Cell Phone Service for Germany
by Sebastian Harrison
Cell phone coverage and quality of service is superior in Germany to that of either the United States or Canada. Furthermore, Germans do not pay for incoming calls and pay low outgoing rates. Here is how you, as a traveler to Germany, can take advantage of these low rates that are just fractions of what it would cost to either rent a cell phone or to roam with your North American provider, making having a cell phone in Germany a luxury that you can afford.
As with most countries in the world, Germany has opted to utilize the GSM standard for their cellular service. GSM offers digital service that is so crystal clear that it is difficult to discern if you are on a cellphone or using a landline. Whether you are in Berlin, Hamburg or even a remote village in Bavaria, you will most likely have cell phone reception. In Germany, as in many other countries in the world nowadays, many people don't even bother having a home phone. If you think about it, since the service is inexpensive and efficient (what isn't in Germany!?), what is the point of having a landline? If you are traveling to Germany and want to use your current cell phone, you most likely will not be able to do so. Unless you have a GSM tri-band phone, you will need to make special arrangements with your current carrier. They will rent you a handset with what is called a SIM chip (Subscriber Information Module) inserted into the phone. The SIM chip is the brain of the phone, containing such information as the cell phone number, voice mail and call logs. Getting set up in this manner with your current service provider will allow you to retain your US phone number and receive and make calls anywhere in the world. Usually there is a monthly fee for being able to use the service internationally plus high roaming rates (call rates) and other applicable charges such as renting the handset and having it delivered to you. Another alternative is to rent a cell phone with service. You can rent a cell phone for Germany at any international airport or through many of the traditional channels such as the yellow pages. Rates are generally $25-$50 per week for the handset rental plus charges for actually placing and receiving calls. There are usually minimum per day or per week usage rates, regardless if you use the service or not.
Alternatively, and this is by far the least expensive alternative, you can use the same service that the Germans use. You will be paying local rates which are inexpensive and include unlimited, free incoming calls from anywhere in the world. Calls to the US are expensive at about $1.75 per minute, but you may ask people to call you back on your cellular number. That way you can literally speak on the phone for hours and not incur any charge at all. While the person calling you will be paying for an international call, rates to Germany are very reasonable - especially if he or she chooses the right provider. In order to take advantage of paying local cellular rates you must first obtain a GSM cell phone compatible with the German system and also SIM card for Germany. Most countries, including Germany, use the 900/1800 GSM frequency, so, you will need to obtain this type of GSM phone, and, you must make sure that it is unlocked, meaning that it is not "locked" into one specific carrier. GSM phones come from the manufacturer unlocked - it is the carrier that locks them. You can obtain both the SIM card and the phone from cellularabroad.com. A prepaid SIM card allows you to slip the card into your GSM phone, and, since it is prepaid, you will not have any restricting contracts or minimal use requirements. You should obtain your SIM card and cellphone prior to your trip for a couple of reasons.
First, if you have it prior to
your trip you can give out your phone number immediately. Also, it is very convenient
to be able to make a call as soon as you land. Simple…and much easier than trying
to figure out what Fahrvegnugen actually means.
For further information Click here to visit Cellular Abroad.
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