Public telephones

  • 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 may use cash to pay but a more convenient way of payment are telephone cards, which can be obtained 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 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: here (only in German!).

Mobile phones (called 'Handy' in Germany)

Since most Germans have a mobile phone, public pay-phones have become increasingly rare. The mobile phone network operators in Germany are T-Mobile, Vodafone and Telefónica. These operators have their own shops (T-Mobile is the mobile branch of the Deutsche Telekom, you find them in the “T-Punkt“ stores), where you can get further information. Additionally, you can look up rates and rate comparisons (also from discounters) on www.handytarife.de/anbieter (only in German!). There are huge differences in prices, rates, services and monthly charges, but generally speaking you can distinguish between:

  • Pre-Paid: no contract, no minimum contract period, no minimum monthly turnover
  • Contracts: duration of mostly 2 years (cannot be cancelled ahead of time!), sometimes with minimum monthly turnover, but you will receive an inexpensive modern mobile phone

Private landline

As calling costs via mobile phones or public telephones may be quite expensive, it is recommended to have a landline installed if you plan on staying in Germany for a longer period of time. 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 flat it is recommended to assume responsibility of the existing telephone line of the previous tenant, as the costs for installing a new line are significantly higher.

Once you have set up a telephone connection with the Deutsche Telekom, it is possible to 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.

Alternatively, you could set up your private landline using certain mobile network operators or TV/cable providers. Please inform yourself about the existing possibilties in your area.

Telephone directories

Telephone directories are available online. Here (only in German!) you can access the following directories: “Das Örtliche” (the local phone directory for your city), “Das Telefonbuch” (the national phone directory) and the commercial directory “Gelbe Seiten” (yellow pages).

National directory assistance by Deutsche Telekom (costs: €1.99 per minute when calling form a German landline, other costs may apply when calling from a mobile phone): Tel. + 49 11833 (in German) or +49 11837 (in English) or +11836 (in Turkish)