A lot of the effort on broadband testing goes into the fixed line services, where the prize is bragging rights about having the fastest Internet connection possible. This means that mobile broadband has often played second fiddle, but with the improving access speeds as 4G is rolled out this may change, but only if mobile packages include reasonably priced data or manage the nirvana that fixed line broadband invariably manages which is unlimited data.

Download speeds per quarter since 2009

Download speeds per quarter since 2009

We have a long history of the speeds for mobile broadband, and now with our speed test that runs on mobiles directly we should get an even wider data set as more people visit labs.thinkbroadband.com/speedtest and test their connection. Of course the one thing holding people back is that the speed test will use up some of their precious data allowance, on a 10 Mbps connection we estimate the usage to be 20 MB if the connection is symmetric, so those with the really fast 4G and a CAT6 capable device might use 100MB or more.

Upload Speeds for Four Main UK Mobile Operators

If 4G does eventually make it to the 98% UK coverage and it can sustain speeds in the region of 15 Mbps for download and 5 Mbps for upload it will be a very strong weapon in ensuring everyone has access to basic broadband, but only if the cost when using 20 to 50GB of data a month is affordable. There is one thing that the graphs do not show though and that is just as with Wi-Fi while decent speeds are achievable even during the period of a short speed test we do see speeds varying much more than you would on an ADSL2+, FTTC, FTTH or cable broadband connection.

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