Telephone service, both landline and mobile, is reliable. The Berlin telephone book is published once a year and consists of a two-part residential directory (Das TelefonBuch – Berlin) and the Yellow Pages (Gelbe Seiten). It’s free, comes out every summer and is available at the post office and various supermarkets.
Deutsche Telekom (T-Com) is the national supplier for landline phones, they offer a €10 credit for paperless billing with direct debit of payments.
http://www.telekom.com/dtag/cms/content/dt/en/startpage (Free customer service number: Tel: 0800 330 1000)
The word for telephone connection is “Telefonanschluss”. T-Com requires one week’s notice if you’re moving from place to place. Their customer service is in English, very helpful, and first-time hook-ups as well as their other services are fast and efficient. Alternatively, you can order online. (German Only)
Depending on your package, you will pay between €17.95 – €29.95 per month for your landline. Package bundles can include internet, cheap long distance calls and mobiles. They can also arrange for the rental of a phone if you desire.
A mobile phone in Germany is called a “handy.” Mobile phones can be activated immediately upon purchase, and can be found both at mobile phone providers’ flagship stores or electronic stores that carry all brands of mobile phones.
The mobile phone providers in Germany are:
- E-Plus (German only); http://www.eplus.de/
- Vodafone (an international company; German site in German only); http://www.vodafone.de/
- O2 (an international company; German site in German only); http://www.o2online.de/
- T-Mobile (this is Deutsche Telekom – see website above)
In addition to flagship stores, you can purchase a phone and a plan from leading media and electronic stores, such as:
|Saturn Electro-Handelsgesellschaft mbH||Elsenstr. 111 -114, Treptow Tel: 030 53634-0
Alte Potsdamer Str. 7, Tiergarten Tel: 030 25924-0
Alexanderplatz 8, Mitte Tel: 030 24751
|Media Markt||Krumme Str. 48, Charlottenberg Tel:030 31992-0
Greifswalder Str. 1 Prenzlauer Berg Tel: 030 49906-0
Karl-Marx-Str. 101-105, Neukölln Tel: 030 68875-0
You can choose between a pre-paid plan or a contract. Pre-paid allows you to pay as you go, recharging a minimum of €15 at a time. Contracts are usually flat rates and cost between €25 and €44 per month.
There is also a free, 24/7 national number for reporting lost or stolen mobile phones. They connect you directly to your service provider. The number is 116 116, or if outside of Germany, +49 116 116 (fees apply).
To sign up for both your landline or your mobile phone, you must present proof of ID (passport), residence registration and/or utility bill and bank details, depending on if you want to pay-as-you-go, which is a good option if you’re not sure how long you’ll be in Berlin, or a contract, for stays of two years or more.
While you will need to go into a store for your mobile phone, connection for your landline can be arranged either instore (called T-Punk), over the phone by calling T-Com’s free customer service number 0800 330 1000 or online.
Telephone bills come every month and are due within one week. Methods of payment include direct debit (Lastschrift), in person at the post office or by bank transfer (Ueberweisung), which is setup through the telephone company. As of now, there is no option available to pay by ATM machine transaction.
There are still payphones in Berlin, but with the rise of cell phone use they are becoming quite rare. Some are coin-operated, while most require telephone cards that you can purchase at newspaper stands or the post office.
Another affordable option in Berlin is Skype. Due to the speed of the internet here, the ability to make high quality calls through is service is excellent. You will need to setup a Skype account for yourself and credit your account before getting started. Check out their website for more details: http://www.skype.com