The latest mobile broadband speed test data from Broadband Genie shows two thirds of users have been saddled with speeds below 1Mb this year – less than 15% of the ‘up to’ speeds claimed by, for example, Vodafone (7.2Mb). The majority of products from the likes of 3, O2, T-Mobile and Orange are advertised at ‘up to’ 3.6Mb, although the average user experience was just 0.87Mb – only 24% of the alleged top-end speed.
The speed test, specifically designed for mobile broadband and carried out throughout 2009, showed that of more than 3,600 tests, only 16 (about 0.5%) managed a speed of more than 3Mb, making a mockery of the advertised top speeds. The statistics follow reports from Ofcom earlier in the year that showed fixed-line broadband products, many from the same companies, also failed to live up to their advertised capabilities.
The majority of the tests (65%) were slower than 1Mb, with more than half of these (39%) actually below 0.5Mb. Some 26% got results between 1Mb and 2Mb, with less than 7% getting 2-3Mb. There was a barely noticeable increase in speed across the year, but nothing like the kind of wild predictions made by some that suggested mobile broadband would soon rival fixed-line for speed.
Broadband Genie editor Chris Marling commented: “Once again it would seem the mad rush to secure the early adopters has exceeded the ability of the product to live up to over-hyped expectations. It’s a real shame too, as mobile broadband can be be perfect for a lot of uses, even at speeds below 1Mb. But consumer expectations are not being met, which could lead to burn out and a slow in sales.
“Mobile broadband has proved invaluable to many users. Students, business travellers, holidaymakers and people who struggle to get a fixed-line connection have really benefited, along with many others, but we are inundated with complaints from customers who feel they have been lied to, once again, by the mobile industry. These sales techniques, as well as the quality of customer service and tech support, really have to change.”