Vodafone publishes information on its testing
Vodafone it seems is trying to make it clear that the adjudication by the ASA over its advertising was more about Vodafone not putting enough information about its claims into its adverts, rather than the actual speeds.
"The ASA has today published its adjudication on Vodafone UK’s mobile broadband advertising. The ruling does not question the factual validity of Vodafone’s ‘fastest and most reliable’ mobile broadband advertising claim, which is based on a study commissioned from LCC, the world’s largest independent wireless engineering company, nor does it challenge the validity of the LCC results. The LCC study involved independent mobile broadband testing across the UK, between March and May 2008. However, the ASA is recommending, that these claims are supported with further qualification to enable readers to understand the basis of the claims. Vodafone UK has agreed do this."Extract from Vodafone statement
They have also published some actual testing results. One test was to time how long it took to download a 2MB file. Vodafone averaged 13.54 seconds, T-Mobile 16.15 seconds, O2 20.17 seconds, Three 21.44 seconds, and Orange 23.99 seconds. Doing the sums reveals the download rates varied between 1.2Mbps and 683Kbps. Opening a single webpage was also measured, with Vodafone taking 6.7 seconds compared to 7.45 seconds on 02, 7.8 seconds on T-Mobile, 12.7 seconds on Three and 25.67 on Orange.
The testing involved 28,000 tests over a period of 10 weeks in 140 locations, including airports, shopping centres, hotels, service stations, business parks and train stations.
The fact that the mobile broadband providers are talking about speeds perhaps reflects the level of competition in the market. The price points from each product are now close enough that many people will not be buying solely based on price. These results suggest that mobile broadband is not yet ready to kill off fixed line broadband, but there will be areas of the UK where it can provide a reasonable alternative, and for some may actually provide connectivity that is faster than ADSL.