Ofcom’s mobile broadband tests show O2 to be the fastest but location is the key factor for best results
The O2 mobile 3G broadband service has been named as the fastest in the UK for laptop dongles and data cards. The tests by Oftel, found Orange to be the slowest.
Over a three month period, the telecoms regulator had O2, Orange, T-Mobile, 3 and Vodafone speeds tested at different times of the day in different parts of the UK. In all, 4.1 million tests were performed to produce the 83-page report.
Speed Fluctuates Across The Country
Although O2 topped the chart, Ofcom pointed out that it literally depends on your standpoint. The aggregated total is just a guide but individual company’s performance in different parts of the country can vary quite a bit. The whole process of choosing a service often requires the user to consider coverage as well as speed. Rural areas can be patchy and urban areas performed better overall.
There are few surprises in the report. None of the services consistently provided speeds of 3Mbps and Ofcom is highly critical of this advertising technique, both in mobile and broadband, of finding a “best-case” speed and using the “up to” phrase before it. Very few customers actually get the full speed and sometimes premium broadband services can be slower, or as slow as, lower priced services.
Partly because of the shared services agreed by Orange and T-Mobile under the Everything Everywhere agreement, T-Mobile’s performance was only slightly better than Orange. The two companies straddled the average speed marker at 1.5Mbps. Third place was given, ironically to 3, and Vodafone came a close second to O2 but with quite a spread of results from lowest to highest speed recorded.
Epitiro, the organisation that performed the tests, found that the Everything Everywhere pairing seemed to browse the web quite nimbly. This was because the images were compressed by as much as 75 percent and the test results were adjusted to allow for this.
Ofcom’s report also said that 17 percent of UK households use mobile broadband and that seven percent use it as their only internet connection.