Consumer research by UK regulator Ofcom between September and December 2010 found that 17% of UK households are using mobile broadband to access online services, with 7% using it as their only means of internet access, compared to 3% in 2009.
The research, which looks specifically at the performance of mobile networks using dongles and datacards and does not consider smartphones, found that the average download speed achieved by consumers on mobile broadband networks is 1.5 Mbps and basic webpages took on average 8.5 seconds to download, compared with 6.2 Mbps and an average of less than 0.5 seconds on fixed broadband networks.
Ofcom said that O2, on average, delivered web pages faster than the other four operators and had lower average latency than 3, Orange and Vodafone. Ofcom said: "The slower speed of web page downloading on mobile broadband compared to fixed broadband is largely the result of higher levels of latency. In addition to increasing the time for web page downloads, high latency may make connections less suitable for some online games and VoIP." source: Ofcom statement