You find phone booths in public areas, but their number is steadily decreasing. Nowadays, very few phone booths operate with cash. Most public phones require telephone cards, which can be bought in amounts of € 5, € 10 or € 15 at T-Punkt-stores, at post offices, and at tobacco/newspaper shops.
Germany has a huge telecommunications market and there is a wide selection of companies offering their services. Setting up a landline telephone connection you have a choice between a telephone cable and a TV-cable. Prices and conditions vary considerably whether you order only a telephone line or a package together with internet access. You might also contact your landlord about whether he or she has a special agreement with a certain provider.
Call-by-call services offer less expensive rates, mainly for long distance calls further than 50 kilometers. Especially calls to foreign countries can be considerably cheaper than the ordinary rates. As this is an additional service, you need a landline telephone at home or you have to make the call from a phone booth. Only certain providers allow call-by-call so you might want to check before signing up with a provider.
In order to use call-by-call you just dial a special prefix number before the number you are calling. Before being connected, you normally will be told the cost per minute for the call.
There are hundreds of companies offering these services. Each of them has different rates for the respective countries with the rates changing quite frequently. So if you regularly make phone calls to your home country, it is worth to check and find out the cheapest offer.
For current rates access www.billiger-telefonieren.de.
In Germany you have the choice between two schemes:
If you already have a mobile phone, you can also only get a SIM card.
A contract usually lasts for two years. There are two types of contracts: Either you pay a monthly fee together with the expenses for each call or you pay a flat rate. The advantages of a contract are generally lower calling rates and better deals on new phones.
With prepaid cards, you have maximum flexibility since you pay as you go. If your credit expires, you simply buy new credit at telephone stores, kiosks and supermarkets, or online.