A local SIM card is a key that a mobile phone needs to connect to the mobile network. It is a simple microchip on a piece of plastic that stores authentication information that allows you to open access to mobile networks. 

There are two options for determining your mobile phone connection in most countries: a prepaid SIM card or a mobile phone contract. 

The same holds for Germany. The type to decide between them depends on the need, as discussed further in this article. The most widely used a Germany SIM card belongs to Deutsche Telekom (T-Mobile), Vodafone, and Telefónica.

Types of mobile networks in Germany 

There are two types of networks in Germany named D-type and E-type. The D-type is mainly used by Telecom and Vodafone, whereas the E-type is used by O₂ mainly. 

D-type is principally used by people who travel more and those who live in the countryside, where there is less rush. Inversely, E-type is predominantly used by people who live in crowded areas.

Which one to go for: Germany SIM cards or a Mobile contract?

Both SIM cards and mobile contracts have benefits over the other. Prepaid plans provide more freedom than the other but are comparatively expensive in using calling, messaging, and mobile data. 

So, you should choose prepaid phone plans if you are staying in Germany for less than a year or don’t use your mobile phone enough. On the other hand, mobile contracts are better if you visit Germany for a long time or use mobile phones.

Why does a SIM card need a validity date?

It might seem counterintuitive as a SIM card, a plastic piece with written information has a validity period. Although other plastic components require an expiration date, it is especially due to the wear and tears during use. 

But, in the case of a SIM card, this is not experienced as they are safely kept inside the mobiles. Therefore, they don’t have any expiration date accounted for by their material; instead, it is provided by connectivity providers. They provide it for two main reasons. 

Firstly, it permits them not to keep a very old series of SIMs ready for activation available in their systems. 

The other reason is to break the chain of SIM circulation for an unlimited time.

It facilitates that the newest model is used, and the rest will disappear gradually. An example of this is the transition of SIM to USIM, caused by 4G networks, as the SIMs needed more elements to be added to connect them to the 4G network. 

The validity period of German SIM cards

Most Germany SIM cards remain valid for at least a year before getting disconnected without top-up use. 

However, the exact date depends on the provider. It ranges as the providers differ. Lebara has this period as 90 days, Telekom or T-Mobile, and Congstar as 15 months. Credit stays as long as the SIM card is active. 

From a legal viewpoint, people shouldn’t lose the topped-up credit, and the provider is obliged to give it back to them after disconnecting their Germany SIM cards

However, this procedure is complicated and even requires a fee making it pointless to apply for a small amount. On the other hand, you can keep SIM cards of O₂ and its subsidiaries alive for a minimal fee if you top it up with 1 cent per year by SEPA bank transfer.

The Bottom Line

A SIM card is one of the ways to connect one with a mobile network. There are many Germany SIM cardsthat are used for this purpose. As discussed above, SIM cards possess a validity period for genuine reasons, with the validity period varying for different mobile operators. 


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