Mobile Internet too expensive in Germany

It is true that mobile Internet has become cheaper in Germany in recent years. Compared with the rest of Europe, however, German users still pay a surprisingly high price per gigabyte. But why is that?

Consumer advocates are increasingly complaining about the high cost of mobile Internet in Germany. “The bare figures show that we have some of the most expensive fees and prices for mobile communications and mobile Internet in Germany,” says the head of the Federation of German Consumer Organizations, Klaus Müller. A price comparison by the association had shown that mobile data volumes in neighboring countries such as France and Italy, but especially in the eastern EU states of Estonia, Romania and Poland, were significantly cheaper than in this country.

This is why the costs for mobile Internet in Germany are so high

“That leaves us dissatisfied,” Müller said. He said there was no comprehensible reason for the price difference – other than too little competition on the German market. “There is a very great need in Germany to become digitally even faster – and then please also cheaper,” he stressed. To achieve this, he said, there needs to be more competition. For example, by shortening contract periods. Politicians should not listen to what the Internet and telephone companies want, but ask what consumers want: “They want more flexibility and low prices.”

Mobile providers see things somewhat differently. They explain the high costs for mobile Internet in Germany primarily with the higher fixed costs. According to Vodafone, high investments in the billions are needed to provide Germany with nationwide high-speed Internet. The very expensive frequencies should not be underestimated either. Provider Telefònica/O2, on the other hand, also cites the higher labor costs and the usually complex approval procedures due to higher bureaucratic hurdles as arguments.

The differences between LTE, 4G and 5G.

Inexpensive mobile Internet important

Especially in rural areas and in the post-Corona era, fast and inexpensive mobile Internet is important – not only for answering messages, sending photos and navigating the car while on the move, but also for working. “Many commercial enterprises need fast Internet to offer their products and services,” Müller said.

According to the comparison by the Federation of German Consumer Organizations, a gigabyte of mobile data volume in a data-only plan cost an average of 3.35 euros in Germany in 2019 – the same as in the United Kingdom and slightly less than in Spain (3.58 euros). In France, by contrast, the average price paid was EUR 3.18, in Italy only EUR 1.65, and in Poland as little as EUR 0.83.

Costs for mobile Internet in European comparison
The cost of mobile Internet in a European comparison Photo: Federation of German Consumer Organizations

According to the D21 initiative, 80 percent of over 14-year-olds in Germany used mobile Internet last year. According to the Federal Network Agency, consumers still used 2.76 billion gigabytes of mobile data volume in 2019; a year later, it was already 3.97 billion gigabytes.


  • Federation of German Consumer Organizations

With material from dpa