As required by the German Federal Network Agency, an itemised bill must contain, among other items, the following traffic data:
- The customer’s phone number
- The date, time and duration of calls, including the charges incurred for time-based tariffs
- The destination number (either in full or, on request, shortened to the last three digits)
- Information about limits, volumes, flat rates and volume-dependent connections and tariffs
An itemised bill does not contain any information about the content of the transmitted information, that is to say, no user data. Providers are not allowed to record or store such information.
Various forms of itemised billing
Telecom operators can provide the itemised bill in digital form, online, or in paper form. If the purchase of the telecommunications services was done online, the customer usually receives the itemised bill in electronic form or, on request, in hard copy, which often incurs an extra fee. Conventionally arranged contracts mostly include a free paper version of the itemised bill.
The itemised bill and the legal situation in Germany
Due to a legal regulation passed in 2008, telecommunications providers in Germany were obliged to collect and store their customers' traffic data for six months. State institutions, such as the police, were able to demand the surrender of individual users’ data, under certain conditions. The Federal Constitutional Court declared this so-called data retention unconstitutional and lifted the regulation again in 2010. New legislation about data retention is still pending (as of mid-2015). Since 2010, the telecommunications company has only been allowed to use the traffic data for billing purposes or to collect, evaluate and store it when there are problems with telecommunications equipment.
All data used in an itemised bill is personal data and subject to data protection laws. This means that telecommunications providers in Germany are required to observe and comply with the applicable privacy policies and laws relating to the processing and use of data.