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A look at O2’s 3G and 4G speeds

6th October 2014
A look at O2’s 3G and 4G speeds

O2 reveal its 3G and 4G network speeds

It’s all well and good knowing that you’ve got 3G or 4G speeds, but just what exactly does that mean? Well, in either case the actual speeds you’ll be getting will be variable, but O2 has revealed the range of speeds that you can expect on its network, along with the speeds you’ll need to optimally carry out various tasks.

According to a new O2 video, its 3G network speeds reach on average 2Mbps, which is slightly slower than what we found to be the 3G average across all networks in our own guide to 4G. In that we found that you can typically expect speeds of around 3Mbps on 3G and 6Mbps on HSPA+ (or 3.5G if you like).

So if the figures given by O2 are accurate then they’re a bit below the norm. Having said that O2 also reckons that 2Mbps is all you really need to carry out most mobile tasks, claiming that Facebook requires 200kbps, streaming catch-up TV requires speeds of 500kbps and downloading image heavy files requires 2Mbps.

We’d question some of those speeds as well though. Streaming TV is unlikely to be a pleasant experience at 500kpbs and some streaming services don’t even work over 3G. The other examples given seem more accurate but even then the more speed you have the faster everything will happen obviously so you’d still benefit from a boost.

That of course is where 4G comes in and O2 reckons that its 4G network can reach speeds of up to 10Mbps, which really should be plenty, but is still actually slower than the 14Mbps typical speeds that we found across networks.

Of course as O2 rightly points out in the video a lot of factors can affect your speed, beyond your network and whether you’re on 3G or 4G. The number of people in the area, how far you are from the nearest mast, your handset and more can all affect speeds too.

So what should you take away from all this? Well, you can just about do everything you’re likely to want to do on 3G, but it’s a far faster more pleasant experience on 4G, which with O2 as with most networks is around five times faster than its 3G.

O2 possibly doesn’t offer the fastest speeds around in either case and other factors may affect your speeds too, but when you’re grabbing files at 10Mbps you’re not likely to feel disappointed in them.

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