So I’ve been studying abroadin Germany for two months now. Specifically Munich. When I got ready for the trip, I went to At&t to get an international data package. That seemed like the logical thing to do. Well turns out it’s an absurd amount of money. Something like $150 for 200mb. So like most other people, I decided to skip that.
When I arrived in The UK, I was greeted with a text message informing me that if I used any data through any companies there it would be $19.95/mb. So no luck there. It was the same story traveling through France, Belgium, and Finally Germany.
So I figured I wouldn’t be completely out of luck because every place has wifi these days, right? Haha, not so fast. In Germany, 95% of hotspots are password protected. About the only place I’ve been able to connect for free is Burger King.
The only option left was getting a sim card from a local provider, but all the big names (Vodaphone.de, O2.de, Base, ect.) make you sign up for a two year contract. And because I had made the mistake of Upgrading to 4.0, I was out of luck with Jail-breaking/unlocking it so I was stuck.
Last week jailbreakme.com was realized. This changed everything. I had never jailbroken an iPhone before, but this seemed easy enough. All you have to do is go to that site on your iPhone, slide a slider on the page, and it will do the rest for you. So Easy.
Once Jailbroken I noticed that there was a new app on the home screen called Cydia.
Cydia is in essence the Jailbroken Appstore. From there you can install new packages that can virtually change anything on the iPhone from its appearance even to the way it functions.
In Cydia there is a package under the Utilities section called Ultrasn0w. This package if installed will Unlock your iPhone for any carrier in the world.
It may not seem like it worked, but if it is installed, then it should be working just fine.
Now for the hard part. What carrier do you use, especially when you don’t speak the language. I had read on toytowngermany.com (an english speaking forum for germany), that a good provider to go with was tchibo.de.
Tchibo is a strange entity. They are a small hole in the wall shop that cells anything from coffee to linens. It just so happens they also sell sim cards and usb data sticks. They have actual stores all over Germany too so you can go and talk to someone ( if you speak german).
The Sim cards are €9.99. But they are sometimes on sale for €1. The plans are awesome. Since I wasn’t about to try any international crap with them I wanted to stick with just data in hopes that I could use Skype. The two I had to choose from were the 1gb/month for €9.95 or 5gb/month for €19.95. Each of these plans continue if they exceed their limits, but they are limited to very slow speeds. Both plans are also pre-paid, so its a one time fee.
Where to Buy
You can order online or go to the store. Since I was impatient, I choose to go the store. It took a few trips because of the language barrier and fact that you have to have your passport to sign up, but finally I got the sim card and the 5GB plan.
Here is the tricky part. In order to activate your card. You have a couple of options. You can call or text tchibo.de but it rarely works. The best is to dial *104# and go through the menu and select the package you want. The catch is that it takes a couple of hours for the store to process your transaction, so you account only has €1 on it until they do this. Don’t fret, just check the balance by dialing *101# and when you see that it’s above €20, then you can go thru the activation (*104#). After that your card should be active!
It’s also a good idea to register online at Tchibo.de to speed up the activation. Google Chrome translator really helped here.
There is one more thing you must do to get it to work. You have to go into Cellar Data Network and change the name/APN to “webmobil1″. If you do everything correctly you should be good to go!
I couldn’t of done it without this website. Whoever wrote this knew what they were doing. It was a little frustrating trying to navigate all the german when buying the card and trying to get it activated, but with patience and troubleshooting, you’ll get it just fine!
Put it to good use!
Now that your at the net, You can use things like Skype for VoIP, and Aim to text if the other person is set up for IM forwarding!
This is a much much much cheaper way to stay in contact with people back at home. Without this you’re looking at $1.00 a minute and $50cents a text with At&t. This cost €40 to set up everything including €10 on skype to call cell phones, and it will last me the whole month. Good luck!