Mobile broadband speeds depend on many factors including; the 3G coverage in your area, the equipment provided by your mobile broadband ISP, and the fact the advertised mobile broadband speed is nearly always different than the actual speed. As with home based broadband, you are unlikely to get the advertised speed from your broadband provider.
Good mobile broadband speeds currently range from up to 3Mbps to 7.2Mbps. However, the speed will depend on many factors as detailed below.
Location and coverage
The transmitters that mobile broadband providers use are normally found in towns and cities and not in rural areas. If you live in a predominantly rural area you are less likely to get a good mobile broadband speed - or you may not get any coverage at all.
The quality and speed of your mobile broadband service heavily depends on your location in the UK. If you live in a major city like London or Liverpool you could expect to see faster mobile broadband speeds than if you lived in Cornwall. Even if your mobile broadband dongle says it's the fastest mobile broadband dongle in the UK, it won't get you high speed mobile broadband in a rural area.
Advertised mobile broadband speeds are not always the actual speeds
If we take the mobile broadband offered by Vodafone for an example, Vodafone advertises speeds of up to 7.2Mbps, but it would be unlikely to achieve these speeds unless you are in a well covered area like Central London. The key is in the advert, ""up to"" means you may get or may not get up to those speeds, but you should be able to get the fastest speed possible that the equipment can provide.
If you want faster broadband speeds try home broadband instead
There is nothing worse than being in the middle of a big download and losing your broadband internet connection half way through. Unfortunately for all the positives of mobile broadband it's not always a reliable way to connect to the internet. If you move from one area to the next you may find your mobile broadband signal drops in and out due to poor coverage.
If fast broadband is important to you and you are a heavy user of the internet then home broadband is the answer. Home broadband speeds are typically higher than mobile broadband speeds due to the fact that mobile broadband speeds depend on coverage and signal, whereas home broadband is over a fixed line and delivered by cables. This means that your connection to broadband internet is more stable and reliable.
Don't despair - the future looks bright for mobile broadband speed!
Mobile broadband technology is improving all the time. Mobile broadband providers have started to address poor coverage areas and are working to improve mobile broadband speeds for their customers.
Mobile broadband providers 3 are currently investing millions of pounds on their service to improve mobile broadband coverage. They hope by the end of 2010 they will have a much faster mobile broadband network for their customers and they are currently rolling out theoretical speeds of 7.2Mbps. According to 3, this will mean you will experience actual speeds of 5.6Mbps depending on whether you are in a good mobile broadband coverage area.