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09
Jul
2010

Trains and mobile data (part 2)

POSTED BY Global Administrator
Following on from my colleague Windsor's detailed and amusing description of the World Cup on mobile TV yesterday, I'd like to add some more user experience of my own. It's always fascinating to compare what all the PR says about mobile internet speeds (especially on advertisements) with real life experience - especially for those of us who are analysts forecasting future markets. Yesterday I was travelling from Basingstoke towards the West Midlands. In the UK we play cricket which is a very confusing sport for many and not at all well known in most countries. It has several forms varying from matches which last 5 days to ones which last a couple of hours. Yesterday's was somewhere in between -  a one day international. By the way some good friends of mine from the other side of the pond were very amused that you can play a game for 5 days and still have a draw rather than a definite winner or loser. Anyway, I tried (note the word "tried") accessing the BBC Mobile site from time to time to check the latest score and I must say that the experience was extremely variable. In fact so variable that at some points there was no signal at all even for voice. Then the service toggled between HSDPA and slower speeds like GPRS. Boy you could notice the difference with HSDPA, and this was best at stations like Coventry. I guess it didn't really matter too much for me, checking out sports scores. But it would have been extremely frustrating to be sending important emails, especially with attachments. So the question is really how "mobile" is mobile broadband? Now I'm aware that the signal isn't at its best normally in a train for various good reasons, but for the user who's reckoning on doing some serious work and depending on using the time they're travelling then it's a different matter. So when we look forward to LTE in future....what are the combined forces of the mobile operators and the rail networks going to do improve service and make mobile broadband mobile?