Consumer protection

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Our approach to consumer protection

Consumer protection is a multi-faceted topic at Deutsche Telekom. A core element is keeping our customers’ data safe and secure. Data protection and data security are therefore top priorities for us.

Children and young people, in particular, need to be shielded from dangers online. That’s why protecting children and young people also plays a big part in what we do. We take youth protection aspects into consideration in our product and service design. When we develop services that are relevant in terms of youth protection in Germany, we consult our youth protection officer for suggestions of restrictions or changes. We have appointed a child safety officer (CSO) at each of our national companies within the EU who is responsible for issues pertaining to the protection of minors. The CSO acts as a central contact for stakeholders from the community in the respective country and plays a key internal role in coordinating issues related to youth protection. We thereby strengthen Deutsche Telekom’s lasting and transparent commitment to protecting minors.

In addition, we strive to ensure that our networks are safe to use. We study the latest scientific research on mobile communications and health, and we provide our customers with transparent updates in this regard.


Our approach to protection of minors in the media

We want to protect children and young people when using digital media. We pursue a three-pillar strategy to do this:

  • We provide attractive, age-appropriate offers for children. We give parents and legal guardians the information they need in order to be able to protect their children against inappropriate content.
  • We participate in combating child abuse and its depiction to the extent that this is permitted in relation to the rules governing net neutrality and in the framework of European and national law.
  • We implement various measures to ensure that young people acquire media skills and can interact safely with online content.

We also collaborate closely with prosecuting authorities and NGOs as well as other partners from business, politics, and society to ban online content that is harmful to children and young people. We have anchored our commitment to protecting minors from unsuitable media content in Germany in relevant codes and introduced minimum standards. In 2007, we committed ourselves to fighting child pornography on the internet throughout the European Union. GSMA (an association representing the interests of mobile operators worldwide), of which we have been a member since 2008, pursues the same objectives at a global level.

To better coordinate our activities within the Group, we have been following binding general guidelines since 2013 for our activities to help protect minors against inappropriate media content, and have, in turn, set standards in our markets. In consideration of their particular cultural situation and business model, each international subsidiary in the European Union can further specify these measures and adopt additional measures to determine their own strategic focal points.

Cooperation with organizations and programs for the protection of minors
Protecting minors from unsuitable media content poses a challenge that affects many industries. We therefore work together with different organizations for the protection of minors and participate in coalitions that coordinate the involvement of companies and organizations from the internet and media sector.

We assumed a leading role through January 2023 with the “ICT img Coalition for Children Online,” a project funded in cooperation with the EU Commission. With our involvement in the ICT Coalition, we pursued a comprehensive and cross-industry approach based on six principles that expressly included helping young people learn media skills. In January 2023, the work of the ICT Coalition was stopped as the EU Commission set new priorities for the protection of minors.

We also promote various initiatives and programs aimed at protecting children and young people in cyberspace. For example, we are a founding member of the association fragFINN, which provides a safe online surfing environment for children between the ages of six and twelve. The search engine on and its associated browser app img turn up websites that are suitable for children and have been reviewed by media educators. We are also a member of JusProg e.V., a non-profit association that works to improve protection for children and young people online. Its youth-protection program JusProg, which is available for download and use free of charge, filters out age-inappropriate online content.


Our approach to safe mobile communication

Our contribution to the SDGs

We want to make our mobile communications infrastructure and our products, as well as the processes on which they are based, as resource-efficient, secure, and safe for health as possible. In Germany these activities are based in particular on voluntary commitments by the mobile sector and a mobile communications agreement with local authorities’ associations. External experts review compliance with these voluntary commitments every two years. In 2022, the mobile network operators presented the latest mobile communications expert report (for 2020 and 2021; only available in German) to the German government, which was coordinated, written and published by the Deutsches Institut für Urbanistik (German Institute for Urban Studies). According to the report, the mobile build-out is progressing smoothly for the most part, with the few controversial issues down to isolated incidents. To provide a representative estimate, the report surveyed over 1 700 municipalities throughout Germany, with 90 percent of them reporting they had few or no controversial cases to decide. The next mobile communications expert report is slated for 2024.

In June 2023, we signed a new commitment with the German government, together with the three other network operators working in Germany. This commitment relates to information, communication, and health measures with the build-out of mobile communications networks and applies for five years, after which it is renewed for another year in each case unless the parties actively terminate the agreement. More details of the content of the commitment can be obtained from the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection (BMUV; only available in German).

As early as June 2020, together with the leading municipal associations and other German network operators, the existing agreement on the exchange of information for the build-out of mobile networks (only available in German) that has been in place since 2001 was revised and updated. This ensures that cities and municipalities are involved in the setting up of mobile-communication and small-cell networks to facilitate build-out that is as fast and conflict-free as possible.

Policy on Electromagnetic Fields
The Policy on Electromagnetic Fields (EMF img), which we updated in the year under review, in force throughout the Group since 2004, plays a primary role: Our EMF Policy contains uniform minimum requirements for mobile communications and health that go far beyond the national legal requirements. Our policy provides our national companies with a mandatory framework that makes sure that the topic of mobile communications and health is addressed in a consistent, responsible way throughout the Group. The European national companies have accepted the EMF Policy and implemented most of the required measures.

Our EMF Policy stipulates the following principles and measures:

EMF Policy

Scientific facts

We are committed to transparency and sincerity in mobile communications, especially when it comes to questions concerning the network build-out and health and safety. We make all relevant information regarding our mobile communications equipment in Germany accessible to the public, e.g., in the site database operated by the German Bundesnetzagentur.


We provide consumer information that is easy to understand and are committed to supplying fact-based, sound information – which is why we provide up-to-date brochures and information on the Group’s website for anyone who may be interested. We also provide our customers with information online on the SAR img levels of their mobile devices. Additional details are also available in the shops and through our free environmental hotline.


We rely on close collaboration and constructive dialog with the cities and municipalities involved. For example, we inform local government of our build-out plans at an early stage, including them in considerations for new locations, and answer critical questions from residents. For us, fairness in the face of critical arguments and readiness to subject our own position to renewed review are vital in order to succeed in achieving compromises.

Scientific facts

Over the past few decades, the effect of electromagnetic fields on health has been the subject of in-depth scientific research. Deutsche Telekom therefore continually monitors scientific research developments and bases its communications on new scientific risk assessments from expert committees such as the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP img) and other recognized specialist organizations.

For more information, please click on the segments

We conduct ongoing reviews of compliance with our EMF Policy. Our international working group, the “EMF Core Team”, uses the findings to improve individual aspects a to jointly develop solutions.

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Mobile communications and health (EMF)

Electromagnetic fields (EMFs img) are a prevalent part of our connected world, even if we are not able to perceive them directly. Their effects on our health remain a topic of discussion. Deutsche Telekom, like all providers, must ensure that the statutory threshold values are observed in mobile communications. In Germany, the threshold values are set by the German government and are based on the recommendations of the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP).

The effects of EMFs have been thoroughly researched over the past decades in numerous scientific studies. The World Health Organization (WHO) analyzes the findings of scientific research and most recently made a statement regarding the results in 2014. In its statement, it concludes that the current threshold values for EMFs ensure that mobile communications technology can be used safely and that research should accompany further development of the technology. In 2020, after evaluating the latest scientific research, the ICNIRP img once again confirmed the protection concept for EMFs, as they are used in mobile communications. According to ICNIRP, the threshold values ensure comprehensive protection for people and the environment. This also applies to frequency ranges used by 5G, because, like earlier network types, 5G requires high safety standards. Safe operation of mobile communications technology in Germany is therefore ensured.

Since 2020 the Informationszentrum Mobilfunk (Mobile Communications Information Center) together with the local authorities’ associations have published three information brochures on the issue of mobile communications (only available in German). The content is geared primarily to municipalities and local decision-makers. In the year under review, the range of information (only available in German) was supplemented by videos, articles, and podcasts on socially relevant 5G applications, along with explanatory videos on the mobile build-out. The Information Center also published teaching material (only available in German) on the subject of technology, environment, and sustainability with mobile communications and continued to cooperate with the German government’s communications initiative “Germany talks about 5G” – including with implementing the community consultations with citizens and local politicians.

In cooperation with the three other 5G licensees in Germany, Telefónica Germany, Vodafone, and 1&1 Mobilfunk, we support Informationszentrum Mobilfunk. The portal provides objective, scientifically sound information about basic issues relating to mobile communications, including controversial issues, in the areas of health and safety, technology and network build-out, the environment and sustainability, and politics and legal questions.

Further information on this subject is available under “CR facts”.

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  • Highlights

    At Deutsche Telekom, everything starts with

    the network. Having access to state-of-the-art

    technologies is a precondition for economic

    performance and participation in a

    knowledge and information society.

    At Deutsche Telekom, everything starts with the network. Having access to state-of-the-art technologies is a precondition for economic performance and participation in a knowledge and information society.

    That is why we are continuing to rapidly expand our infrastructure and improve transmission speeds with new, secure technology. We invested more than EUR 16 billion Group-wide in 2023, primarily in setting up and operating networks. This is in addition to the investments that we make in acquiring mobile spectrum.

    At Deutsche Telekom we put people front and center, especially our customers and our employees. Worldwide, Deutsche Telekom employees ensure that our networks run smoothly and our customers receive the best service. In this way, we made it into the top 10 of the world’s most valuable brands in 2023. When it comes to telecommunications companies, we occupy the number 1 spot worldwide, remaining Europe’s most valuable corporate brand.

    When rating agencies give high marks to our social and ecological commitment, the T-Share is included in the financial market’s sustainability indexes. In 2023, the T-Share was once again listed in indices such as the renowned CSA-based DJSI World and DJSI Europe.

    Further detailed examples of the progress we made in 2023 can be found in the subchapters – from the Group’s perspective and from that of our segments.

    Highlight numbers

    Highlight numbers

    Progress of selected KPIs in  2023

    • 2022 2023

    • Investments in building and operating networks Group-wide 21bn. 16bn.

    • Customer satisfaction TRI*M 75.0 points 76.2 points

    • Sustainable revenue share 42% 43%

    • Proportion of T-Shares held by investors with ESG criteria 31.3% 32%

    • Procurement volume verified as non-critical 64.1% 66.2%

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