Jumping from EDGE to EDGE on the Train with SFR

I had an interesting wireless experience recently when I took the TGV from Stuttgart to Paris. There isn’t a lot of 3G network coverage along the railway track so while in France I used SFR’s network with a Vodafone Websession from Strasbourg to Paris. So far I thought that  SFR did not have EDGE in its network. Looks like that assumption was not quite correct.

Every now and then one of the cells along the railway track was EDGE activated and data rates suddenly jumped from a meager 60 kbit/s (typical GPRS) up to 200 kbit/s, even at 300 km/h. The bad thing is just that EDGE was only available in few places so it’s not really worthwhile to go online and download eMails and do some web browsing. I can only speculate that SFR tries to cover some towns along the railway track but they certainly don’t try to do anything in terms of higher rate data for the railway track in particular. What a shame…

At first I thought it might be a mobile device problem. So I tried with a second mobile which has an engineering mode which confirmed that EDGE is only sporadically activated. The pictures on the left shows the throughput of a file download in a standard GPRS cell and with EDGE when it was available.

Have to try with Orange next time.