DB's winter timetable takes effect from 12 December, bringing improved connections. For example, there will be more ICE Sprinter connections. This means that there will be more trains that will stop less frequently between major cities - and will reach the important terminus more quickly/Photo: Femi Awoniyi

Germany: New laws, other changes in December 2021

Like in every month, new laws and other changes enter into effect in December 2021. We have summarised the most important ones for you here.

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Prescription drugs become 20 cents more expensive
On 15 December, a law comes into force that makes prescription drugs more expensive. The prices for pre-packaged medicines will generally increase by 20 cents.

Deutsche Bahn Winter Timetable
Like in every year, the Deutsche Bahn issues a winter timetable. This year’s DB’s winter timetable, which will also bring some innovations, will take effect from 12 December.

For example, there will be more ICE Sprinter connections from December. This means that there will be more trains that will stop less frequently between major cities – and will reach the important terminus more quickly. For example, you can travel from Cologne to Berlin in 3:55 hours. However, the train will depart from Bonn.

You can travel just as quickly from Cologne to Munich (starting in Düsseldorf + stopping in Frankfurt/Main) and with a sprinter from Munich to Berlin (stopping in Nuremberg and Erfurt). Moreover, it will only take 3:45 hours with the early sprinter from Hamburg to Frankfurt/Main Airport with stops in Hanover and Frankfurt/Main’s main train station.

Contracts easier to terminate
On 1 December 2021, the Telecommunications Modernisation Act (TKMoG) came into force. The Act creates a tailor-made and future-oriented legal framework for the German telecommunications market, strengthens the rights of end customers and accelerates the expansion of fibre-optic and mobile networks.

Among the features of the law is the one that affects contracts for internet and mobile phones, which will now be easier to terminate.

So, if you sign a mobile phone contract with a contract term of 12 or 24 months, it can no longer simply be extended, but can be terminated monthly after the minimum contract term has expired.

The new regulation not only applies to new contracts, but also to existing ones.

Calls to 0180 numbers become cheaper
Also, with the Telecommunications Modernisation Act (TKMoG), the charges for 0180 numbers will also be adjusted. If something didn’t work, customers could call the service centre or customer service on so-called 0180 numbers. But that could quickly become very expensive, because the providers charged hefty fees for the calls – at least for mobile phone callers. They generally paid 42 cents per call or minute.

The same charges now apply for calls from the fixed network and mobile phones. And calls to call centres will become cheaper. Depending on the number behind the 0180, you will pay the following prices from now on:

01802: 6 cents per call
01803: 9 cents per minute
01804: 20 cents per call
01805: 14 cents per minute
01806: 20 cents per call
01807: 30 seconds free, then 14 cents per minute

Femi Awoniyi

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