Germany - Phone
Deutsche Telekom is the national provider.
Mobile Phones (handy)
- There are many service providers to choose from. Most offer deals where you purchase a phone fairly cheaply, and are then locked in to a 2-year contract.
- Alternatively, a pre-paid mobile phone account is easy to set up. Buy a card for the amount you want (in euros) and remember to top your account up when the money is getting low (a voice will interrupt your dialing and tell you this when you are running low, or have no money left).
- If your money runs out you can still receive calls even though you can't make them. (The same thing happens if you don't pay your Deutsche Telekom bill - although you can still use a phonecard to make cheap calls from your home phone, as they use 0800 numbers!)
Operator assisted calls
- Operator assisted calls can be made by dialing:
0 10 for calls within Germany
00 10 for international calls
- Directory assistance (Germany) 11 8 33
Directory assistance (International) 11 8 34
Directory assistance (English) 0800 338 35 35
- To arrange a telephone connection call 0 11 71 (free call). If you don't have a work phone or mobile phone to call this number from, there are numerous T-Punkte (Telekom Points) that you can go to in person to arrange a connection. These points are listed on page 2 of the telephone directory.
- Getting the phone connected takes between 4 and 10 days (another example of German service).
You can choose between analog or ISDN. There is a waiting period for DSL. If you want an itemised invoice then you have to specifically ask for it.
- There is a choice of long distance carriers. Deutsche Telekom has its own 'cheap' number. Just dial 0 100 23 before the long distance code. You can also buy phonecards from dealers who have premises close to the larger train stations. These phone cards will give you a much better deal, although you need to shop around for the right card. The rates change depending on the season and the country you wish to dial. The shop will display posters for each different brand of phonecard, advertising the rates to different countries. If it gets all too confusing, ask the staff which card they recommend for your dialing destination. Buying a 20 euro phonecard may offer a better rate than a 5 euro phonecard of the same brand!
- Public phones come in two types: coin operated or card operated. You can buy phone cards "Telefonkarte" from stationers, some cafes and Getränkemarkts. If you're not sure, just ask. Coin operated machines take all silver and gold coins. The minimum call charge is 10 cents. The cards you buy for cheap international calls can also be used. Make sure you dial the number for the "Telefonzelle". Phone boxes are normally grey and are recognisable by a magenta stripe around the top.
- If you wish to acquire a telephone book, they can be ordered from:
Deutsche Telekom Niederlassung Würzburg
Tel: + 49 (0) 931 333 319
- This service is not free, and you will be charged for delivery and the price of the books. Telephone books are issued free once a year around March or April. A pick up card "Abholkarte" is delivered to your home. You can then take the card to the pick up location and pick up the books. Alternatively you can have the books delivered to your home, but you have to pay a delivery fee of around 10 euros.
There is also an on-line version of the phonebook for all of Germany at website: www.dastelefonbuch.de
- The first thing that you will notice when you look in the phonebook is how inconsistent the phone numbers are. The number of digits varies from 3 for emergency numbers, anywhere between 5 and 10 for "regular phone numbers", and mobile phone numbers have 11 digits. The spacing of the numbers is also written inconsistently and often there will be a hyphen towards the end of the number. The numbers after the hyphen are an extension. Generally you can dial all the numbers at once to get through to your desired conversation partner. The numbers before the extension alone will not get you through to the switchboard. Often you need to dial an additional zero, but this is not a hard and fast rule, so make sure before you dial!
- The alphabetical order of the phone book may also vary to that in your dictionary. In the phone book, ä, ö and ü are alphabetised as though they are spelt 'ae', 'oe' and 'ue', rather than a, o and u. If you're looking up a word spelt with an umlaut, look from the back of the book, and then from the front of the book to make sure you don't fall into the umlaut trap!
- Whenever Germans recite a phone number, they tend to pair the digits. This can be very confusing, as German numbers are 'backwards'. For instance, instead of saying twenty-seven, they say seven and twenty. So be very careful not to make a mistake when transcribing phone numbers!