March 28, 2019

SIM Cards and Supermarkets

Tomorrow my Vodafone UK prepaid SIM card plan expires. It’s a bit of a shame, because I still have a whopping 15.7 GB of data left on it. I would have liked to have used that data, but unfortunately for some reason I can’t tether it to my laptop - which is a show stopper.

I’ve done a bit of research looking for the best prepaid plan in Germany. I think ALDI Talk’s Paket M is the best plan for me - at 12.99€ a month (~ $21 NZD) you get 3GB of data, and unlimited calls and texts. This is similar to the NZ Warehouse Mobile plan I had back home.

The great thing about Warehouse Mobile is that you only paid for what you needed, and everything was pretty cheap:

  • $4 for unlimited texts
  • $4 for 200 mins calling
  • $4 for 500MB data
  • $8 for 1.25GB data

If I wanted to match the ALDI Talk plan, I would have to spend $28 a month, but the thing is I just use data - all my messaging and phone calls are done over the internet. My data usage also varies a lot, so I would usually just pay $8 a month for 1.25GB of data and only buy more if I ran out.

One benefit of having a prepaid plan is that you can switch whenever you want, so If I find better deal elsewhere I won’t hesitate to switch.

Anyway, this morning I walked to the nearest ALDI (which is primarily a supermarket by the way - it would be like PAK’nSAVE having their own mobile company). I couldn’t see the SIM cards on display in store, but I was pretty sure the checkout attendant kept them under their desk. I lined up in the queue without any items, and asked “Gibt es eine ALDI Talk Sim Karte?“. The lady seemed to understand what I wanted and said something about a “neue telefonummer”, I wasn’t quite sure exactly, but I said “ja” and nodded and was very happy when you should pulled out the SIM card packet.

Unlike in NZ, where you can just plop a brand new SIM card in your phone and start using it, here in Germany you must first register yourself as the owner of the SIM card. This involves handing over your full name, address and passport details, followed by a short video identification call with someone where have to physically hold up your passport next to your face. I went through this last time I visited Germany, and remember it being a bit of a hassle.

© 2020 George Czabania