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O2 crowned king of mobile broadband speeds

O2 crowned king of mobile broadband speeds

O2 came out top with average speeds above 2.5Mbit/sec.

Mobile communications regulator Ofcom has released its first report on the state of mobile broadband in the UK, and O2 has come out on top.

The report, which focuses on speeds of mobile broadband dongles rather than handsets, is based on data collected from September to December 2010. Ofcom has also indicated that it will be testing handset mobile data performance in the near future.

Readings were taken from all over the UK, at varying times of day, in order to give an accurate and widespread idea of mobile data speeds.

O2 is the clear winner when it comes to download speeds, with an average of between 2.5Mb/sec and 3Mb/s, while Orange languishes in last place with an average speed of between 1Mb/sec and 1.4Mb/sec.

Orange also grabbed the wooden spoon for the number of 2G connections made in the testing period, with over 30 per cent of the network's data connections made using the older standard. Meanwhile, O2 made 9 per cent of its connections via 2G, while Vodafone made just 6.5 per cent of its connections using the ageing standard, indicating a wider-ranging 3G network.

However, as any Londoner will tell you, mobile data in urban areas is infamously dodgy, and the report backs this up. According to Ofcom, the 'measured performance was highly variable across the city, with no guarantee of good performance offered by a city centre location.'

You can read Ofcom's full Measuring Mobile Broadband in the UK report here

How do find your mobile provider's mobile data speeds? Has this report made you re-think your next upgrade? Let us know in the forums.

26 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
bogie170 26th May 2011, 12:50 Quote
I have 3 mobile bb and it's ok. I think they all need more mast locations though as poor signal quality is annoying.
RedFlames 26th May 2011, 12:52 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by bogie170
BE* also use O2's LLU. So i would assume similar speeds with no network traffic shaping or restrictions.

This is referring to *mobile* broadband, using a dongle/datacard, not fixed line broadband.
Salty Wagyu 26th May 2011, 12:57 Quote
I got T-Mobile in April for my new phone and they have a godawful fixed 3G speed of 384kbps only, which I was never told about in their T&Cs. Can't get any faster unless I pay an extra £5 a month or something.
r3loaded 26th May 2011, 13:10 Quote
I'm perfectly happy with 3, getting 2-3Mbit at all times.
Parge 26th May 2011, 13:22 Quote
I'm on three, its ok, not as fast as my friend on 02, but then I pay about £7.50 less than him, as well as getting more minutes, texts and unlimited downloads.
MiNiMaL_FuSS 26th May 2011, 13:59 Quote
I'm on vodaphone

unlitmed text
5000mins (inc 0800 and 0845, other networks, landlines, everything)
Free voda phone to vodaphone calls
2gig internet usage
£10 a month

Fast, cheap and happy, never understood why £30+ contracts exist, who the hell uses all that stuff!
Jake123456 26th May 2011, 14:05 Quote
I thank you bit-tech so much, due to the fact I am actually going to buy a dongle tomorrow. :)
mclean007 26th May 2011, 14:07 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by MiNiMaL_FuSS
I'm on vodaphone

unlitmed text
5000mins (inc 0800 and 0845, other networks, landlines, everything)
Free voda phone to vodaphone calls
2gig internet usage
£10 a month

Fast, cheap and happy, never understood why £30+ contracts exist, who the hell uses all that stuff!

Generally the £30+ contracts are for subsidised handsets. I'm guessing your £10 a month is SIM only, right?
GiantKiwi 26th May 2011, 14:19 Quote
2.5Mb/s? yeah... sure.. maybe when your standing under the transmitter
sleepygamer 26th May 2011, 14:27 Quote
I have some minor inside info, but 3 Mobile is due to get a whopping boost in 3G/4G speeds in the next few months. Way better coverage too.

From what I hear, they are looking to get people in the inner cities to have up to and above 8Mb speeds on a dongle. >.>
fodder 26th May 2011, 14:37 Quote
I have had a t-mobile dongle for about 3 years, it is awfull. You get a great signal and speed for a minute or so, then it crawls or drops the connection completely. This is true everywhere I have been in the uk. From Scotland right down to Cornwall.

Just use tethering now, this seems more reliable than the dongle.
delriogw 26th May 2011, 16:10 Quote
i wonder if orange had most 2g connections because it has better coverage in trouble spots

for example, orange is the only network i can get a signal with in my house without hanging out of the window, and even then the others are ropey. also more rural areas that perhaps dont' have 3g coverage properly might have better orange signals - hard to know really.

O2, i believe, works best in cities (ok they all do, but it's possible it has less rural coverage than others).
CrazyJoe 26th May 2011, 16:37 Quote
I get 5+meg with 3 at times and it's usually above 3 meg. When I had O2 I rarely got above 3 meg, hence O2 are king of nothing!
kenco_uk 26th May 2011, 17:03 Quote
o2? King of mobile broadband speeds? You have to be kidding. Their coverage is next to useless, unless you're in a large town. And mobile broadband, you would think, is the lifeline offered to those who still have no normal/usual way of receiving broadband through their phoneline. I find 3 pretty exceptional, personally. Where o2 struggles with a gprs signal, I can normally receive hsdpa on 3 (or at the very least, 3g).
RichCreedy 26th May 2011, 17:36 Quote
in my experience O2 has crap coverage in my region, and 3 are much better, except they have a sell sell sell customer support team
trickster 26th May 2011, 17:48 Quote
A lot of people seem to be commenting about 3G speeds via their phones, whereas the tests in the article were all made using dongles and 'mobile broadband' packages. According to "Trusted Rviews":
"The report didn't cover smartphones but Ofcom indicated that a survey of these devices would take place soon."
Not sure how much differnece this actually makes but i wouldnt be surprised if someone tells me 3G speed on a phone contract is different to a 3G mobile broadband contract, even though its the same thing
tad2008 26th May 2011, 18:01 Quote
I am with O2 for my mobile and the signal where I am is good most of the time tho in some places it becomes patchy or nothing at all. I managed to update my old vodafone dongle and when I have the need just pop my O2 sim in for internet access, still have access to texts tho is cut off from calls while online.
sandys 26th May 2011, 20:12 Quote
Another 3 mobile user here, superb network, great coverage, data speed used to be amazing, continually 2.5-3Mb, these days it seems not so fast but still fast enough to download albums of Amazon in work in a matter of minutes when I want some new music on my phone.
true_gamer 26th May 2011, 20:16 Quote
Internet tethering from my iphone to my laptop, I have reached speeds up to 900Kbps when downloading from steam.
jimmyjj 26th May 2011, 22:46 Quote
Is it me or are newer comments now up top?

Not good.
Nexxo 26th May 2011, 22:51 Quote
It's you. You can change it in your forum preferences.
Coltch 27th May 2011, 07:44 Quote
I'm still using my old E220 dongle on 3 and average speeds are between 1 & 2Mbs, if I update my dongle that may improve (plus the PAYG options are very good £15 for 3GB or £25 for 7GB).

O2 coverage is useless here, 3 and Vodafone are nearly always on HSDPA but with O2 I'm lucky to get 3G (I will not talk about that bunch of idiots Orange).

My Android phone on the other hand is much faster averaging between 3 and 5Mbs on Vodafone, although this may be down to a better receiver in the phone.
CrazyJoe 27th May 2011, 09:14 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by sleepygamer
I have some minor inside info, but 3 Mobile is due to get a whopping boost in 3G/4G speeds in the next few months. Way better coverage too.

Sounds good, although I'm happy with what I currently get considering I hit a new high this morning!

http://www.speedtest.net/android/56193189.png
leexgx 27th May 2011, 09:26 Quote
o2 seem to have good coverage around where I am from but seems more 2g then any thing els (but o2 seem to of bothered to upgrade a lot of there towers to edge so its about 3x faster then gprs or dialup) never used o2 my self

my brother is on three UK and he not impressed with coverage nor are 7 other users I know and one company that made the big mistake switching from Orange (that has roaming to T-Mobile for free) to three they wish they had not done that as phones norm not working on sites they are working on

I norm only get no more then 2mb on my orange or t-mobile device
Jim_Fear 27th May 2011, 11:05 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Salty Wagyu
I got T-Mobile in April for my new phone and they have a godawful fixed 3G speed of 384kbps only, which I was never told about in their T&Cs. Can't get any faster unless I pay an extra £5 a month or something.

Go to one of their shops and complain that the speeds have recently become terrible. I did the this not knowing about the speed cap and they bumped me up from the ~300Kbps limit to the Web 'n' Walk plus which seems to top out at about ~2000Kbps depending on where I am at no extra cost. (I only found out that it was supposed to cost more after they had "someone forgot to add the speed option, all smart phones should have that, let me just add that now for you")
littlexanth 27th May 2011, 12:56 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by MiNiMaL_FuSS
I'm on vodaphone

unlitmed text
5000mins (inc 0800 and 0845, other networks, landlines, everything)
Free voda phone to vodaphone calls
2gig internet usage
£10 a month

Fast, cheap and happy, never understood why £30+ contracts exist, who the hell uses all that stuff!

£10 a month for all that? That's not a standard plan on their site. How did you get that? Bargain with them? Be very interested to know how to get all that for £10 a month.
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