Congstar, a German budget-oriented sub-brand owned by Deutsche Telekom, recently launched Congstar X, a plan that offers two SIM cards, one to be used in a smartphone and one for a WLAN home internet router. For €60.00 (US $72.27) a month, subscribers get 200 GB of data at up to 50 Mbps, to be shared between the devices, as well as unlimited all-net voice and SMS. Congstar X is available without any contract commitment.
Congstar’s offering is pitched at younger users who prioritize flexibility and price, in keeping with the general approach of budget sub-brands of major operators. To its fairly generous data allotment and reasonable speed is added the benefit of having home internet without the need for landline service. This one-stop solution may be attractive to consumers because it removes the need to have a DSL or cable connection installed, and also because it combines home and mobile service in one bill. Congstar’s regular home internet plan, which also has 200 GB, costs €45.00 (US $54.20), so customers are effectively getting the smartphone SIM for €15.00 (US $18.07) extra a month.
In the German market currently, mobile plans that include cellular-based home routers are fairly prevalent. O2 offers O2 My Home M, an LTE/5G home router with up to 50 Mbps download speed and unlimited data for €19.99 (US $24.08) a month, going up to €29.99 (US $36.12) after the first year, with a €34.99 (US $42.14) installation fee. Vodafone offers a WLAN router called the Gigacube, priced starting at €34.99 a month for a data allotment of 125 GB, with options for 250 GB or 500 GB and a choice of 4G/LTE or 5G. Deutsche Telekom itself offers several SIM-based routers under its own main brand.
It is possible that the proliferation of these WLAN offers is due to heavy traffic on fixed internet lines due to working from home during the pandemic. Under normal circumstances, a DSL line provides more consistent speeds than a cellular signal, but under current conditions, a WLAN router—especially if it has 5G—could be more appealing in terms of speed. On the other hand, users could tether their phones to get home internet service if cellular signals are strong enough, and given the number of plans in Germany that offer unlimited data, this could be a more affordable solution than purchasing a two-SIM plan such as Congstar X. In addition, many