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Mobile Broadband Providers deliver a Quarter of Advertised Speeds

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New research by broadband comparison site Broadband Expert, has revealed that, on average, UK mobile broadband providers are delivering just 24% of advertised download speeds to consumers who sign up for their mobile broadband services.

The comparison site tested 3,342 mobile broadband connections during the period 1st March 2009 - 31st August, 2009, and found that the average actual download speed was 1.1Mbs compared to the average advertised maximum speed of 4.5Mbs.

The research also revealed that, whilst Vodafone recorded the fastest actual speed with an average of 1.3Mbs, it also delivered the lowest percentage of its advertised speeds at just 18% of the stated 7.2Mbs. Vodafone recently announced that its maximum speeds are set to increase to 14.4Mbs in selected areas.

Although there was not a great difference in actual speeds delivered between providers, T-Mobile was the slowest at 0.9Mbs or 20% of the advertised speed. 3 achieved the highest percentage of advertised speeds clocking in at 1.2Mbs or 33.3% of the advertised 3.6Mbs maximum speed.

Rob Webber, Broadband Expert's Commercial Director, is calling for providers to add average speeds to advertising so consumers can make a more informed choice. He said: "It is completely unreasonable for a provider to advertise unrealistically high speeds that the vast majority of customers will never receive. Advertising in this way will not help the long term growth of mobile broadband or the reputation of the providers if customers feel they are being misled."

By comparison, over the same period, Broadband Expert tested 94,546 home broadband connections where the average speed was 3.6Mbs or 44% of advertised maximum speed.

Webber concluded: "Consumers who see mobile broadband advertised at such high speeds may see it as a realistic alternative to home broadband, whereas in truth it should be seen as a complementary technology. Continued developments in the mobile broadband industry will undoubtedly allow it to become a true competitor in the future, but at the moment - as our research shows - there is still a way to go."

Advertised mobile broadband download speeds compared to real download speeds, by provider

Network Number of Speed
Advertised Speed Avg. Download
% of
Advertised Speed
Vodafone 631 7.2 Mbps 1.3 Mbps 18.1%
Three 1,728 3.6 Mbps 1.2 Mbps 33.3%
Orange 296 3.6 Mbps 1.1 Mbps 30.6%
O2 257 3.6 Mbps 1.0 Mbps 27.8%
T-Mobile 430 4.5 Mbps 0.9 Mbps 20.0%
Totals 3,342


4.5 Mbps 1.1 Mbps 24.4%

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Tags: mobile broadband  broadband  true  UK