Mobile Broadband Genie Road Trip 2009 Winners

Editors note: We recently published the outcome of our latest Road Trip, a test of the UK’s mobile broadband providers which aims to put mobile internet under scrutiny in real-world conditions.

If you're looking for a mobile broadband dongle that really does work on the move, then the Mobile Broadband Genie Road Trip 2009 Awards are the place to start. We took a mobile broadband dongle from each of the six leading mobile broadband providers, a bunch of laptops, and jumped on trains from Cambridge to Bournemouth and back again to see how they coped in some seriously challenging conditions.

We tested everything from upload and download speed tests to streaming, downloading and uploading actual files, using popular sites and applications such as the BBC, Spotify and YouTube. So without further ado, here are the winners and runners up of the Mobile Broadband Genie road Trip 2009.

Dongle on the Move 2009 - Overall Winner

WINNER
Virgin Media

RUNNER UP
Vodafone

 

Sub categories 

Road Trip Downloader 2009

WINNER
Virgin Media

RUNNER UP
Vodafone

 

Road Trip Uploader 2009

WINNER
Vodafone

RUNNER UP
O2

 

Road Trip's Most Stable 2009

WINNER
O2

RUNNER UP
Orange

 

Road Trip Coverage 2009

WINNER
Vodafone

RUNNER UP
Virgin Media

 

Dongle Software 2009

JOINT WINNER
Virgin Media

JOINT WINNER
T-Mobile

 

 

Overall analysis of the Broadband Genie Road Trip 2009

Comments

  • neutral

    by Rob at 13:47 on 28 May 2009 Report abuse

    I am extremely confused by your tests. Virgin mobile and T-Mobile have exactly the same back end infrastructure. This suggests to me that your tests were not reliable and that something was wrong before you even started.

  • Chris Marling - EditorEditor - Chris Marling

    by Chris Marling at 15:15 on 28 May 2009 Report abuse

    Hi Rob. While Virgin does indeed use T-Mobile's back end infrastructure, the data is routed through the network differently.

  • neutral

    by Rob at 18:58 on 28 May 2009 Report abuse

    I don't believe you are correct. I'll suspend that belief for the moment and assume that the back end infrastucture, the IP transit out to the internet, is different. What we can assume from your comment is that the RAN, the Transmission, the core networks, whick are most certainly the same, is actually performing very well. In T-Mobiles case, after all that investment which allows VM to get high speeds, they have decided not to invest in high speed IP transit? It simply does not make sense.

    Now, if i go back to my beliefs, i believe that when it comes to IP transit, from the handset to bbc.co.uk, everything is the same, and that you are wrong. This again makes me highly sceptical of your results.

    The tests by yougov, and the tests by P3 solutions would seem to support my theory.

  • neutral

    by Headwood at 10:37 on 29 May 2009 Report abuse

    Boo to you Rob.
    Boo to you!

  • Chris Marling - EditorEditor - Chris Marling

    by Chris Marling at 14:17 on 3 Jun 2009 Report abuse

    Both T-Mobile and Virgin Mobile were tested within the same test window. The data sticks were also put in the same laptops to verify results. If not the network then the remaining factor is the products. It is possible that the products worked differently in regards to cell transfer and moving in and out of coverage. Whatever the reason, this is exactly what happened during our tests - we certainly have no reason to favour one provider over the other, and the tests were carried out over a long period of time and distance.

  • neutral

    by Rob at 10:02 on 4 Jun 2009 Report abuse

    The products are handled in exactly the same way within the network. If I were running the tests, seeing completely different results for accounts on the same physical infrastructure would have at least given me pause for thought, and actually would've probably triggered a phone call to the T-Mobile customer services team / press teams to check that my account had no issues. The issue is not the product, the issue is not the network, the issue is either the testing or the account. Any normal user would experience slow speeds and call customer services to correct it, of course that would have probably bought your results into line with those of P3 solutions and been less interesting.

    If this were my website I would be embarrassed to present these results as fact, especially given the P3 solutions story you are currently running which was far more thorough and completely contradictory to your results.

  • Ciaron Dunne - EditorEditor - Ciaron Dunne

    by Ciaron Dunne at 11:06 on 5 Jun 2009 Report abuse

    Hi Rob,

    It's a very interesting point that you've raised and it would be intriguing to know how both Virgin Media and T-Mobile explain the differences in performance. We'll ask them and publish their responses.

    However, I'm happy to defend our tests and "to present these results as fact", because it's exactly what happened. I was on the train and I saw how well the Virgin dongle performed compared to all the others. All we did was run the tests and report the results - sorry if that makes you angry but it's what we do!

    Ci

  • neutral

    by Wobble at 15:01 on 19 Jun 2009 Report abuse

    Hi Ciaron/Chris,

    Can you explain the methodology for this? What I am slightly confused about is how you went about doing this test. Were different colleagues on the same website at the same time etc. I.e. so all variables were tested at the same time? Or was one colleague on facebook and another on hotmail etc?

    thanks,

    W

  • Chris Marling - EditorEditor - Chris Marling

    by Chris Marling at 13:15 on 23 Jun 2009 Report abuse

    Hi,

    the Genie team each had a laptop, so the tests were done at exactly the same time - we would count down from three to one and all start each task at the same time - so yes, we were doing exactly the same task at exactly the same time, and more importantly at the same point in the journey. It wouldn't have been fair otherwise, as the level of coverage differed wildly throughout the trip.

  • neutral

    by Carpe Diem at 12:35 on 7 Aug 2009 Report abuse

    I am a bit new to all this but isn't it all down to the dongle and not the isp that is creating the differences.

    I liken it to mobile phones my daughter and myself have different mobile phones and were both on orange, her phone always performed badly in the house where mine didn't have a problem and that was standing in the same spot.

    Could this type of thing with the differences in dongles be causing the problem?

  • happy

    by Eric Vincent at 13:02 on 22 Sep 2009 Report abuse

    Thanks for nice article because I am thing to purchase Broadband connection. Now when purchase, broadband I really take into consideration your article.

  • happy

    by Francis Mulleady at 19:04 on 17 Nov 2009 Report abuse

    It has not been my experience in a prime reception area that T-mmobile has the best network. Sounds like the hostile postings by Rob have an agenda. Wouldn't be surprised if he works for P3 Solutions or T-mobile. Funny enough P3 Solutions were commissioned by T-Mobile to run tests so it isn't a shock to see that they claim TM are on 44% faster than the next best network on upload and topped other tests. The very same network was on the news today for illegally selling on customers' details to make more revenue.

    I have Three (Due to be cancalled as miserable for uploading). Orange (UK) and now a very fast Vodafone connection. Perhaps BG's tests are more accurate than P3 Solutions and more independent?

    Thankyou for a useful and constructive article BG!

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