Postal services are provided as private sector activities by Deutsche Post AG and other private operators (Article 87f(2) of the Basic Law). The economic activity of private suppliers is an expression of the basic right of the execution of liberty (occupational and trade liberty). This means that everyone has in principle the basic right to offer postal services in the market.
Under the Postal Act, a permission (licence) is needed for the provision of certain postal services (permission reservation). There is a legal claim to the issue of a licence provided that the licensing requirements are met. The number of licences is not restricted.
Postal services subject to a licence
A licence is in principle needed by whoever conveys – for others and on a profit basis – letters, viz. addressed written communications, weighing less than 1,000 grammes, i.e. by whoever collects, forwards or delivers such items (licence obligation).
Whoever conveys letters weighing up to 1,000 grammes without possessing the requisite licence commits an administrative offence. Such administrative offence may be punishable by a fine of up to € 500,000.-.