Why Is Internet So Slow in Germany: True Answer 
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? After visiting and living in different countries, we could say there is still some place for improvement.
In 2022, the average speed of broadband internet in Germany was 76,50 Mbps. The mobile speed scored number 34 with an average speed of 56 Mbps. The global average speed for broadband is 71.39 Mbps and 33.17 Mbps for mobile. Germany took place 33 for nationwide internet speeds in the worldwide ranking from June 2022.
If you 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 a much better deal than the European capital of technology and innovation. This article explains what you can expect from the German internet and the main reasons for our disappointment.
Internet speed in Germany in 2023
Accordingly to the statistics, Germany is in position 33 among all other countries regarding internet speed. The latest speed test was made in June 2022, where the main parameter was downloading a 5 GB file.
Macau is leading the rankings with a speed of 262.74 Mbps, followed by Jersey (256.59Mbps), Iceland (216.56Mbps), Liechtenstein (166.22Mbps), and Gibraltar (159.90 Mbps).
Germany scored 33 with an average speed of 72,95 Mbps. At the same time, the average speed across Western Europe is 99,00 Mbps.
In September 2022, in the research conducted by Speedtest Global Index, Germany scored number 49 with a speed of 76,50 Mbps for broadband and number 34 with a speed of 56 Mbps for mobile. Leaders of the ranking in broadband speed are:
|5||Hong Kong (SAR)||186.02|
So if you are working online, look into Chille or Thailand for relocation.
Leaders of the ranking in mobile speed:
|2||United Arab Emirates||126.85|
Nonetheless, the global average internet speed is about 33.17 Mbps for mobile download and 9.03 Mbps for upload. For broadband internet, it’s 71.39 Mbps for download and 30.64 Mbps for upload. So Germany’s internet still has a relatively low speed in a global outlook.
The biggest determinant in internet speed is whether you have a fiber optic or DSL installed. Hence, there is a massive difference in speed between these two. The survey was done 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 in 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 and calculator of broadband deals Verivox. There you can find the fastest & cheapest internet packages and current discounts.
Mobile internet speed in Germany in 2023
When it comes to mobile data, you might even experience only 3G on your phone. However, 4G is available in Germany but not everywhere. 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 internet to get worse or even disappear.
A study from 2018 by the federal network agency concluded that only 1,6% of German smartphone users have the promised internet speeds.
Where in Europe is the internet fastest in 2022?
According to the 2022 tests, the fastest internet in Europe is in Jersey (256.59Mbps, 2nd), Iceland (216.56Mbps, 3rd), and Liechtenstein (166.22Mbps, 4th).
Here is the speed for DSL or broadband connection among different countries:
- 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. The 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 these 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 households and businesses still don’t have an optical fiber connection.
DSL is still a 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 simultaneously.
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, a 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 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 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 compared 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 optics by the beginning of the 21st century.
Check if fiber optic is available in your city. Also, you can sign up 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. However, 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). You can easily get a decent connection (100 Mbit/s) in the rest of the country.
Especially urban areas can offer you good coverage and speeds, but some regions lack high-speed internet. Also, the mobile connection can be pretty bad and expensive compared to other countries.
Why is mobile data 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 3 GB. Most people signup for a deal of 5 GB for 25 EUR per month.
Whereas in some countries, you can get 10 GB for a few bucks. 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, we are pretty skeptical of this report since you can already get 1 GB of data for 7-8 EUR.
One of Germany’s cheapest and most reliable mobile providers is O2; they have straightforward and affordable prepaid SIM cards such as Prepaid S (3,5 GB) for just 9,99 EUR or Free M (20 GB) if you want to have more data.
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 a result:
- Leading countries providing up to 500 GB for 30 EUR – Lithuania, Slovak Republic, Latvia, Estonia, Croatia, Netherlands, Bulgaria, Finland, UK, and Denmark.
- Whereas in Germany, it will get you about 30 GB, and in Austria, you might get around 60 GB.
Check out the best SIM cards in Germany.
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 is headquartered 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 the upload is up to 40 Mbps. With O2, customers 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 four 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:
- O2 my Home S Flex – 24,99 EUR monthly
- O2 my Home M Flex – 29,99 EUR monthly
- O2 my Home L Flex – 34,99 EUR monthly
- O2 my Home XL Flex – 44,99 EUR monthly
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 month 24,99 EUR
- O2 my Home M – 19,99 EUR monthly, from the 13th month 29,99 EUR
- O2 my Home L – 24,99 EUR monthly, from the 13th month 34,99 EUR
- O2 my Home XL – 34,99 EUR monthly, from the 13th month 44,99 EUR
- O2 my Home S Flex – 10 Mbit/s download, upload up to 2 Mbit/s – very slow
- O2 my Home M Flex – 50 Mbit/s download, upload up to 10 Mbit/s
- O2 my Home L Flex – 100 Mbit/s download, upload up to 40 Mbit/s
- O2 my Home XL Flex – 250 Mbit/s download, upload up to 40 Mbit/s
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 affordable internet 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 is one of the best internet providers in Germany, offering DSL deals without a contract, among other 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 inform a company in advance.
This internet provider has one of the country’s fastest broadband and fiber deals.
Customers can select a wide range of internet options, 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 excellent service.
Flexible deals of 1&1 include:
- DSL 16 (16 is speed) – 29,99 EUR monthly
- DSL 50 – 34,99 EUR monthly
- DSL 100 – 39,99 EUR monthly – best deal!
- DSL 250 – 44,99 EUR monthly
- GLASFASER 1.000 – 69,99 EUR monthly
When signing up for a standard contract (24 months), clients enjoy great discounts, so for the first six months, you will pay only a 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
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 has more of a regional focus, with headquarters 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 ranges 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 regular 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
- 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 also want a phone to be included, check out these deals:
- Surf&Fon Flat 100 – first 6 months 14,90 EUR, after 39,90 EUR
- Surf-&Fon Flat 300 – first 6 months 14,90 EUR, after 44,90EUR
- Surf&Fon Flat 600 – first 6 months 14,90 EUR, after 59,90 EUR
Moreover, all providers have special internet deals for students! They can be with or without a contract, as you wish.
- O2 DSL S for young people – 9,99 EUR monthly
- O2 DSL M for young people – 9,99 EUR monthly
- 1&1 DSL Young 50 – 14,99 EUR monthly
- 1&1 DSL Young 100 – 16,99 EUR monthly
- M-net Young – 29,99 Monthly
Also, read Best SIM cards for students in Germany.
Compare internet 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.