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Mobile Broadband Speeds over-hyped by providers

Published: 07/10/2010 by Comments

A study conducted by Broadband Genie reports that mobile broadband speeds are well below speeds claimed by providers.

Reportedly, mobile broadband speeds are well below the standard claims of “up to” 7.2Mbps by many internet service providers. Currently the average speed is hovering around 1.2Mbs with some speeds falling even lower.

The report released by the company primarily disputed claims of some of the largest service providers in the UK. Much of the criticism focused on Vodafone and Virgin Media for advertising misleading and unrealistic claims of high speeds.

Consumers base their purchases on speed claims provided by the companies. A customer with the choice of T-Mobile, which claims speeds up to 4.5Mbps, is likely overlooked by consumers due to the 7.2Mbps claims by Virgin Media and Vodafone. According to Chris Marling, Editor at Broadband Genie, concerning T-Mobile and Virgin Media “our speed test results show that, on average, it is quicker.” T-Mobile advertises a more realistic speed and risks losing customers to companies with higher claims and slower speeds.

Many companies flaunt the higher speeds because their technology is capable of achieving the speeds but their networks are not able to maintain the claimed speeds. The report insists the average mobile broadband speeds have remained constant over the last year, but has not stopped companies from still misleading customers. Marling made a plea to Ofcom for action against the unrealistic claims. He said, “It’s hard to believe the government or Ofcom hasn’t stepped in to bring these ‘up to’ speeds into line with reality.”

According to the report, Vodafone and T-Mobile were the fastest with speeds around 1.2Mbps. Companies like Orange and Three barely peaked at 1Mbps. Notably, the 2010 Mobile-Broadband Awards concurred with aspects of the report. Although their actual speeds varied, both agreed that claims of 7.2Mbps were a long ways off from actual speeds. The Broadband Expert logged Vodafone at 1.78 Mbs, the fastest in the UK.

Interestingly these results differ, quite widely in fact, from another recent set of tests conducted during the Broadband Expert 2010 Mobile-Broadband Awards (here).

2010 Mobile-Broadband Awards - Fastest Operator

1. Vodafone - 1.78Mbps

2. Three (3) - 1.76Mbps

3. Orange - 1.46Mbps

4. O2 - 1.42Mbps

5. T-Mobile - 1.07Mbps

Most mobile operators no longer advertise any headline speeds, preferring instead to only list the technical specifications of their Mobile Broadband USB Modems (Dongles) in the small print. Just as well that Ofcom recently signed Epitiro to help it test the speeds delivered by Mobile Broadband network operators in the UK (here).

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