Vodafone DE for Foreigners

Last updated May 09, 2019

I’ve made a couple trips to Germany recently, and rather than pay hefty roaming charges I picked up a local prepaid Vodafone SIM. Not everything about it was immediately obvious, so here’s a reference in case anyone else is in the same boat.

How do I get a SIM?

Just pop into any Vodafone shop with your passport and the address of where you’re staying (hotel, etc.). They’ll handle the legally-required registration in the shop, and once you walk out you should be good to go within about 5 minutes.

Can I top up my balance online?

Yes. Go here.

You can use this link with or without a Vodafone account. If you don’t have one just choose to pay as a guest (Als Gast aufladen). My American credit cards didn’t work, but they accept PayPal.

Why is Vodafone rejecting my PayPal payment before I’ve even been redirected to paypal.com?

This happened to me after I tried to set up my Vodafone account to automatically top up my balance via PayPal. That didn’t work, and I don’t know if there some bad linkage between my Vodafone and PayPal accounts now or if it’s just coincidence. But now if I go through the normal top up process at vodafone.de I have to continue as a “guest” (Als Gast aufladen) instead of logging into my Vodafone account to get it to accept my PayPal payment. It’s annoying, but it works.

How do I check my balance?

Turn off wifi and go to http://wap.meincallya.de (in Germany (Europe?) only, and, no, there’s no https version).

[2019-05 update] Looks like the wap.meincallya.de site has been broken for a few months and it doesn’t look like it’s coming back :sadpanda:

*106# to see your cash balance. You can call *100# and navigate to get your unused data balance rounded to the nearest GB, which may not be that helpful.

Or log into your MeinVodafone account.

Can I use the MeinVodafone app?

The iOS version isn’t in the US iTunes app store so I can’t install it. I haven’t tried the Android version. So... maybe?

Where can I find the prepaid price list?

Base tariffs


The long version

How much are calls to the US from Germany?

€0,04 per minute + €0,15 per call

This will change on May 15, 2019 to €0,09 per minute with no per-call charge.

That’s cheaper than calling Switzerland!

(And obviously more expensive than using FaceTime Audio or WhatsApp or Signal or Skype or....)

Wait, what’s FaceTime Audio?

I don’t think Apple does a good job of making this feature known. Most people I’ve asked have never heard of it and think FaceTime is only for video calls (the name doesn’t help). FaceTime Audio is a regular, voice-only (no video) phone call using the FaceTime functionality built into iPhones/iPads/Macs. If you’ve selected a contact in your address book and the FaceTime options show up just click the phone icon instead of the camera icon to place a FaceTime Audio call.

The data rate it uses seems to vary but it seems to always be less than 1MB per minute. So on Vodafone in Germany, for example, that’s €5 (1GB of data) for over 1,000 minutes of calls to the US via FaceTime Audio vs. €40+ for calling the old-fashioned way.

Of course WhatsApp, Signal, etc., are perfectly fine for this too.

How do I change my plan or data add-ons?

Turn off wifi and go to http://wap.meincallya.de (in Germany (Europe?) only, and, no, there’s no https version).

[2019-05 update] Looks like the wap.meincallya.de site has been broken for a few months and it doesn’t look like it’s coming back :sadpanda:

If you have a MeinVodafone account, or want to create one, you can change your plans and options here.

You can also call to manage your options, but you’ll probably want to change the prompts to English first (or you wouldn’t be reading this page). Dial 22044 and press 3 then 1 after the prompts to set them to English. Afterwards dialing 22922 works for managing tariff options in English. If you’re roaming you’ll get charged for these calls (currently €2,10/minute from the US).

You can also call *100# and access an interactive menu of options. See above if you want to change the menu to English first.

Where can I find the prepaid international roaming price list?


There’s also an unlisted €9,99 offer for 500MB of data in the US & Canada, valid for 4 weeks. You’ll get an SMS with info once you turn your phone on in either country.

Is roaming elsewhere in Europe included for free?

Yes, with caveats.

Roaming in the EEA (EU + Iceland + Liechtenstein + Norway) is included for free. You can use your allotted minutes/SMS/data without additional charge.

Note that Switzerland isn’t in the EEA, so roaming there on a prepaid Vodafone DE SIM will cost you approximately 7 gazillion euros, at least for data. In Switzerland you can get a prepaid Sunrise or Salt SIM with a reasonable daily fee (~CHF2) for “unlimited” data so do that instead.

Does VoLTE work?

No, not for prepaid.

Does Wifi Calling work?

No, not for prepaid.

Does iOS Visual Voicemail work?

Yes, but you have to explicitly enable it. Unfortunately the above steps for setting language to English doesn’t apply to the voicemail system. I’ve heard you can call in and ask for it to be changed to English, but I haven’t tried.

Regardless, here are the instructions in German for using voicemail. The phone tree on the last page shows what you need to do. To enable Visual Voicemail, call 5500, press 2, press 4, press 5, then press 1 to enable. By default you’ll get an SMS if a caller doesn’t leave a message, and voicemails will show up in Visual Voicemail on your phone if they do.

Can I forward calls to another number?

Yes. Instructions in German are here. You can also use your phone’s built-in call forwarding options.

Can I register for a MeinVodafone account?

Yes, but it’s optional. If you do want to create an account you’ll need your initial “customer password” (Kunden-Kennwort) to register. By default this is the first four digits of the PUK printed on the card your SIM came in, but if this doesn’t work try “1234” or the last four digits of your phone number. More info on what you can do with an account can be found here.