Urban Legends of Berlin: Better Internet in the U-Bahn?

We all know some urban myths: Everyone has heard about them, but no-one really knows if they are true and so rumors make rounds and are passed on. We want to take a closer look at some of Berlin’s urban legends and stories that we’ve all heard of and finally uncover the one and only truth.

So let’s begin with the mobile internet connection in the Berlin U-Bahn: Is it really true that you get a better wireless data connection the closer you’re to the front of the train? And what about free Wifi at the train stations in the near future?

We talked to the BVG and got our mystery questions answered. The whole truth after the jump…

So our question was, if it really matters in which part of the train we’re sitting regarding the mobile data connection. The answer is: Theoretically yes, because in the train tunnel the internet cells are not stored above each other, but next to each other like tiles. So if you’re sitting in the front of the train your phone is going to connect first, but due to all the other people and their phones connecting as well, the capacity is being split between everyone and the overall connection is equally as good or as bad in the first or last wagon.

We also wanted to know if it matters which phone provider you have and what company offer the best connection in the underground. The answer is: It is up to the different phone providers, if they want to expand their network underground. So far only E-Plus – like O2 part of Telefonica – has enlarged their network in the tunnels. Other phone providers are working on it. Since summer E-Plus is sharing their net with O2 via national roaming, but this has apparently only made things slower for everyone.

And last but noch least we wanted to know when Berlin will finally have a free Wifi network at the train stations as in many other big cities in the world. The answer: The BVG started a Wifi trial study at the Osloer Straße station in August. The results are not yet evaluated; so there is no real conclusion or plan so far. The free wifi internet connection at Osloer Straße is still available though…

In conclusion we can say: It’s not worth running to the first wagon to get a better mobile data connection, everyone who has an E-Plus contract is a lucky bastard and we have to keep hoping for positive results regarding the Wifi trial in the train stations. We’re not as unlucky in Berlin as the poor souls of New York City with their dead zone subways, but there’s still a long way to go to catch up with more up-to-date cities such as Copenhagen. But for now the mystery of the Berlin subway internet is solved!

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<a href="https://www.iheartberlin.de/author/kate/" target="_self">Kate</a>