Most households in Berlin surf the internet via DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) or fiber optics. DSL connections are available throughout the Berlin area, whereas fiber optics are not available everywhere. The price of a connection and the rate depend on the provider and the contract period. We recommend booking a flat rate – this way you can surf 24/7 at a fixed price and avoid additional costs.
Compare the terms and conditions of different providers in advance with an independent rate calculation tool.
Many providers offer a combined DSL and telephone flat rate contract. The telephone flat rate for your landline connection includes unlimited calls to the German landline network for a monthly flat rate – as does the DSL flat rate. If you also want to make calls abroad from your home via a flat rate, inquire about a corresponding offer before agreeing to a rate. Many providers offer flat rates to your country of choice. Alternatively, you can reach your friends and family abroad via internet telephone. Internet telephone calls are free of charge and the largest providers are Skype, WhatsApp, Facetime (Apple) and sipgate.
If you are already registered on one of the social networks, for example Facebook or Instagram, you can use the app’s own audio and video chat options for your calls.
Another option is a call-by-call service. In this case, you make a telephone call from your connection via a so-called economy prefix. Use a search engine to find the country you want and the keywords call-by-call or call-through.
Many DSL and telephone providers provide you with informational material and sign-up forms in several languages. Ask your provider!
Immediately Upon Arrival: Mobile Telephoning and Surfing
If you are new to Berlin and want to make mobile phone calls or surf the internet straight away, you can buy a SIM card – the so-called prepaid card – that can be used immediately in almost all Berlin supermarkets, drugstores, electronics stores and gas stations. You can activate this card directly on your phone or online. Registration before use is required by law in Germany. Foreign addresses are usually not accepted. If you do not have a permanent address, you can enter your name with a c/o address or the address of the hotel where you are currently staying.
Most of the time, the application procedures are in German. Ask a colleague or friend for help with registering your SIM. Alternatively, you can also use an online translator.
On the Move and Online: Berlin’s Mobile Phone Providers
At the present time there are only three major mobile phone providers in Berlin: Telefonica/O2, Telekom and Vodafone. However, the three giants are split into a total of about 50 smaller providers, such as congstar, ALDI Talk, 1und1, Fonic and many more.
Almost all providers have both prepaid offers and contract rates on the market with a monthly basic fee. If you make a relatively large number of calls and frequently surf the internet, a flat-rate tariff with a flat rate is recommended. For infrequent users, we recommend per-minute packages or prepaid cards. If you want to make cheap calls to your EU home country, ask about an EU roaming flat rate before signing a contract – this offers unlimited calls abroad at a fixed price.
Television in Berlin: Broadcasting License Fees are Compulsory
Every Berlin household is required to pay broadcasting license fees to the German broadcasting contribution service – you pay a monthly subscription of €17.50 per household, regardless of the number of people living in the household. As soon as you have moved into your apartment or house, you are obliged to register for the broadcasting contribution.
There are several ways to receive TV in Berlin. Here is an overview of the most important options:
You will need an indoor or roof antenna. Please ask your landlord/landlady if your house has a roof antenna with a DVB-T decoder, which you can buy at an electronics outlet.
Ask your landlord/landlady if your apartment has a cable connection. You will be charged basic or connection fees as well as cable access fees. The fee amount depends on the cable provider.
You need a satellite antenna and a satellite receiver. You need the landlord’s consent to install the antenna. There are no monthly charges for satellite reception.
You will need a fast internet connection. This guarantees uninterrupted television viewing. The monthly costs for internet television depend on the provider.