In March 2021, I returned from Taiwan after a year.
Then I did not go on a trip for a year because of travel restrictions.
So in February 2022, I decided I would go on a trip again in March 2022.
Mostly because travel restrictions were being lifted left and right.
So, what is the best way to catch up on a year of lost travel time?
Visit as many countries as you can within a month.
I really love how easy it is to travel throughout Europe!
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 😎.
You have probably heard of Drei before.
Well… perhaps if it is written as a number (3), Three, or other local variants (Tre & Tri).
The thing with Three is that it often sucks – truly.
Three used to have excellent 3G networks worldwide, but they missed the boat with 4G/LTE.
Making them the local mobile operator with the (second-) worst coverage and (second-) slowest speeds in the country.
With 5G NR, however, it is the leading player in most of its markets.
I guess it learned from its 4G/LTE failures 👁️👄👁️.
So what about Austria? Is Drei Austria any good?
And that is what I did – and I will share my experience in this review.
Let's get started, shall we?
Original publication: 19th of October 2022. Last updated: 17th of August 2023.
Table of Contents
Who is Drei Austria?
Three, Drei, Tre, or Tre – you may know Hutchison as any of those four variants I mentioned earlier.
Heck, even travel SIM card reseller SimCorner, my favorite reseller (and I tried its travel SIM cards too during this trip, including in Austria), sells Three Hong Kong and UK travel SIM cards because they offer such good value for your money.
And with eSIMs becoming more popular, many are reselling 3 Hong Kong's services for their eSIMs.
So what about Austria? Well, Drei Three is the smallest of the Big Three.
However, its network is not so bad compared to A1 Austria and Magenta Telekom, but the others are better and faster.
But things are set to change with the introduction of 5G NR – Drei Austria has the fastest 5G NR network… which prepaid customers cannot use (yet) 🥲.
Now, that is enough Drei Austria background information.
In Austria, you have three mobile operators:
- A1 Austria
- Magenta Telekom (formerly T-Mobile Austria)
- Drei (3) Austria
You also have many Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs), like Lycamobile Austria, but they are honestly not worth your time.
Let's talk about Drei Austria's coverage first, after these quick frequency details:
- 2G: 900 MHz & 1800 MHz
- 3G: 2100 MHz
- 4G/LTE: 900 MHz (Band 8), 1800 MHz (Band 3), 2100 MHz (Band 1) & 2600 MHz (Band 7)
- 5G NR: 3500 MHz (n78) – not for prepaid customers (yet)
- VoLTE: Yes
- VoWiFi: Yes
Here you have Drei Austria's APN settings:
- Name: Planet Drei
- APN: drei.at
Note: leave anything not mentioned above untouched.
Drei 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 Drei Austria's coverage?
Regarding 4G/LTE availability, Drei Austria has the worst availability, with an availability score of 97.1%. Behind A1 Austria (97.3%) and Magenta Telekom (98.3%).
But a score of more than 97% is basically excellent anyway.
When looking at 5G NR, Drei Austria is also losing the 5G NR availability race (9.5%). Lacking behind A1 Austria (13.1%) and Magenta Telekom (31.6%), which are the joint winners.
When we look at 5G NR reach, Drei Austria is also not doing well, with a reach score of 2.4 (on a 10-point scale). Behind A1 Austria (4) and Magenta Telekom (4.3).
So far, I have been talking about coverage from other reports, but what was my coverage experience with Drei 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.
Here you have a Drei Austria coverage map produced by Speedtest:
How to Get a Drei Austria SIM Card & Prices
Now that you have a basic understanding of Drei Austria and the telecom market in Austria, it is now time to talk about how to actually get a Drei Austria 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)
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 a Drei Austria store locator.
But be aware that Drei 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.
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.
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 Drei Austria's current starter packs, check out my Austria SIM card buying guide.
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.
Drei Austria charges 10 EUR for registration on top of the SIM card starter pack.
The same as Magenta Telekom – A1 Austria is cheaper, with a registration fee of only 5 EUR.
Even then, there is a way to avoid paying this fee: by registering your SIM card online.
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 🗿).
In Drei Austria's defense, the salesperson was the only staff to tell me that I could avoid this by using this method.
A1 Austria did not even mention online registration and said that it would cost 5 EUR.
Magenta Telekom did not charge me the usual 10 EUR registration fee, but you should not count on that.
Alright – back to how to get a Drei Austria SIM card, lol (but it is vital to be aware of the registration fees or how to avoid them).
I got my Drei Austria SIM card in Vienna at Keplerplatz.
Nobody else besides the Drei Austria staff member and myself were inside, so help was offered instantly.
I asked for a Drei Wertkarte, with 10 GB of data for 30 days costing 9.90 EUR.
However, you can also get 4 GB of data, 1000 local minutes & 1000 local SMS for 30 days instead.
You need to be aware of the following: Drei Austria does not want to sell just the starter pack to you.
Instead, it wants you to buy a plan when purchasing a Drei Austria SIM card as well, starting from 10 EUR.
When I asked for just the starter pack, because 10 GB of data was enough for testing purposes, the Drei staff member told me that that was impossible.
As I did not feel like paying 29.90 EUR (9.90 EUR starter pack, 10 EUR for a plan & 10 EUR for registration), for a SIM card for a day of testing, I told him that I would think about it and would register the SIM card online.
I got the starter pack for 9.90 EUR and went outside to get registration done.
First, part of the registration process is in German, even if you select English.
Luckily, I can understand German to some extent.
But I recommend using a browser that can translate pages instantly (like Chrome, Edge (Bing Translate does not work that well), or Firefox (extension needed).
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 Drei stores will happily charge to help you out 🥲.
Second, you are better off using a laptop or computer for registration, but it works on mobile too (although slowly).
The registration page also asked me to select a plan – I chose the cheapest.
The passport scan or face scan part of registration was the part that made me retry it twice because it froze 🥶.
But once registration was done and my payment details were entered, I was not charged for the plan I selected.
Instead, if I recall correctly, the page told me that I would be charged after my starter plan expired, which would be 30 days later.
So I immediately downloaded the Wertkarte app and disabled auto-renewal, which worked.
So I wonder if buying a plan together with your starter pack is really needed or if Drei Austria is trying to get more money out of you 🤔.
Anyway, when I was in Vienna, Drei Austria was the only mobile operator offering eSIMs to prepaid customers.
However, it requires you to buy a SIM card first (9.90 EUR + plan purchase if you get registration done in-store (10 EUR – 40 EUR) + 10 EUR registration fee) and then exchange it for an eSIM for another 20 EUR.
Yeah, that is way too expensive – but you have a few other options.
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 😏.
Drei Austria Plans, Bundles & Offers
Drei Austria has three data-featured prepaid plans:
- Telefonie Tarife (combo)
- Surf (data)
- Monatspakete/Monthly Packages (data add-ons)
All Drei plans can be activated on the Wertkarte app.
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 Drei Austria's current plans, check out my Austria SIM card buying guide (which gets updated regularly – at least once a year).
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.
The Telefonie Tarife (Tariffs) are combo plans with data (without 5G NR access), minutes & SMS.
Telefonie Tarife can be activated on the Wertkarte app:
|Price||Plan||Data||EU/EEA Data||Speed||Local Minutes||Local/EU Minutes||Local SMS||Local/EU SMS||Validity|
|10 EUR||Talk M||10 GB||N/A||50 Mbps/20 Mbps||1000 minutes||N/A||1000 SMS||N/A||30 days|
|15 EUR||Talk L||15 GB||N/A||100 Mbps/50 Mbps||1500 minutes||N/A||1500 SMS||N/A||30 days|
|20 EUR||Talk EU L||20 GB||15 GB||100 Mbps/50 Mbps||Shared with local/EU call allowance||2000 minutes||Shared with local/EU SMS allowance||2000 SMS||30 days|
|30 EUR||Talk EU XL||30 GB||20 GB||150 Mbps/50 Mbps||Shared with local/EU call allowance||3000 minutes||Shared with local/EU SMS allowance||3000 SMS||30 days|
The Surf Plans are data-only bundles (without 5G NR access).
Surf can be activated on the Wertkarte app:
|10 EUR||Surf 8 GB||8 GB||N/A||30 Mbps/10 Mbps||30 days|
|10 EUR||Surf 365-Tage 3 GB||3 GB||N/A||30 Mbps/10 Mbps||365 days|
|20 EUR||Surf 365-Tage 60 GB||60 GB||N/A||30 Mbps/10 Mbps||365 days|
|20 EUR||Surf 20 GB||20 GB||N/A||30 Mbps/10 Mbps||30 days|
|30 EUR||Surf 365-Tage 20 GB||20 GB||N/A||30 Mbps/10 Mbps||365 days|
|30 EUR||Surf Flat 30||Unlimited||20 GB||30 Mbps/10 Mbps||30 days|
|40 EUR||Surf 365-Tage 30 GB||30 GB||N/A||50 Mbps/20 Mbps||365 days|
|40 EUR||Surf Flat 50||Unlimited||27 GB||50 Mbps/20 Mbps||30 days|
Monatspakete (Monthly Packages)
The Monatspakete are data add-ons (without 5G NR access). They cannot be purchased as standalone plans.
Text the Activation Code to 4040 to activate Monatspakete:
|5 EUR||3 GB||30 days||Daten3|
|10 EUR||8 GB||30 days||Daten8|
You can use your Drei (3) allowances in the following EU/EEA member states without paying roaming fees:
- Åland Islands
- Canary Islands
- Czech Republic
- French Guiana
- United Kingdom
Be aware that, in some cases, the EU/EEA roaming allowance is lower than the domestic allowances.
Drei Austria Top-Up, Recharge & Balance Check
Drei Austria top-up vouchers are sold in Drei stores, grocery stores, corner shops & electronics shops throughout Austria.
I did not have to recharge my Drei 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 Drei Austria SIM card.
To top up your Drei Austria SIM card, text the VoucherCode to 31321 or call 0660303055 and follow the instructions.
For example, if your voucher code is 123456, you would text 123456 to 31321.
You can also recharge online with (international/EU) debit and credit cards.
Text GUT to 31321 to check your Drei Austria balance.
Drei Austria Speed Test Results (in Vienna)
Alright, now it is time to talk about the speeds you can expect with Drei 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 Drei Austria's competition.
Drei Austria is regarded by Speedtest as the second-fastest mobile operator in Austria in Q1 of 2022.
With a median download speed of 53.73 Mbps, Drei Austria is ahead of Magenta Telekom (47.07 Mbps) but behind A1 Austria (69.80 Mbps).
However, when we look at 5G NR, Drei Austria has the fastest 5G NR speeds.
With a median download speed of 267.89 Mbps, Drei Austria is ahead of Magenta Telekom (161.10 Mbps) and far ahead of A1 Austria (123.35 Mbps).
As a result, Drei Austria won the Austria Speedtest Fastest 5G Mobile Network Award of 2022 (Q1-Q2).
Unfortunately, 5G NR is not available to prepaid customers (yet).
But even when 5G NR is opened up to Drei 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:
Those speeds are actually decent – but certainly not blazing-fast, except for the result at Erdberg Station in Vienna.
Even then, they mean nothing.
Because Drei 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).
But based on the speeds Drei Austria plans get when spending 10 EUR on them, the maximum download speed should be 30 Mbps or 50 Mbps, and the maximum upload speed should be 10 Mbps or 20 Mbps.
And if you look at the results… it should be 30 Mbps download and 10 Mbps upload (30 Mbps/10 Mbps) because I never managed to go over 10 Mbps with uploading.
And how well did Drei Austria perform? Did I get (close) to 30 Mbps download most of the time?
Yes, I did – and over it too. I had a download speed of more than 25 Mbps at four of the eight test locations.
The download speed was 11.54 Mbps at Antep Restaurant in Vienna and an even slower speed at Paterstern Station in Vienna.
In Drei Austria's defense, the other mobile operators did not do much better at Antep Restaurant.
I do not know what happened at Praterstern Station – A1 Austria and Magenta Telekom had their maximum speeds there, so that was odd 🤔.
Could I have had faster speeds than 30 Mbps if I had gone for the Talk EU L (100 Mbps/50 Mbps) or Talk EU XL plan (150 Mbps/50 Mbps)?
That is for me to find out the next time I visit Austria (Talk EU L (100 Mbps/50 Mbps) or Talk EU XL plan (150 Mbps/50 Mbps) – 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 A1 Austria and Magenta Telekom perform?
The A1 starter pack I got throttles prepaid speeds to 20 Mbps/6 Mbps.
The Magenta Telekom starter pack also restricts prepaid speeds to 50 Mbps/10 Mbps, and the speeds stayed around there.
I guess Drei Austria 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:
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).
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 countries – eSIM variant is available too as of October) while getting way faster speeds than the local SIM cards.
Or if your phone supports eSIM, an eSIM from Airalo (Viennetz 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.
Embarrassing, I have to say 🗿.
My Overall Experience with Drei Austria – Is It Any Good?
I would recommend Drei Austria, but it may not be my first choice.
Austrian SIM Card Reviews
As mentioned earlier, I also tried out A1 Austria and Magenta Telekom when I was in Austria.
You should read those reviews too.
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 Drei Austria.
I analyze and discuss them in-depth in my Austria SIM card buying guide.
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