear who did it, it might simply be an inside job of a guy at the bank to teach him a lesson even if normally this stuff shouldn't happen. (I do not know how the UK handles direct debit)

    • and a German bank account so they can automatically debit (Lastschrift) and don't worry, they never make mistakes when debiting your account! And organizations doing Lastschrift never get hacked because they employ magic warrior fairies.

      I've been using Lastschrift for some 20 years and never had anybody draw money from my account without my conscent.

      But even if that will happen some day: You just need to contact you bank that you didn't approve that transaction and they have to transfer your money back. The

      • Here in Germany we actually have consumer rights.

        For six weeks after you get your account statement, anyway. If you notice it after that time has passed, it's too late.

        • If you don't check your statements within 6 weeks, who is at fault? There is a reason you get those statements sent to you. You don't check your credit card statements either, I suppose?

          Six weeks is a month and a half, and enough time to react. If you're scared that it might end up in a lawsuit, sent your complaint by registered mail with return receipt. Keep the relevant documents and that way you can prove you've been within the legal time limits.

          • by mcelrath (8027)

            Good thing you've never been hospitalized due to a serious illness, taken a long vacation, had the post misdirect your mail, etc.

            Granting fraudulent transactions by default is a stupid idea.

            • Hospitalized: Somebody else should do that for you in such cases. I do my wifes bills and mail right now because she's been in hospital for the last 6 months.

              Long vacation: Depends? Three weeks was the longest and that was my honeymoon. It is very rare you get off for more than two weeks if you're in the private sector. Yeah, I can see how this might be a problem for people in education.

              Misdirected mail: Never happened, not in that sense at least. Got dropped in the wrong mailbox, but usually the kind

    • A "subscription" requires a residence and a German bank account so they can automatically debit (Lastschrift) and don't worry, they never make mistakes when debiting your account! And organizations doing Lastschrift never get hacked because they employ magic warrior fairies.

      You shouldn't use sarcasm in Germany. It will be misunderstood.

    • Well, you got some bad advice there. You can get prepaid cards for all networks, both from the main operators and their subsidiaries as well as from other companies who just resell the network access, usually at a discount. Apart from the convenience of having a contract, there aren't many compelling reasons to avoid prepaid these days; plans are available for both data and voice, and prepaid starts out cheaper in the first place and is quicker to adjust the prices down over time. For instance, those 10 EUR

      • by mcelrath (8027)

        I walked into the storefronts of T-Mobile, Eplus, and Vodaphone, and asked the representatives. All three told me straight up that data was not possible with their prepaid plans.

        If you have contradicting information, please provide a link.

    • by Jesus_666 (702802)

      I just moved to Germany and had to solve the same problem... You have only one choice, O2. All the others require a long-term contract (usually 2 years) to obtain.

      Or you buy a prepaid SIM card which doesn't have a contract attached. Sold by all providers and virtually all value brands.

  • Get the Aldi/Medionmobile stick. You can buy the stick for 49,99&euro; in every aldi, the simcard is 12.99&euro; with 10&euro; already loaded onto the card (so the card itself is 2.99).

    A one-day dataflat is 1.99, 30 days cost 14.99
    after 1GB (dayflat) or 5GB(30day-flat) they will reduce your speed to 56K, but apart from that it's probably the best you'll get for your money out there.

    more info on www.medionmobile.de
  • by Qbertino (265505) on Friday March 12, 2010 @05:39AM (#31449664)

    Join Fon [fon.com] if you can determine that there's a Fonspot near where you're staying or get your connectivity here in Germany. There are multiple Phoneshops in every street of every city and town here, the hassle will be much less than if you try to get german connectivity in the US. Most people speak usable english here, so you'll have no trouble negotiating in a Phoneshop.

    If Fon isn't an option I'd try and find out if there is a T-Mobile WiFi Hotspot near where you're staying (probably is) and get a Flatrate code for a month or so. T-M. Hotspot had that sort of thing a few years ago - you'd buy a card with a code which, once activated, you could use for a month. They probably still have simular offers - iirc you can purchase them directly at the T-Mobile webshop.

    Bottom line: If Fon isn't an option, don't worry and just come over here, you'll get your daily internet fix one way or the other.

  • I'm looking for a simcard for the states (Going to Google I/O) Whats the best one to get for like 2 weeks of Android data and local phone usage ? I prefer prepaid :) as i will have no use for it after i'm gone again after those 2 weeks
  • As I guess that you prefer getting UMTS, I would advise you to check which provider has got a good signal at the place where you're going. My experience is that if you are not in a city, the provider can make a big difference. There are even many areas where you have no umts signal at all. In general you can get unlimited data plans for all networks for about 20€ per month on a prepaid basis by on of the many resellers (as already mentioned blau.de , my favorite kabeldeutschland.de or all the others).
  • aldi? (Score:2, Informative)

    by zzg (14390)

    http://www.billiger-telefonieren.de/aldi-surfstick-flatrate-webstick/ [billiger-telefonieren.de]

    Sorry, link is in german, maybe babelfish will help out.

    I have the austrian "hofer" equivalent, which is a pure data prepaid. It seems to work slightly differently in germany, where it's an addition to a prepaid voice sim. I'd acctually prefer the german style, but oh well.

    I'd recommend combining it with a S60(or Maemo) Joikuspot compatible handset, that way you can use the voice part as well.

  • Anyone would like to share experiences with pre-paid plans in FRANCE? I'd love to hear about it!

  • Try Aldi (Score:4, Informative)

    by seaton carew (593626) on Friday March 12, 2010 @07:20AM (#31449980)

    Cheap, no contract, available over the counter almost everywhere as a SIM only or including dongle:
    http://www.medionmobile.de/index3.htm [medionmobile.de]

    Enjoy the trip!

  • Hi there! I have made some good experiences using the O2-prepaid stick. The UMTS-USB stick goes over the counter for as little as 20 , and you can choose (on a daily/monthly basis) between three types: - charge by the minute - the least desirable one (charges 0,09 per minute) - day flat for 3.50 - the hook is that the day ends at 23:59 - a monthly flat for 25 - which is what I use. That's my recommendation. Enjoy your trip here! George
  • I don't know what you're going to Germany for but I'd rather be sitting in beer gardens than poking around on the Internet. When I travel in Europe (for pleasure, anyway) I leave the net at home.

    • Good thing we're all just like you. I'm going to be in Europe for about 5 weeks this summer. I'm self employed, and am designating two weeks for work and three weeks for vacation.

      I suppose, according to your logic, I should only go for 3 weeks and spend the other two weeks working at home instead of in a village in the Swiss Alps...? There are still evenings and weekends, and of course this lets my wife and kids enjoy 5 weeks of vacation instead of 3.
      • by Stele (9443)

        Exactly. You're self-employed, as am I. Why not designate all 5 weeks to vacation? If I'm going to be working, I can do it more cheaply at home.

  • I'm a user of, and recommend T-Mobile's HSDPA options. They have a great option: €5/day for unlimited access (prepaid). You only pay on days you connect, which makes it very worthwhile to use infrequently. I think it was ~ €15 for the SIM card, with a €5 startup credit. Stop by any T-Mobile shop (you'll find them everywhere) and you can buy one on the spot.
  • I live in Norway and work in Germany. When I need 3G coverage in Germany, I use a Vodafone "WebSessions USB-Stick". You can get one at any Vodafone store, it costs 29 Euro. That USB stick allows you to access Vodafone's 3G network, you pay for that access by either registering a credit card or buying prepaid cards and applying them to your account. Right now it costs: 15 Minutes: 0,49 € 2 Hours: 1,95 € 24 Hours: 4,95 € 7 Days: 9,95 €15 Minuten: 0,49 € The service works great.
  • http://www.prepaidgsm.net/en/germany.html [prepaidgsm.net]

    They have details of all the networks, and links to their websites (mostly in German).

Today's scientific question is: What in the world is electricity? And where does it go after it leaves the toaster? -- Dave Barry, "What is Electricity?"

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