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October 4, 2011

UK mobile 3G broadband speeds catching slow with Olympics

Availability of 4G technology hampering the process

By CBR Staff Writer

The average mobile broadband speeds are still around 1-2Mb across the board for all of the UK’s leading providers, with only 3 mobile and O2 making significant speed gains compared to last year, according to Broadband Genie.

The mobile broadband 3G speeds in the UK are still lagging behind the Olympics schedule, and don’t seem like to improve before then.

The 3G potential is not realised by the UK mobile broadband companies because much improved 4G technology is becoming available.

However, 4G networks require new spectrum to work in the auction for which is being delayed by legal battle between Ofcom and the broadband providers.

The chances of 4G mobile broadband availability is very dim and expected to be available late 2013.

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.

"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," Marling said.

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"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."

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