Buy SIM Card in Berlin for Travelers: Guide from Locals

It is important for a connected holiday to have access to affordable and stable mobile internet. Staying connected while visiting Berlin, Germany made it simple by buying a local SIM card. This guide by locals answers your frequently asked questions, covers the essential information you need to buy SIM card in Berlin, including the best providers, plans, prices, and places to buy them.

Buy SIM Card in Berlin for Travelers: Guide from Locals

I. Why Should You Buy SIM card in Berlin? 

Buy Germany SIM cards in Berlin ensures a secure and cost-effective trip in this city:

  • Stay safe: With a local SIM card, you can quickly use maps and navigation apps, which can help you stay secure and find your way about Berlin. Furthermore, messaging apps can be used to stay in touch with family, informing them of your vacation plans.
  • Avoid roaming charges: Using your home phone’s roaming service in Berlin can be expensive, especially for data usage. A local SIM card offers significant savings.
  • Get a reliable Internet connection: You can’t constantly look for public free WiFi networks; they are limited to certain hotspots like cafes and hotels. Furthermore, it could not be trustworthy. Secure Internet access is always possible with a SIM card for Berlin.

Notice:

  • Thanks to the EU Roaming Regulation, EU residents with an EU SIM card can enjoy using mobile phone (calls, texts, and data) at your home rates while traveling in other EU countries. So there are no extra charges or fees for using your phone in Berlin, Germany and you don't need to purchase a German SIM card. This is a huge benefit for travelers within the European region.
  • When selecting a SIM card for your trip to Germany, make sure your device isn't locked. In Germany, only devices that are unlocked can receive networks from other network providers.

II. Which mobile internet carrier is the best in Berlin? 

The three biggest mobile network providers in Berlin.
The three biggest mobile network providers in Berlin.

In Berlin, the 3 primary mobile network providers are Telecom, O2, and Vodafone. All three companies provide prepaid SIM card choices that let travelers purchase data bundles to use on their trips.

Here is a quick comparison table about mobile internet carrier in Berlin:

CriteriaVodafoneO2Telekom
CoverageGood coverage throughout Berlin, including underground (U-Bahn) stations.Good coverage in most areas, strong in major cities. May have some weaker spots in rural areas.Excellent coverage across Germany, including rural areas. Strongest network in Berlin.
SpeedVery good download and upload speeds.Good download and upload speeds, may be slightly slower than Vodafone in some areas.Generally the fastest download and upload speeds in Berlin.
ReliabilityReliable network with minimal downtime.Reliable network, but may experience occasional congestion in high-traffic areas.Known for its highly reliable network.
Plan for TouristsOffers prepaid SIM cards with various data allowances specifically designed for tourists.Offers prepaid SIM cards with data packages suitable for tourists. May have fewer options compared to Vodafone.Offers prepaid SIM cards with tourist-friendly data plans, though selection might be slightly less extensive than Vodafone. 

Conclusion: Because Berlin is the capital of Germany, the coverage and speed of the carriers will not be much different. The main difference is in the plan details and customer support of each carrier. However, Vodafone has many data plans for tourists. Therefore, you can consider using this carrier.

III. Best Berlin SIM Card Plans and Price

Prepaid plans are a good option for travelers. It’s always best to compare prices and data allowances before you buy SIM card in Berlin. Here are some of the most popular prepaid SIM card providers and plans in Berlin:

OperatorsPlansDataPrice
O2O2 Prepaid S6GB€9.99 ($)
O2 Prepaid M12GB€14.99 ($10.59)
O2 Prepaid L18GB€19.99 ($16.03)
O2 Prepaid Max999GB€24.95 ($26.69)
VodafoneCallYa Start1GB€4.99 ($5.34)
CallYa Allnet Flat S6GB€9.9( ($10.59)
CallYa Allnet Flat M10GB€14.99 ($16.03)
Call Ya Digital20GB€24.95 ($26.69)
Call Ya BlackUnlimited€79.99 ($85.56)
TelekomMobile Prepaid S500 MB €4.95 ($5.30)
Mobile Prepaid M3GB €9.95 ($10.65)
Mobile Prepaid L5GB€14.95 ($16.01)
Mobile Prepaid XL7GB€24.95 ($26.72)
Mobile Prepaid MaxUnlimited€99.95 ($107.02)

► Recommendation: Vodafone is a great all-round option that offers a good balance of data, calls, and SMS for a reasonable price. Their current offers some prepaid packages for 4 weeks, which includes unlimited calls and SMS within Germany, and EU roaming.

IV. Where to Buy SIM Card in Berlin?

When it comes to buying a SIM card in Berlin, you have two main options: grabbing one upon arrival at the airport or waiting until you reach the city center. Read the information below to find out the best place to buy sim card in Berlin.

1. Buy a SIM card at Berlin airports 

You can buy SIM Card in Berlin Airports
You can buy SIM Card in Berlin Airports

There are kiosks and convenience stores selling SIM cards at both Berlin Tegel Airport (TXL) and Berlin Brandenburg Airport (BER). However, airport SIM cards are often more expensive than those purchased in the city center.

  • Berlin Tegel Airport (TXL): You can find some SIM card kiosks in Terminal A. They have staff that can speak English and other languages to help you activate your SIM card quickly.
  • Berlin Brandenburg Airport (BER): Head to the REWE supermarket on Level U1, which is one floor below Arrivals. In a corner near the cash registers, you’ll find a selection of prepaid SIM cards from various providers, giving you options to choose from.

2. Buy SIM card in Berlin center

Buying a SIM card in Berlin city center offers a wider selection, potentially better deals. However, it may require some travel and time investment to research plans and get to a store. Here are some pros and cons:

  • Pros: Wider selection of providers and plans, competitive prices, faster activation (some stores might offer on-site activation)
  • Cons: May require travel, time-consuming, language barrier (mostly speak only German)

Travelers can consider these places to buy SIM card for Berlin:

  • Official stores of mobile network carriers: Major mobile network providers in Berlin, like Telekom, Vodafone, and O2, have a widespread presence throughout the city. You’ll find their stores conveniently located in various areas, with operating hours typically following standard business days and times.
  • Supermarkets and convenience stores: Aldi, Kaufland, Lidl, Rossmann drugstores and even gas stations offer SIM card options for travelers. However, navigating the purchase and activation process might be challenging. While some younger staff might speak English, German is their primary language. Be prepared to activate the SIM card yourself.
  • Buy online: You can purchase a SIM card online before you arrive in Berlin from the operators website or many other platforms like Amazon, eBay, Shopee (depending on your country).

► Our Recommendation: For quickest access upon arrival, consider purchasing a SIM card at Berlin Airport or buying an eSIM online before your trip. Look for eSIM resellers, not mobile network carriers, as they may ask you to fill out your passport, personal information for verification. Remember, your phone needs to be eSIM compatible for this option.

V. Germany eSIM card for Berlin – Alternative to SIM Card for travelers

Try eSIM in Berlin for convenience
Try eSIM in Berlin for convenience

If your phone supports eSIM, consider trying it for convenience. eSIM allows travelers for quick and easy activation without needing a physical SIM card in Berlin. Here are two ways to get your German travel eSIM: 

  • Direct Operator Purchase: Purchase your eSIM plan directly from a German mobile operator’s website. Some German operators offer eSIM such as Vodafone, Telekom and O2. They allow you to buy it online from anywhere in the world.
  • Online Resellers Convenience: Many reputable online retailers specialize in travel eSIMs, including Germany options. These resellers often offer a smoother activation process compared to some operator websites. 

Look for companies with a strong track record and positive reviews, like Gigago. Gigago Germany eSIM starts at $3.50 for 1 GB (3-day valid). With plans ranging from $3.50$125.98 , Gigago can fit all types of travelers in Germany.

VI. What to Prepare to buy SIM card in Berlin

Before you buying a SIM card in Berlin, make sure you have the following ready:

  • Passport: When purchasing and registering a SIM card in Berlin, you will be required to present your passport. Prepare your passport so it can be verified.
  • Local money in cash: SIM cards can be purchased using local Berlin currency. Credit cards are also required for payment.
  • Unlocked phone: Your phone needs to be unlocked in order to be used internationally if you decide to purchase a SIM card in Berlin. 
  • Understand the requirements of your plan: Determine if you require a SIM card for phone, text, and data, or just data. Calculate how much data you will use based on the length of your journey.

VII. Extra Tips when buying SIM card in Berlin

Here are a few more suggestions from individuals that should help you choose the best SIM card in Berlin:

  • After the SIM is activated, note down the seller’s phone number in case you require assistance.
  • If you need assistance understanding packages, pricing, or the registration process, bring along a local acquaintance.
  • Before leaving the store, make sure the SIM is working properly, just like data, to prevent problems later.
  • If your phone is compatible, think about getting an eSIM; it’s more convenient than physically activating a SIM card.

VIII. FAQs about Buy sim card in Berlin

How much does a SIM card cost in Berlin?

Prices vary depending on data allowance and operators. Expect to pay from $5.30-$107.02 for prepaid plans.

Can I buy an eSIM for Berlin, Germany?

Yes. Some operators and online resellers (like Gigago) offer eSIM plans for Berlin, Germany.

Do I need to show ID or passport to buy SIM card in Berlin?

Yes. Most stores require a valid passport or ID for registration.

IX. Conclusion

In conclusion, buy SIM card in Berlin is simple. Travelers can purchase SIM cards at the airport or from reputable shops located all across the city. Major carriers such as Telecom and Vodafone provide affordable travel plans and wide coverage within Berlin. The most practical and reasonably priced approach to have a safe Internet connection when visiting Berlin is to select an eSIM.