Why Is German Internet So Bad: True Answer

Jun 16, 2021Internet, Living in Germany

Germany is Europe’s technological leader but somehow it fails to provide a reliable, high-speed internet connection across the country. No wonder, this issue receives much attention from expats living in Germany. But is the internet really that bad in Germany as they say? Well, while visiting and living in different countries, I could say, there is still some place for improvement.

If you also have lived or visited other countries, you might have noticed that the internet in Germany is far from the best in the world. In fact, “third world country” Ukraine can offer you much better deal than the European capital of technology and innovation. In this article, we explain what you can expect from the German internet and the main reasons for our disappointment.

Internet Speed in Germany

Accordingly to the statistics, Germany is on the spot 25 among all other countries when it comes to internet speed. The speed test was made in 2019, where the main parameter was downloading a 5GB file. Taiwan is leading the rankings with a speed of 85Mbps.

CountrySpeed Mbps
Taiwan85
Singapore70
Sweden55
Denmark49
Japan42
Luxembourg41
Netherlands40
Switzerland38
Andorra38
Spain36
Belgium35
United States32
Latvia32
New Zealand32
Estonia31
Hong Kong31
Hungary31
Lithuania30
France30
Slovakia29
Finnland29
Canada28
Slovenia27
Germany24
Source: The original document

In 2019 was made another research by Speedtest Global Index where Germany ended up on a spot 31 with a speed of 69 Mbps for broadband and on a spot 45 with a speed of 31 Mbps for mobile. Leaders of the ranking in the broadband speed:

Singapore 199 Mbps
Hong Kong 168 Mbps
Monaco 137 Mbps
Romania 136 Mbps
South Korea 132 Mbps
Hungary 122 Mbps
Sweden 120 Mbps
The United States 117 Mbps
Switzerland 117 Mbps
Liechtenstein 115 Mbps

Source: Speedtest Gobal Index

So all you who are working online, look into Romania or Hungary for relocation.

Leaders of the ranking in the mobile speed:

Norway 67 Mbps
Canada 65 Mbps
Qatar 60 Mbps
Netherlands 60 Mbps
Australia 58 Mbps
South Korea 54 Mbps
UAE 53 Mbps
Singapore 53 Mbps
Switzerland 51 Mbps
Denmark 50 Mbps

Source: Speedtest Gobal Index

Nonetheless, the global average internet speed has increased from about 9 Mbps in 2017 to over 11 Mbps in 2019. So Germany has shown relatively high speed overall. But it’s still a shame to be the last in Europe.

The biggest determinate in the internet speed is whether you have a fiber optic or DSL installed. Hence, there is a huge difference in speed between these two. The survey was made for broadband internet connection, including DSL.

Nonetheless, Germany is one of the slowest countries in Europe to implement fiber optics.

Also, the internet is faster in some German cities than others. Surprisingly, Mannheim (144 Mbit/s) and Stuttgart (140 Mbit/s) are the fastest. City Erfurt is the slowest with 84 Mbit/s on average.

Average internet speed of the largest cities in Germany:

  • Frankfurt 130 Mbit/s
  • Cologne 110 Mbit/s
  • Hamburg 102 Mbit/s
  • Berlin 99 Mbit/s
  • Munich 88 Mbit/s

There are also regional differences in internet speed in Germany. In some less populated areas, like eastern Germany, speed is on the lower end and prices are higher.

For example, in the state of Saxony, we can see the average speed of 94 Mbit/s in the big cities, while it’s averaging only 30 Mbit/s outside the city. But in well-developed Bavaria, this gap is less significant, and so even in a rural area, you will have a speed of (91 Mbit/s).

In smaller cities, people have fewer providers and internet deals to choose from. This often leads to higher prices than in larger cities.

Outside the big cities, most residents have to rely on DSL from Telekom, where internet users often pay a so-called regional surcharge.

Overall the fastest internet providers in Germany are:

Also read: Best internet providers in Germany.

Check coverage and compare internet deals in Germany

To check which internet coverage and speed is available in your location check out the online comparison Verivox. Here you can find the fastest and cheapest internet deals and current discounts. The website will allow you to make a purchase directly from the provider.

Mobile Internet Speed in Germany

When it comes to mobile data, I often experience only 3G on my iPhone. Yes, 4G isn’t available everywhere in Germany, does it make sense to mention 5G?

The German 4G network for mobile is also one of the worst in Europe, both in average speed and availability. Nonetheless, users pay one of the highest prices in Europe for it.

Moreover, when you take a train between cities, expect your mobile connection and mobile internet to get worse or even to disappear.

A study from 2018 from the federal network agency concluded that only 1,6% of German smartphone users have the promised internet speeds.

Where in Europe Internet is Fastest in 2021?

Speed for DSL or broadband connection:

1. Switzerland: 180.17 Mbps
2. Denmark: 170.10 Mbps
3. Romania: 160.87 Mbps
4. Andorra: 160.17 Mbps
5. Iceland: 158.52 Mbps
6. Hungary: 150.42 Mbps
7. Sweden: 140.39 Mbps
8. Spain: 138.85 Mbps
9. Malta: 120.16 Mbps
10. France: 118.94 Mbps
11. Norway: 110.22 Mbps
12. Liechtenstein: 110.11 Mbps
13. Luxembourg: 108.68 Mbps
14. Netherlands: 102.43 Mbps
15. Germany: 100.11 Mbps
16. Portugal: 91.77 Mbps
17. Finland: 90.12 Mbps
18. Poland: 85.37 Mbps
19. Belgium: 84.89 Mbps
20. Moldova: 83.31 Mbps
21. Lithuania: 82.56 Mbps
22. Latvia: 82.71 Mbps
23. Ireland: 82.17 Mbps
24. Slovakia: 81.63 Mbps
25. Slovenia: 77.25 Mbps
26. United Kingdom 75.87 Mbps
27. Czechia: 62.88 Mbps
28. Serbia: 59.11 Mbps
29. Ukraine: 57.06 Mbps
30. Italy: 56.89 Mbps
31. Bulgaria: 53.11 Mbps

However, this survey doesn’t include fiber optic, which is widely available in many of those countries. For example, Ukraine has super-fast internet in many cities, because fiber is very common.

Internet Technology in Germany

The most common broadband internet connection used in Germany is DSL or cable. Most of the households and businesses still don’t have an optical fiber connection.

DSL

DSL is still commonly used internet technology in Germany. DSL brings a connection into your home through telephone lines and allows the household to use the internet and make telephone calls at the same time.

Fiber Optic in Germany

Internet with fiber is fast, super fast. While DSL uses copper phone lines to transmit data, fiber uses ultra-thin glass strands that carry light instead of electricity. Therefore, fiber connection can be 100 times faster than DSL.

However, fast fiber optic internet connection is still coming to Germany. The country is only starting to invest in the expansion of fiber internet. State planned to develop the fiber coverage across the country in the coming years.

By 2030, Telekom plans to provide fiber to 60% of households in Germany, so fingers crossed.

In mid. 2019, the number of connected to optic households was around 4 million, which is still super low when looking at the total population of 83 million.

Many of Germany’s major cities aren’t yet connected to the fiber-optic network. The majority of fiber technology can be found in Berlin. Among the 20 largest German cities, Cologne, Munich, and Hamburg are currently in first place for fiber optic expansion.

Yet, fiber connection is expensive in Germany when comparing to other countries. Moreover, Germany is one of the slowest countries in Europe to implement fiber optics.

For comparison: at the same time South Korea was already implementing fiber optic by the beginning of the 21st century.

Check if fiber optic is available in your city. Also, you can sign for the best internet deal on this website.

Internet Coverage in Germany

The availability of internet connection and speed varies widely throughout Germany and depends on the development of the area.

Internet options DSL 16000 (16 Mbit/s) and VDSL 50 are available in almost all of Germany and VDSL 100 or 250 in some parts of it. However, in more rural areas, you will get only a 16 Mbit basic connection. Though, fiber optic is faster than the VDSL solution.

Generally speaking, the internet in Germany is decent, although there are still non-trivial areas of the country (including some urban areas) where you can only get a relatively slow connection (below 5 Mbit/s). In the rest of the country, you easily get a decent (100 Mbit/s) connection.

Especially urban areas can offer you good coverage and speeds, but some regions lack high-speed internet. Also, the mobile connection can be quite bad and expensive in comparison to other countries.

Why Mobile Data Is So Expensive in Germany?

You might have noticed that the internet on your mobile phone is quite expensive, especially if you want to get a solid amount of GBs. Customers in Germany pay on average around 15 EUR for 3GB. Most of the people sign for a deal of 5 GB for 25 EUR per month.

Whereas in some countries you can get 10GB for few backs. Moreover, a report on mobile data pricing across the European Union states that German data prices are among the most expensive in the EU.

While a GB of mobile data volume costs on average, over 24 EUR in Germany, in the UK it costs 7 EUR and in Finland only 1,6 EUR. However, I am quite skeptical of this report, since you can get 1 GB of data already for 7-8 EUR.

One of the cheapest and reliable mobile providers in Germany is O2, they have simple and affordable prepaid SIM cards such as Prepaid S (3,5 GB) for just 9,99 EUR or Free M (20GB) if you want to have more data.

By far the cheapest and fastest mobile internet you will find here. 9,99 EUR per month, packages include from 5 GB to 15 GB of 4G internet. It’s a steal.

Studies were made on the price of the internet in several countries. So if we take 30 EUR and see how much internet it will get you in Europe, the following will be as a result:

  1. Leading counties providing up to 500 GB for 30 EUR – Lithuania, Slovak Republic, Latvia, Estonia, Croatia, Netherlands, Bulgaria, Finnland, UK, Denmark.
  2. Whereas in Germany it will get you about 30 GB, and in Austria, you might get around 60 GB.

Source: Settle-in-berlin.com.

Best Internet Providers in Germany

If you are looking for the best internet providers in Germany, here are the top companies and their best deals.

O2

O2 is headquarters in Munich and is the second biggest telecommunication provider after Telecom. In addition to the home internet, they offer a wide range of products and services, including, phones, sim cards, mobile internet, etc.

In other countries, you might recognize O2 as a Telefónica. O2 offers different internet deals for individuals, young people (students), and even for the self-employed. 

The download speed can be up to 250 Mbps and upload is up to 40 Mbps. With O2 a customer can enjoy a DSL connection that delivers broadband internet. The upload speed will depend if it’s a cable-based connection or DSL. You can select which connection you prefer during the ordering process. 

The XXL tariff with fiber optic is only available regionally. There are 4 main internet deals. All of them can be without a contract (with no minimum time) or standard – 24 months. 

O2 offers the following DSL deals without a minimum contract:

Plus you need to calculate a single expense of 69,99 EUR for the setup (for all deals).

Rates for internet with a contact are always lower: 

  • O2 my Home S – 14,99 EUR monthly, from the 13th months 24,99 EUR
  • O2 my Home M – 19,99 EUR monthly, from the 13th months 29,99 EUR
  • O2 my Home L – 24,99 EUR monthly, from the 13th months 34,99 EUR
  • O2 my Home XL – 34,99 EUR monthly, from the 13th months 44,99 EUR

Speed

Moreover, O2 packages without a contract have similar benefits as with the contract:

  • Same maximum speed
  • Unlimited data volume per month (from deal M) – endless internet
  • German landline with a flat rate for other landlines and German mobile phones

If you want to have affordable internet also on your phone in Germany, you need to get a local SIM card. Check out this article where we review the best sim card deals.

1&1

1&1 is one of the best internet providers in Germany, which also offers DSL deals without a contract, among all others products and services. The company uses Telekom (the biggest telecommunication company in Germany) lines. Unlike the O2, the 1&1 packages have a notice period of 3 months, so you must let a company know in advance. 

This internet provider has one of the fastest broadband and fiber deals in the country. 

Customers can select between a wide range of internet options, starting from speed to connection type. Speed starts from 16 Mbit/s all the way up to 250 Mbit/s and even 1 Gbit/s for people with special needs. Compared to other internet providers 1&1 offers very competitive rates and great service.

Flexible deals of 1&1 include: 

When signing for a normal contract (24 months) clients enjoy great discounts, so the first 6 months you will pay only the fraction of the price

  • DSL 16 – first 6 months 9,99 EUR, after 29,99 EUR monthly
  • DSL 50 – first 6 months 14,99 EUR, after 34,99 EUR monthly
  • DSL 100 – first 6 months 9,99 EUR, after 39,99 EUR monthly – best deal!
  • DSL 250 – first 6 months 19,99 EUR, after 49,99 EUR monthly
  • GLASFASER 1.000 – first 6 months 39,99 EUR, after 69,99 EUR monthly

Same as with normal DSL rates, you will receive a full DSL connection including a flat rate landline for German numbers, including mobile. All flexible deals from 1&1 can be tested for one month, to see if you like them. Moreover, dissatisfied customers get their money back. 

Moreover, 1&1 has some special deals for young people such as students or appreciates, check it down below. 

M-net

M-net has more of a regional focus with headquarter in Munich. They offer a wide variety of packages without a contract. In addition to the optical fiber internet, M-net offers SIM cards with mobile data, deals start already from 9,99 EUR. Surfing speed is ranging between 25 Mbit/s and 600 Mbit/s.

M-net pricing is similar to the 1&1 and very beneficial for signing clients. You will get the first 6 months more than a 50% discount, and later you can consider paying the normal price or switching the provider. 

Broadband deals (fiber): 

  • Surf-Flat 25 – 24,90 EUR
  • Surf-Flat 50 – first 6 months 14,90 EUR after 29,90 EUR, 
  • Surf-Flat 100 – first 6 months 14,90 EUR after 34,90 EUR
  • Surf-Flat 300 – first 6 months 14,90 EUR after 39,90EUR – best deal
  • Surf-Flat 600 – first 6 months 14,90 EUR after 54,90 EUR

Speed

  • Surf-Flat 25 – 25 download, upload up to 5 Mbit/s – that’s very slow
  • Surf-Flat 50 – 50 download, upload up to 10 Mbit/s
  • Surf-Flat 100 – 100 download, upload up to 40 Mbit/s
  • Surf-Flat 300 – 300 download, upload up to 100 Mbit/s
  • Surf-Flat 600 – 600 download, upload up to 200 Mbit/s

M-net has a special offer for young people under 25 years old for just 29,99 EUR without additional setup costs. 

If you want also a phone to be included, check out these deals

Moreover, all providers have special internet deals for students! They can be with or without a contract, as you wish. 

Also, read Best SIM cards in Germany (for students and more!).

Compare Interner Providers on Verivox

You can also use the platform Verivox to compare internet providers in Germany. It gives an overview of all rates and terms of the companies.

Recommended products and services in Germany:

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