Ortel, a German cellular provider using the EPlus network, has offered extremely affordable calling and data plans for a couple of years now. In the past, the main issue with them is that although they offered inexpensive data plans, the data plans were limited and not ideal for travelers who use a lot of data on their phones or tablets. In addition, when you ran out of your data plan, you had to wait until the 30 day plan was up in order to get more data credit. This month, they launched the ability to continue to add data on your plan as needed. For just 9 Euros (about $12), you can add an additional 5GB of data to your data bundle. When considering that carriers such as Verizon charge $25 per 100 MB, this is an incredible deal. In fact, it’s about 1% of what Verizon charges. This is how it works.
First, you need to have a SIM card for Germany with the ability to have mobile data. Then, you once you arrive in Germany, you send a text message for the data bundle that you want ex. 15 Euros for the 3GB plan for 30 days. While this is a lot of data and the vast majority of people will not consume it, there is always the exception. Hence, if after a couple of weeks you run out of data, you can send a text to 77300 saying “SpeedXL” and if will add 5GB to your plan. This will deduct 9 Euros from your credit and therefore, you need to make sure that you have enough credit on your account. You can always check your account by dialing *100#. If you need more credit, simply go to an E Plus store and purchase a top up or order one from Cellular Abroad.
While the SIM card DOES work with tablets such as the iPad, you will need to first insert the SIM card into a phone in order to activate the SIM or add the plan. Another alternative is to call Ortel directly and have them activate the data plan.
In closing, I would like to add that while it does take perhaps an extra 5 minutes of ones time to purchase a German SIM card online as opposed to simply roaming with your current carrier, the savings are significant and if you are planning on using your device, whether it be a smartphone or tablet, without having to worry about either running out of data or paying huge overage fees, this is a great option.