Mobile Telephones (Handys) in Germany

Find out how to get yourself a mobile phone in Germany...

T-Mobile is the biggest mobile telephone provider in Germany. It is part of Deutsche Telekom (T-Home) and now an internationally recognised name. However, there are many mobile phone service providers to choose from offering a range of packages from fixed contract (Vertrag) to pre-paid (Prepaid). In order to take out a mobile phone contract, proof of identity and proof of address are usually required. Some of the other main mobile telephone providers are:

  • E-Plus (a mobile telecommunications operator which works using virtual operating systems such as BASE)
  • Vodafone
  • O2

There are also many websites offering cheap deals or comparisons between mobile companies:

Calls from mobile telephones are comparatively expensive (call costs can be checked beforehand). To save costs it is recommended to use a pre-paid phone for international calls.

4G in Germany

4G is often marketed as LTE (Long Term Evolution) in Germany. LTE is widely available across Germany; Vodafone has a network coverage checker which shows where LTE is available. Many mobile telephone providers offer a range of 4G products, including mobile phone tariffs, tablets and modem sticks (Surfsticks). The main providers of LTE are:

Lost or Stolen Mobile Telephones

It is advisable to keep the PIN request activated on all mobile telephones to discourage theft. All mobile telephones have a unique code, the IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) code. This belongs to the handset and is associated with a card, the SIM (Subscriber Identification Module) card, which holds the telephone number assigned to a customer.

  • A SIM card. Holds the telephone number and memory. Access can be protected by personalising the card with a 4-digit PIN number
  • An IMEI number (International Mobile Equipment Identity). This is a mobile telephone's unique identification number

The IMEI number provides protection if a phone is lost or stolen. The IMEI code is clearly shown on the paperwork at the time of purchase. Note it down and keep it separate from the telephone. Or, to find the IMEI number, enter: *#06# on the keypad. If a mobile telephone is lost or stolen inform the network provider immediately to have the account locked and prevent anyone else from making calls from the phone. The owner is responsible for payment of any calls made until the SIM is blocked unless they have taken out insurance with the supplier. If the phone is stolen, a declaration should also be made at the nearest police station; police will need the IMEI number. Most mobile phone companies have a dedicated emergency contact number for reporting losses. There is also a single free 24-hour national number for reporting lost or stolen mobile telephones which will direct card holders to their service provider.

  • Tel: 116 116
  • Tel: +49 116 116 (there is a charge for this service when phoning from abroad)
  • Das Telonfonbuch has a list of emergency numbers for lost mobile telephones (click emergency service mobile telephone (Notdiente Mobilfunck) on the menu).

Contact details for the principal service providers:

Provider Emergency Telephone Number
T-mobile Tel: 01803 302 202
E-Plus Tel: 0177 1000
Vodaphone Tel: 0800 172 1212
O2 Tel: 0800 5522255