What mobile speed tests teach

Essential Phone

This past weekend, how many people went into hardware stores looking for nails?

Very few.

Of those who came out of the store with nails, most went into the store looking for a way to hold two pieces of wood together. Some of those people chose nails; others chose screws; some decided on glue; some are going to make a dove-tail joint; and then there are those like me who decided that duct tape would be just fine.

I have used this metaphor before, describing the need to apply a systems engineering approach for broadband. It is often a real challenge to define requirements without specifying a solution, allowing flexibility in the choice of technologies to satisfy the requirements.

Frequently, I have said that we need to ensure that we remain technologically agnostic, even though so many associate fibre with advanced broadband. Through the weekend, I tweeted a few mobile speed tests that I conducted, looking at how the TELUS and Freedom Mobile networks performed with a couple of the latest devices optimized for performance on each of the respective networks.

Frankly, I could probably talk for hours about the implications of the 4 pictures attached to the two tweets that you can examine below. I want to focus on the headline speed results from the TELUS network on a Saturday afternoon driving south on Bathurst Street near Eglinton Avenue. The download speed was close to 175Mbps, a speed that would thrill most for achievement on home networks, let alone mobile. Can we finally put to rest the view that advanced broadband needs fibre connections?

The network performance comparisons raise other issues that might merit further discussion, including:

What other questions are raised in your mind by the images in these tweets?

By the way, if you get a chance to test drive an Essential phone, be sure to check out the 360 degree camera (that is actually doing 360×360 recording). It is amazing technology.

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