WOW. Great surprise awaited at my brother’s cottage this summer. TeliaSonera has extended their coverage of 900 MHz HSDPA (3,5G) network to this area, located about 5 km from the centre of Karjaa, a small town in Southern Finland.
This place is surrounded by forests and fields, although there’s a popular golf course nearby.
The connection feels quite fast. Download speeds are several megabits per second, and latency is low enough for Spotify too. According to speedtest.net, download speeds have topped up to about 8 Mbps and upload speeds up to 2 Mbps. Latency seems to be between 50 and 100 ms. Latency could be a bit lower, if the modem was outside.
I just downloaded some 400 MB of OS X updates in a few minutes. Great. This is faster than most Finnish households have as a fixed broadband. However, the quality of mobile access varies a lot more.
For years this place has been inside the 3G coverage maps of all the three mobile network operators in Finland; DNA, Elisa and TeliaSonera. Until now we got 3G only from Elisa. Now the Huawei E5 modem gets 3G access both from Elisa and TeliaSonera.
If you’re wondering how to share your mobile access for several tablets, PCs and others, read my older blog post.
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Finnish mobile operators are investing heavily in 3G at the 900 MHz frequencies. This year it means something around 2500‑3000 new or updated 3G base stations. It’s an effective way to build mobile broadband in scarsely populated areas.
The mobile link could get even better with an external antenna, and maybe we could get that 3G connection from DNA too. But it’s kind of a hassle to setup. For now Elisa and TeliaSonera are the winners here.
In cities the download speeds are getting even faster, up to 42 Mbps in theory. This dual channel technology (DC-HSDPA) won’t come to rural areas, because the 900 MHz band is too narrow for this. This might change in the future, if the frequency is no longer needed for 2G (GSM) phone calls.