Local Sim Card for Germany and Hungary

Old Aug 28th, 2019, 03:46 PM
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Local Sim Card for Germany and Hungary

Are there any cell phone service provider sim cards that will work both in Germany and Hungary. If not which one is recommended for each country. Need it mainly for train apps, getting directions, reading restaurant reviews, etc.

Will I have an issue buying a sim card because of terrorism laws?
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Old Aug 28th, 2019, 03:50 PM
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So happy we have t mobile and don't worry about that stuff anymore.
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Old Aug 28th, 2019, 06:37 PM
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Is your first stop Germany or Hungary? You can use a SIM bought in one country in the other - but Germany has made it harder (not impossible) for tourists to buy prepaid SIM cards there (e.g. providing a local address). It sounds like Hungary would be easier, if that happens to be your first stop.

Here's some more info on Hungarian SIM cards:

https://prepaid-data-sim-card.fandom.com/wiki/Hungary

I've been using a Dutch Vodafone SIM I bought on eBay in 2017 for my last three trips to Europe - has worked great in Slovenia, Italy, France, Spain, and Portugal (not used it in the Netherlands so far). I'm fairly sure it would work great in Germany and Hungary, too. I paid $8 USD for mine. Prices have gone up - looks like they are about $20 USD now (no credit on the SIM), but it would be a possibility for you. You can activate the SIM at home and add funds online if you create an account on the Dutch Vodafone website - that's what I do. I don't read a word of Dutch, but I use the Google Chrome browser, which translates it pretty well.

Amazon has been selling a couple of French Orange SIM cards that might work too - people have reported pretty good luck with them. Downside is, they are good for only 14 days, then you have to find a way to top-up if you aren't in France (maybe you can, not sure). The Dutch Vodafone SIM has data bundles that are good for 30 days.

The UK Vodafone SIM might be similar to the Dutch version I use, but it's trickier to add funds to than the Dutch version (can't use a non-UK credit card as I understand it to top-up, but you can use Paypal). And of course, who knows what will happen after Brexit.
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Old Aug 28th, 2019, 09:44 PM
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i got a Lebara SIM in Munich airport. They will just ask for your passport and hotel address. Im not sure if it will work in Hungary but it did worked in Austria and France. There is a Lebara app for mobile where you can monitor you usage and and where you can top up using your credit card
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Old Aug 28th, 2019, 10:36 PM
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I will vote for Lebara also. We have used it on a number of trips and it is extremely cost-effective. Nowadays I just use Vodafone roaming from Australia ($5 per day that it's used) but we liked Lebara. They also have English-speaking operators if you run into trouble.

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Old Aug 29th, 2019, 05:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Macross View Post
So happy we have t mobile and don't worry about that stuff anymore.

I was thinking to make the switch to T Mobile, before we go. However I think their plans only allow you 2GB international roaming, after which they start charging per mb. Please correct me if I'm wrong.
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Old Aug 29th, 2019, 06:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Governator View Post
Are there any cell phone service provider sim cards that will work both in Germany and Hungary.

Will I have an issue buying a sim card because of terrorism laws?
I don't know which SIM card will be the best for you, just two remarks:

All SIM cards bought in Europe will work across the EU - technically.
Just some SIM card providers also sell plans that are exclusive to their country. That's the only legal loophole for avoiding to provide free roaming across the EU. These are usually very cheap pre-paid plans, so you should find a merchant that understands your "travel needs".
There are no roaming charges across the EU, so if you, for example, bought a SIM card with 10GB of data in Hungary you can use up those 10GB in Hungary or Germany or elsewhere in the EU.
Some "el cheapo" SIM card providers have been advertising big amounts of included data, but only on 3G and not 4G (which is also called LTE in Europe). I'm not sure if that's still a business practice, but it does not hurt to ask.

In Hungary, I *think* that SIM cards are issued only by mobile network operators. So if you want a SIM card with good coverage like Magyar Telekom or Vodafone you either find any of their outlets or a store that sells them (e.g. at the airport).

If you start in Germany, you have a zillion of SIM card providers - almost all of them not the actual network operators as this market has been liberalized ages ago to allow reselling. So you find resellers with any kind of name like Lebara or the store brands of Aldi or Lidl - but each of them is tied to a certain network operator. In addition, you also have network operators like T-Mobile, Telefonica or Vodafone running their own thousands of shops where you can buy them.
Technically, it does not matter where you buy the SIM card, there is just a strong point for using the official T-Mobile, Telefonica or Vodafone stores or official resellers' stores: The required identification and activation procedure is done in the shop, so when you leave you have a working SIM card. If you buy a Lebara SIM card from a newsstand - which you can - you will need to go thru a web-based ID process which can be a bit cumbersome. So, if you need to buy the SIM card in Germany, you want to ask if ID and activation will be done right there in the store.
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Old Aug 29th, 2019, 12:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Governator View Post
I was thinking to make the switch to T Mobile, before we go. However I think their plans only allow you 2GB international roaming, after which they start charging per mb. Please correct me if I'm wrong.
Not quite right. Data speed is limited to "2G" (not "2GB or 2 Gibabytes" of data used). It is unlimited data at 2G speeds but it is slow. You can use much more than 2GB without being charged if you can put up with the slow 2G speeds. T-Mobile will also sell you data passes to get faster data for a few days if you can't put up with the slow 2G speed.

T-Mobile works fine for some people. I look at the total cost of my cell phone bill for the year, including the cost for international roaming or a local SIM card. I don't go overseas that much, so I need the roaming only about once a year. And T-Mobile is much too expensive for me personally - I pay $15/month for unlimited talk + text (and 3GB data per month) with Mint Mobile. I save hundreds of dollars a year vs. having T-Mobile at home. I paid 9 euros for 10 days use of my Dutch Vodafone SIM last May on my trip to Italy. But, some people travel more or just don't want the hassle of swapping out a SIM. Work out the costs based on your own use, see if it makes sense.

Google Fi might be a better deal for you than T-Mobile. Some people can get good prices on T-Mobile plans with senior plans or family plans or whatever. I can't - maybe you can.
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Old Oct 31st, 2019, 04:07 AM
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We completed our trip.We signed up for T-Mobil before the trip and it was great. Service down in the subways of Budapest is better than in my apartment here in the States! Took the international day pass a couple of times for the free calling but didn't notice a big difference in the data speed, which was already pretty good. I guess it helps that T-Mobil is a German company. Even saw a bunch of old T-Mobil phone booths on our travels.

Last edited by Governator; Oct 31st, 2019 at 04:10 AM.
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Old Oct 31st, 2019, 02:43 PM
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All SIM cards bought in Europe will work across the EU - technically.

No. Last May I purchased two Sim cards for the price of one (5€) in Portugal, which worked fine in Portugal, but once I was in France they could not connect. I was told that they would only work in Portugal.
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Old Oct 31st, 2019, 03:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Michael View Post
All SIM cards bought in Europe will work across the EU - technically.

No. Last May I purchased two Sim cards for the price of one (5) in Portugal, which worked fine in Portugal, but once I was in France they could not connect. I was told that they would only work in Portugal.
That's true. Although EU roaming fees have in theory been eliminated, there are lots of exceptions. I have no doubt that it's possible to buy a SIM in Portugal that roams with no fees in France, but it's not a guarantee without checking about every individual SIM you might buy from any company. If you buy from a mobile store, just ask them about the SIM you are buying - they should know. If they don't know...try another store, or do some research on the specific mobile company and their various SIM options.
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