Content, Speed of Connection and Use Experience

RENFE y Telefónica they have now officially launched PlayRenfe, the content platform that will take WiFi on board, with limits and nuances, Spain AVE trains. We have uploaded one of these trains to test the application, see how it works, what connection speed got, what content we find, etc..

How it works

AVE trains (and only bird, nothing avant-garde or Alvia trains) have been modified to include several antennas that provide on-board internet access. As a result, once inside the wagon, is visible a WiFi network to which we can connect to enjoy PlayRenfe. If you connect from a smartphone, before you have to download the application (for Android or iOS). After you install the app, these are the first steps if we connect from a smartphone:

Once we’re inside PlayRenfe is important to emphasize that all the contents that are available on the platform do not consume data. That is, if you see a movie, a series or buy a ticket from PlayRenfe, you do not consume data. This is important because There is a limitation of the data rate that we send or receive 20 MB (basic package) or 100 MB (Premium package). Bad news if you thought to see Netflix or YouTube, because in the best of cases you can only consume 100 MB of content.

The contents of PlayRenfe are not spending data; outside of it, you can only consume between 20 and 100 MB

If you want to connect with a tablet or PC, you need to download an extension for the browser you are using and also the own player used by RENFE for content. The iPad Yes use a proper application (the same PlayRenfe for iOS), so the experience is very similar to the iPhone’s.

A small detail: we have done the test, apart from with an Android smartphone, from a Surface Pro 3 with 10 Windows and not have been able to consume or series or movies by a problem of compatibility between the extension, platform and operating system. As we commented, it is a known issue and that are solving. Another partner has done the same exercise with a Lenovo Yoga with Windows 10 range and has not had any problems to see the contents of PlayRenfe.

What content is there?

Basically, it’s the content that we find in Movistar + as well as live TV provided by TVE (channel 24 h and sporting events) and those efforts related to RENFE (buy a ticket, book a car or hotel, manage our card loyalty, etc.).

This translates into films like ‘ Star Wars: the awakening force ‘ or ‘The Danish girl’, documentaries like series like ‘Dexter’, ‘Everest’ or ‘Game of Thrones’.

Navigation is pretty intuitive through the menu of the platform and the user experience is good and without charge from both smartphone and tablet times.

Connection speed

We have asked Telefonica what connection speed offers on AVE trains and their response has been: “what gives Yes our LTE network”. And they clarify that many factors influence speed, from how many people they are connected or specific coverage in a certain area. In any case, ensure that they have worked to provide specific coverage 1600 km of trains in Spain.

In our tests at itypetravel.com,we found one very good connection speed, with peaks of 53 Mb/s both ascent and descent, and with a minimum of 9 Mb/s down and 13 Mb/s rise in an area with poor coverage.

We have not noticed differences between the speed achieved from smartphone that is achieved from tablet.

Frequently asked questions

How much does it cost? There are several scenarios:

  • If you have loyalty card: you will have free basic package (which allows a quota of 20 MB data). If you want to pass to the Premium package, you can do so by paying 2 euros.
  • If you have a preferred class ticket: you will automatically have the Premium package (up to 100 MB of data consumption).
  • If you have a tourist class ticket and don’t have loyalty card: You can access the basic package for 2 euros and the Premium package for 4 euros. Are prices for each trip.

But then I watch YouTube videos or series of Netflix? Yes, but keep in mind that you can only spend a quota of 20 MB if you have the basic package, or 100 MB if you have the Premium.

This data limitation applies also to the contents of PlayRenfe? No, everything that you consume within PlayRenfe does not consume data. I.e., the quota of 20 or 100 MB applies only when you leave the platform (for YouTube, Netflix, WhatsApp, Facebook, etc.).

Does WhatsApp or Facebook? Sí.

What if the train enters a tunnel? Do you lose coverage? They have devised a solution of buffering effect in 75 tunnels in the network that have been included in this first phase, for what when the train is approaching to any of them, will activate the loading content so you don’t have to interrupt what you’re seeing.

When does it work? Between November 5 and December 5 of this year it will be running in beta. From 5 December it will be enabled on the Madrid-Seville AVE. Will be displayed on all high-speed lines through 2017.

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