Yes there is Wi-Fi on most of the Spanish high-speed trains known as AVE. It doesn’t work great, but hey, the Wi-Fi is included in the ticket price for all travellers.
The Paris-Barcelona trains are run by SNCF (the French train operator) and not by Renfe. These French trains offer Wi-Fi, though in my experience it only works on the French side of the border and stops working once the train is in Spain. Likewise Spanish Ave trains’ WiFi tends to stop working in France.
How to Connect to Wi-Fi on Renfe Ave Trains
In order to connect you’ll need your ticket number; this is located on the ticket that you printed yourself (or saved in your phone or tablet) if you used our recommended ticketing platform for the cheapest Spanish train tickets.
Here’s the process for connecting:
- Turn on Wi-Fi on your device and choose the network “PlayRenfe”.
- You should get a sign-in popup immediately; if you don’t, open your web browser and go to any web page and it should open.
- Choose your language.
- Choose Access PlayRenfe.
- Choose “with my ticket number” or if you’re on an international trip or a trip in France, choose “with a promotional code” and enter the code “RENFE-SNCF”. (However, in my personal experience the ticket number also worked as a login on a Spain-to-France trip.)
- Enter your ticket number, as found on your ticket (a.k.a. numero de billete, numero de e-billet).
- Enter your ID number. You can make up any number for the passport number if you wish not to share your information, and it still works.
Wi-Fi Speed and Quality on Renfe AVE Trains
Speed: The Renfe AVE Wi-Fi is fast enough for basic use. On a recent trip, the Telstra speed test showed 27.1 mbps download speed, 1.2 mbps upload speed, and 413 ms ping speed.
Quality: The internet connection breaks occasionally, especially if the train is underground, for example when entering or leaving a major city like Barcelona. But in general the connection is stable, and better than the phone 3G/4G connections that drop in and out depending on how rural the area is that you’re travelling through, and how fast you’re going.
Blocked websites: Some rather basic and useful websites are blocked; those that I noticed seemed to be blocked on a recent trip included Netflix and Google Photos. Social networks, email, and YouTube worked fine.
PlayRenfe Supplementary Content
Once logged into the Wi-Fi on the Renfe Ave high-speed trains, you also have access to a few TV series, about 40 movies, and a TV news channel.