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Monopoly on telecoms in Germany is an old story. The national champion Deutsche Telekom was privatised and reinvented. Mobile development ensued, a marketplace developed and Vodafone bought in. The third big player is Telefónica with its E-Plus and O2 brands. A cable network was added to the mix, later acquired by Vodafone. In most cases, properties are able to be connected by the othe major option, Unity Media also belonging to Vodafone. Numerous sub-brands and others exist, including 1&1 and supermarket offerings.

Companies offer the full mix of packages with broadband, landline, Festnetz, mobile, Mobil, and TV, including Netflix, Prime, etcetera. Download speeds vary enormously, uploads can still be a joke, even in this important location.

Fortunately, competition in Telekoms in Düsseldorf is striong. Unfortunately that doesn’t lead to better service nor low prices. New connections can take far too long and issues are often created when changing provider to the expense of consumers. Some customers wishing to change speak of disastrous periods of no service at all. 

Smartphones and mobile use have long taken over lives in Germany too and the backbone for mobile voice and data continues to be developed. Sim packages in 4g and 5g with fancy names for the home do away with the need for a landline. Speeds and limits can also be an issue though.

Mobile only voice and data contracts are also available with such businesses such as Lebara, who are specialised in international packages in English for those who love to phone traditionally.

Many deals include the purchase of a smartphone and are lengthy, with commitment up to twenty-four months. This can be too long for many expats, who may be interested in prepaid or pay as you go contracts which are also available.

The number of contracts is vast and fine print is important for two reasons in particular. Is unlimited truly the case or do hidden limits or lower speeds exist and what happens if a move abroad suddenly becomes relevant?

Maybe other countries give hope. Finland has fast mobile coverage to all corners of the country, so vast numbers of clients have never been connected “immobile” through a cable. Just walk into a kiosk, purchase a sim card, register online and receive unlimited 4g for under € 1 per day. Or 5g.

Back to Düsseldorf, where the benefit of a landline allows conversing in a calmer manner, stores of the big four telecoms providers are found downtown and beyond.

By Vincent Green / Updated Mar 15 2024

Stack of aluminium chairs


The service environment in Germany is extremely different to that in, say, the US or the UK. Customer experience is defined both by a mix of personal attitudes and the ability to interact with others. Also a result of social tradition and a few decades of history.

Sandy beach, water and 2 women


To the surprise of newly arrived expats, some sections of the Rhine in Düsseldorf offer numerous beaches on both banks. The fine sand and shingle are ideal for walking, playing, relaxing and picnicking. Especially on warm and sunny summer days, people flock to enjoy the river. 

City guide for expats

Amazing Capitals Düsseldorf is packed with insights for expats. It is dedicated to helping international residents make better choices, settle in and participate. Enjoy!