Mobile Telephony

Chronicle of the digital Mobile Telephony in Germany

Milestones from 1992 until today (excerpt)

30.01.1989: The public announcement to license a digital mobile telephone system accordingly to the GSM Standard is being offered in the Bundesausschreibungsblatt.
30.06.1992: Mannesmann Mobilfunk GmbH starts its GSM network with the brand D2 privat.
01.07.1992: T-D1 starts its GSM network. T-D1 defers D2 privat as a symbolic gesture. The politicians wanted it.
01.11.1992: Great demand but small quantities are still the reason for exorbitant prices for mobile phone devices. Journalists and well-known people get their mobile phones first and for promotional purposes for free or less expensive.

05.04.1993: E-Plus is founded.
27.05.1994: Official start of the E-Plus network.

01.04.2001: April Fool´s Day? Private customers gets never more phone calls with fair timing in seconds!
Only business customers can get tariffs with fair timing in seconds (in Germany also referred to as timing 1/1).

27.05.2003: E-Plus celebrates its 10th anniversary! Thereto for a limited period of time they have an anniversary tariff offer: Professional XL Anniversary tariff with tariff automatic for free. Calls for 3 Cent per minute to the German landline with timing in seconds! Last possibility for private customers to get a tariff with timing in seconds, cause you can get this business tariff even as a private customer.

23.06.2003: O2 Germany since today has 5 million customers.

30.05.2005: Germany´s first mobile phone discounter simyo is founded.

01.08.2006: New tariff for frequent callers at E-Plus: with CleverOne L call to users in the same E-Plus mobile network and to German landline for only one Cent p. m. and to other German mobile networks only 19 Cent p. m. (monthly fee: 45 EUR, timing 60/1).

01.05.2007: At last the E-Plus BASE mobile data unlimited plan is bookable without a phone tariff bundle!

03.09.2007: SIM cards of Fonic, the new discount brand of Telefónica O2 are available since today at Lidl and in the web.
11.12.2007: Fonic has won more than 100.000 customers within 100 days!

05.05.2009: Telefónica O2 offers the tariff innovation of the year named O2 o with cost airbag.

23.07.2009: Fonic has acquired already much earlier as expected 1 Million customers (was expected originally for 2010)!
25.03.2010: Fonic starts the cost protection for their mobile data unlimited plan: 2,50 EUR per day, but max. 25 EUR per month.

05.05.2010: Telefónica O2 celebrates the 1st anniversary for its tariff O2 o. Therefore Telefónica O2 sets the price down to 50 EUR!

13.07.2010: Fonic offers a new prepaid tariff plan for the big German grocery discounter Lidl named Lidl mobile. Prices as with Fonic, a cost airbag as with tariff O2 o, but already at 40 EUR.
03.01.2011: Fonic offers its cost airbag for German phone calls on its own prepaid tariff – cut at 40 €!

01.04.2011: Telefónica O2 Germany will be renamed Telefónica Germany following the completed integration of the fixed network provider HanseNet.

23.05.2011: Fonic welcomes its two millionth customer.

28.07.2011: Starting today you are reachable for phone calls in the Telefónica Germany Mobile Network also at GPRS connections! Until now you had to set your smartphone fix to UMTS (3G only) to get calls cause while data transmissions via GPRS no call was possible at the Telefónica Mobile Network!

15.08.2011: Security expert Karsten Nohl demonstrates live at the German television broadcast ZDF WISO (and another media) the easy interception of GSM and GPRS connections. Only a fix setting to “3G only” can protect you against interception! Network providers and branch association Bitcom appease it.

02.11.2011: Deutsche Telekom (aka T-Mobile Germany) offers HD Voice at its whole cellular network.

17.04.2012: The new E-Plus brand yourfone from Hamburg offers an unlimited plan for telephone calls to all German networks and a little data plan to 500 MB unthrottled data volume for only 19,90 EUR. Until now such tariffs had cost 50 to 100 EUR. This starts a new price competition!

05.06.2012: Fonic reduces the price of its smartphone tariff “Fonic Smart” to 16.95 EUR (500 Units for Phone + SMS, data flat rate with 500 MB unthrottled data volume).

22.05.2013: The Deutsche Telekom tightens its product line (clear, easy, all tariffs with data plan + SMS included): Highspeed data volume with max. 100 MBit/s flat rates for telephone calls and SMS to all German networks, block offers: minutes and SMS, foreign countries, Hotspot-Flat.
The new tariff family is named “Complete Comfort” and will be offered with a subsidized smartphone. Who takes the tariff without smartphone gets permanent 20% off the monthly fee!

The smallest package is named “Complete Comfort XS” (19.95 EUR p. m.), the biggest “Complete Comfort XXL” (99.95 EUR p. m.).
Who calls often to foreign countries and needs a new smartphone yearly select the “Complete Premium” with 1000 Minutes p. m. to foreign countries ( reported – Press release in German language).

25.07.2013: Since today Vodafone offers HD Voice in its whole cellular network. Almost nine months later as the Deutsche Telekom. It´s the network of the future. Not presence. Smiley with a wink

05.08.2013: Lidl mobile offers a new smartphone tariff: 7.99 EUR only with 300 Free Units (Min./SMS) p. m. to all German networks, after that 9 Ct. per Min./SMS.

09.12.2013: As first carrier in Germany the Deutsche Telekom uses the Data Encryption Standard A5/3 for the voice transmission in its cellular network. Thereby conversations in the 3G network are better protected against spy on. Currently the standard will be implemented nationwide, until the end of 2013 the implementation should be completed. Read more about it at (German-language).

05.09.2014: The Deutsche Telekom tightens her tariff line again (S-M-L schema, AllNet Flat and LTE for all):
new tariff family MagentaMobil with subsidized smartphone: Highspeed Data Rate to 300 Mbit/s. Flat Rates for Telephony and SMS within all networks, packages for foreign countries and mobile use. But Hotspot Flat incl. in MagentaMobil L Plus only. Thereto a subsidized Smartphone. 20% Discount for Tariff Plan without subsidized Smartphone. Pay 20% off your monthly fee by conclusion the contract without a subsidized smartphone!

The smallest package is named MagentaMobil S
39.95 EUR p. m. with smartphone, 49.95 EUR p. m. with Top-Smartphone or 29.95 EUR p. m. without subsidised Device.

The biggest Package is named MagentaMobil L Plus
99.95 EUR p. m. with a high-end smartphone or 79.95 EUR p. m. without a phone.

16.03.2015: Vodafone has implemented VoLTE to its cellular network. But without smartphones with properly firmware it is not useable yet.

16.04.2015: Since today Telefónica Germany offers shorter call setup time and better phone connection with HD-Quality with the wireless technology Voice-over-LTE (VoLTE). The new technology is available in the whole LTE network of Telefónica Germany yet. Now Telefónica activates smartphone models, as soon as the vendors roll out VoLTE ready firmware.

01.09.2015: Deutsche Telekom has optimised its MagentaMobil tariff family introduced last year. Data rates and transfer volumes have been drastically increased in some cases. The additional booking of completely overpriced data packages (SpeedOn) will thus become superfluous for most customers.
Example: MagentaMobil L Plus used to offer 5 GB data transfer volume – now it is 10 GB! Existing customers are automatically switched!
04.09.2015: Deutsche Telekom publishes the above-mentioned innovations at its press conference after the opening of the IFA 2015 trade fair.

30.09.2015: The cooperation between LIDL and FONIC ends.
01.10.2015: LIDL mobile is renamed Fonic mobile.

02.09.2016: Deutsche Telekom has again improved its tariff line (S-M-L-XL scheme, all-network flat rate, LTE for all): high-speed data rate up to max. 300 Mbit/s. Flat rates for phone calls and SMS to all networks, international and on-the-go packages, discounted smartphone. Hotspot Flat and LTE Max are now included in all tariffs from MagentaMobil Start S (prepaid tariff for EUR 4.95/month) upwards!

In all LTE smartphone tariffs, the new DayFlat unlimited can be booked for only EUR 4.95 – a unthrottled flat rate that you can use for 24 hours with LTE Max, for example to watch (“stream”) films or perform large updates. This does not affect the data volume of your contract. After expiry of a booked DayFlat unlimited, you can add more as needed – as often as you like, theoretically every day.
This new offer is better for mobile internet users with low demand than booking a new SpeedOn package (4.95 EUR for 250 MB).

This new DayFlat unlimited is also available for data tariffs, but it costs €9.95. It is cheaper to use your smartphone as a WLAN Hotspot for your tablet/notebook and book a DayFlat unlimited for 4.95 EUR on your smartphone!

Infrequent users will certainly be happy with the MagentaMobil Start XS for EUR 2.95/month, even without LTE Max and Hotspot Flat. If you hardly use your smartphone, you can book a DayFlat (+25 MB), which costs only EUR 0.99/24 hours and can be added as often as you like.

The smallest package is called MagentaMobil S: 39.95 EUR/month with smartphone, 49.95 EUR with discounted top smartphone or 34.95 EUR without end device.
The largest package is called MagentaMobil L Plus: 99.95 EUR/month with discounted top smartphone or 79.95 EUR without end device.

There is something quite sensational in the premium tariffs (with new top smartphone every year): for the first time, a German network operator dares to offer a tariff without throttling! It's called MagentaMobil XL Premium and the price is also sensational: 199.95 EUR per month on the bill if you book this “tariff for the highest demands”. Even without a Telekom landline tariff booked at the same time, the EU-Flat Plus is included here, which is otherwise only available in combination with a landline tariff (“MagentaEins”). Therefore, in addition to the unlimited data flat rate in the Deutsche Telekom network, phone calls and SMS to and within the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, Turkey, the USA and Canada are also included without limit and the data flat rate also applies in these countries. Due to the very high device subsidy (720–780 EUR), the effective monthly price is lower. Depending on whether you buy a heavily discounted new device for your own use during the annual contract extension or continue to use your old device and resell the new one, the effective monthly price is EUR 71 to 140.

02.05.2019: Deutsche Telekom is increasing the price of the DayFlat unlimited by one euro to 5.95 euros. In return, you can now use it not only throughout Germany, but also in country group 1 and Switzerland. For the time being, this offer is only on a trial basis and is therefore limited until the end of October 2019.
01.11.2019: The Telekom DayFlat unlimited remains on offer permanently, so the test run was successful. Thank you, Deutsche Telekom!

01.09.2020: (Translated) Quote from the German-language Telefónica o2 press release: “Price advantage with O2 Free tariffs and specialised hardware: Customers aged 60 and over receive a permanent 10 euro discount on the monthly basic fee of the current O2 Free mobile tariffs. For example, there is the O2 Free M for the price of the entry-level tariff and thus 17 GB more data volume to easily and carefree use the possibilities of digitalisation. This price advantage makes it easier for the target group to opt for more data volume right from the start instead of a basic tariff.” – End of quote.

01.03.2021: Telefónica Germany now offers a day flat rate – much later than Deutsche Telekom, but better and cheaper: if the data volume of your tariff is used up or needs to be conserved, you can now book a Day Pack Unlimited. This offers unlimited high-speed volume from the time of booking until 23:59 on the following day for only EUR 4.99! Booking via the o2 customer portal on the internet or simply via the app “My o2”.

Further milestones will be added from time to time …

Keyword list: German Mobile Telephony, History, Milestones, since 1992 to date

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