What is monthly bandwidth

The optimal tariff: how much bandwidth do you need?

Roland Freest

The faster the internet connection, the better? In principle yes, but not everyone really needs the maximum available bandwidth. Our tariff guide uses user profiles to explain which speed and connection type make sense and what they cost.

EnlargeFind the right internet provider in just a few steps
© Dudarev Mikhail - Fotolia.com

The jungle of internet tariffs is hard to see through. Dozens of providers cavort on the market, all with different speeds and pricing models in the program. There are also differences in the equipment with web space, hardware, software, etc. and, last but not least, in the technology: DSL, cable and LTE are in competition with one another. In addition, there are constantly changing special offers from the providers, for example with discounts for the first few months, credits and bonuses.

In principle, this is a positive development, as everyone can choose the one that suits them best from the variety of tariffs. But of course the price also plays a role. Nobody wants to spend a lot of money on a connection that offers high speed and a lot of convenience, but also includes functions that are not required under certain circumstances. PC-WELT therefore explains in this guide what you can expect for how much money.

Starting with the definition of three exemplary user profiles, we will name a few selected tariffs that are suitable for the respective type and the associated monthly costs. Current prices and offers can be found in our tariff calculator http://tarife.pcwelt.de/dsl. Then we go into the details, where we describe which equipment and features are important, which prices are cheap and what needs to be considered when concluding a contract. The box also explains the recommended bandwidth for applications such as YouTube, Netflix or television over the Internet (IPTV).

See also:DSL at a competitive price: flat rate for ten euros

Bandwidth is not that important for surfing and e-mail

Many users mainly need the Internet to be reachable by e-mail and to look up something on the web every now and then. In addition, there is a flat-rate telephone connection to the landline network. As long as no Internet videos are viewed and no streaming offers are used, the bandwidth is almost irrelevant. Even if the connection is used by several people in a household, 6 or 10 Mbit / s is sufficient over a classic DSL line.

Of the major providers, only O2 still offers a 10 Mbit tariff. It costs around 10 euros for the first few months, then the price rises to 25 euros. From a transfer volume of 100 GB per month, however, the speed drops to 2 Mbit / s for the rest of the month. For comparison: In 2017, the average monthly data volume in German households was just under 80 GB.

With the competition, however, the lowest available bandwidth is usually 16 Mbit / s. This also applies to most rural regions, even if there are still a lot of annoying white spots there. At 1 & 1, such a connection currently costs around 15 euros in the first year, subsequently the price rises to 30 euros. At Telekom there is the same offer in the first six months for around 20 euros, after which you pay 35 euros permanently. Vodafone even offers a corresponding connection with 32 Mbit / s via television cable. This is free for the first six months, after which it comes to around 20 euros a month.

How much bandwidth do you need?

The following table shows the required and recommended bandwidth for different Internet services and uses. All information applies to one person, with multiple and parallel use the required bandwidth increases accordingly.

scope of application


Surf the web

at least 2 Mbit / s, recommended 10 Mbit / s

Telephony (Voice over IP)

at least 100 kbit / s, recommended 150 kbit / s

Large downloads> 30 GB

at least 16 Mbit / s, recommended 50 Mbit / s


"96 kbps (normal quality), 160 kbps (high quality), 320 kbps (extreme quality)"


"0.7 MBit / s (SD 360p), 1.1 MBit / s (SD 480p), 2.5 MBit / s (HD 720p), 5 MBit / s (HD 1080p), 20 MBit / s (4K) "


"at least 0.5 Mbit / s, recommended 3 Mbit / s (standard resolution), 5 Mbit / s (HD resolution), 25 Mbit / s (Ultra-HD)"

Amazon Prime Video

900 kbit / s (standard), 3.5 Mbit / s (HD resolution)


at least 12 Mbit / s, recommended 50 Mbit / s

Discerning private users and power users with a need for comfort

In contrast to occasional users, demanding private users access the Internet every day, watch (high-resolution) videos from Youtube & Co., stream music and regularly download large software packages. In addition, in many households several people use their computers, smartphones and tablets in parallel. 16 Mbit / s is the minimum in this case, but a 25 Mbit connection is better here.

EnlargeThe PC-WELT tariff calculator also takes discounts and special offers into account when calculating prices.

But even this latter speed is rarely available. O2 offers 25 Mbit / s for around ten euros in the first twelve months (the first month is even free), then the monthly price rises to around 25 euros. You may have regional providers such as M-Net in the Munich area: For a 25 MBit connection, you initially have to pay around 20 euros per month, after six months the price then increases permanently to around 30 euros. If you store your backups in cloud services and therefore pay attention to fast upload rates, at the same time use streaming offers in HD or even in 4K resolution, possibly even in parallel on several televisions, while end devices throughout the house access the Internet via WLAN, you should get a 100 -MBit connection. This gives you the certainty that - assuming a powerful WLAN or LAN cabling - nothing is jerky anywhere or connections break off.

LTE instead of DSL router:This is what the new technology offers

For example, you can get 100 MBit at GMX / Web.de for around 27 euros during the first 24 months, after which you pay 35 euros. Telekom charges around 20 euros for six months, after which the monthly fee increases to around 45 euros.

When making your choice, do not calculate the bandwidth too tightly. On the one hand, streaming requires more and more bandwidth, for example because the number of 4K streams on Netflix & Co. is steadily increasing. Also keep in mind that the volume of downloads - for example from Office 365 and other software - is constantly growing. On the other hand, the price differences between the fast lines are often only small: At Telekom, for example, you get 50 Mbit permanently for 40 euros, for 100 Mbit you pay 45 euros. So for just five euros more you get 100 percent more bandwidth. With the other providers, the price differences look similar.