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February 9, 2010

Broadband Genie calls for accurate mobile broadband speed info

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by Jan Harris

Consumer focused broadband comparison website Broadbandgenie.co.uk is calling on mobile broadband providers to drop their ‘up to’ advertising techniques in favour of more realistic average speed claims.

The call comes in the wake of the site’s own research found the average mobile broadband speed in 2009 was just 1Mb, while many dongles are now sold as ‘up to 7.2Mb’.

Despite a continued failing to meet customer expectations and a history of complaints, the mobile broadband industry continues to use unrealistic speed claims as one of its main sales techniques.

Broadband Genie argues that this is counter productive, as the product is good enough as it stands to persuade customers to pick up broadband dongles.

While the advertising doesn’t lie – the dongles are capable of these speeds – the reality for customers is very different.

The outcome can only be a huge swathe of disappointed customers who may be turned off of mobile broadband for good.

In reviewing more than 6,000 mobile broadband specific speed tests carried out via its speed test throughout 2009, Broadband Genie found the average speed had gone up around 0.2Mb between January and December, despite the majority of the mobile broadband suppliers upping their ‘up to’ speeds by a significantly higher margin.

Broadband Genie editor Chris Marling said: “The hike in ‘up to’ claims has been led by an influx of new dongles capable of handling higher speeds, but in reality the networks can’t offer anything like what they are capable of yet.

“It was bad enough before, with the ISPs offering ‘up to’ 1.8Mb and ‘up to’ 3.6Mb deals when the reality was speeds averaging less than 1Mb.

“Our tests show that average has gone up across 2009 to an average closer to 1.1Mb, but ‘up to’ claims have gone through the roof. The latest dongles are being advertised at anything up to 7.2Mb, which is frankly ridiculous.

“We implore the mobile broadband suppliers to be more honest with their customers when it comes to advertising.

“Or do we have to end up with another situation where the government has to threaten the industry with legislation because they can’t do the honourable thing without a hefty push?”

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