Carrier Service in Germany
July 24th, 2011
I have been looking at this discussion for months trying to determine the best companies to go with as I travel with my unlocked Canadian iPad! I am currently in Germany and I thought I would share what I've learnt. As far as carriers in Germany are concerned, forget Vodaphone or T-Mobile. Neither of these carriers have reasonably priced plans for out of country iPad owners. O2 is the carrier of choice when in Germany.
One must pay 15€ for a microsim and to open an account (O2 Prepaid Startpaket). On top of this one time fee, it costs 15€ for 1 GB/month (Internet-Pack-M to Go mit Smartphone Option). With the "Startpaket" you get a Microsim (within a Sim), a pre-paid phone number and a PIN number. With the Internet-Pack you get a SMS code number (this is used to activate your sim/microsim.
Use your cell phone to activate the microsim (the vendor in the store I was at volunteered his iPhone 4 for this purpose). Turn off your phone and take out your existing sim and replace it with the O2 sim. Turn on your cell and send a SMS (text message) with the code found on your Internet-Pack-M. It will look like *103* XXXXXXXXXXXX#
Respond appropriately to the response messages (the vendor should be able to help you with the German). Wait until you can get the final message stating that your sim has been activated. This may take several minutes (5 minutes in our case).
Turn off your phone and remove the sim (replace with your regular sim). Break the microsim out of the sim template and place into your iPad (iPad turned off). Turn on iPad and you will get a "unlock sim?" message. Press on the unlock button and enter your PIN. After a couple of minutes of searching the iPad will pick up the O2 signal and you will see o2-de in the carrier signal area on the top left corner of your iPad screen.
I had never gone through this process in Canada, so was not familiar with the procedure. The process did not go as smoothly as above because I left the store without being told how to activate the sim. I assumed I could do this online. The only way was to use a cell phone. So, if you are not traveling with a phone you will have to borrow one to activate/unlock the sim (this will have to be done for each month of data that you purchase).
One final note, I had to provide a German address and phone number to register my prepaid account. I gave my brother in-law's, however, I enquired what someone else would do that had no such address and they said that they would have "arranged" things. I had no problem paying for all of this with my Canadian credit card.
I hope this helps anyone traveling to Germany.