Friday, August 30, 2013

Mobile Sim contract providers and offers overview

  • In Germany, there are several Mobile Sim contract providers offering different tariffs
  • In general, there are 2 ways for getting a contract, directly from network operators like O2, Vodafone, Telekom etc. ( I refer to them 'Direct' contracts) or from handlers/third-parties like Eteleon, Sparhandy who award contracts for above network operators (I refer to them 'Indirect' contracts)
  • Usually, monthly payment (regular price) of a direct contract is more than that of an indirect contract (discounted price) for an identical tariff. But there are some precautions that you need take care when choosing indirect contracts.
  1. Contract duration is usually for 2 years and after this period, you need to pay the regular price of the contract and you will no longer enjoy the discounted price
  2. If you do not cancel the contract on time (usually at-least 3 months before the contract end period), the contract will auto-extend (usually for another 1 year). This is usually applicable to both direct and indirect contracts. You can use website like aboalarm.de, inside-handy.de to generate cancellation letter if you do not want to auto-extend the contract after 24 months. Or here is an example cancellation template,
  3. Most of the "indirect" contracts enable additional options (like MultiMedia-Pack, Rechnungschecker etc.) which are free for the first few months and if you do not cancel it on time, then they will charge you every month
  4. After the contract expiration, most often you need to send them the Sim card (within 2 weeks). Otherwise they will charge you for that in your last bill.
  • Of course, the duration mentions in the above precautions vary from contract to contract, provider to provider
  • In most of the indirect contracts, you pay the regular price but then every month, you get discount and/or reimbursements. This makes the effective price of the contract go down. See an example for the effective price calculation in the contract here
  • Not all the above precautions apply to all the contracts. Auto-extension of contract is almost always there (direct & indirect contracts)

Word of advice:
Weigh the pros and cons before taking up a contract (direct & indirect). Cheapest contracts (indirect contracts) demand some action on your part in a timely manner. With comparatively expensive contracts (direct contracts), usually you are relieved from worrying about additional actions. Auto-extension of contract is almost always there (direct & indirect contracts)
You can choose from pre-paid or post-paid contracts as per your need and contracts with and without smartphones (see table below for providers and their offers)

Table of Sim contract providers
Note: Clicking on the logo will launch the deal

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