3G Mobile Broadband Performance


With the emergence and popularity of smartphones, mobile broadband is increasingly becoming a vital part of the mobile contract package. Apart from the minutes and text message bundles, consumers look at how much data they can get with their plan. Many of the mobile operators give 250MB, 500MB or unlimited data usage plans. But with the gradual rise in downloading applications, playing online games and streaming videos, the need of more data in the contract plans has increased. One note users should always take into consideration, apart from the bundles, is what are the average speeds of network providers and the 3G network coverage in the UK for each of the providers.


Ofcom, UK telecommunications regulatory authority, undertook comprehensive 3G mobile broadband tests of the major 3G network companies, Orange, O2, T-Mobile, Vodafone and 3 that involved measuring the average speeds and network coverage of each provider. The research conducted showed that over 17 per cent of UK households are using mobile broadband to access online services. The research also involved over 4.2 million tests and measured the average speeds of the top five mobile operators. The following chart shows the results of the findings.




Source: ofcom.org.uk


In conclusion the research conducted showed that the average 3G download speed in the UK was 1.5Mbit/s and in good 3G coverage areas was round about 2.1Mbit/s giving an average of 1.7Mbit/s.

The research also concluded that O2, Vodafone and 3 delivered faster average download speeds than T-Mobile and Orange. Since the research, Orange and T-Mobile have merged to provide consumers with better 3G network coverage and faster speeds. O2 was the fastest out of the lot.



Location also plays a great part in averaging the performance of 3G network speeds. Urban areas do give better 3G reception and also depends from network to network as some operators have stronger signals in certain areas than others. The most important factor that affects mobile broadband performance is coverage. Consumers should shop around before buying a service. The link before provides a good foundation for consumers to start from.




Consumers should look at price plans, minutes available, text messages, amount of data, contract length and the initial costs if any before choosing a network provider. Heavy data users will prefer looking at the speeds and coverage of each provider. The following link gives users an overview of the mobile network coverage check for the main operators.




Mobile broadband speed and performance are likely to remain the same until the rollout of the fourth generation (4G) technology that is expected to begin in 2013. This will provide a faster mobile broadband service.


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