Broadband News

Mobile broadband speeds better than old fashioned ADSL services?

ISPReview has covered the latest set of mobile broadband speed analysis by OpenSignal which competes with previous testing by rootMetrics. Our speed test has been tracking the speeds of the various mobile providers for a few years, so it seems like a good opportunity to share what levels of performance we see from the mobile operators and compare it to a fixed line service such as ADSL2+.

Five years of broadband speed test history for mobile broadband
        (click image for larger size)
Trends of changing speed for collective ADSL and 3G/4G services
        (click image for larger size)
Five years of data comparing upload speeds for mobile and copper broadband
        (click image for larger size)

Our results suggest EE has a clear lead for mobile speeds and is to be expected given the early start of the 4G roll-out which our chart suggests started to become popular in Q1 2014 and other providers have started to see a rise in speeds in Q4 2013.

While the expensive TV adverts may push superfast as the tag line and for those with the right 4G handset and the right location decent speeds are possible, the comparisons with ADSL/ADSL2+ show that fixed line copper is still beating the combined abilities of 3G/4G. FTTC based services in Q3 2014 managed a median figure of 31.7 Mbps versus 35.8 Mbps of DOCSIS cable showing these two technologies are a lot faster, but they are eclipsed by our recorded median for FTTH/P services of 95.5 Mbps.

The battle between ADSL2+ and mobile services is reversed when you look at upload speeds though and given the #selfie taking world we now live in the extra upload speed for social media updates will be seen as important by a lot of people.

While our core speed tester has been flash based for some years and our android tester app is at the end of its life, we added in the last year a tester that should work across the various mobile and tablet platforms.


The problem is the mobile providers offer you a pittance of a usage limit and widespread traffic management is out there.

  • chrysalis
  • over 6 years ago

I thought 4G was great until I read today's newspaper reports of widespread congestion. In places it seems that so many people are using 4G that the old systems may be faster (and cheaper)

  • mike41
  • over 6 years ago

I'm using 4G for home broadband, although have kept my ADSL for backup. Posted a comment on twitter that I'd given up waiting for #ConnectedCounties and gone to 4G - looks like they hid my tweet from the hashtag?

My ADSL line is 4Mbps but 4G speeds along at 30Mbps+ (up to 83Mbps!) Costs a lot, but worth it.

  • victoriaonline
  • over 6 years ago

And wrt 4G, The Register today reports Which's findings that 4G performance is decreasing as more people sign up for 4G. Who could possibly have predicted that more users on the same backhaul would result in less performance for everyone? Or is that too simplistic?

  • c_j_
  • over 6 years ago

Nope sorry at work I get 0.25M down and 0.84 up, definately a lot slower than ADSL and this is with EE.

Last year I could stream Video, now I can't read email or access Facebook most of the time.

  • dgmckenzie
  • over 6 years ago


Depends where you are, in some areas I get 0.25Mbps, others I get 25Mbps.

As we've gone back to having a 4 mobile operator cartel, they are sharing masts and speeds are taking a hit as a result.

The public have themselves to blame for this.

  • otester
  • over 6 years ago

When I last asked I was told that 3G is something that I could look forward to "one day".

So is 4G something that my children can look forward to?

Can't we just have a system where you can make a (telephone) call on a mobile if you breakdown - no matter what (public) road you are on?

  • dsf58
  • over 6 years ago

Post a comment

Login Register