Choose the right mobile tariff: price, network coverage, data volume, etc.

The blog here is often about cellular devices such as the Apple iPhone or Apple iPad. But surf sticks and mobile routers can also be used on the Mac or MacBook, which require a SIM card with a data plan. But how do you find the right mobile tariff? Is the Allnet-Flat with a lot of data volume at the lowest possible price the best of all worlds? And how much attention do you have to pay attention to the respective network of Telekom, Vodafone or Telefónica Deutschland (O2 and E-Plus)? Here I have summarized some information on the topic for you.

The right cell phone tariff: Which cell phone tariff should I book? Here are some tips for choosing the right offer.
The right cell phone tariff: Which cell phone tariff should I book? Here are some tips for choosing the right offer.

The right mobile tariff for your mobile phone

No matter if iPhone X, iPhone SE, Android smartphone or dumbphone with the most necessary functions: If you want to communicate with others, make phone calls, send SMS, use the mobile Internet and use similar services, then you need a tariff. Cell phone tariff, cell phone tariff, SIM card - no matter what you want to call it, there are various criteria when making your selection.

Network coverage at home and on the go

First, ask yourself where you use your cell phone the most. Do you use it most of the time at home or do you want to be available mainly at work? Are there certain routes that you drive every day and on which you always want to have reception? Then you should check whether there is good network coverage where you want to use your tariff the most, and which network offers it. Maps with coverage for 2G GSM, 3G UMTS and 4G LTE offer the individual providers on their web and support pages.

Rethink consumption

Does it have to be the all-network flat rate that brings you 10GB high-speed volume per month with maximum LTE values ​​and usage beyond other EU countries, and thus costs a fortune? Or would a certain number of free minutes, free SMS and 1GB of data be enough to get through the month? Just do the math, look at the current consumption, round it up and then decide;)

Understand terms

What are LTE, what is the difference between D-Netz and E-Netz and how does a flat rate work? Not everyone is a digital native and understands all of this straight away. So far I have linked two guides - with these you will at least understand why the networks have their names and what is hidden behind the cell phone generations (2G, 3G, 4G, 5G). Also important for many to understand: What is the difference between prepaid and term contracts?

  • Prepaid SIM card: A credit is "topped up" by the user and then used up; through minute, SMS and MB prices or tariffs with fixed inclusive services and costs. Most of these usage models can be canceled at very short notice or can simply be stored unused - if no tariff has been booked, the credit remains for a certain period of non-use (note the terms and conditions!).
  • Term contract: The contract binds the user to the services and costs booked for a certain period of time (usually 1 or 24 months). In return, there are included services usually cheaper and often a cell phone / smartphone at a budget price. Other benefits can be free options and additional services. Details on this below.

Network operator or discounter?

The tariffs of the network operators Telekom, Vodafone and Telefónica are usually quite expensive. On the other hand, the cheap offers from discounters and cheaper own brands from network operators do not (always) offer the same / equally good services. With apparently the same factors as all-network flat rates, a certain number of free SMS and included high-speed gigabytes, cheap offers can mean that only the 2G and 3G cell phone generations are used. 4G (LTE) with high data rates is only available from the network operator itself. Therefore, attention should also be paid to the details and the small print. You can see which discounter operates in which network in this overview.

Choose the right mobile tariff

So you now know that more recent mobile communications standards (LTE, 5G) are better, that there are differences in the network coverage of Telekom, Vodafone and Telefónica and that the individual discounters operate in certain networks and sometimes only offer low data rates. In addition, you have determined your consumption and can now use this information to estimate which type of mobile phone tariff is right for you. In order to find the cheapest offer, it is best to use a comparison page, such as

Options and additional services

Not necessarily the most important factors when choosing a mobile phone tariff, but always a good (or sometimes only well-meaning) bonus are various tariff options and additional services. The most controversial thing is probably the automatic rebooking of high-speed volume when the inclusive volume runs out; sometimes it costs several euros for only 100MB. Here you have to see whether and how you can prevent / deactivate the option.

But there are also good additional services that can be booked free of charge as promotions, B. a landline number for the mobile tariff, a number of your choice, dual SIM or family packages, free calls to certain numbers in the prepaid tariff (especially good for children, who in an emergency can do this regardless of the credit balance at home or on the mobile phone parents can call), HotSpot use (Telekom), combined offers with telephone, internet and / or cable TV, free roaming and much more.

Two more tips: number portability and third-party blocking

Finally, a reference to two services that are often offered. Number portability serves to transfer the current cell phone number to the new contract. The takeover must be requested and confirmed from the current provider, and you as a customer must also ensure that the same data is available from the old and new provider. So if you change tariffs because of a move, be careful! The third-party lock is then good for using the new tariff; because this is how unwanted costs from dubious web content, App- Subscriptions and the like prohibited. For example, at Telekom you can set up the service in the customer portal.

Please note when booking: These SIM card sizes are available!


So if you want to buy a new mobile tariff, there are a few factors that need to be taken into account. Which network is the strongest with you, which provider uses the same and which data rates does it offer? What consumption do you actually have and do you need additional options such as roaming, desired number, second SIM card, etc.? Clarifies these questions and compares individual offers - for example with a comparison portal on the Internet. Once you have studied all the conditions and the small print, you can hardly go wrong! Have fun booking and using your tariff with Apple iPhone, iPad, Android smartphone, Windows device or dumbphone;)

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