UK mobile broadband speeds floundering as Olympics approach
With the Olympics just nine months away, the UK’s mobile broadband 3G speeds are still in the dark ages, says Broadbandgenie.co.uk – and things don’t look like improving in time.
Using data from thousands of speed tests run through its website, Broadband Genie has found that average mobile broadband speeds are still around 1-2Mb across the board for all of the UK’s leading providers. This shows a very small increase from last year’s figures, with only 3 mobile and O2 making significant speed gains (O2 being fastest overall at close to 2Mb).
UK mobile broadband companies have failed to realise the full potential of their 3G networks because much improved 4G technology is becoming available. But 4G networks require new spectrum to work in – the auction for which is being delayed by legal wrangling between Ofcom and the broadband suppliers. The delays mean any chance of 4G mobile broadband being in place for the Olympics has now gone, with late 2013 being a more realistic target.
Broadband Genie editor Chris Marling said: A 1-2Mb average is too slow to be able to stream video or use video chat reliably; downloading anything but small files, or do most kinds of online gaming – even if the service was consistent, which it rarely is. Tablets are exploding in popularity, but if you thought you’d be watching Jessica Ennis, Mo Farah and the rest win medals while on the move, you can think again.
“It’s pathetic really. While the mobile broadband big boys play boardroom games with Ofcom, the UK’s businesses and consumers continue to get a sub-par mobile broadband experience. While everyone from America to Australia, including most of Europe, are getting on with auctions or even deploying the technology now, we’re still playing politics.
“The Olympics offered the perfect target date to get our 4G services up and running – just as Brazil is using the 2014 World Cup for the same purpose. Instead anyone coming here next year will find a fourth rate network, instead of a 4G one. And that’s before you even get onto the issue of capacity, which 3 Mobile has just announced is going to be an issue for it.
“While there are half-baked plans for public Wi-Fi, these are also in the throes of auction. These are being run by the London boroughs themselves and we can only hope they do not look to Ofcom and the mobile broadband suppliers for an example of how to do things.”