Faster mobile communications: There are still gaps on German railways

The cell phone network can also be expanded on railway lines. LTE reception is missing on around 5 percent of the rail network. The FDP speaks of an indictment of poverty.

With the smartphone on the train: the cell phone network is not well developed everywhere.

SFast LTE cellular communications along railway lines are not available everywhere in Germany. Nationwide, around every 20th kilometer of railway line is not covered by high-speed mobile 4G Internet (LTE). This emerges from a response from the Federal Ministry of Transport to an FDP request. According to this, a good 2040 will be affected by around 40,600 kilometers of rail network. This corresponds to a rate of around five percent.

In a nationwide comparison, Rhineland-Palatinate comes off the worst, around every 10th kilometer there is no fast mobile network – followed by Baden-Württemberg and Saxony. On the other hand, train travelers in Berlin, Hamburg and Bremen can surf the Internet undisturbed, where the coverage is 100 percent according to the authorities. In Schleswig-Holstein only every 80th kilometer is not supplied with high-speed mobile communications.

“Absolute indictment”

Interrupted phone calls and surfing at a snail’s pace annoy many rail passengers, said the FDP member of the Bundestag, Torsten Herbst. The numbers are an “absolute indictment” for digitization in Germany and a customer-friendly railway.

The Federal Ministry of Transport also sees the operators of railway lines and railway companies as having an obligation. These are required to ensure a reliable supply in the trains, for example by installing so-called repeaters, it said.

“The connection in the train can only be as good as it is on the outside of the respective section of the route. It is the job of the mobile network operators to ensure seamless network coverage along the rails, ”said Deutsche Bahn.

In principle, the network operators should ensure nationwide mobile phone reception in Germany. In order to close radio gaps, especially in rural regions, the federal government announced in June that it would also support the construction of radio masts with 1.1 billion euros in the future. Technical modifications in trains are to be supported with 150 million euros. The aim is that the mobile phone no longer interferes with the train radio, said the railway spokesman. For this purpose, railway radios are now to be exchanged or upgraded in part.