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Download Speeds of GSM and 3GSM Networks

Brough Turner

ARCchart is selling a new report entitled Mobile Broadband Performance of Carrier Networks. I can't personally justify the purchase, but I notice this wonderful graph in their sample.

ARCchart gave mobile users free speed test applications, first for iPhone beginning in August 2008, then for Android and BlackBerry. By June 2009, they had over 2 million tests across 268 wireless operators in 103 different countries. For this graph, the data was filtered to focus on major urban areas. That left 648K individual test results which were used to form the graph above.

What does this tell us?

  • First, 2G GSM data rates are usually 50-60 Kbps.
  • While EDGE data rates might go as high as 250 Kbps, a good bet is 140-200 Kbps.
  • And finally, deployed 3GSM networks are good for 600 Kbps to perhaps 1.4 Mbps.
  • Anything faster is extremely unlikely (at least as of 2Q09).

In a world of endless hype, it's nice to have some real data.

By Brough Turner, Founder & CTO at netBlazr
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