Virgin "doubles" speed of mobile broadband
By Barry Collins
Posted on 1 Dec 2009 at 14:31
Virgin Media claims to have doubled the speed of its mobile broadband service to "up to 7.2Mbits/sec".
The new speed will be available on a variety of contracts starting from £8 per month, with a high-speed modem costing £35 for those on rolling monthly contracts and £10 for those prepared to sign up for 18 months.
Virgin doesn't actually run its own mobile network - it piggybacks on T-Mobile's network. Curiously, T-Mobile is still advertising its maximum speed as 3.6Mbits/sec.
Users are highly unlikely to see anything like 7.2Mbits/sec, of course. A report published last month claimed that the average mobile broadband speed was only 0.87Mbits/sec, with only a tiny fraction of people seeing real speeds in excess of even 3Mbits/sec.
A Virgin spokesperson refused to disclose what average speed users could expect on the improved network, claiming there were "too many factors involved" to provide an accurate figure.
However, the company's press release boasts that "the speedy nature of the new dongle means it’s ideal for quick browsing, downloading and even keeping up with your favourite shows via BBC iPlayer or YouTube (with less buffering and stuttering)".
Virgin admits that some mobile cell towers won't support the 7.2Mbits/sec speeds, although it doesn't reveal what percentage of the country can expect to receive the higher speeds.
How these companies are still getting away with this inaccurate advertising is beyond me.
Speed tests show I barely get 2Mb from Virgins 10Mb broadband package on their cable network!
By a_byrne22 on 1 Dec 2009
If they are going to insist on using "up to" as a term to disguise poor coverage, ISPs should be forced to qualify their products with an "at least" statement.
If I don't get "at least" 50% of the advertised speed they have breached the terms of the contract.
Might improve the competition.
By pepperalex on 1 Dec 2009
I think I will start paying BT upto £24.46 for their BT Total Broadband Option 3 package.
I think about £15 this month should reflect the proportion of the upto 8Mbps line they provide that I have actually had the benefit of.
By iwilson on 1 Dec 2009
Unfortunately the public in general don't understand what people here are aware of.
- The modem may be capable
- The infrastructure is saturated
=> At -best- you get double of what you had before
=> But you may not even see any improvement
It's unfortunate that they trust the advertising, and it's worse that the advertisers are not held accountable.
I wonder if it would be financially viable to launch a car into orbit, and then claim a top speed of "up to 17580mph"?
The world never fails to dis-hearten me, but the truth is that all companies will lie and distort to the limits of what they can get away with. (If they don't and others do, they sink)
So in short;
- The public are ignorant
- The regulators are worse
- The providers are loving it
By matbailie on 1 Dec 2009
Very sorry to hear about the 2Mb
I get around 17Mb on their 20 Mb line. I think I live in an area where they aren't oversubscribed though. When you do the speed test what site do you use? speedtest.net was giving me about 8Mb until I switched to a different test server. Also there is the problem that many sites don't give you anywhere close to your full speed even if your line supports more.
Virgin always had decent coverage when I was with their mobile division, but I confess I never used the 3G.
By windywoo on 1 Dec 2009
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