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Internet Providers in Germany

Written by
Janine El-Saghir
Whether you're a remote worker or just seeking a reliable and fast internet connection for your new home in Germany, in this guide we look at the top internet service providers, available connection types and important considerations for securing the ideal internet contract to meet your needs.
At a glance...
  • DSL, cable, and fiber are the main ways of getting a home internet connection in Germany. The options available to you depend on the infrastructure installed at your house or apartment. Enter your address on any major internet provider website (Telekom, Vodafone, 1&1, O2) to check availability.
  • Telekom is the best internet provider in Germany and has the best DSL coverage. Vodafone offers the fastest internet connection through TV cable. 1&1 and O2 are cheaper alternatives.
  • An internet contract is typically for 2 years. After this, you can terminate it with a one-month notice. Telekom, 1&1 and O2 also offer internet plans without contract.

DSL, fiber or hybrid 5G internet connection (up to 1000 Mbit/s)
Monthly, 12-month or 24-month contract
Excellent network coverage
Mobile app in English
€69.95 one-time connection fee
Monthly from
€19.95
Cable, DSL, fiber or 5G internet connection (up to 1000 Mbit/s)
12-month or 24-month contract
Great network coverage
Mobile app and customer service in English
Monthly from
€9.99
O2
Cable, DSL, fiber or 5G internet connection (up to 1000 Mbit/s)
Monthly or 24-month contract
Good network coverage in urban areas
Everything in German
Monthly from
€14.99

Types of internet connections in Germany

To get connected to the internet in Germany, you can choose between:

  • DSL
  • TV cable
  • Fiber optic
  • Mobile
  • Satellite

Before deciding on a specific connection type, you should find out what is available at your house/apartment. DSL and cable are the most prevalent, available in 9 out of 10 and 2 out of 3 households. Fiber optic, although less common, is a modern and high-speed internet connection found in 1 in 5 households. In situations where none of these lines are available, your only choices are mobile and satellite internet.

DSL

DSL is the most common type of internet connection in German apartments, running through the local telephone line. It offers download speeds of up to 250 Mbit/s and upload speeds of up to 50 Mbit/s. However, the exact speed largely depends on the development of your local telephone line. For instance, while almost every line can now handle 16 Mbit/s, only every second one can achieve 200 Mbit/s.

One of the main advantages of the DSL internet connection is its stability. The internet speed does not vary with the number of users.

TV cable

Cable connections, on the other hand, use television cable lines to provide internet access. They offer speeds of up to 1000 Mbit/s for download and 200 Mbit/s for upload. However, as cable users share the line with their neighbors, internet speed can drop when many people are online simultaneously.

One important thing to note with TV cable connections is that the choice of providers is limited. You can only select the provider that operates the line in your building. Usually, your landlord can tell you who that is.

Fiber optic

If speed is your top priority, you might want to consider a fast internet connection through fiber optic cable. Considered a future technology, fiber connections transmit information through light signals, making them faster and less prone to disruption than DSL or cable. They can offer internet speeds of up to 1000 Mbit/s for download and 500 Mbit/s for upload, with the potential for even higher speeds.

Fiber optic connections have particularly low latencies, meaning fewer delays in video streaming or online gaming. This makes them the best internet connection for heavy internet users.

Mobile

Mobile internet connections, such as 4G, LTE, and the emerging 5G, provide a practical alternative for those who don’t have a reliable home internet connection, especially in rural areas where fast internet is often still in short supply. However, it’s important to note that mobile internet is not a full replacement for a home internet connection. Many mobile internet plans limit the data volume or only have mediocre reception in certain locations.

Despite these limitations, mobile internet plans are an excellent solution for commuters, gardens, campsites, and holiday homes.

Satellite

Lastly, satellite internet connections are a niche solution primarily used by sailors or cruisers. They come with high acquisition costs, offer a relatively low internet speed, and often limit the data volume.

Nonetheless, in certain scenarios, they could be the only connection type available.

Important to know about an internet contract in Germany

Before choosing an internet plan and concluding a contract, consider the internet speed you need, the contract term, potential price increases and router costs.

Internet speed

The most important factor when choosing an internet contract is the appropriate download speed.

  • If you only need the internet connection for basic tasks such as emailing, watching YouTube videos, and occasional Netflix streaming, then 25 megabits per second (Mbit/s) should suffice.
  • If you work from home or share your house with others who do the same, you might require higher speeds, ranging from 50-100 Mbit/s to 200 Mbit/s.
  • For those who do lots of video streaming and online gaming, a cable or fiber optic plan with the fastest download speed available (1000 Mbit/s) is advisable.

Keep in mind that the actual internet speed you get will always be slightly slower than advertised.

Minimum contract term

It’s common for German internet providers to offer home internet plans on 2-year contracts. After this initial term, you can terminate the contract by giving a one-month notice.

For those who are only staying in Germany for a short period, like students studying for a semester, internet service providers like Telekom, 1&1, and O2 offer flexible internet plans that can be cancelled every month.

Price increases

Some internet providers in Germany may adjust their prices after the first 6–12 months of a contract. Look at the full price of the contract and not only at the special offer for the first months.

Router costs

Most internet providers offer routers for rent, usually for about €5 per month. However, if you have your own router, you can save these costs.

Plus, if you frequently struggle with your wireless internet reception, investing in a decent internet router for €100–200 would be a more cost-effective solution than booking the cheapest rental model included in the contract.

Best internet providers in Germany

The vast majority of Germans get their internet from one of the four major providers:

  • Telekom
  • Vodafone
  • 1&1
  • O2

These four big internet providers offer reasonably priced plans considering the internet speed and coverage of their networks, making them competitive with local internet providers and other internet providers.

They also offer discounts if you add TV, landline, or mobile plans with your internet contract, if you’re under 28 years old, or if you switch from another internet provider. They all have physical stores, so you don’t have to wait on the customer hotline if you have a question.

Telekom

Telekom is the biggest and best internet provider in Germany and offers the best DSL internet connection. The company emerged from Deutsche Telekom, operating the telephone network, and thus, has the best DSL coverage, especially in rural areas.

Their basic DSL tariff is €19.95 per month (€42.95 from the 7th month) for up to 50 Mbit/s download and up to 20 Mbit/s upload speed. While Telekom is usually a bit more expensive compared to other internet service providers in Germany, their extensive coverage makes them a reliable choice, especially for those living outside major cities.

Vodafone

Vodafone is the second-largest internet provider in Germany and offers the fastest cable internet connection. Unlike Telekom, Vodafone relies mostly on internet via TV cable. Here are some key facts about Vodafone’s internet service:

  • Vodafone has almost 24 million households with a cable connection.
  • Vodafone offers high-speed internet plans.
  • Vodafone’s cable internet connection is known for its reliability and speed.

If you have a Vodafone cable in your house, you have a good chance of getting cheap cable internet access, either with Vodafone or with one of their partners, Eazy or O2. Their cheapest cable tariff is €9.99 per month (€39.99 from the 10th month) for up to 50 Mbit/s download and up to 25 Mbit/s upload speed.

1&1

1&1 is the third-largest internet provider in Germany and offers affordable DSL plans with reasonable internet cost. Their basic DSL tariff is €9.99 per month (€39.99 from the 13th month) for up to 50 Mbit/s download and up to 20 Mbit/s upload speed.

O2

O2 is the fourth-largest internet provider in Germany and has recently entered into a partnership with Vodafone to use their cable network. Their cheapest cable internet plan is €14.99 per month (€34.99 from the 13th month) for up to 50 Mbit/s download and up to 25 Mbit/s upload speed.

Cheapest internet plans in Germany

You can find cheap internet plans for both cable and DSL with the comparison calculators on the internet, such as Tariffuxx, Check24, and Verivox. Tariffuxx provides the most accurate prices. Check24 and Verivox offer additional portal bonuses.

How to get an internet connection in Germany?

If you’re renting, you might be able to take over the previous tenant’s contract. However, if you’ve bought your own house, you’ll likely need to set up a new connection, which could take up to two weeks for your router to be delivered and a technician to open your line.

Enter your address on any major internet provider website (Telekom, Vodafone, 1&1, O2) to see what options are available for your house/apartment. Then, choose a suitable internet plan and conclude the contract on their website.

How to terminate an internet contract?

After the end of the initial contract term, you can provide a one-month notice for termination.

Use the correct form when cancelling your contract. While some providers allow you to do this through their website, most require that you send them a letter or a fax. Don’t forget to request a confirmation from the internet provider that your contract has been cancelled. Until the provider confirms it, your contract will continue running.

How to change internet provider?

Switching from one internet provider to another can be done easily online through the new provider’s form on their website. The new internet provider will terminate your previous contract and ensure a smooth transition.

The technical change can take a few weeks. To avoid ending up without internet during this transition period, give the new internet provider notice at least 1–2 months in advance.

Summary

In conclusion, securing the right internet connection in Germany involves understanding the different types of connections, considering key aspects of an internet contract, and choosing the internet provider that best suits your needs and budget.

Frequently Asked Questions

In Germany, the main types of internet connections are DSL, cable, fiber, mobile, and satellite. Choose the one that is available at your house/apartment.

In Germany, the most common internet service providers are Telekom, Vodafone, 1&1, and O2. They all offer reasonably priced plans considering the internet speed and coverage of their networks.

You can find the cheapest internet plans in Germany by using comparison calculators such as Tariffuxx, Check24, and Verivox. These tools can help you compare different providers and their offerings to find the best internet plan for your needs.

About the author
Janine El-Saghir Read more
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