Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Roaming on Trains in Europe

This is the 2nd report on roaming in Europe.  Results of each trip helps determine the best way to roam outside the US for our Z-Roam web site.  Delightfully, Wi-Fi works on all London Underground subways, all Paris Metro lines and on the London to Paris Chunnel (Channel Tunnel) train.  This sorta makes cellular roaming unnecessary, and it's fortunate that Wi-Fi was there.  Either rural England has poor cellular service along the tracks or we chose the wrong SIM.  Judging from how good cellular service was on the bus to StoneHenge, I lean toward the choice of SIM.  Last year we chose the "Libara" re-seller and this year we chose "3".  Libara was better, using the  Vodaphone network.  Fortunately, Wi-Fi on all the trains kept the difference from being a problem.  Yes, even in the tunnel.

Related post: SIM Shopping in Europe

Also fortunate is the choice to use the Google Hangouts Dialer for calls to and from the US so that we could use the more widely available Data connections and not need the traditional voice network.  We also noticed that 4G LTE is not as available in rural areas, but 3G, or more accurately HSPA, was good enough.

What I did not expect was the utter silence in the Chunnel train.  Not one person talking to another, no laughter, not even an overly-loud phone conversation.  This was disturbing.  I expected a party car, especially since a couple of train cars away was a bar, and people were only slightly more talkative there.  I can only guess that the availability of Wi-Fi modified the structure of social interaction.  I hope the messages weren't, "Guess where I am!"  Would cat videos be better?

Coming up, the biggest roaming surprise.

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