Mobile communications: Telekom to Aldi: Low-cost mobile phone tariffs for families and children

A mobile phone contract with cheap partner cards for everyone or do you prefer prepaid? IMTEST shows what network operators offer parents.

Whatsapp, Tiktok, Instagram: Almost nothing works without a smartphone for elementary school students and teenagers. If it weren’t for the question of the right one cellphone tariff for the offspring. With offers specially tailored to families, Vodafone, Telekom and O2 want to make it easier for parents to find the best mobile phone tariff for themselves and their children.

IMTEST, the consumer magazine of the FUNKE media group, has the Family and children tariffs of the major German network operators (which will also include 1&1 in the future) in detail and provides answers as to which tariff is worthwhile for families. Or are discount provider like Aldi Talk the cheap alternatives?

Aldi Talk, Telekom, Vodafone and Co.: Mobile phone contracts for families

The family offers network operator can be booked as an additional option to an existing or new mobile phone contract. This is possible with Telekom, Vodafone and O2, for example. At 1&1, a separate additional contract for children and young people (up to the age of 18) can be concluded. With partner cards Family members can call each other at reduced rates. With Vodafone, the available data volume can even be shared with each other.

The prerequisite for family tickets is that the main tariff and the side contracts apply to one person. You will then be billed in a single monthly statement. Partner cards at Vodafone, Telekom and O2 can only be booked if a corresponding partner card-compatible contract rate has been concluded: At Telekom, for example, partner cards are possible with all current MagentaMobil contract rates (exception: MagentaMobil S Young). If you have a Vodafone tariff Red, Young, Smart L, L+ or XL, you are also entitled to partner cards.

At O2 there is a wealth of current, but also older tariffs that are suitable for family cards suit. These include the tariffs Free Starter Flex, Free S to L (including Boost) and Free Unlimited as well as Blue All-in S to L 2021 and also the fixed network Internet tariffs My Home M to XXL. For prepaid applies: there are usually no partner cards. A separate ticket must be ordered from the provider for each child and young person.

Prepaid and mobile: tariffs for younger children

The starting age at which children a smartphone get, decreases continuously. According to the Bitkom industry association (Child and Youth Study 2022), more than 65 percent of six to nine-year-olds already use a smartphone. For these age groups, special, inexpensive ones are recommended Cell phone tariffs for children, which primarily guarantee that the child can be reached by the parents. As a rule, a prepaid tariff (without monthly fixed costs) with a very small credit is sufficient.

  • who at O2 If you buy a family ticket as a contract customer, you get it 50 percent cheaper. This saves between 10 and 30 euros per month. Price tip: For EUR 4.99 per month, O2 also offers the Free Starter Flex with one gigabyte (GB) of data volume as a partner card for children and adults.
  • In the telecom there is a 20 euro discount on the monthly price compared to the standard tariffs when booking a partner card. For children, tariffs from 9.95 euros per month – depending on the main tariff – can be booked as a partner card with a data volume of 5 GB or more.
  • Vodafone sells its partner tariffs for children (Red+ Kids) for 20 euros per month. There is currently 20 instead of 10 GB of included data volume per month.

Using a smartphone on vacation: where cost traps lurk

Of course it plays smartphones in children and young people (just like adults) also play a role on holiday: With the EU regulation “Roam like at home” (RLAH), the respective domestic ones have been in force throughout Europe since 2017 tariff conditions.

Surfing, making phone calls, sending and receiving SMS – everything as usual, nothing costs extra. This applies to the 27 EU member states (including Germany) as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. If you don’t have all of them in your head, it is best to find out before you travel whether you are on the safe side with your destination.

A real cost trap are cruises or other ship trips. Because here the ships do not use the usual terrestrial network via transmission masts on land, but a connection via satellite. The additional costs of using this network are enormous.

Because this type of connection is exempt from the EU regulation mentioned, the cost trap also lurks within the EU, for example on a boat trip from Kiel to Sweden. In this case, the flight mode is also useful on the high seas and disables all the connections on your phone.

Mobile phone tariff with smartphone: is it worth it?

Are Mobile phone tariffs with smartphone sensible? Very few people who deal with mobile phone tariffs can avoid this question. The calculation is very simple: if the device costs an additional EUR 29.99 per month, for example, the amount over 24 months is just under EUR 720 – not including the monthly tariff costs.

However, since smartphone prices often fall sharply just a few months after the start of sales, the desired smartphone costs more than minimum term of a contract is often significantly more than buying a device without a contract. Therefore, those who book tariffs without a mobile phone save.

Conclusion: Inexpensive and good mobile phone tariffs for families, often via a partner card

If the monthly costs of smartphone contracts for children are not to exceed the budget, then Mobile phone tariffs with second cards recommended. A parent must have an existing tariff with an appropriate provider such as Vodafone, Telekom or O2. If you are a customer of 1&1, for example, you can also book a special children’s tariff. Compared to the discounter, there is a much higher data speed.

LTE Kids – 1&1

The 1&1 tariff can be booked independently for each child. It offers 100 units for phone minutes and/or SMS as well as 1 GB of data (LTE up to 21.6 MBit/s) per month.

  • 1st-6th Month €3.99, then €6.99
  • Minimum contract period is 24 months
  • One-time €19.90 provision

FreeS Boost—O2

The partner card for the O2 tariff offers 6 GB data volume with 225 MBit/s (LTE). All calls and SMS are included. Without O2 main tariff monthly 24.99 euros.

  • Monthly 12.49€ (with main plan)
  • Minimum contract period is 24 months
  • No one-time connection price

MagentaMobil PlusKarte – Telekom

The MagentaMobil PlusKarte Kids & Teens Flex for users under the age of 18 offers calls and SMS to all networks and 20 GB per month. Speed: LTE Max and 5G with up to 300 MBit/s.

  • Monthly €9.95
  • Minimum term either 24 months or no minimum term

Red+ Kids – Vodafone

The partner card for children up to and including the age of 17 only offers data volume that is allocated by the parent tariff (main tariff). Speed: 5G with up to 500 MBit/s.

  • Monthly €10.00
  • Minimum contract period is 24 months
  • Calls/SMS to all networks included

Combination package M – Aldi Talk

The prepaid tariff in the O2 network offers a data rate of 25 MBit/s, 6 GB data volume is included per month, as well as all calls and text messages to all networks.

  • Monthly €12.99
  • Prepaid, 0 days cancellation period
  • One-time starter set €9.99

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