By Karolos Grohmann

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - They can call their wives and families back home but German players have no way of reaching team mates with their fancy new cell phones issued for the World Cup in South Africa, players said on Tuesday.

Each of the 23 players has been given a cell phone with the corresponding numbers of their team mates already entered in them -- but so far they are unable to talk to each other.

"We each got a cell phone but they don't work at all," said central defender Arne Friedrich. "I can call my girlfriend in Berlin but cannot talk to other players."

His team mate Per Mertesacker said he already found a way around it, calling them on their room phones in their five-star luxury hotel near Pretoria.

"Calling within the group has not been possible," he said. "It is the first time we have been given a cell phone with all the numbers in. So I just call room number to room number."

Germany kick off their World Cup campaign against Australia on Sunday and also play Serbia and Australia in Group D of the June 11-July 11 tournament.

(Editing by Jon Bramley)