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December 1, 2009

Virgin rolls out superfast mobile Internet

But how many will get top speed?

By Steve Evans

Virgin Media is rolling out a new high-speed mobile broadband USB modem that offers speeds up to 7.2Mbps.

Virgin said that the success of its 3.6Mbps dongle prompted the company to launch a faster service. It is available on a rolling one month contract or an 18-month deal to new or existing customers. Packages also come with a data limit – either 1GB or 3GB, depending on the tariff.

Graeme Oxby, executive director of mobile at Virgin Media said: “We’re thrilled to be offering this faster mobile broadband to our users. If you’re not at home or near a wireless connection, mobile broadband is the best way of staying connected on the move and we’re delighted to be making this a speedier, more pleasant experience for our customers.”

A recent survey by Broadband Genie found that many mobile Internet connections are failing to reach advertised speeds, with just 0.5% of connection tests registering over 3Mbps. The majority of speed tests (65%) came in at under 1Mbps and 39% of those were recorded at under 0.5Mbps. Just over a quarter (26%) registered speeds between 1Mbps and 2Mbps and less than 7% claimed speeds between 2Mbps and 3Mbps.

“Once again it would seem the mad rush to secure the early adopters has exceeded the ability of the product to live up to over-hyped expectations. It’s a real shame too, as mobile broadband can be perfect for a lot of uses, even at speeds below 1Mbps,” said Broadband Genie editor Chris Marling about the survey results.



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