April 23, 2010

T-Mobile top in mobile download speed

by Darren Allan

Who’s the fastest mobile broadband provider in the west? Or indeed, in the UK?

That’s a question which website Broadband Genie discovered the answer to, in its “Road Test 2010”.

When they say road test, it makes it sound a bit like Top Gear getting James May to drive a Ferrari from one end of the country to the other, to see if he can get there faster than Jeremy Clarkson who is travelling purely by the power of his own gob.

But the slightly less exciting reality for the Broadband Genie team was a 350 mile return train journey from Cambridge to Bournemouth (changing in London).

Not so much a road test, as a rail test on which they recorded the performance of the top mobile operators, while dealing with other frustrations such as unintelligible station announcements and dodgy egg-mayo sandwiches.

The tests were conducted using the Broadband Genie site’s own speed-test, and both download and upload speeds were measured.

When it came to downloads, T-Mobile claimed the crown, with the top download speed reached (over 3Mbps) and the best average download speed of 1.9Mbps.

Broadband Genie does point out that the T-Mobile results fluctuated considerably, but a big lead in the top speed category pulled its average right up.

Virgin Mobile was more consistent, in second place with an average download speed of 1.5Mbps, although the provider’s top speed peaked at 1.8Mbps, which was third place.

Vodafone managed second place in the top speed downloads with 2Mbps, although it had a lower average than Virgin with 1.2Mbps.

The others tested, 3, O2 and Orange, averaged below the 1Mbps mark.

In the uploading stakes, 3 came first in the fastest upload speeds, reaching 1.6Mbps. Virgin Media was close behind with 1.5Mbps, and T-Mobile was third with 0.9Mbps.

For average upload speeds, Virgin came top with an impressive average of 1Mbps. T-Mobile and 3 both averaged just over 0.6Mbps, some distance behind.

So while T-Mobile proved the quickest at downloading, Virgin Media was definitely the most consistent performer over all the tests.

When it came to failures to complete a test, no operator managed to match Vodafone’s achievement in the 2009 rankings, where the company finished every single test.

T-Mobile, 3 and Orange did the best when it came to failures this year, recording only two failed tests apiece.

ED: The original test can be found here

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