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The German state monopoly, Deutsche Telekom dominated the German telecom market until 1998, with high prices and sometimes slow service. Since then it has been gradually privatized and the market deregulated to allow competitors to enter and control interconnection charges.
Even though the majority of fixed lines are still operated by Deutsche Telekom, competition has reduced charges, especially for long-distance calls. This is mainly due to customers being able to use alternative providers by dialing a special prefix before their call (see our section on call by call for further details).
Phone calls are charged per minute, including even local calls ( das Ortsgespräch). This explains why Germans don't spend as much time on the phone as some other nationalities, such as Americans. If you are staying with a host family, be aware that you shouldn't talk for a long time like you do at home, even when calling a friend across the street.
Rates vary considerably, depending on time of day and distance. Calls are much cheaper between 18:00-09:00 and all day at weekends and on national public holidays. The lowest rate is between 21:00 and early morning, which applies to long-distance calls in particular.
For international calls, reduced rates are charged for some countries at certain times of day. Please note that calling from a mobile has different and usually higher tariffs

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