New map shows Germany’s mobile ‘dead zones’

Since last year, Germans have been able to measure their mobile network connection through a broadband-measuring app created by Germany’s Federal Network Agency. Now, the first results of the mass experiment are in.

New map shows Germany's mobile 'dead zones'
This 'Bundesnetzagentur' map shows exactly where in Germany there are gaps in reception. Photo: DPA

Germany has long been notorious for its lack of mobile connection. The term Funklochrepublik (roughly “radio hole republic,” or mobile dead zone) snagged second place in the country’s annual Word of the Year competition.

READ ALSO: German word of the day: Die Funklochrepublik

Now, the Bundesnetzagentur (Federal Network Agency) has put together a Funklochkarte (radio hole map) so Germans everywhere can see how their connectivity measures up to the rest of the country. 

According to the agency, the software commonly known as the Funkloch-App has been downloaded nearly 200,000 times from the Apple and Android Play stores since its introduction.

In total, users have provided and transmitted almost 160 million measurement points as the basis for the Funklochkarte.

What were the findings?

While there tends to be good 4G (LTE) coverage in densely-populated German cities, it can be patchy or even non-existent in the countryside. Even in the capital city of Berlin, places only offering 3G (UMTS) or even 2G (GSM) speeds still exist.

Many 2G (GSM) coverage zones follow along motorways and public transport lines, while more rural areas simply have no coverage.

Hamburg, Germany’s second largest city, has notably less 4G (LTE) coverage than even Berlin. Inner-city Cologne, on the other hand, seems to have the best coverage of the three. 

READ ALSO: Germany's (dis)connectivity: Can the broadband internet gap be bridged?

The Funklochkarte, despite its massive data gathering, does have limitations. Although the app can tell the difference between 2G (GSM), 3G (UMTS), 4G (LTE) and 5G connections, it is limited by user’s networks and phone contracts.

For example, someone restricted to 3G through their contract can only “show” the app this connection, even if higher speeds are available in the area. 

The Bundesnetzagentur says it’s planning on taking data collected by users to improve coverage. In addition, the Agency provides programs for Windows, macOS and Linux computers to check the speeds of fixed home internet connections, although speeds can also be limited by providers. 

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Ten German abbreviations that will have you texting like a true native

The modern, simple syntax of text speak is a ‘Handy’ method of communication to cut down time on the complexities of language and to impress your native German friends.

Ten German abbreviations that will have you texting like a true native
Photo: DPA

Notorious for its long compound nouns and complex grammatical system, the German language often receives a bad rap as being difficult to perfect.

However, with the ever-expanding world of social media and smartphones, the language is continually adapting. 

Both Kurzdeutsch (short German) and Netzjargon (internet slang) are on the rise, in line with the ever-expanding, fast-paced world of technology and instant messaging.

READ ALSO: ‘Short German’ text speak spares you from grammar

Our short guide to German text speak will have you chatting online like a local in no time.

Photo: DPA

Bd – Bis dann (‘until then’)

A useful phrase that is an equivalent of ‘see you later’.

kD – kein Ding (‘no problem’) 

Literally meaning ‘no thing’, this phrase can be used when you need to say that something is no bother or no issue.

kA – keine Ahnung (‘no idea’)

An all-important phrase for learners of the tricky German language, kA can stand for ‘keine Ahnung’, or ‘no idea’.

LG – Liebe Grüße (‘Best wishes’ / ‘Kind regards’)

This abbreviation is often used as a sign off at the end of a text message.

vlt/vllt – vielleicht (‘maybe’, ‘possibly’)

A shortened version useful for expressing uncertainty. Germans also use evt or evtl (short for ‘eventuell’) for the same purpose. 

WE – Wochenende (‘weekend’)

This is a helpful phrase to arrange plans or express excitement for that Friday feeling – ‘Wochenende’ is the German word for weekend.

nix – nichts (‘nothing’)

Commonly seen on social media, Germans often shorten the word ‘nichts’ to ‘nix’ online.

Gn8 – Gute Nacht (‘goodnight’)

Perhaps a little outdated now, the German word for the number eight, ‘acht’, can be used in text language to form whole words, similarly to the English use of ‘gr8’.

IRL – im richtigen Leben (‘in real life’)

Equivalent to the English ‘IRL’, this abbreviation is used to denote something in the real world, rather than in the digital one.

hdl – Hab dich lieb (‘love you lots’)

Commonly used among family and close friends, this initialism is used to express love. For a romantic partner, you might see ild (‘Ich liebe dich’ – I love you).