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German Telephone Connections
Telephone Connection via Cable TV
In many areas in Germany, both telephone and Internet access are available via your cable TV connection. Of course, you need to have access to cable TV in your household in the first place and the connection should be capable of transmitting two-way signals (“rückkanalfähig”). Providers of this service have databases that allow you to research whether such a connection is available at your place.
When choosing this option, the service provider will fix your TV socket by adding phone and Internet plugs. As TV and radio signals are transmitted on different frequencies, neither of them will be affected by the use of telephone or Internet. Installation costs and monthly rates for such a connection can be compared to those for ISDN.
Costs and Conditions
In Germany, telephone services are charged on a monthly basis. A basic fee (Grundgebühr) grants you one or more telephone numbers and an unlimited number of free incoming calls. For getting a connection that is more advanced than the basic analogue standard, you usually have to pay a one-time installation fee (Einrichtungsgebühr) as well. This fee varies and can amount to more than EUR 60.
The actual rates for outgoing calls depend largely on your provider and on the offer you have decided on. They range from a few cents per minute when calling another landline to 29 cent per minute for outgoing calls to mobile phones. Flat rates for all calls within Germany’s conventional telephone network are very common and are an integral part of most offers and telephone and internet packages. International calls may well make the difference for you, as they can be very expensive. We recommend you to enquire about rates for international calls and additional fees, e.g. for a fully itemized bill or for receiving a printout of your bill in the mail. In the end, you need to compare various providers and choose the offer that suits your own needs best.
The Cancelation Period
Before signing a contract, you should also consider the cancelation period (Kündigungsfrist) of a particular service provider, as well as the minimum duration (Mindestvertragslaufzeit). The average cancelation period is about three months. However, the minimum duration of your contract is the important part, as most offers by telephone companies are binding for up to 24 months. To avoid future problems, you may want to get a contract with a short period of notice if you are planning to move again soon.
Choosing a Provider
Choose your provider carefully. Switching it later can be a hassle and leave you without a phone connection for weeks. Unfortunately, most service providers do not offer their online information in English. For non-German speakers, it is therefore rather difficult to get a precise overview of all offers. However, you can check out the overview at Telespiegel to compare different rates. For detailed information on the various phone rates, please visit a local shop of the respective provider or have a closer look at their website. Keep in mind that most of the providers mentioned below offer telephone service only in combination with an internet connection.
Providers for Voice over IP Phone Service via ADSL
Since mobile phones have become increasingly popular in Germany, the number of public phones has declined greatly. However, you will still be able to find public phones at train and underground stations, near bus stops and post offices, as well as inside tourist attractions, bars and restaurants. In 2011, there were about 66,000 public phones left (compared to 110,000 in 2006). Most of them are only usable with pre-paid calling cards or for reaching 0800 free-call numbers (no small change accepted). However, emergency services such as police (110) and fire department (112) are always free of charge.
- Germany’s Phone Directory
- Emergency Numbers (link German-only)
- Country Calling Codes (For international calls from Germany, dial 00 + country code.)
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