Moved into a new flat? Now you probably need Internet! Find here a regularly updated comparison tool for DSL & cable internet contracts, and some personal tips from me.
So I assume things went well for you, you’ve found a cheap apartment in Berlin’s crazy rental market, you’ve got also an electricity provider – and now you need the get the next step on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs: Internet!
Luckily, this is pretty easy at least within city limits of Berlin (and other big German cities), and to get the best deal I recommend to simply use this comparison tool that is regularly updated.
Below, I also give a little dictionary for the important terms, and also some general hints and best practices for making a contract with a German internet provider.
(And if you just want a quick tl;dr check-out: Take Vodafone. I’ve used them for years, they are pretty cheap and their customer service never disappointed me, even called me back on my mobile number after I had an issue.)
(Can’t see the table? Click this link. *)
Here’s a dictionary for the German terms in it:
|Ihre Vorwahl||Your (phone) area code. (For Berlin: 030)|
|Laufzeit||duration / term of the contract. (24 months is the legal maximum.)|
|Gewünschte Flatrates||The flat rates you want. Internet should be enough.|
|Festnetz||(Phone via) landline, fixed-line|
|Anschlussart||Connection type. DSL works via phone (landline), Kabel via the TV cable. A regular Berlin apartment should have both, however you might want to check that before: phone socket, cable socket|
|LTE||(Wireless) Internet via the mobile network. You probably should check with your mobile phone before if your apartment has LTE coverage.|
|Neukunde/Wechsler||New customer / switching customer. If you don’t have any internet connection (on your name) at your place, you are a new customer. If you do, you are a switcher. 😉|
|Tarife vergleichen||Compare tariffs|
Having lived nearly all my life in Berlin at several places, here a some little tip that I also follow .
Before you order: Can you share?
Many internet connections never use their full bandwidth, so before you subscribe to you own contract paying maybe 20 EUR per month, you might consider finding a friendly neighbour who is willing to share his or her connection for maybe 10 EUR.
Yes, the disadvantage is that in case the connection is broken and they are on holidays you might offline for a while – on the other hand you meet your neighbours.
Contract term: How long?
Next big issue is often: “For how long should I commit to a provider? Really for 2 years? Maybe I’m moving out before.” So some people prefer a short-term contract, even if it means paying more.
If you have doubts about signing a 2-year contract, here’s what you should know:
In case you move to another place during that time, you are allowed by law to transfer your contract to your new place. And if the provider cannot offer its service at your new place (or if they can offer only a slower connection) then you have the right to cancel the contract before (German: Sonderkündigungsrecht).
This is why I’m fine with my 2-year term.
Long-term: Cancel right after signing
A typical “trap” is often that customers sign a 2-year contract, then forget about it and then it gets automatically extended year after year (sometimes even with raising rates!). Often the cancellation periods are easy to miss as some providers require you to cancel even 3 months before the contract ends – and if you miss, you are tied for another year.
To avoid that, and especially if you are a forgetful person, cancel your long-term contract in advance, maybe even immediately after signing.
Don’t worry, now the provider will think about you when the contract is about to end, and make you nice offers to keep you as their customer.
No file sharing!
This one actually deserves its own article, but for now: Do not do any (torrent) file sharing! (At least not without a VPN connection.)
In the moment you send out some copyrighted material using your IP onto a file sharing network, the content owners (or their lawyers) can record your IP, go to your Internet provider, receive your address and send you a pesky Abmahnung, claiming some hundreds of Euros from you.
So make sure your Torrent clients are switched off, and also make your visiting friends aware of this before you share your WiFi data with them.
So, hope that helped – if you have more tips, feel free to add them in the comments!
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