Broadband News

EE spends time explaining to ASA what average means

  • Wednesday, December 11, 2013 10:16 AM

The sack of complaints to the ASA may not be as exciting as what Santa is bringing us all, but there is usually something interesting to be found. This week someone complained about their website for the double speed 4G improvements.

The complaint was challenging whether the claim that their postcode had the double speed upgrade working was misleading as they only got download speeds of 8 to 14 Mbps from their 4G service. The EE website mentions an average speed of 24 to 30 Mbps, compared to an average of 12 to 15 Mbps before the upgrades.

The complaint was not upheld as EE provided a fairly lengthy explanation, which boils down to the fact that an average will usually include people who get slower and some who get faster speeds generally. They err on the side of caution also by only showing a postcode as receiving the double speed upgrade when they believe the whole postcode can use the extra bandwidth, but there is the caveat that speeds will not be uniform across the postcode. The biggest caveat is that this refers to outdoor coverage only.

The joy of averages means it is also possible to have 50 tests at 1 Mbps, and 50 tests at 60 Mbps with nothing in between, but still show a mean of 30.5 Mbps. The speed of 4G now is such that for many people in cities who are blessed with only ADSL2+ access and a long line, 4G can be a route to faster download and upload speeds. Alas it is the expensive usage allowances that are holding people back from abandoning their landlines, this may change as the people who brought us the dancing pony roll-out their 4G service for no extra cost and retain their all-you-can data allowances.


Good argument could be made for wanting 'median' rather than 'mean' value for this stuff.

  • Dixinormous
  • over 6 years ago

Oddly that is why we use median in our results, but do look at mean as the difference appears to be an indicator of how mature an area is with respect to faster speeds.

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • over 6 years ago

In the example quoted the median will be the same as the mean = 30.5 Meg. This will also usually be the case with any other set of fairly continuously varying values such as speeds varying with distance.

  • XRaySpeX
  • over 6 years ago

so th averages mean little on EE seems a huge variation even for a single postcode?

  • chrysalis
  • over 6 years ago

Where i live right next to a serving cell site (the one which is sending out the LTE) yet they ignored this and as usual EE managed a way out of it..

  • FirstNetServ2
  • over 6 years ago

Maybe a "geometric mean" would be a more useful measure, since it would give a greater weighting to low values.

  • obroad
  • over 6 years ago

Three is going to become top dog again when they release 4G.

  • otester
  • over 6 years ago

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