The rise of mobile broadband in the form of 3G USB dongles has made the life of people who travel a lot easier. This popularity has lead to greater competition and mobile providers trying to push their products, T-Mobile in a leaflet for its service stated the following:
"Emails to send, blogs to write, games to play, stuff-to buy- and everything else you love doing online- wish you could do these things when you're out and about with friends and family in the UK this summer? Broadband on the go for £15 a month ... All the benefits of home broadband, on the move. No wires, no waiting, no worries..."Copy from T-Mobile leaflet
A complaint was raised as to whether mobile broadband was really of similar speed and quality to home broadband. The ASA considered the response from T-Mobile, but upheld the complaint. The ASA felt that mobile broadband was not likely to offer speeds comparable to fixed line broadband, which has products that can go up to 24Mbps versus the up to 7.2Mbps of the mobile products. The authority also felt that some bandwidth intensive activities were not going to be available or of the same standard, with these being streaming, downloading and online gaming.
T-Mobile has been told to not run the advert again, and to avoid the implication that their mobile broadband was of a comparable standard to fixed line broadband.
The ruling is interesting, as there are probably bits of the country where 3G mobile data services can provide speeds in excess of what basic ADSL broadband can manage, so which is best is very much an individual thing. We see on our forums a trickle of people complaining about being sold a mobile data connection with various coverage promises but being disappointed when they find they only get GPRS speeds in their home.