The Apple Watch is expensive; the latest model costs over 400 euros. We show you how to get Apple Watch Series 6 & Co. cheaply with a contract.
Apple leads in the Smartwatches category: The most popular watch is and remains the Apple Watch. That also shows our price comparison. Brand new are the Apple Watch Series 6 and SE, the latest flagship with blood oxygen measurement and the affordable refresh of the Series 5 as an entry-level model for less than 300 euros. In the article: All generations in the price check, we show which Apple Smartwatch the user gets the most for his money.
If you buy the Apple Watch Cellular (from Series 3), you can also use the watch as a smartphone replacement. But for this you need a special eSIM contract – physical SIM cards don’t fit in the Apple Watch. And eSIM contracts with Apple Smartwatches are only offered by the major network operators O2, Telekom or Vodafone in Germany. In the following we show what we believe to be the best tariffs from these providers. We will go into two variants each:
- Apple Watch and contract in one bundle at O2, Vodafone or Telekom
- Apple Watch at a single price and a separate contract from third party providers (e.g. Congstar or Blue)
The goal: The cheapest way to get an Apple Watch Cellular.
The new Apple Watch Series 6 is currently not available from Vodafone in conjunction with a contract. However, the predecessor Apple Watch Series 5 (40 mm) is on offer. As a cellular edition, i.e. with eSIM, it costs a good 485 euros. Except for a few grams in weight and other colors, the Series 5 is identical to the new SE.
The watch with a stainless steel case is available from Preisbörse24 for 35 euros a month. The retail price is at least 630 euros (Link to price comparison). In the contract Smart L the one-time device price is a good 150 euros (for the smaller version with 40 mm), the connection fee is 40 euros. The latter can be retrieved by activating it in the app. 15 GByte LTE (max. 500 MBit / s), telephony and SMS flat rate are included. The tariff has a term of 24 months. If you calculate the monthly costs of 35 euros and the one-time device price of 150 euros against the device price of 630 euros, this results in a tariff of 15 euros per month.
But stop: Anyone who thinks that they can use the tariff with the watch is wrong. The Smart-L contract can initially only be used with a smartphone. If you want to activate the eSIM function on the Apple Watch, you pay 5 euros extra with Vodafone One-Number (Link to the provider). This can be activated either via the Apple Watch or in the Vodafone customer portal. The monthly costs become 40 instead of 35 euros. The same tariff is used for this in a smartphone and an Apple watch.
If you need more data volume for your smartphone and Apple Watch, you can also get a 30 GB tariff. In general, the same applies as for the Smart L: The tariff must be booked and 5 euros are added per month for Vodafone One-Number in order to use the eSIM function. The 30 GByte (max. 500 MBit / s) are then available, for example, in the Vodafone contract Smart XL Boost for 50 euros a month. The one-time device price for the Apple Watch Series 5 (40 mm) is 70 euros, the connection fee (retrieve via app activation) is 40 euros. In addition, Preisbörse24 offers a Milanese bracelet worth 97 euros. If you calculate the monthly tariff of 40 euros, the down payment of 70 euros and one-number with 5 euros per month against the Apple Watch plus bracelet (total 727 euros), you get 18 euros per month for a 30 GByte contract. You rarely find a comparable offer.
If you already have a Vodafone contract, you can of course also book one-number. So if you buy the Series 5 Cellular from this example for 485 euros individually and book one-number for 24 months, the average monthly price is 50 euros. That is significantly more expensive than our bills with the bundles consisting of a new contract for smartphone, one-number for eSIM and the Series 5.
O2 already has the new Apple Watch Series 6 and SE on offer. We have selected the best deals for two sample calculations. All offers can be found on o2.de (Link to the provider).
The Apple Watch Series 6 (40 mm) buyers get a one-time fee of 12 euros in the Free M tariff, for example. There is 20 GB of data volume (max. 225 Mbit / s) and all-network flat-rate. The contract costs monthly 39 euros, the connection price is 40 euros. In contrast to Vodafone, O2 can “convert” the classic SIM card into an eSIM via the app. This saves additional costs. If you calculate the one-off costs of 52 euros and monthly costs of 39 euros against the device price of 516 euros, you actually pay 20 euros per month for the tariff. For example, if you want to use the same tariff for Apple Watch and smartphone, you pay 5 euros more per month. Then you get the Free Starter Flex tariff with 1 GB of data volume and Allnet Flat.
The Apple Watch SE (40 mm) is surprisingly more expensive at O2 than the Series 6 with a contract. For the SE version, the one-time costs amount to 49 euros (Connection price, shipping and device price), the monthly costs to 44 euros. This is the same Free M contract as in the example for Series 6. The golden version offered by O2 costs 340 euros individually. So if we again calculate one-off costs of 49 euros plus monthly costs of 44 euros against 340 euros individual price, we come to 32 euros per month for the contract – that is excessively expensive.
If you only want an eSIM contract with O2, you pay at least 20 euros im for the tariff Free S. This offers 3 GB of data volume as well as flat-rate telephony and SMS. If you buy an Apple Watch Series 6 individually, you get an average monthly price of 36 euros within 24 months. Again, you pay on top of the bundle from our example.
At Telekom, the requirement for using the Apple Watch in cellular mode is that users use a Magenta cellular tariff with a multi-SIM. You also need an iPhone to activate the eSIM.
In addition to these high entry hurdles, the fact that Telekom does not offer a combination of Apple Watch and contract makes things even more difficult – a shame and surprising. Instead, interested parties have to buy the smartwatch independently and book a telecom tariff. In the Magenta-Mobil tariffs XS to L, the eSIM for the Apple Watch costs around 5 euros per month. You book it as a multi-SIM to an existing telecom contract. Calculated on an Apple Watch Series 6 Cellular for 515 euros, this comes to 26 euros per month.
eSIM contracts from the discounter
Since 2018, more and more cheap providers have been offering eSIM contracts; Winsim, Blau, Congstar are among them. But even here you hardly save on the bundles of the big main providers.
If you book the LTE All 3 + 1 GB tariff from Winsim for 7 euros a month and if you buy the Apple Watch Series 6 for 515 euros, you get 28 euros per month. The cheapest Congstar contract is called Allnet Flat S and offers 3 GB of data volume for 12 euros a month. Together with the Series 6, that’s 33 euros a month for 24 months.
Even with the much older Series 3 Cellular for at least 269 euros, it doesn’t pay off. Here you would with the Winsim tariff at 18 euros per month and with Congstar at 23 euros lie. The biggest advantage here is the lower monthly fixed costs of less than 10 euros compared to purchasing with a contract.
Apple Watch as a smartphone replacement
The Apple Watch can theoretically be used as a full-fledged telephone replacement with some smartphone functions; at least for a few hours. She can make calls, send messages and play music as well as navigation, Siri requests or remote control of your own smart home via Apple Homekit. The display is of course significantly smaller than that of a smartphone. Accordingly, one can forget about web surfing or video streaming.
An additional disadvantage: Using the Apple Watch with eSIM has a greater impact on battery life, less for messages, more for web services such as Siri or navigation and telephony. Anyone who uses the Apple Watch as a smartphone replacement for sports or cycling will get there with the battery. If you really want to use the watch all day, you should have a charging cable or a corresponding power bank with you.
An Apple Watch within a new contract offers clear cost advantages. New customers in particular save here at a single price. Anyone who can live with the Apple Watch Series 5 is currently getting the best deal in the Vodafone Smart XL tariff with 30 GB. Here you pay an average of 18 euros a month and can use the tariff in a smartphone and Apple Watch at the same time. Should it be an Apple Watch from 2020? Then we currently only recommend O2’s Free M contract with the Apple Watch Series 6. Here, users pay around 25 euros per month. The Apple Watch SE is effectively more expensive at O2. Telekom has not yet offered an attractive deal.
In the article: All generations in the price check, we also show which Apple Smartwatch users get the most for their money.