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A1 Austria Review: It Is Not Exceptional (+Speedtests)

In March 2022, I decided to go on a big trip.

I visited Portugal, Spain, Andorra, Italy, Malta, Greece, Belgium, the Netherlands, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia & Slovenia within a month.

Why? Because I wanted to try out SIM cards (again).

Yeah… I am that type of person – welcome to Phone Travel Wiz 🤪.

I went for such an intensive trip because I stayed home for a year since March 2021 because of travel restrictions.

Before March 2021, I was a year in Taiwan, where life was basically normal during the first year of pandemic.

So it was a good time for be while the whole world was basically on fire 😳.

Since early 2022, travel restrictions were being lifted throughout the European Union, so it was an excellent excuse to travel around the union.

That gave me the opportunity to (re-)test 41 local SIM cards, like A1 Austria, Airalo's Eurolink Europe eSIM, Nomad's Europe eSIM & SimCorner's Europe travel SIM cards.

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And because my partner wanted me back in Australia as soon as possible after not seeing him for two years and the country reopening for select travelers (including myself), I had to cram in as many destinations within a month before heading to Australia.

Tray of SIM Cards by Adu from Phone Travel Wiz

If you have read any of my SIM card buying guides before, like the Austrian one, or watched a YouTube video of mine, you know that I am crazy enough to buy and test so many SIM cards.

If this is your first Phone Travel Wiz review – welcome.

I buy and test all/most SIM cards in a country and tell you which ones are the best so that you do not have to 😎.

A1 Austria SIM Card Held by Adu

You may have some experience with A1 already.

A1 is active in Belarus, various Central European countries and the Balkans, where it is often the best or second-best option in the country.

So what about Austria, where A1 is from? Is A1 Austria any good?

The only way to find out is to test A1 Austria and compare it with the other Austrian SIM cards (Magenta Telekom Austria and Drei Austria).

And that is what I did – and I will share my experience in this review.

Let's get started, shall we?


A1 Austria Review by Phone Travel Wiz

Original publication: 18th of October 2022. Last updated: 15th of January 2024.

Table of Contents

Who is A1 Austria?

A1 Logo
© A1

You may have heard of A1 before, although it used to be known as Vip in some countries.

A1 is still active in various European countries, leading those with A1 services at home to try out A1 abroad.

In the case of A1, you will often be fine when you do so, as A1's performance is often one of the best in the country.

Anyway, A1 Austria, officially A1 Telekom, is the largest mobile operator in the country.

This means that it should often have the best coverage, fastest speeds, or both

You will find out if that is the case throughout this review – but first, let's cover some background information.

In Austria, you have three mobile operators:

  • A1 Austria
  • Magenta Telekom (formerly T-Mobile Austria)
  • Drei (3) Austria

Of course, I tested the other two mobile operators during my trip to Austria in March. You can read them here: Magenta Telekom Austria and Drei Austria.

Buying a SIM Card in Austria Guide (logos of Magenta, T-Mobile & A1 Telekom)

You also have many Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs), like Lycamobile Austria, but they are honestly not worth your time.

Let's talk about A1 Austria's coverage first, after these quick frequency details:

  • 2G: 900 MHz & 1800 MHz
  • 3G: 2100 MHz
  • 4G/LTE: 800 MHz (Band 20), 1800 MHz (Band 3) & 2600 MHz (Band 7)
  • 5G NR: 3500 MHz (n78) – not for prepaid customers (yet)
  • VoLTE: Yes
  • VoWiFi: Yes

Here you have A1 Austria's APN settings:

Note: leave anything not mentioned above untouched.

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A1 Austria Coverage + My Experience

You can have a mobile operator providing you 1 Gbps download speeds.

But it will be useless if it covers only one street in Austria.

So, how is A1 Austria's coverage?

Regarding 4G/LTE availability, A1 Austria has the second-best availability, with an availability score of 97.3%. Ahead of Drei Austria (97.1%) but behind Magenta Telekom (98.3%).

When looking at 5G NR, A1 Austria is also winning the 5G NR availability race (13.1%) with Magenta Telekom (13.6%), followed by Drei Austria (9.5%).

When we look at 5G NR reach, A1 Austria is also doing well, with a reach score of 4 (on a 10-point scale). Ahead of Drei Austria (2.4) but behind Magenta Telekom (4.3).

So far, I have been talking about coverage from other reports, but what was my coverage experience with A1 Austria?

It was excellent, honestly – I had nothing to complain about.

I do not recall having many reception blackspots – not even on the S-Bahn and U-Bahn in Vienna.

But also on the bus to and from Slovakia – reception at the border was still strong (although it slowly switched to 3G… but that is common at borders).

Here you have an A1 Austria coverage map produced by Speedtest:

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How to Get an A1 Austria SIM Card & Prices

Now that you have a basic understanding of A1 Austria and the telecom market in Austria, it is now time to talk about how to actually get an A1 Austria SIM card.

Like many countries in Europe, especially the European Union, I recommend visiting an A1 Austria store to get your SIM card.

That is because of the SIM card registration laws in Austria – SIM card registration is mandatory.

Oh… and you often have to pay to get your SIM card registered – more about that later.

  • Find out which countries have SIM card registration regulations and what is required from you (lookup tool)
SIM Card Registration Worldwide Tool by Phone Travel Wiz

Austrian SIM cards are also sold by third parties, like grocery stores or convenience stores like in many other countries.

But they may not always have the best starter pack deals lying around.

Anyway, here is an A1 Austria store locator.

A1 Austria Store in Vienna 1

But be aware that A1 Austria SIM cards are not sold at Vienna International Airport (VIE).

There is a SIM card reseller (Wowww) charging 20 EUR for a SIM card and 20 EUR for registration alone (40 EUR) – and then you still need to add a plan! So you better avoid it.

Wowww SIM Card Reseller at Vienna International Airport

I will list all the prices in EUR (Euro).

To convert EUR to your currency (let's say GBP – (British) Pound (Sterling)) with up-to-date exchange rates, use the Wise Currency Converter tool.

Wise Currency Exchange Banner
© Wise

Disclaimer: the SIM card prices mentioned in the review were current when I was in Austria – the offering and prices may have changed since then. To see A1 Austria's current starter packs, check out my Austria SIM card buying guide.

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Before I continue, I do want to talk a bit more about SIM card registration in Austria.

In the majority of (European) countries, SIM card registration schemes exist – those can (often) not be avoided, unfortunately.

What is infuriating about Austria (and Germany) is that the mobile operators may charge you for registration.

Yes… pay for something that is mandated by law!

Luckily… the registration fee is often not as outrageous at Vienna International Airport (20 EUR), but I still find paying for registration insulting.

A1 Austria charges 5 EUR for registration on top of the SIM card starter pack.

Magenta Telekom and Drei Austria charge 10 EUR, so A1 Austria is generous 🙄.

Even then, there is a way to avoid paying this fee: by registering your SIM card online.

A1 Austria Starter Pack Booklet Back.jpg

I did this with my Drei Austria SIM card (because paying 10 EUR is outrageous), but because part of the registration process is in German and the verification software is slow as hell, it can be a time-consuming process.

It took me 30 minutes with my broken German – that is why I was eventually willing to pay the A1 registration fee (5 EUR) afterward (but also because I had only one day in Vienna… I did not feel like spending an hour on registration 🗿).

Alright – back to how to get an A1 Austria Telekom SIM card, lol (but it is vital to be aware of the registration fees or how to avoid them).

A1 Austria Starter Pack Front

I got my A1 Austria SIM card in Vienna at Keplerplatz.

This is the same square where I got my Magenta Telekom and Drei Austria SIM cards.

There was a short wait before I was attended.

I asked for a Internet Wertkarte, with 5 GB of data for 28 days, costing 9.90 EUR.

You can also get the regular SIM card, Wertkarte, also for 9.90 EUR, but you get 5000 units instead (where 1 unit equals 1 MB, 1 local minute, or 1 local SMS).

A1 Austria SIM Card Back

Because SIM card registration was done in-store, for a 5 EUR service fee, the SIM card was activated instantly.

If you register your SIM card online, it can take a few minutes before it is active (but you will receive an SMS when it is active – in German of course).

Oh, be aware that not all passports are accepted for online registration. I do not have a list of unsupported countries… but if registration does not work after two or three tries, then you know why. And many A1 stores will happily charge to help you out 🥲.

When I was in Vienna, A1 Austria did not offer eSIMs to prepaid customers.

And I do not think they will do so anytime soon.

But if you think that paying for SIM card registration is outrageous or really want to use an eSIM in Austria, you can consider getting a travel eSIM for Austria.

I tried out Airalo's Eurolink eSIM in Austria (on the Drei Austria network) and the Nomad Europe eSIM (also on the Drei Austria network)

They worked well (and were cheaper than Austrian SIM cards when taking SIM card prices, registration fees & plans into account).

Anyway, I compare the best Austria travel eSIMs in my comparison guide and drop a few discount codes for you 😏.

Buying an eSIM for Austria Guide (logos of Holafly, Nomad, Eurolink, Discover+, Galli, Alosim & Airalo)
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A1 Austria Plans, Bundles & Offers

A1 Austria has three data-featured prepaid plans:

  • Tarife (combo)
  • Internet (data for data-only SIM card)
  • Data Add-Ons

All A1 Austria plans can be activated by texting the Activation Code to the corresponding number.

Disclaimer: these were the available plans at the time I was in Austria – the offering may have changed since then (including whether 5G NR is available to prepaid customers or not). To see A1 Austria's current plans, check out my Austria SIM card buying guide (which gets updated regularly – at least once a year).

Buying a SIM Card in Austria Guide (logos of Magenta, T-Mobile & A1 Telekom)

I will list all the prices in EUR (Euro).

To convert EUR to your currency (let's say GBP – (British) Pound (Sterling)) with up-to-date exchange rates, use the Wise Currency Converter tool.

Wise Currency Exchange Banner
© Wise Tarife

The Tarife (tariffs) are combo plans with data (without 5G NR access), minutes & SMS.

Text the Activation Code to the corresponding number to activate Tarife:

PricePlanDataEU/EEA DataLocal MinutesLocal/EU MinutesInternational (EU) MinutesLocal SMSLocal/EU SMSInternational (EU) SMSValidityActivation Code
10 XS6 GBN/A1000 minutesN/AN/A1000 SMSN/AN/A28 daysJA to 2976
15 S15 GBN/A1000 minutesN/AN/A1000 SMSN/AN/A28 daysJA to 2977
20 M18 GB14 GB2000 minutesShared with local call allowance100 minutes2000 SMSShared with local call allowance100 SMS28 daysJA to 2978
30 L30 GB20 GB3000 minutesShared with local call allowance150 minutes3000 SMSShared with local call allowance150 SMS28 daysJA to 2979
A1 Austria Plans Internet Plans

The Internet Plans are data bundles (without 5G NR access) for the data-only SIM card. Internet Plans can be activated on the Mein A1 app:

10 Data S8 GB50 Mbps/10 Mbps28 days
22 Data L20 GB100 Mbps/20 Mbps28 days
28 Data UnlimitedUnlimited20 Mbps/5 Mbps28 days
A1 Austria Internet Wertkarte Data-Only Plans

Data Add-Ons

The Data Add-Ons are, as the name suggests, data add-ons. They cannot be purchased as standalone plans.

Text the Activation Code to the corresponding number to activate Add-Ons:

PriceDataValidityActivation Code
0.90 EURUnlimited1 hourSURFH to 2099
5 EUR1 GB28 daysJA to 2945
7 EUR3 GB28 daysJA to 2933
9 EUR5 GB28 daysJA to 2934
13 EUR10 GB28 daysJA to 2935

EU Roaming

You can use your A1 Austria allowances in the following EU/EEA member states without paying roaming fees:

  • Åland Islands
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • French Guiana
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Guadeloupe
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Martinique
  • Mayotte
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Réunion
  • Romania
  • Saint Martin
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden

Be aware that, in some cases, the EU/EEA roaming allowance is lower than the domestic allowances.

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A1 Austria Top-Up, Recharge & Balance Check

A1 Austria top-up vouchers are sold in A1 stores, grocery stores, corner shops & electronics shops throughout Austria.

A1 Austria SIm Card Front

I did not have to recharge my A1 Austria SIM card because Austria was a short stop on my one-month Europe trip.

But I will still let you know about topping up your A1 Austria SIM card.

The following (online) A1 top-ups are available:

  • 10 EUR
  • 20 EUR
  • 40 EUR

To top up your A1 Austria SIM card, dial *102*VoucherCode# or call 0800644295, select option 2, enter the VoucherCode, close it with the # sign, and select option 2 again to confirm the entry.

For example, if your voucher code is 123456, you would dial *102*123456# or call 0800644295, select option 2, enter 123456#, and select option 2 again.

You can also recharge online with (international/EU) debit and credit cards.

Dial *101# or call 08006642953 to check your A1 Austria balance.

You can also top up and check your balance on the Mein A1 (My A1) app (Android/iOS).

A1 Austria Mein A1 App
© A1 Austria
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A1 Austria Speed Test Results (in Vienna)

Alright, now it is time to talk about the speeds you can expect with A1 Austria after covering all the other essential topics like coverage.

But before I share my eight speed test results in Vienna, I want to set the stage first and make a small comparison with A1 Austria's competition.

A1 Austria is regarded by Speedtest as the fastest mobile operator in Austria in Q1 of 2022.

With a median download speed of 69.80 Mbps, A1 Austria is ahead of Drei Austria (53.73 Mbps) and Magenta Telekom (47.07 Mbps).

However, when we look at 5G NR, A1 Austria (123.35 Mbps) is slower than Magenta Telekom (161.10) and way behind Drei Austria (267.86 Mbps).

Unfortunately, 5G NR is not available to prepaid customers (yet).

But even when 5G NR is opened up to A1 Austria prepaid customers, you probably still will not experience full 5G NR speeds (up to 1 Gbps – more about that later).

Okay, those were valuable insights – let's talk about my speed test results now.

I did speed tests with the Speedtest app at various test locations in Vienna.

Here are the results:

A1 Austria Speed Test Results

Those speeds are… slow!

Even then, they mean nothing.

What… why?

Because A1 Austria, and the other Austrian mobile operators, throttles speeds for prepaid speeds.

And depending on how much you are willing to spend on a plan, you get faster speeds if you pay more.

So why did I bother with the speed tests then?

Because I wanted to see whether you can get the advertised speeds or not.

In the case of A1 Austria, I did not know the maximum speeds for a starter pack would be beforehand (unlike Magenta Telekom).

So based on the results, A1 Austria gives you a maximum download speed of 20 Mbps and a top upload speed of 6 Mbps (20 Mbps/6 Mbps).

And how well did A1 Austria perform? Did I get (close) to 20 Mbps download most of the time?

Yes, I did. I had a download speed of more than 18 Mbps at six of the eight test locations.

The download speed was 9.99 Mbps at Antep Restaurant in Vienna and an even slower speed at Kaoo Restaurant in Vienna.

In A1 Austria's defense, the other mobile operators did not do much better at Antep Restaurant – Drei was the fastest at Kaoo Restaurant.

Once I determined that my maximum download speed would be 20 Mbps, I was happy to see that my median download speed was 20.06 Mbps – slightly higher than the top speed,

Could I have had faster speeds if I had gone for the M or L plans (100 Mbps/50 Mbps)?

That is for me to find out the next time I visit Austria (and get the M or L plan – this time, I stayed in Austria for one day… I did not feel like spending 100+ EUR on Austrian SIM cards (SIM cards + starter packs/plans for three Austrian SIM cards) 🤑.

So how did Magenta Telekom and Drei Austria perform?

The Magenta Telekom starter pack I got throttled speeds to 50 Mbps/10 Mbps, but I had a median download speed of 47 Mbps.

The Drei starter pack also restricts prepaid speeds to 50 Mbps/10 Mbps, but I managed to get a download speed result of 72 Mbps and 101 Mbps.

I guess Drei needs to tune its throttling 🤪.

But because all mobile operators restrict prepaid speeds, there is no point in making a proper comparison because I could not take full advantage of their networks.

However, the image below shows the performance of A1 Austria vs. Magenta Telekom vs. Drei Austria:

A1 Austria vs Magenta Telekom Austria vs Drei Austria Speed Test Results 1

The results in green represent that that result was the fastest download or upload speed of all the Austrian mobile operators (A1 Austria, Magenta Telekom & Drei Austria).

The results in red are the opposite; they are the slowest of them all.

And the results in bold tell you the mobile operator was the fastest with all the SIM cards and eSIMs I tested in Austria (so the three Austrian SIM cards, the Airalo Europe Eurolink eSIM, the Nomad Europe eSIM & SimCorner Europe travel SIM card).

In the playlist below, you can see all the speed test results faster than 20 Mbps I got in Austria with all the SIM cards and eSIMs I tested there:

As you can see, the SimCorner Europe travel SIM card performed the best because it was not subject to prepaid speed throttling.

Magenta Telekom, Drei Austria & the Nomad Europe eSIM share the second spot.

A1 Austria was the worst 😩 (because of even lower maximum speeds compared to Magenta Telekom and Drei Austria).

Taking SIM card prices, SIM card registration fees (if not done through self-service) & data-featured plans into account, it is cheaper to get a travel SIM card from SimCorner to your home before heading to Austria (which can be used in almost all European countrieseSIM variant is available too as of October) while getting way faster speeds than the local SIM cards.

SimCorner UK and Europe Travel SIM Card (100 GB for 30 days)
© SimCorner

Or if your phone supports eSIM, an eSIM from Airalo (Galli Mobile, Eurolink (with 5G NR), or Discover Global), or Nomad (local, Europe & Global – use code ADU123 for 3 USD/2.70 EUR/2.40 GBP/4.05 CAD off) (+Holafly (Austria & Europe – use code PHONETRAVELWIZ for 5% off), which I did not try out on this trip but offers unlimited data in Austria) will have equal, if not better, performance than the Austrian mobile operators while being significantly cheaper.

Austria Galli eSIM Airalo
© Airalo
Eurolink Europe eSIM Airalo
© Airalo

Embarrassing, I have to say 🗿.

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My Overall Experience with A1 Austria – Is It Any Good?

I would recommend A1 Austria, but it may not be my first choice.

Phone Travel Wiz Partially Approved Seal

Getting an A1 Austria SIM card was straightforward, and activation was quick (especially when I had to pay 5 EUR for registration).

A1 Austria has extensive 4G/LTE and 5G NR availability in Austria.

However, 5G NR was unavailable to prepaid customers when I was in Austria.

A1 Austria Starter Pack Booklet Front

While A1 Austria has relatively generous data-featured prepaid plans for Austrian and regional standards, you have to pay at least 20 EUR for a plan to be allowed to get download speeds of up to 100 Mbps – the cheaper plans restrict you to 20 Mbps or 50 Mbps.

Unfortunately, this is a standard in Austria – luckily, most countries do not impose speed restrictions (for prepaid customers).

Because of these speed restrictions, I could not experience A1 Austria's raw performance.

But at least I got a median download speed of 20 Mbps of the maximum of 20Mbps imposed on my plan; I was satisfied with the results (even though A1 is supposed to have the fastest 4G/LTE speeds in the country).

With extensive coverage and relatively generous data-featured prepaid plans, there is nothing crazy to complain about A1 Austria.

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Austrian SIM Card Reviews

As mentioned earlier, I also tried out Magenta Telekom and Drei Austria when I was in Austria.

You should read those reviews too.

>>> Magenta Telekom Review | Drei Austria Review <<<

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Later, I will make a comparison post of the three Austrian SIM cards I tried… but that will take a while (I have many reviews of other countries that I still need to write, so they are prioritized).

But you can still make an educated purchased after reading the Austrian SIM card reviews.

Check out my reviews page if you want to read all the other reviews I have written, including other European SIM cards from this trip.

Austria SIM Card Buying Guide

There are more than ten SIM cards to choose from in Austria besides A1 Austria.

I analyze and discuss them in-depth in my Austria SIM card buying guide.

Buying a SIM Card in Austria Guide (logos of Magenta, T-Mobile & A1 Telekom)