"The nation that will insist upon drawing a broad line of demarcation between the fighting man and the thinking man is liable to find its fighting done by fools and its thinking by cowards."
Sir William Francis Butler
When you arrive, you can pick up a Vodafone prepaid cell and SIM at the Hohenfels PX for less than $10. It will hold you over until you can go to Regensburg and shop around for plans. I used Vodafone for my 4 years there and was satisfied. Do not use the on post TKS cell services. It will be much cheaper to go through a off post business.
As I recall just from roaming with it there, Vodafone really is the way to go. My account is obviously British, but I used my blackberry a lot in Munich and Berlin, and never had a problem. And I like the deals they have in Britain, for what that's worth.
There are four network operators in Germany:VodafoneT-MobileO2E-PlusVodafone and T-Mobile have the best overall networks, with coverage also in many out-of-the-way spots. O2 has coverage mainly in cities and towns; may be spotty elsewhere. E-Plus is similar to O2, but - as far as I know - does offer no 3.5G (HSDPA). Vodafone and T-Mobile charge a lot for data; that is cheaper with O2 and E-Plus.In addition to the networks, there are any number of resellers.teltarif.de has an overview of plans, providers, resellers and everything else you never wanted to know about mobile comms in Germany (unfortunately in German only, but maybe useful still).
The other key aspect is coverage on Hohenfels Kaserne proper since it's in somewhat of a rural dead zone between Neumarkt and Regensburg. My recollection from rotations there is good Vodafone coverage around the training area and terrible T-Mobile coverage.
If you're going to be there for a long time and not deploying from Europe much, take a look at the cell phone plans over the prepaids. The prepaids get you started upon landing, but tend to charge more per minute in the long run. You'll want make sure you get this decision right if you intend to use your cell as your only phone. Don't use your work phone for anything but work, especially in Europe. You'll also find out that you don't get charged minutes when people call you, only when you call people. Vodaphone and T-Mobile are the two to look at. We had T-Mobile. You'll also want to have a good internet connection, so you can skype home. When I was there it was DSL thru an ISDN line. Had like 8 boxes tacked to the wall to make it all work. I hope they've made that better since, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was still the same.
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