Over ten years ago, long before social networks or the spread of the web, the state monopoly on the phone network in Germany ceased. Many new and diverse players entered the market and developed. The old champion Deutsche Telekom was privatised and reinvented itself several times while numerous mobile companies established themselves. The largest telekoms players are are Vodafone and Telekom followed by E-Plus and O2.
Similar to other countries, mobile (Mobil) and land line (Festnetz) operations have separated and reunited. Packages for mobile, land line, internet broadband, mobile broadband and tv can be obtained from several providers. And naturally, it possible to pick and choose individual services.
Unfortunately, competition is so fierce that often the battle is fought at the expense of consumers. Some customers wishing to change to another provider have spoken of disastrous periods of no service at all. However, prices have fallen drastically in the market and service on the whole has improved quite well.
The two largest companies are Vodafone and Telekom, with E-Plus and O2 hard on their heels. Low cost competition has been on the rise for some time. Some of these companies belong to the big four. Prepaid contracts are available, some specialised in calls to foreign countries.
Four major players as well as low cost subsidiaries exist. Mobile broadband is available and connections to the home can be supplied if needed. Most worthwhile contracts are for twelve or twenty-four months while pay as you go deals can be purchased for mobile broadband.
The major provider of land lines (Festnetz) is Telekom, with mobile suppliers such as Vodafone, O2 and E-Plus also offering package deals. Stores can be found on almost each and every block, figuratively speaking. Competition is strong, consumers need to be aware of hiccups.