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I am new to Austria, having arrived in Vienna 2 months ago. I would like an Austrian SIM for my mobile phone, but don't understand how to go about getting the best deal, which for me seems to be a SIM on a monthly contract.

At UPC they told me I needed to register with CRIF GmbH (some kind of credit reference agency?) who might take 2 weeks to set up a profile for me and then I could try to apply for a contract with them.

I already have a bank account, contracts for broadband, electricity and gas, Legitimationskarten, and Meldezettel registration, and apartment and garage rental contracts... is it really necessary for me to register with CRIF? If so, are there other agencies I should consider registering with?

UPC also told me that there was no way to get a pre-paid SIM, either with them or with anyone else. I don't find this likely, and hence the doubt over the other things they've told me: what is the best way to get an Austrian SIM after only 2 months in the country?

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First aboout UPC, it seems to be standard practice, for all their products, to use CRIF Gmbh to check your financial status (according to the terms of some random products I just checked).
But, nobody forces you to use UPC ... to start with, their mobile phone branch is just a reseller of "3" and has no own infrastructure. And UPC isn't known as the most customer-friendly company ... imho you're better off not choosing them.

About prepaid SIMs, that's a big fat lie. The major providers (A1, TMobile, 3, ... no idea about resellers, but who needs them) all have various prepaid offers. No fixed costs but just paying what you use, no bank account necessary, no ID necessary (there was some talk about requiring it, but currently this idea is dead), and plenty possibilities to reload (many ATMs, all gas stations, all Billa and Spar, many post offices, ...).

What's the cheapest solution for you is something I can't know - it depends on your usage profile.

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You should check out the austrian contract comparison site durchblicker to find the best contract for your situation.

You can check mobile contracts for various situations and everything else including insurance.

I would strongly discourage you from using UPC for anything. The "best" is the former state service "A1". If you are only around vienna, it does not matter that much, but as soon as you are in the countryside, the only network that will work is A1.

Don't register with CRIF, it is not necessary to do that. Your bank can and will provide your credit worthiness.

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