Testing by broadband benchmarking company Epitiro shows that the average mobile broadband speed clocks in at 0.9meg (Megabits per second). The company performed over 1.4 million tests from over 1,300 testing agents throughout the UK using its isposure software. Of these, users received on average 24% of the maximum 'up to' headline speeds advertised. The fastest 20 test agents recorded an average speed of 1.8Mbps which falls short of the 2Mbps recommended in the Interim Digital Report as a minimum universal broadband speed. During peak hours (6pm to midnight) speeds dipped by approximately 20%.
Upload speeds were more encouraging with an average of 270Kbps. Three mobile broadband providers offered an average upload speed that rivalled speeds of fixed line 'up-to' 8Mbps broadband which averages 380Kbps (based on Ofcom stats). Other metrics measured included web browsing which appeared to be 34% slower than on fixed ADSL connections. Ping times, an important metric for online game playing came in at around 150ms which is too high for acceptable gaming performance. Another metric that affects real-time applications such as gaming and Voice over IP is packet loss, a measure of data loss. One unnamed provider suffered 2.1% whilst the average was 0.67%, with the lowest at 0.1%.
One upside is that testing simulating peer-to-peer traffic indicated that traffic management wasn't currently in use on mobile broadband which is commonly used to fixed broadband to ensure users receive an acceptable level of service.
The isposure testing module is also available as part of tbbMeter, thinkbroadband's broadband usage meter.