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20,000 miles traveled to reveal Vodafone as fastest mobile broadband
Friday 13 June 2008 17:21:40 by Andrew Ferguson

Seeing a press release from a firm that highlights the positive aspects of its product is no big surprise. Vodafone in its press release that puts them at the top of the performance table is keen to point out that the company charged with carrying out this latest survey did its best to keep the testing impartial, e.g. buying hardware from high street stores and testing at a variety of locations around the UK. The results of the testing only being revealed to Vodafone upon completion of testing.

"When we responded to Vodafone’s tender it was made very clear that this test was to be done in independent conditions. We have been rigid in our methodology and did not disclose anything to Vodafone UK until the trial was completed. We have designed one of the most comprehensive assessments of its kind in order to generate a statistically sound report. As a result, we have been able to conclude that Vodafone‘s mobile broadband network is statistically significantly faster and more reliable that other operators to both download files and load web pages."

Neil Smith, Vice President of LCC International

So how do the various mobile broadband services fair, the table below shows the data rate averaged out across all the tests and the time taken to download a 2 MegaByte file.

Service Seconds to download 2MB file Download speed
Vodafone UK 13.54 1.2 Mbps
Three 21.44 764 Kbps
Orange 23.99 683 Kbps
O2 20.17 812 Kbps
T-Mobile 16.15 993 Kbps

On the basis of these figures it would seem mobile broadband has some way to go to win in the speed stakes compared to standard broadband products. We measured an average of 3,238Kbps for the UK in fixed-line broadband, with the slowest region being Northern Ireland at 2,258Kbps.

The testing also included web page speeds, which is as much a test of the mobile connection as it would be the providers cache and image re-sampling which is employed to reduce the amount of data traffic. Vodafone managed an average of 6.7 seconds with the slowest being Orange at some 25.67 seconds.

Of course the great advantage of mobile broadband is that you can use it when out and about, and for people who move home frequently it can avoid costly changes to contracts and activation fees. Given current performance indicators, while mobile broadband is selling very fast, it seems unlikely to unseat xDSL and cable broadband as the bulk of broadband sales.

Some 28000 tests were done in a 10 week period by LCC International, at 140 locations ranging from airports to hotels and railway stations. Just as with ADSL the key thing for any individual is what speeds they will get where you normally use the connection.


Posted by bosie over 8 years ago
So Steve's 3G iPhone will launch in the UK on the 3rd slowest network. I'm sure he'll be impressed by that!
Posted by timmay over 8 years ago
"...the 3rd slowest network..." and don't forget that O2 also has the poorest 3G coverage!
Posted by bosie over 8 years ago
Perhaps Vodafone would now like to update its website and clarify the speed customers are likely to get.
Superfast and reliable – Download music and video clips at speeds up to 7.2Mbps – that’s 14 times faster than 3G. Our fantastic coverage in the UK means you can enjoy warp speed mobile broadband wherever you get a Vodafone signal.

Unlike O2, the HSDPA product is not available on a 1 month contract - 18 months minimum. It's a silly business.
Posted by Furrball over 8 years ago
This would be the Vodafone network that could not provide a 3G connection in the centre of London at any point during the 14 days I had a contract with them . . .

Check their forum for a lots of happy customers
Posted by jchamier over 8 years ago
The t-mobile network that regularly gives me 1.2mbps? Voda that has no 3G presence?

We need coverage as well as speeds! Speeds on Voda might be high because their 3G has no coverage!
Posted by a_clarke over 8 years ago
Isn't time Think Broadband added Vodafone to it's Provider List
Posted by cinimod over 8 years ago
And the other mobile providers... sure we would like to do speed tests on the broadband, that will give them a VERY good sample I would have thought
Posted by theredrocket over 8 years ago
So what are user experiences of these products? They seem like a good idea, but they cripple you for extra money if you go over the download limits.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
I cant even understand why anyone uses slow mobile broadband, no matter who it is from its not exactly cheap, reliable or fast. With the amount of wifi spots all over the place, especially in the city areas nowadays save yourself the price of a years contract get a laptop and free faster broadband on the move.
Posted by bmi100 over 8 years ago
Whilst the speeds seem reasonable when on the move - how about the upload speeds? Three engineering support, for example, tell me they have set a "maximum" of 60Kbps upload. Even e-mails have a problem with their lowest speeds. How can they call that "BROADBAND"?
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
quote"Even e-mails have a problem with their lowest speeds. How can they call that "BROADBAND"?"

Welcome to England home of ball-less organisations like ofcom and the ASA that seem to let companys call something broadband when it isnt really. Others say their service is fibre even theough the important bit of cable is a bit of coax they sent a pikey round to dig up your lawn and install.... ah broadband Britain, you know you love it ;)
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