I’m studying in Germany soon and am looking at phone plans. This link uses the following term, which I’m a tad unsure about despite using dictionaries and context clues and educated guesses.

Ab Verbrauch von 1,5 GB reduziert auf max. ...

Does this mean that if you consume over 1.5 GB of data, the maximum data transfer speed becomes 32 kBit/s (versus the maximum 225)? I.e.

If you consume more than 1.5 GB, the maximum transfer speed is reduced to ...

Thank you in advance!

  • 1
    Yes, you understood correctly. But this question fits better on Expats SE.
    – Janka
    Aug 21, 2018 at 4:04
  • 2
    Oh, and stay away from E-Netz providers (as O2) if you aren't in one of the big cities. Their coverage in rural areas is abysmal.
    – Janka
    Aug 21, 2018 at 4:06
  • @Janka: I think this can be (and is, in this question!) framed as a language question. After all, understanding the wording in the fineprint of phone plan offers can pose a challenge even to native speakers. Aug 23, 2018 at 7:09

1 Answer 1


Your translation is correct. This sentence is an ellipsis, i.e. a shortened sentence. This means, that some parts of speech, that are necessary to form a full sentence, but which are easy to fill in, are missing.

The full sentence would be:

Ab einem Verbrauch von 1,5 GB wird die Übertragungsrate reduziert auf max. ...

This still is not a really correct sentence (or let's say: we can do it better). If there is an auxiliary verb (wird) then the full verb (reduziert) should move to the end of the sentence. But then the placeholder no longer is at the end of the sentence:

Ab einem Verbrauch von 1,5 GB wird die Übertragungsrate auf max. ... reduziert.

An other way to interpret the ellipsis is this version:

Ab einem Verbrauch von 1,5 GB reduziert man die Übertragungsrate auf max. ...

The first version is passive voice, the second is active voice, but uses man (someone) as subject. But in fact it is not someone who reduces the transfer rate, but we (wir), but then the form of the verb should be reduzieren (ending in -en instead of -t). So I think, the version in passive voice fits better.

The word ab can be translated as beyond here. So the two versions are in English, with the filled in parts marked bold:

Beyond a consumption of 1.5 GB the transfer rate will be reduced to max. ...
Beyond a consumption of 1.5 GB someone will reduce the transfer rate to max. ...

So, cut down to an ellipsis, this would be in English:

  • in passive voice

    Beyond consumption of 1.5 GB reduced to max. ...

  • in active voice

    Beyond consumption of 1.5 GB reduce to max. ...

And here again I would prefer the version in passive voice.

  • 1
    Your English translations sound very clumsy. For proper language, you should at least use 'usage' instead of 'consumption' and simply 'speed' would be much better than 'transfer rate', which is a technical term not really suitable for marketing speech towards a regular customer.
    – jarnbjo
    Aug 21, 2018 at 14:12
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    @jarnbjo: English is a foreign language to me. Feel free to edit my answer to correct errors in English language. Aug 21, 2018 at 14:26
  • @jarnbjo: That kind of terms and conditions is not marketing speech. The goal is not to attract, the goal is to encourage people to skip what sounds like comparatively irrelevant details, while holding up to a thorough analysis in court. I'd argue some technical terms are chosen deliberately over more common ones. Aug 23, 2018 at 7:12

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