What are the available means of communication in Germany? What are the services offered? Find answers to your questions in this article.
If you are moving to Germany, you will definitely want to stay in touch with your friends and family in the country or abroad. Indeed, telecommunications are now an essential part of everyday life, even for expats. And Germany is certainly no exception. Although Deutsche Telekom, which is the State telephone company, still monopolizes the telephony market, the country has a developed telecommunications network which consists of several providers offering a wide range of services.
You can choose between land lines and mobile phone, or both. However, make sure to choose the best plan according to your needs and budget.
Most land line users have subscribed to Deutsche Telekom. If your home is already equipped with a land line, a new installation will not be required. Otherwise, you can visit any Deutsche Telekom branch with your identification documents and proof of address. You will have to fill in a subscription form. The installation may take 2-3 days and fees apply.
You can choose between two types of land lines: analog and digital. The analog is a basic phone line which will allow you to make calls and connect to the Internet. However, it is not possible to do both simultaneously, like with the digital or ISDN line, which is relatively more expensive.
The phone can be purchased or rented from your service provider. Once your land line has been installed, your phone bill will be sent to you at the end of each month. You are required to settle it within the next 14 days. Otherwise, your land line could be disconnected.
Good to know:
In general, local and international calls are charged per minute. Moreover, call rates vary according to the distance and call duration. Calls made between 6 pm and 9 am the next day, as well as those passed during holidays and week-ends are generally cheaper. As regards international calls, you can inquire on rates with your operator.
When calling someone in Germany, your contact will generally respond by saying his name immediately. In some cases, you may hear a pre-recorded message, such as "Kein Anschluss unter dieser Nummber" meaning "The number you have called is not available" or "Anschluss Dieser ist nicht vorübergehend erreichbar" meaning " The number you requested is temporarily unavailable".
Make sure you have a phone directory nearby before making calls. Note that the German prefixes are quite complex, especially for newcomers. Thus, to make calls in the region where you have settled, you simply have to dial your contact's phone number. To call another region, dial the area code followed by the phone number.
Good to know:
Area codes lengths vary: these are shorter for large cities and longer for smaller cities.
To call abroad, you will have to use the following codes:
- England: 00 44 area or city code phone number
- Switzerland: 00 41 area or city code phone number
- Italy: 00 39 area or city code phone number
- Spain: 00 34 area or city code phone number
The use mobile phones in Germany is very widespread. These are called Handys. If you come from a European country, you will not have to buy a new cell phone as German operators use the GSM technology. However, make sure your phone has been unlocked before traveling. Foreigners coming from other countries will have to purchase a new mobile phone and sim card.
Germany currently hosts four mobile phone service providers. However, local authorities are planning to reduce these to three so as to lower the cost of mobile phone calls.
While purchasing a new sim card, you can choose between subscription and prepaid. If you prefer a prepaid sim card, you will be able to recharge your credit through prepaid card which are available in all supermarkets, shops, filling stations, etc.
Good to know:
A basic package is generally calculated according to a 50 minutes talk-time. It should currently cost some € 5 with E-Plus, € 10 with O2 and € 9 with T-Mobile.