Phones, Internet and Broadcasting
A new job, new city, new friends? For sure. Yet, contact with family and friends from home is equally important. A prerequisite to arrive properly in Baden-Württemberg, to make appointments or to find your way is to reach you easily.
An affordable internet access can be most easily obtained with a German SIM card for your mobile phone. With a German telephone number you also save money with calls to German mobiles or landlines. The installation of an internet access as well as a landline in your flat may take several weeks.
Finding the Right Provider
There is a huge number of mobile network operators. You can choose between standard network operators such as T-Mobile, Vodafone and O2 and many bargains from discounters. Network operators generally have better reception and high speed internet, but discounters are often cheaper.
You can choose between a pay-as-you-go SIM or a pay monthly SIM (with a contract). Depending on your contract you get a free smart phone. A pay-as-you-go SIM card is more flexible. You further can keep an eye on your expenses more easily as you top up your phone in advance and only can use what you paid. Frequently, pay-as-you-go SIM cards also offer monthly charges which you can cancel any time but still give you the profits of a monthly SIM.
Most providers offer cheap rates for the EU. You can use your mobile data anywhere in the EU without extra charges and independent of the provider.
You can install a landline and internet for your home as a bundle with a contract. Once again, there are several providers such as 1&1, O2 or Unity Media. It is always worth comparing these, especially as most contracts have a duration of 1 or 2 years. There also exist monthly contracts which are a bit more expensive. Installation and provision of the router is taken care of by the provider. This may take up some time. It might be possible to adopt the contract of the previous tenant? Ask your landlord about it.
If you only use the internet occasionally, you can also buy a USB WiFi dongle which you can use for your laptop. These dongles usually have less data volume but they are more mobile and they are also often cheaper.
International calls on your mobile or landline can be quite expensive. It is best to use an internet provider. Alternatively, for some countries there are special rates in the evening or during the night.
Radio and Television Licence Fee
Whether you listen to the radio during breakfast, read online news along the way or watch a film at night: media of the public service broadcasting get you informed on every day. In Germany you have to pay a fee of 17,50€ per household each month for these services.
You do not, however, have to take care about it. Shortly after your registration in your new town you will receive mail from the so called "Gebühreneinzugszentrale" (GEZ, German for TV-licence) which charges the radio and television licence fee.