Are you coming to Germany ? If you are here, reading this article you probably don`t have an Internet Connection an looking for an option. The only alternative in Germany for Mobile Internet are the well known WLAN`s which I couldn`t find any of them and even if they exist, after checking on forums and blogs I have heard that they are quite expensive. However this article is not about them. Great, let me share you my entire experience with Internet Prepaid Sticks alternatives ( Mobile Internet ) in Germany.
Here, I am on 1st March 2012 in Germany. I was very tired after driving through entire Europe and 2-3 days I just visited several towns and I considered that I didn`t need an Internet, at least not yet.
On 4 March I decided that I need to buy an Internet Prepaid Stick since I will travel a lot in the whole Germany. Since I wasn`t able ( too lazy ) to find an Internet Cafe I went to Munchen city center and found an O2 store. I`ve entered, and started to ask a lot of questions and a nice lady was kind enough to sell me an Internet Prepaid Stick from O2 for 30 Euros after I gave her my Passport / ID. It also asked me for a temporary German address. After that I also purchased an Internet voucher for 25 Euros which will allow me to navigate up to 7.2 Mbps and up to 5 GB of traffic.
The Internet didn`t worked quite fast but it was enough for checking my email or browsing the web. I guess it depends a lot in what area you are.
After a week I arrived in Saarbrucken, my final destination. From here I was able to obtain a better speed with the O2 stick but the Internet Connection was dropping…a lot. I had to disconnect from the Internet and then to reconnect several times until it worked again. After a while I got frustrated. Since I needed the Internet for 2 persons I decided that it`s time to buy a 3G Wireless Router in order to be able to split the Internet.
I was able to find a local store and buy a 3G router for 35 Euro and I was able to install the O2 Internet Stick. The Internet Connection was the same the only difference was that the router was doing the hard job. He was trying to reconnect faster than me and while I was opening several pages and had the time to read the information or write something I barely noticed that I was keep losing connection to the Internet.
Everything was great until I decided to use Skype to talk with my family. Since I had a HD Video Chat camera I was feeling a lot better seeing my family on a better resolution. Everything was wonderful until the Internet started to work so slow. I inserted the Internet Stick in my computer and check the bandwidth...it was gone...zero traffic left....
Great, I said that tomorrow morning I will buy another Internet voucher. In the meantime the Internet was working but being limited to 64 kb/s which is approximately 8 kb/s. If I had this connection 10 years ago in the age of the Dial-Up connections it would mean a lot but not now....
The next morning I went to another O2 local store and bought a 35 Euro voucher for 7.5 GB of traffic. I`ve said that it is a great deal and it should be enough for one month. I`ve entered the voucher, the confirmation came but not so fast and it said that now I am using the Flat XL option. I used Google Translate in order to be able to translate the text from German to English. Very well, I`ve started to use Skype and what a surprise, after one week...the Internet was slow again...
Now what ? I`ve said...ok...I`ll go and buy another voucher of 35 EURO so it means that I need somewhere around 4 x 35 EURO = 140 EURO / month in order to use the Internet as much as I want...and while I was heading to the O2 store I was thinking that it`s kind of expensive and I need to ask for similar options at other Internet providers from Germany. It`s always a good idea to look for alternatives.
Are you ready ? Now you`re going to read the most important part of the story.
I went to the first shop of T-Mobile (probably the largest) and there I asked for an Internet Offer ( in English ). I was told that they have an Internet option for tourists but it`s going to cost me 5 EURO / day limited to 500 MB and I have to pay 40 EURO for an Internet Stick. My other question was: Is this the only offer ? I use a lot of bandwidth and I find this offer quite expensive, I`ve seen that you have other offers for 70 EURO limited to 20 GB and so on. The guy from the store said that they were only for German citizens. Great, so T-Mobile is not an option for me so I should move on…
It seemed unbelievable, luckily ( I thought so ) I`ve seen a Vodafone store on the other side. I am grabbing several offers and start to read them while other people were talking with the store personnel. After waiting for 15 minutes I`ve started to lose patience and went to another store.
What a luck, the next store was very close and it was an O2 store. Ok, at least it works, not perfect but I can do my job. So I should buy the 35 EURO voucher and then go home as I don`t want to waste more time. Here it was quite fast, I asked for 35 EURO and I wanted to know how many times I can activate their offers ( good question ). I was told that it`s impossible to activate more than 1 voucher / month. But I already did that, again I was told that it`s not possible and that the credit will be credited back to my account.
Nonsense I said, maybe this O2 employee didn`t know that I can recharge several times so I`ve said to myself. Let`s find another store and ask there. Now I was heading straight to Europa Mall. Once I got there, ( on my way ) I found a guy at a small store and I asked if he speaks English. He said, just a little. Ok, do you have an Internet Prepaid stick ? I wasn`t able to understand what he was saying so I`ve said, ok never mind I will look forward ( I still don`t know what ISP was that but he said that it will cost 5 EURO / 500 MB and that was the only thing that I could understand ).
While I was able to locate the O2 store, another shop was right next to it - Vodafone. Ok, let`s try that again. I just got there, I was the only customer but surprise, nobody was speaking English. Ok, I`ve said it must be another store but until then let`s go to O2 store.
So I`ve entered the O2 store and I was told to wait for 5 minutes. Finally, the moment of truth! I was told the same thing, you can`t activate more than one voucher / month. I also asked if he can check what happened with my previous voucher but he said that it`s not possible and I have to call at O2 HotLine. I left from Europa Mall quite disappointed that I could not find a solution to my problem. When I left I got a wrong door but at least I was able to find another Vodafone store.
I went there and asked for Mobile Internet, what offers they have and so on ( the same story ). I was told that for tourists, foreign people they had only 1 offer with a package coming from another ISP ( never heard of them ) which had an offer with 1 GB for 10 EURO / month. Again, I started to ask if this is their only offer and I started to tell about the great 4G offers that I saw at the other Vodafone store. Again, the answer was the same as T-Mobile: they are only for German citizens and for 2 years of contract.
So far so good, I went to T-Mobile, Vodafone and O2...I`ve heard all of them until while I was getting back to my car I`ve noticed another store called E-Plus, Base and other names that I can`t even remember.
I said, what a heck, let`s get here too. A nice lady started to tell me about their offers. 3,90 Euro / 30 days limited to 100 MB, 9,90 EURO / 30 days limited to 1 GB and finally ``Daten-Flat`` 19,80 Euro / 30 days. I asked: ``Daten-Flat`` means unlimited ? She said: YES ! I`ve said to her that there must be a misunderstanding. There is no such thing as ``Unlimited``. I checked their offers and there it is. The tiny text that explains what ``Unlimited`` means. Actually you could read that you get 5 GB / month and if all of them will be used you are going to be limited to 54 Kbps which is a real dial-up connection. Since I could not find another Internet Provider ( I asked for Aldi offer and other stores and he explained me that E-Plus has several other brands but all of them are part of the same company which means that all offers are the same ) I`ve said ok, I would like to buy this ``Unlimited`` Internet...lol...
Here, I am paying 50 EURO only for the Internet Stick. She also said that I can pay the credit ( those 20 Euros ) once per month using my credit card. I said, great, here is my credit card, charge me monthly. It wasn`t quite a smart move since I could buy 1 voucher of 20 EURO / month directly from their store without giving my credit card but I wanted an Internet Connection so badly...
Here, I am, at home ( my temporary address ) writing this article waiting for my Internet Connection to recover. It drops like O2 the only difference here is that when the Internet Connection will drop you have to wait longer to recover. Not to mention the speed...well...that`s another story...it is a 3G Modem, but it`s the same modem from Huawei - E173 that I obtained from O2. However, the Internet it`s definitely not 3G...as it keeps connecting on EDGE. I`ve specified only 3G but it doesn`t work well probably I am not so close to one of their access points.
The best option for me was O2...it`s far from being a stable Internet Connection. Probably it depends a lot on your location so I might be subjective. Vodafone and T-Mobile doesn`t exist for foreign customers/tourists ( at least not with those offers ) and the only alternative is E-Plus and his companies which is the same company after all. That`s what I wanted to share with you if you`re looking for this kind of information. I wanted to make pictures with their offers but I was afraid that I will in to copyright issues and so on. Good luck and I hope in the meantime you will find better Internet options while living in Germany.