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Ireland ranks last in EU in Mobile Sroadband Speedtest Global index
Following an article on ISP Review looking at the UK Broadband and Mobile Speeds, I thought I would check how Ireland is doing on its Mobile speeds in Ookla's Speedtest Global Index.  At the start of 2023, the three main mobile operators and Imagine were assigned new spectrum following the completion of the Multi Band Spectrum Award (MBSA2).  While we have seen Three and Vodafone starting to use the new 2600MHz (band 7) spectrum in urban areas, mobile data speeds peaked around April.  So what happened from about May onwards?


Back around May, the main mobile operators started implementing energy saving measures by initially switching off radio bands during off-peak periods when mobile data utilisation is low, followed by completely switching off radio bands on some sites, such as the loss of 4G band 1 on Three sites near me and with bands 1 and 3 on Eir mentioned on Boards.  Ireland dropped from its already very low ranking position of 55 all the way down to a dismal ranking of 75 in July, 11 positions below Spain, the second slowest EU country for mobile data speed:


Ireland’s median country download speed fell to just 30.46Mbps in July compared to 40.2Mbps at its peak in April, improving only slightly to 33.09Mbps by November with its rank moving just two spots up to number 73.  The mobile bandwidth deterioration has also had an impact on Jitter performance, increasing from 7ms in April to 9ms in November.  Like latency, higher Jitter has a negative impact on time sensitive applications such as voice and video calls and online gaming.


If ranking down in position #73 was not bad enough, Ireland's mobile data median download speeds dropped by the largest amount of any EU country since April while the majority of the other EU countries including the UK continued to improve their mobile data speeds:


As I depend on a rural Three site impacted by its 4G band 1 being switched off, the following speed tests show a comparison from about 10:23pm on the 30th December 2023 compared to a similar time after 10pm (add 1 hour for DST) back on the 3rd September, the last time I recall 4G band 1 still operating on the Three mast I depend on for my home Internet connection:


Basically my connection went from performing almost like a 150Mbps fibre connection down to performing like the slow DSL connection I had before we disconnected our landline several years ago, apart from maintaining the fast upload speeds.  There were a few days where my 4G Internet connection deteriorated to the point where I could not stream video in the evenings without constantly seeing the buffering wheel.  When I complained to Three about my connection twice including mentioning about the loss of the 4G band 1 carrier, they could not find any fault with my connection or the cell tower I am connected to as quoted below from their last correspondence:

Quote:Three Customer Support - 04-08-2023
Hi Sean, I've just received an update from our technical team. They have confirmed that they've been unable to find any fault with the mast. They have advised that since your speeds are good during the day but are decreasing around peak times ( evenings). This is when there tends to be a high volume of users, mainly on 4G, and it can cause congestion.

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