The average speed of mobile broadband connections in Australia is just half that of the average home fixed-line broadband connection, according to broadband comparison site Broadband Expert.
In comparing 1724 mobile broadband speed tests conducted between July 2009 and December 2009, the site found that the average mobile broadband speed was just 1.88Mbps, compared to the average home broadband speed of 3.5Mbps.
According to the site, Vodafone topped the mobile broadband speed race with an average download speed of 2.2Mbps and an upload speed of 0.8Mbps.
Optus was in second place with average speeds of 2.1Mbps down and 0.6 up, Virgin Mobile in third slot with average speeds of 2.1Mbps down and 0.4Mbps up.
Telstra Big Pond (plans running on the NextG network) was in fourth slot with an average speed of 1.8Mbps down and 0.7Mbps up, and 3 Mobile was in fifth place with an average speed of 1.2Mbps down and 0.5Mbps up.
Rob Webber, Commercial Director at Broadband Expert said there were a number of factors influencing mobile broadband speed including distance from the mobile broadband provider’s network tower, network congestion and the availability of 3G coverage.
Despite the results, the mobile broadband speeds were adequate for the majority of the present mobile computing needs.
“Mobile broadband is often used to browse websites and send emails when people don’t have access to a fixed broadband connection,” he said in a statement. “The average mobile broadband speeds currently being delivered are more than adequate for this type of use.”
Webber added that until the introduction of 4G networks, mobile broadband would likely continue to be seen as an addition to home broadband, rather than as a replacement.
The findings of Broadband Expert are consistent with those of the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) which in March found that more than 60 per cent of all Internet connections are now at or above 1.5Mbps.
In its latest Internet Activity Survey (IAS), which surveys Internet service providers (ISPs) with more than 1000 subscribers, the ABS found at the end of 2009 there were 9.1 million Australians accessing the net with just under 90 per cent using a non-dial up connection.
The fastest growing connection type was for mobile Internet with datacards, dongles and USB modems accounting for 2.8 million connections, a 40 per cent rise on the last period.