Named and shamed
Communications regulator Ofcom has published its first study into UK mobile broadband performance, and it looks like seven percent of UK households already rely entirely on 3G for their Internet access.
But the most revealing findings concern the operators and the perhaps surprising variations in the average 3G speeds they offer. The fastest was O2, with 3 and Vodafone not too far behind. But T-Mobile, and especially Orange, lagged a fair bit behind the rest. The two of them have, of course, combined their UK operations.
It must be noted that this research was only conducted on dongles and datacards, not smartphones or other devices with embedded 3G, but we would still expect these findings to be broadly representative of the relative performance of the networks.
Ofcom chief exec, Ed Richards, said: "This research gives consumers a clearer picture of the performance of mobile broadband dongle and datacards as consumers use these services to complement fixed-line services or sometimes as their principal means of accessing online services.
"The research is another important step in Ofcom's efforts to ensure that consumers have the information they need to exercise their choice effectively and to make the most of competition in the market."
It came as little surprise to see that Ofcom has also found speeds and coverage to be highly variable, even in urban areas. With that in mind, Ofcom has published a consumer guide to choosing mobile broadband. You can access the full report here.