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Regulatory reform culminating in the Telecommunications Act of 1998 eliminated the monopoly status of Deutsche Telekom AG and Deutsche Post AG and introduced competition into the telecommunications industry. Oversight responsibility lies with the Federal Ministry for Economics, which monitors the activities of the two previous monopolies and new market entrants.

In 2003 Germany had 54.4 million telephone lines, or 659.4 per 1,000 people, and 64.8 million cellular phones, or 786.2 per 1,000 people. The cell phone penetration rate of 78.3 percent far exceeds that of the United States, where penetration is only 47.7 percent. Each customer has a single number under which he/she can be reached at home or on the move.

As of 2006, Germany had 38.6 million internet users. In 2007 internet hosts totalled almost 16.5 million. As of the end of 2001, individuals or businesses owned 27 million personal computers, corresponding to about one for every three Germans.

In 2003 Germans had 51.4 million televisions, or 623.6 per 1,000 people. The Association of Public Broadcasting Corporations, known as ARD, is responsible for the “first” German television channel, and ZDF (Second German Television) provides an alternative. ARD also sponsors a third regional channel, including, for example, Westdeutscher Rundfunk (West German Broadcasting) and Norddeutscher Rundfunk (North German Broadcasting).

Also in 2003, the number of VHF radio receivers was estimated at 225 million, which corresponds to 45 million households with an average of five receivers. ARD manages Deutsche Welle, the only federal public radio station in Germany. ARD and ZDF charge fees.

In 1984 public television began to compete with the private sector for the first time when two privately funded television stations, Mainz-based SAT.1 and Cologne-based RTL, went on the air. Various media companies have established other television channels available via cable, satellite, and even terrestrial (over-the-air) frequencies. The private networks do not charge fees but rather depend on advertising for their revenues. In 2003 Germany had 276 private radio stations with a total of more than a half-million listeners.


Telephones - main lines in use:
54.2 million (2006)

Telephones - mobile cellular:
84.3 million (2006)

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