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is Three 3G service just for low populated areas?


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Old 24-11-2013, 14:12
Chrysalis
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So here is my situation.

O2 - great contract deal for voice, but ideally I need decent 3G usage limits as a backjup incase my vdsl goes down or on the rare occasion I am not at home. Speeds on 3G good enough, average 4-8mbit/sec. But O2 throttle to a unuseable service when I use more than 200mB or so in a day (they didnt use to enforce this but started to this year). No option to topup the usage, so basically if I want to change my terms I have toditch this good contract deal and all new O2 contracts are not competitive.

Giffgaff - They use O2's network and as far as I know it performs the same, I have giffgaff in my work phone which has approx 9 airtime credit on it. the advantageof giffgaff is its flexibility not tied down to one fixed contract but the disadvantage is the entire service is online based with almost no ability to talk to giffgaff staff. In addition its expensive if using with tethering, as their unlimited use forbids tethering, can get about 3 gig of data for 12 on one of their gigabags. Also my concern is if I am in a situation where I Cant get online or cant order a gigabag in their website then thats it I Cannot get data on giffgaff, there is no ringing up to topup facility with them. Buying monthly goodybags isnt viable as the phone is 99% incoming calls and 99% of the year I dont need it for data.

Three - On paper is what I need, unlimited use with tethering allowed, 2000 mins is an ok voice deal as well. Whats the problem? performance is abysmal. I get 0.4mbit indoors and about 0.8 outdoors. I had to drive 10 miles outside the city to get speeds above 2mbit/sec. It would seem in city areas three si simply oversubscribed and a service only good for villages, the countryside etc. O2's 2G speeds are almost as fast as Three's 3G. I see a few people online stating the same, when they go into town;s Three slows to a crawl.

It does feel like the mobile operators are stuck in a timewarp where they think in 2013 online video is a niche not the done thing, and are running their networks in a manner the same as 2008. Thankfully I only signed p to Three on a monthly basis to trial their service so I am not commited to them. My O2 service is still active.

Is my Three experience unusual? I am in leicester very close to city centre.
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Old 24-11-2013, 14:31
Thine Wonk
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How much data do you need and is this for use on the handset, how much tethering do you need? Do you do file sharing or P2P?

Some of my best speeds on Three have been in Birmingham around the city, but some areas are congested, which will ease when they have 4G.
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Old 24-11-2013, 14:38
Dan 8t1
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Three are generally considered to have the best data speeds/performance of any of the 3G networks. Funnily enough though, I lived in Leicester city centre for years up until about 6 months ago, and was on Three at the time. And while data speeds used to be several megabits per second, towards the end of my time there they would slow to a crawl once you got into the city centre. On my way home from work each day it was predictable where Spotify would start having problems streaming - just as I came into the city centre.

Whether the above is/was a capacity issue or a long-term network fault, I don't know.
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Old 24-11-2013, 14:45
moox
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I'm of the thinking that perhaps the cheap unlimited data / tethering is placing a heavy load on their network. Here at home in a rural area I can get alright speeds (I don't have a DCHSPA phone and I doubt my local cell site has the best possible backhaul) - 5Mbps max. Very usable, but it doesn't touch my 70Mbit fibre.

I travel a lot to Reading/Slough and honestly 3 is not that good there - maybe 2Mbps if you're lucky in the city centre, often dropping below that for a not very good experience. My T-Mobile phone does so much better (also not DCHSPA) while probably using the same MBNL cell sites.

With the number of people who seem to be trying to use a phone plan + cheap phone as a permanent internet connection it isn't surprising. I assume 3 weren't going for that.
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Old 24-11-2013, 14:51
Thine Wonk
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With the number of people who seem to be trying to use a phone plan + cheap phone as a permanent internet connection it isn't surprising. I assume 3 weren't going for that.
This is one of the issues, often people don't want to just use it out and about while in a coffee shop to use on an iPad, but they are using it as a home broadband replacement. Tethered users sit in a fixed 'pool' though. Lets face it you can get a mifi with 15 gigs of data a month for 16 a month, and on a mobile broadband plan you should get better speeds.

4G should ease any capacity issues on Three when it launches in your city, which for Leicester is in the next 12 months.
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Old 24-11-2013, 14:55
moox
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This is one of the issues, often people don't want to just use it out and about while in a coffee shop to use on an iPad, but they are using it as a home broadband replacement. Tethered users sit in a fixed 'pool' though. Lets face it you can get a mifi with 15 gigs of data a month for 16 a month, and on a mobile broadband plan you should get better speeds.
It's a shame if 3 are applying a "knobble everyone who tethers" policy though. I'd rather it was based on individual usage. I don't think my light tethering usage is going to place any more load on the network than if I did the same things on my phone.


4G should ease any capacity issues on Three when it launches in your city, which for Leicester is in the next 12 months.
This is why I'm tempted to buy something like the Nexus 5 - since 3 are launching LTE in Reading imminently. The DC-HSPA might make a difference elsewhere too.
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Old 24-11-2013, 15:21
Chrysalis
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I dont p2p.

My usage on a long term basis for 3G is very light. I have a vdsl2 connection which is very fast, I obviously use that under normal circumstances.

3G gets used if when I am out on a trip (not very often maybe 2-3 times a year). Or if my home broadband goes down, I think I have had 2 outages in the past year.

If I am out using the 3G in the car or something then usage will be low as I wont be streaming videos, just things like checking news, emails.

If I am using it at home and broadband is down, then I tether, and will use things like youtube, but wont start downloading tv shows etc. So usage might be in that situation 10-20 gig or so per week of usage. O2 has somethng like a 100meg limit per day which is obviously no good if I am at home. Is ok when I am in the car. On the other hand tho, Three is completely useless for things like youtube, far too congested. It works for this site and other light content sites, but thats about it.

Also saying 4G will fix it is a bit of a cop out, a good performing 4G network doesnt compensate for a underperforming 3G network, for 4G I have to buy a new phone. I dont need 4G speeds, I just need proper 3G speeds.

As it stands it seems I will be relying on buying giffgaff data when my home broadband goes offline. I will just keep O2 I guess as its adequate when in car.

the other issue is when I goto my parents once or twice a year, whilst they have broadband my dad is stubborn and wont setup his wifi, so basically there is no wifi use there. So probably giffgaff there also I guess.
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Old 24-11-2013, 15:29
Thine Wonk
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Also saying 4G will fix it is a bit of a cop out, a good performing 4G network doesnt compensate for a underperforming 3G network, for 4G I have to buy a new phone. I dont need 4G speeds, I just need proper 3G speeds.
s.
No cop out at all, as 4G is at no extra cost on Three, it will alleviate the pressure on 3G as devices connect over 4G instead.
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Old 24-11-2013, 15:33
Chrysalis
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No cop out at all, as 4G is at no extra cost on Three, it will alleviate the pressure on 3G as devices connect over 4G instead.
its a cop out when you can only use the 3g service. There is an extra cost in buying a 4g phone.

In regards to your last comment, in theory the eased load will help, but that is based on how many people move and if they dont use any 3g capacity for 4g.
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Old 24-11-2013, 15:34
qasdfdsaq
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Problem with giffgaff is they have their own core network/routing issues which can slow things down on top of any congestion on O2's network.

3 is a bit hit and miss. Where I live it rarely exceeds 2Mbps at peak times but can easily go to 10Mbps off-peak (on a 14Mbps max device), two streets along I get 15Mbps and in a restaurant in the city centre - 28Mbps. Course I'm rarely in those places so I'm stuck on the <2Mbps most of the time.

4G isn't really a cop out. The biggest constraint on speed is available spectrum capacity, and 4G more than doubles what most networks have available - if they didn't deploy 4G and used all the new frequencies for 3G instead you'd still see a big benefit. It also takes some of the load off the 3G net even if you yourself don't move over.
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Old 24-11-2013, 15:36
Chrysalis
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its a cop out.

how does a 3g user use the 4g spectrum? if the answer is they cant its a cop out.

and I would be ok with 2mbit, but speeds seriously are hideous.

see this.

http://www.speedtest.net/my-result/3120290196

It only went up to about 0.8-0.9 at 1am.

another guy on tbb (when I discussed also) in another area is getting the same rubbish speeds, about 300kbit.

I dont get why people talk about O2 as if its congested yet I get 4-8mbps on it and 0.3 on Three, you guys have it backwards
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Old 24-11-2013, 15:46
Thine Wonk
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its a cop out.

how does a 3g user use the 4g spectrum? if the answer is they cant its a cop out.

and I would be ok with 2mbit, but speeds seriously are hideous.

see this.

http://www.speedtest.net/my-result/3120290196

It only went up to about 0.8-0.9 at 1am.

another guy on tbb (when I discussed also) in another area is getting the same rubbish speeds, about 300kbit.

I dont get why people talk about O2 as if its congested yet I get 4-8mbps on it and 0.3 on Three, you guys have it backwards
They don't, but the fact there are devices are using 4G instead alleviates the 3G spectrum constraints, improving things on 3G as well.
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Old 24-11-2013, 15:47
Chrysalis
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here is giffgaff result, so is slower than normal O2. but about 6 times as fast as Three.

http://www.speedtest.net/my-result/3122521891

also this test was done a very old galaxy ace, the Three sim is a in a galaxy S2 which has a higher spec 3G chip.
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Old 24-11-2013, 15:51
Chrysalis
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They don't, but the fact there are devices are using 4G instead alleviates the 3G spectrum constraints, improving things on 3G as well.
Whats the reason they cant allocate 4G money to 3G capacity?
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Old 24-11-2013, 15:56
corf
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Ah the joys of inconsistent mobile performance across the country. Where I live there isn't any 3G from O2 or Voda so EE or. three are the only viable choice.

Sounds like Three isn't suitable for you where you live.
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Old 24-11-2013, 16:10
omnidirectional
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3 can be excellent, here's a Speedtest I did last Monday afternoon:

http://www.speedtest.net/my-result/3108843019

It does vary greatly though, and can slow down to 5 or 6MB in the evening.
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Old 24-11-2013, 16:12
Thine Wonk
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Whats the reason they cant allocate 4G money to 3G capacity?
4G is much more efficient for many reasons, investing in 4G means all 4G capable devices don't need to use 4G spectrum, so should in theory improve things for customers that don't have a 4G device.
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Old 24-11-2013, 16:21
qasdfdsaq
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its a cop out.

how does a 3g user use the 4g spectrum? if the answer is they cant its a cop out.
Yet you've used the same argument saying in saying capacity gets freed up on the legacy DOCSIS 1.1 networks when newer users get moved over to DOCSIS 3/overlay on Virgin Media.

Think that's bad? http://www.speedtest.net/my-result/3107562207

3's network is quite sensitive and dynamic in the way it distributes capacity between users though, it gets dynamically reallocated from one second to the next. Speedtests aren't that representative.
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Old 24-11-2013, 16:23
qasdfdsaq
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Whats the reason they cant allocate 4G money to 3G capacity?
Like I said capacity is constrained by spectrum. There is no more 3G spectrum available to buy.

You should already understand the same principles from the cable networks (assuming you're the same Chrysalis on CF)
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Old 24-11-2013, 16:25
qasdfdsaq
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also this test was done a very old galaxy ace, the Three sim is a in a galaxy S2 which has a higher spec 3G chip.
It might be higher spec but it's still absolute bollocks. I take a SIM out of my Galaxy S2 and put it into my much older HTC desire (which has a much lower spec 3G chip) and it still gets higher speeds. In fact my S2 consistently gets about 1/4 the speed of my lower specced laptop modem on 3.

Most of Samsung's own built radios are terrible but it seems 3's network takes an extra disliking to the S2 ones.
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Old 24-11-2013, 18:50
Chrysalis
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Yet you've used the same argument saying in saying capacity gets freed up on the legacy DOCSIS 1.1 networks when newer users get moved over to DOCSIS 3/overlay on Virgin Media.


Think that's bad? http://www.speedtest.net/my-result/3107562207

3's network is quite sensitive and dynamic in the way it distributes capacity between users though, it gets dynamically reallocated from one second to the next. Speedtests aren't that representative.
its consistently slow tho.

if it spikes up one every 10 secs or tho thats no good, but I dont see it spike up at all, its just slow 24/7 every second.

I will give t-mobile payg 3G a shot tho before falling back to the other options.

so no my connection isnt going from 0.3 one sec to 2mbit the next, it just staying at that speed. The highest I seen whilst in the city is about 0.9.

Interesting as well on the three coverage map they have no coverage in the city centre, its like they think lets not bother with business and shopping areas. I am not inside that blank coverage tho I am just outside of that circle.
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Old 24-11-2013, 18:53
Chrysalis
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It might be higher spec but it's still absolute bollocks. I take a SIM out of my Galaxy S2 and put it into my much older HTC desire (which has a much lower spec 3G chip) and it still gets higher speeds. In fact my S2 consistently gets about 1/4 the speed of my lower specced laptop modem on 3.

Most of Samsung's own built radios are terrible but it seems 3's network takes an extra disliking to the S2 ones.
well the ace is getting 0.1 now on three, and the s2 is showing 4.6 on giffgaff after a sim swap.

if you dont mind, pass me your APN settings, if mine are different I will try it and see if it helps.
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Old 24-11-2013, 18:55
Chrysalis
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Like I said capacity is constrained by spectrum. There is no more 3G spectrum available to buy.

You should already understand the same principles from the cable networks (assuming you're the same Chrysalis on CF)
same guy, but you are assuming the issue isnt with backhaul from the cell tower.

so if we assume its not backhaul, isnt adding new cell towers a way to add capacity? akin to a node split on cable.
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Old 24-11-2013, 19:07
qasdfdsaq
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It isn't usually backhaul, MBNL sites mostly have either 100Mb BT or 1000Mb VM backhaul.

Adding new towers doesn't necessarily add capacity because they all use the same channel and share the spectrum. There has to be enough of a non-overlap in coverage area for it to be beneficial. You can't node split one cable.
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Old 24-11-2013, 19:10
Dan 8t1
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Interesting as well on the three coverage map they have no coverage in the city centre
I don't know what map you're looking at. On the one I've checked they have great coverage in the city centre.
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