Cell Broadcast, a system for alerting citizens via mobile phones, has been available in Germany since Thursday, telecommunications companies announced.

“The technology has been installed in all base stations for signal transmission, which have thus become ready to transmit alarm signals,” the leading German mobile companies Vodafone, Deutsche Telekom and Telefonica announced.

Cell Broadcast sends warnings in case of natural disasters, and the reason for the introduction of this system is the insufficient notification of citizens about the disaster during the floods near Cologne in 2021, when over 180 people died.

The first successful trial warnings were sent to citizens in December, when a national test of the alarm system was held.

A warning of a major fire or flood, for example, would prompt mobile phones to ring loudly, even if they are on mute.

It is not necessary to install any application, but Vodafone warns that about a quarter of mobile devices are technically unable to receive a warning signal. They also indicate that around four percent of the German population does not own a mobile phone.

Cell Broadcast is designed as a complement to other alarm systems such as radio waves or sirens at public institutions.

Telecommunications companies were obliged to supply their transmitters with the necessary technology, but the costs were borne by the state.

When an alert is broadcast, the compatible mobile phone will ring loudly even when muted, but will not ring if the device is in flight mode.

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