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Vodafone boost mobile broadband to 14.4 meg
Friday 28 August 2009 10:48:20 by John Hunt

Vodafone will increase the speed of its mobile broadband product to 14.4 Mbps in areas where it has the highest demand, with parts of London, Birmingham and Liverpool already updated.

Of course, as with most broadband services, the advertised headline speed of 14.4 Mbps is actually unachievable. Vodafone say that users will see a maximum of round 10.8 Mbps, with typical speeds between 1 and 4 Mbps. Most existing users shouldn't need to update their phone or dongle/datacard as 80% of hardware currently used supports the new speeds as they are based on the same HSPA technology.

"Customers trust us to deliver a mobile network that they can rely on – wherever they are and whether they are individuals, or a small, medium or large business. Today's network upgrade means customers can be reassured we're consistently enhancing the quality of our network in response to demand."

Jeni Mundy, (Chief Technology Officer) Vodafone UK

Whilst ever increasing speeds and network upgrades are welcome, the reality of this will probably mean most users won't see much difference in terms of their mobile broadband service. As with most technologies, peak speeds are dependent on signal quality and distance from the transmitter, and until this changes, some users will still be plagued by patchy coverage and poor speeds.


Posted by chrysalis over 7 years ago
they starting to approach my adsl synch speed. wit the new typical speeds.
Posted by pcoventry76 over 7 years ago
I wish they would sort out their phone service black spots first. some parts of Sheffield can't get service.
Posted by c_j_ over 7 years ago
Marvellous - if you're in an area with good coverage and not intending to move around at all.

Otherwise, here are some coverage maps:
Posted by AndrueC over 7 years ago
The article mentions several factors that will impact speed but doesn't mention the effect that the number of active users will have.

Mast backhaul /and/ the radio-side are contended media (unlike ADSL where only the exchange backhaul is contended).
Posted by bosie over 7 years ago
Fabulous, I may just give Voda another try. My current provider O2 is heavily over subscribed and for the past 2 months the service both dongle and iPhone has been pretty much non existent.
Posted by 2doorsbob over 7 years ago
This is good news .anything that gives people a chance of a decent speed who are on long lines is one in the eye for BT ,and with all the good tariffs out there the need for a landline is starting to dwindle .unless BT can roll out fibre to cab within the next 5 years bt will be in a worse state then ever
Posted by otester over 7 years ago
And the chance of getting 14.4Mbps is ????

You're lucky to even get the standard 512K style connection in most cities (regardless of operators).

Whether this is down to actual mast capacity or back haul I don't know.

Maybe they should copy 3UK and actually be kinda honest with users as to what they get.

Best results I've ever had...

O2 = 3.1Mbps (Southampton for 15 minute period on download).
Three = 2.4Mbps (on motorway).
Posted by spwoolley over 7 years ago
Its just another shameful con. They want you to pay and use your broadband connection because they dont want the expense of improving their coverage. They sit back and do nothing, you pay twice.... hummm
Posted by herdwick over 7 years ago
Vodafone have 3 * 5 MHz of 3G spectrum, each 5 MHz can carry the 14.4M maximum so if there are 60 users downloading in an area just do the maths to see what rate to expect - 720k !
Posted by otester over 7 years ago

Remember that mobile operators have to pay something around about £22bn for licensing.

BT & Virgin are in the same position, £10bn and £4bn debt respectively.

Each mast costs around ~£1m.
Posted by otester over 7 years ago

Is there anywhere that has info on who has what part of the spectrum?
Posted by herdwick over 7 years ago
Posted by AndrueC over 7 years ago
@2doorsbob:"is one in the eye for BT". Uh huh. At least BT provide ADSL on every exchange. Overall they have done more for this country than any other company. Why don't you go and cry to the LLU operators - ask them to run fibre to your door. There are many companies capable of doing it but only one that is likely to.
Posted by otester over 7 years ago

LLU operator Sky said that if they had access to the infrastructure they could fund upgrading the network themselves.
Posted by 2doorsbob over 7 years ago
@AndrueC BT still own the lines and what about the revenue gained by openreach when faults occur's ?
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 7 years ago
otester - Below-cost access isn't enough for them, right, they want it free.
Posted by AndrueC over 7 years ago
@2doorsbob - not sure what you're asking there.

BT is achieving something that very few other companies manage - nearly 100% coverage. It's a difficult task but at least they are trying. I'd rather have near 100% coverage than high speeds for a few and nothing for the rest.

BT as a group has made some silly decisions but BTor as a division does a damn' good job. They deserve to make a profit - it's not their fault that the group management refuse to give them the funds to invest properly.
Posted by herdwick over 7 years ago
"Each mast costs around ~£1m." - out by an order of magnitude, based on OFCOM studies on coverage expansion.
Posted by c_j_ over 7 years ago
"have to pay something around about £22bn for licensing."

It was an auction. No one forced them to bid silly money, they did it all by themselves, even though anyone with a calculator and a clue could take the number of phones, multiply by the plausible revenue, and work out from there what might be a sensible licence price for a sensible return. "An order of magnitude too high" also applies to what the telcos paid for 3G licences.

Was it Vodafone or was it O2 that were threatened last year with their 3G licence being withdrawn because of poor coverage?
Posted by herdwick over 7 years ago
O2 were threatened with a £40m fine. O2 acquired its 3G licence in 2000 for £4030m.

"Ofcom today issued O2 with a deadline for meeting its 3G rollout obligation and what steps it proposes to take should the mobile phone operator still not be in compliance.

Ofcom has now completed its assessment of compliance with the obligation. Four of the five licensees have complied, but O2 only covered 75.69 percent of the population. This is a shortfall equivalent to approximately 2.5 million people."

at least there was a coverage / service provision obligation !
Posted by alanrwood over 7 years ago
Part 1
I also wish they would sort out their black spots. I have only GPRS in my area. and used them for nearly 6 years. In April, emails with attachments over 80K started to be rejected. Poor for an advertised business service. After months of denials from Vfone they admitted they had put a "time out" on GPRS only. They said it was an anti spam measure. Who would use a GPRS connection to send spam?? Anyway they refused to change back.
See Part 2
Posted by alanrwood over 7 years ago
Part 2
I am looking for another service but having no luck as I have tried Virgin, 3, Orange and 02 and none pick up in my area. I feel Vfone are in contravention of contract but what other choice do I have as BT quoted £2,750 to put in a land line.
Posted by timmay over 7 years ago
This news is all very well and good however Vodafone's fastest modem that they are currently selling is only capable of 7.2Mbps and most are only capable of 3.6Mbps so NO CURRENT USERS WILL BENEFIT! Usages restrictions mean you can't really call it broadband even when it's fast enough because you can't use it like normal broadband. Mobile Broadband still has a long way to come but one day it may well be a very good alternative in areas that have no other service.
Posted by comnut over 7 years ago
Yes, a lot say 'mobile internet is wonderful' but it depends heavily on how good the mobile service is!!!

It is easy enough to get a good 'voice' service, but I doubt anyone here has managed to talk for *hours* on the mobile without getting sound issues.. eg odd-sounds, blanking out but still 'connected' , etc, etc....
Posted by leshewitt over 7 years ago
alanrwood: "BT quoted £2,750 to put in a land line."

Interesting snippet that. Sounds like a lot of money! What sort of service was that quote for? Just curious....
Posted by EnglishRob over 7 years ago
I'd love it if I could get higher than GPRS speeds in my area, but I tend to use my modem when I'm out and about rather than when I'm at home (especially consdiering I'm a PAYG customer on the modem and have Virgin Broadband, and now 1GB allowance on my Three contract). Would also be nice if the coverage was a bit better when I am out and about.
Posted by timmay over 7 years ago
I live in Canterbury, within the city walls and for all networks the 3G coverage is very patchy. It seems like planning permission has not been granted for any 3G services/masts within the city walls! All 3G masts are located on the out skirts of the city.
Posted by c_j_ over 7 years ago
Cease panicking, everybody! The future of Broadband Brian is assured, Lord "Two Resignations" Mandelson is on the case:
Posted by nmg196 over 7 years ago
So they're trying to get 14.4Mb to work, when they don't seem to be able to get 1Mb to work reliably? I'm guessing the 14.4Mb will be available for engineers working on masts, with their mobile broadband antenna gaffer-taped to the mast aerial? I'm on Vodafone mobile broadband and I've yet to hit 2Mb anywhere in England except once in an airport.
Posted by alanrwood over 7 years ago
Posted by leshewitt 7 days ago
alanrwood: "BT quoted £2,750 to put in a land line."
Interesting snippet that. Sounds like a lot of money! What sort of service was that quote for? Just curious....

All I wanted was a simple phone line, nothing special.
They said they would have to put in a new cable and it would need to be passed over the river. Don't believe them as they have an existing line going to the farm house about 25 yards from me and they only have one phone line in operation and the cables usually have several pairs contained.
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