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Vodafone UK Upgrades Mobile Broadband Speeds to 14.4Mbps

Posted: 27th Aug, 2009 By: MarkJ
Mobile operator Vodafone UK has upgraded its 'up to' 7.2Mbps Mobile Broadband ( 3G ) network to the fastest download speed that first generation HSPA technology can support - 'up to' 14.4Mbps. However this is only a theoretical top rate and the maximum practical speed is more like 10.8Mbps, but you probably won’t get anywhere near that either.

Vodafone's Chief Technology Officer, Jeni Mundy, said:

"Sites with the greatest demand will be upgraded first with the 14.4Mbps capability. Busy areas of London, Birmingham and Liverpool have already received upgraded sites and the roll out will continue across the UK on an ongoing basis. Today’s network upgrade means customers can be reassured we’re consistently enhancing the quality of our network in response to demand."

Vodafone claims that more than 80% of existing PCMCIA Datacards, USB Modems (Dongles) and 3G handsets should be compatible with the new speeds but even if they're not then we wouldn't worry. Most consumers are lucky if they can get a stable 1 to 2Mbps and even Vodafone admits that speeds of between 1 and 4Mbps are more likely.

The obvious question must be asked; if neither capacity nor coverage has been significantly improved with the upgrade (it's technically still the same basic HSPA tech as before) then why bother? Easy - marketing. Meanwhile the speed you already receive will stay the same.

Perhaps Ofcom needs to start paying more attention to this BEFORE next generation 4G Mobile Broadband services surface over the next two years. Future LTE technology may be faster and more stable, with initial speeds of up to 150Mbps being touted, but without more capacity all we will see is a huge widening of the gulf between real-world and advertised performance.
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