- All service numbers starting with 0800 can be called free of charge. Numbers starting with 0900 are usually high-priced.
- Most of the public phone booths are operated by the Deutsche Telekom (only in German!). You can use cash to pay, but more convenient for payment are telephone cards, which you can obtain at the 'T-Punkt' (Deutsche Telekom shop) and at the post office.
- Other public telephones are located in internet cafes, where international calling rates are often cheaper.
- Calling cards (using the 0800 prefix and a PIN) are accepted at most telephone booths and offer a cheap alternative for calls abroad.
Be sure to inform yourself in advance about the exact rates, conditions and validity among the different calling card providers. Further information can be found here (only in German!).
Mobile phones (called 'Handy' in Germany)
Since most Germans possess a mobile phone, public pay-phones have become increasingly rare. The major mobile phone network operators in Germany are T-Mobile, Vodafone and Telefónica. These operators have their own shops, where you will find further information (T-Mobile is the mobile branch of the Deutsche Telekom, you find them in the 'T-Punkt' stores). There are huge differences in prices, rates, services and monthly charges but, generally speaking, you can distinguish between:
- Prepaid: no contract, no minimum running time
- Contracts: duration of 2 years (cannot be cancelled ahead of time!), with monthly costs, but you will receive an inexpensive modern mobile phone
Additionally, you can look up rates and rate comparisons (also from discounters) on www.handytarife.de/anbieter (only in German!).
As calling costs via mobile phone or public telephones are quite expensive, it is recommended to have a private landline installed, if the duration of phone use is to be for a longer time period. In Germany there are currently many options.
The standard way is to go with the Deutsche Telekom or 'T-Punkt'. When moving into a new apartment, it is recommended to take over the existing telephone line of the previous tenant, as connection costs for a new line are significant.
Once you have established a telephone connection with the Deutsche Telekom, you can easily take advantage of cheaper telephone rates through other contractors by dialing a prefix prior to each call.
A list of the current rates from various contractors can be found at: www.teltarif.de or www.billiger-telefonieren.de (both pages only in German!). The costs for these calls through the contractors will be automatically included in your telephone bill.
Another alternative is to use a mobile network operator or TV/cable provider for your private landline.
Telephone directories are available online. Here (only in German!) you can access the following phonebooks:
- Das Örtliche for your city, Das Telefonbuch is the national phone directory and the commercial directory is called Gelbe Seiten (yellow pages).
- National directory assistance by Deutsche Telekom (of course, there are also a lot of other providers), costs: minimum €1,99:
Tel. + 49 11833 (in German) or +49 11837 (in English) or +11836 (in Turkish)