According to consumer research group Broadband Expert, mobile broadband speeds in Australia are about half the average broadband speeds reached in homes.
The study analysed 1724 broadband speed tests conducted from July to December 2009. The average mobile broadband speed in the tests was 1.88 megabits per second, compared to 3.5Mbps for home broadband. Vodafone was the highest performing wireless Internet service provider (ISP), with average speeds clocked at 2.2mbps.
Rob Webber, Commercial Director of Broadband Expert, said that while mobile broadband speeds were not up to the standard of home broadband, they were still on the increase. "Mobile broadband is often used to browse Web sites and send e-mails 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 also believes that mobile broadband isn't going to replace home broadband due to lower speeds and download limits. "Mobile broadband is less suitable for activities such as downloading or watching movies or online gaming. Until the introduction of 4G mobile broadband — the next generation of mobile broadband, which will enable much faster speeds — mobile broadband is only likely to be seen by most consumers as an addition to their home broadband rather than a replacement."
Optus was the second-highest performing provider with an average speed of 2.1Mbps, closely followed by Virgin Mobile, which clocked the same average download speed but a lower upload speed. Telstra BigPond was fourth with an average speed of 1.8Mbps and 3 Mobile rounded off the list at 1.2Mbps but had the most tests surveyed at 550kbps. Other providers were not listed as the study excluded those with less than 100 tests.