back to article O2 claims win in UK mobile broadband speed test

A survey of UK mobile broadband speeds commissioned by O2 gives the carrier the thumbs up for network performance. The "comprehensive" survey was carried out for O2 by Siroda, a radio engineering, measurement and benchmarking consultancy that's been doing the sort of thing for 20-odd years. And both firms insisted the data had …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Horse crap

    This is total crap. Nobody cursed with an iPhone on the O2 network in London will accept this bull. I've been on Vodafone for the past few weeks, and the service is incomparable - Vodafone nice & speedy, but you're lucky to get any transfer at all during peak times on O2 - even with a strong signal. This survey must have been done at 3am, if based on real world data at all. I'm highly skeptical.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Not just London

      ...but every damned city I've been in, in the last 6 months. And that's a few. I concurr - complete horsecrap.

  2. andy gibson

    My experience of O2

    was rubbish. Barely 1Mb at the best of times and buggy software.

    And for the few days the "Creamfields" music festival was on, forget it, I couldn't even connect.

  3. Craig 12

    I prefer T- Mobile to 02

    I live and work in central Birmingham, which hopefully still counts as a major city. I find 02 reception quite dodgy, especially indoors. Venture a little out from the centre and 3G coverage is also poor.

    I don't know if built-up areas contribute to network problems, or it's the fact I have an iphone, but T-Mobile in Birmingham at least seemed a lot more reliable. I haven't noticed any difference in speed either.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I assume...

    They only tested the O2 data network whilst it was working then?

  5. Chris McFaul


    "What this last test shows is that there's really not much in it. O2 was quick to point out that London was one the place where it delivered the fastest web page transfer speed, 1.7 seconds, and that was 30 per cent faster than its slowest rival.

    That not only means that the slow one transferred the page in 1.3 seconds"

    surely a SLOWER page will take longer to load - so it would be MORE than the 1.7 seconds of the fastest. according to your article loading something in 1.3 seconds is slower than loading it in 1.7 seconds?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    If O2 delivered a page in 1.7 seconds and that was 30% FASTER than the slowest rival then the slowest rival certainly didn't deliver the page in 1.3 that would be faster than O2.

    Saying that they did something 30% faster can be a bit of a misleading figure. Do they actually mean that they cut 30% off the time of the slowest one, or that their transfer rate would be 30% higher? The two sums give completely different results.

    If their transfer rate was 30% higher then their rival would have taken around 2.21 seconds whereas if they cut 30% from the time then their rival was more like 2.42 seconds.

    I put the anal in analysis

  7. ITbuyer

    Quick maths check

    I make 1.3 seconds faster than 1.7 seconds, surely.

  8. Colin 21

    What 3G?

    Despite living in a large town, 10 miles from the Capital City (of Scotland) there is no o2 3G signal here. So Orange, Vodafone and Three get top marks here and T Mobile and o2 should hang their heads in shame.

  9. The Original Steve


    Always found Orange and T-Mobile the best data providers for coverage and speed. (That includes 3 as well that I believe piggybacks on Orange's network)

  10. MildDiscomfort

    1.7 seconds is faster than 1.3 seconds

    Wouldn't the slowest rival take longer than O2 instead of less time if they were indeed the fastest?

  11. Greg D

    excuse me?? this is complete bollocks...

    First of all, a quote from the article: "A survey of UK mobile broadband speeds commissioned by O2 gives the carrier the thumbs up for network performance."

    Yes, commissioned by O2!

    Secondly, lets look at the OFCOM 3G coverage graphs. These firmly place H3G at the top and O2 at the bottom of the pile, with T-Mobile, Orange and Voda somewhere in between.

    Thirdly, we have used O2 for our business mobile fleet for 4 years (4 horrible, painful years that I will never get back). Just switched to T-Mobile because their network is a vast improvement as well as their customer service. Most of the time our users couldnt even make voice calls, let alone get online with their phones/dongles.

    I would go out on a limb here and say that the results were twisted to be in favour of O2 - clearly in the real world this is not the case.

  12. Valerion

    I agree, O2 is very quick

    On the extremely rare occasions it actually gives me a 3G signal.

    1. Frozen Ghost

      All alone

      Maybe its fast because no one else knows the secret location of the tiny amount of O2 3G coverage, so they got all the bandwidth to themselves.

  13. Si 1


    I've been on O2 for a little over 18 months now and their network is stupidly slow and 3G coverage is pathetic. If they are the best (and I severely doubt that), then I can't imagine what the worst must be like.

    Considering other networks are happy for people to use the iPlayer over 3G yet O2 still block it I have to wonder what they've been smoking to make this claim. Maybe all the other networks are slow because they do allow the iPlayer? ;)

  14. Anonymous Coward

    Unrealistic tests

    I have a Three "mobile" connection and a T-Mobile one

    At a friends, the Three link gets analogue modems speeds (56kb/sec or less), whilst at the same time I can get 400Kb/sec fromT-Mobile

    Both have full signal coverage and connect at 3G

    based on the above I'd say Three sucked ... yet it is location and time dependant , it can also be dependant on other factors (eg the route to the relevant website/server)

    The tests in the article make no account of loading (ie how many other users are using 3G etc)

    As such the report is of little use

    I also have an O2 iPhone. Which can be patchy in london , or even in the suburbs

    (Dont even get me started on O2 not doing Femto-Cells, which would aid the issue at home)

  15. MrHorizontal


    You try and use your iPhone in Soho on a Friday evening rush hour, it won't even setup a call let alone download email, and yet I supposedly have the full 5-bar reception.

    It's not mobile download speeds or coverage that affect O2 - when it actually can connect, it's OK - it's purely the IP-based data backhaul bandwidth and contention during congested periods where the issues lie squarely.

    Let me remind you in Greece, Panafon (now Vodafone), lost it's market leadership because the only network to stand up and continue working after an earthquake was the state-owned CosmOTE. Point is, it's the performance under extreme stress and emergency situations that networks, mobile or fixed are judged.

    O2 may be OK on a normal day to day basis, but clearly it's a network that has never been properly stress-tested, and it's for that, they FAIL.

    1. Puck

      Same problem here

      Five bars of signal, not a byte of transfer.

      To my torment, it's been getting worse and worse - in the Wirral I can't get data transfer day or night; in London, and by that I mean within the North Circular inner ring road, I can't get Google Maps to so much as give me a pixel. At any time. As far as I'm concerned, the network just doesn't function in London.

  16. druck Silver badge

    Mast sharing

    O2 and Vodafone as supposed to be sharing 3G masts now, but on the train in to Cambridge my O2 dongle can maintain signal almost the entire journey, where as my Vodafone one doesn't even have GPRS for much of the trip outside 10 miles from the city. It's damn annoying as the O2 one is £15 per month, and the Vodafone one is £15 until you've used 3GB.

  17. Julian Lee-Webb

    O2 Signal Sucks

    I got tempted in to O2 because of the iPhone before anyone else had it. What a fool, no signal at home or the office. At least vodafone is offering a femtocell (Home Access Gateway) for areas of low signal strength. O2 have refused to do anything along those lines, or even admit, like in this recent survey that they have a problem. Roll on the end of my contract where I will be moving to anyone other than O2.

    Have a look at

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    My O2 experience

    Iphone on O2 for 16 months, no 3G where I work only GPRS but its OK for automatic hourly email collection.

    I live between Gloucester and Bristol and at home or out and when I'm about I usually get 3G with no problems.

    Haven't tried Orange/Vodafone/T-Mobile/3 for data, but I'm generally pretty happy with what I get through O2.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    You have to wonder at the value of these claims

    As the report was commissioned by O2, I question the validity of these claims and the resulting massaging of the figures.

    Paris - because she knows all about massaging figures.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Unrealistic tests

    > whilst at the same time I can get 400Kb/sec fromT-Mobile

    Not a lot of people know this but the "free internet" connection on T-Mobile restricts your download speed to 3G (~384KBits) whereas the paid-for data connection (WnW+) gives you full HSDPA (up to 7.2MBits).

    Nowhere on the T-Mobile site does it make clear that the free connection is crippled.

  21. 3G

    If it were independent I might take it seriously

    How do we know O2 didn't commission 5 companies gagged by NDA's to perform these tests and only publish the one test that showed them in a good light. That would be perfectly legal, nobody would know.

    If it was independently commissioned by somebody else I would take it seriously, but when O2 themselves commissioned it you have to wonder if there's some PR going on or something a little naughty, especially given that those experiences are not typical of O2 users or in line with what's being posted here.

  22. This post has been deleted by its author

  23. sleepy

    Neither 3G nor EDGE round here

    When I signed up for an O2 iPhone 3G, they said they were just rolling out 3G in the south west. Ha ha ha. That was 18 months ago. Still neither 3G nor even EDGE. So it's £35 a month for unlimited GPRS round here. (In fact in a few places there's not even GPRS - voice only). No wonder O2 love the iPhone. At least I've got some Apple shares to recoup a tiny portion of the gouge.

    It's back to my founder membership of Virgin at £0 a month for me with an unlocked iPhone. Equally crap service but zero monthly cost. Just pay for the calls, and the data used (negligible on GPRS). The way it should be.

  24. Steve Sherlock

    One in a million?

    Am I the only O2 customer that has no problem getting and keeping an HSDPA connection on O2 at home or away? I get a particularly good signal in my home away from home, as per the icon.

    In the North West of England...

  25. Anonymous Coward


    O2 are good when you can get a connection, i live in the largest city in scotland (no jokes please) and my HSDPA signal is laughable, it comes an goes, up an down, cant get Edge at all any more 3G isnt about so im pretty much stuck with 2-3 bars of GPRS

    only reason i stuck with O2 was a loyality discount, which they no longer provide so time to move on

  26. Jack Garnham
    Thumb Up

    Going out on a limb...

    I am going to defend O2 here, I have been using a Touch HD on O2 for almost a year now and work in Leeds city centre - I have an HSDPA data connection most of the time, and use lots of data - transfer rates seem pretty quick to me.

  27. Alexis Vallance

    City living does not equal speed

    I'm on O2, live near centre of Manchester and only get 2.6meg.

    Blackfriars serves the top end of Deansgate but everybody at the bottom has crap speeds because we're far from any exchange.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    C'mon O2

    Get real.

    Time for a thorough reality check yes?

  29. Ed Povall

    O2 in London

    I was in London at the weekend and made massive use of my iPhone on Tesco (O2). I found the signal to be good and web access speedy and reliable. I had no problems and found it immensely useful. Maybe because it was the weekend network load was low. Maybe the Tesco APN allows for faster access.

    We've used O2 for work for about the last 5 years and I can't say I've ever had any major problems with it. It's not perfect, but show me a network that is.

  30. blueghostuk
    Thumb Down

    No Signal at football

    On o2 I never got any connection for web and calls often failed at football stadiums or venues were there are loads of people, I guess it was loads of people with iphones, now ive switched to t-mobile i get a good connection and can make calls and texts. Seen as I go to lots of games this is big selling point for me.

  31. Georges
    Thumb Down


    the max I an get on O2 (full 3G signal) is 800k. and it has nothign to do with the Iphone. I was testing on HTC devices.

  32. Anonymous Coward


    Wouldn't surprise me if there are two data rates available on O2 that for iPhones and the rest.

    I don't have any problems with O2 WHEN I GET IT! it even works well with Jokuspot.

    GETTING IT IS THE PROBLEM Sort it out O2 - And No I dont want to earn £20 conning a friend to join you, I dont do that to friends.

    No I'm not an iPhowner.

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