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Slow 4G mobile speed

I see many similar messages so I have serious doubts anyone can help but just in case. I recently acquired the Three 4G mobile broadband, having previously been on eir 3G. My speed is far less now, typical below 2 mbs/sec. I am using the Huawei B525 and with my pair of external antennas get 4 bars. I have 5Ghz wifi enabled (2.4Ghz gives the same speeds). Things I have tried: a different router = no difference one external antenna and also then swapping with the other = worse speed internal antenna = worse speed Three 3G = more or less the same as 4G (does vary) Optimising direction of antennas = same speed. Going back to eir 3G while I have some data before my termination with them takes effect = increase in speed So, what to do now? Cancel Three seems the most sensible unless someone can tell me of a solution that I have overlooked. Thanks, Erik.

Re: Slow 4G mobile speed

3 Moderator

@erik_c  Thanks for doing all those troubleshooting steps. The next thing here is to check your area for ongoing works and coverage. Can you send me a PM with your address, please? You'll see "send a PM" under my signature.

Re: Slow 4G mobile speed

[ Edited ]

After being contacted by Deborah from 3 customer services, and exchanging a series of emails, I had high hopes of reporting a satisfactory solution as well as being pleased with 3 Care support. The problem was referred to the 3 tech team but this has led to quite a severe disappointment that has changed my mind about 3 Care. Their response to me by text is: "We have reviewed your case and believe it has been resolved. Your service should be back to normal." They did not contact me directly or seek information by any means on whether anything had changed. So on what evidence do they conclude my service is back to normal? Unless they are saying that my 4G download speed, currently 0.92 Mbs, is normal. I did not subscribe to 3 Unlimited to be insulted in such a manner. I can see I am on my own with no "Care" but, before I quit 3Ireland, I will try a change of external antennas. Given though that I am not a tremendous distance from the closest mast, and already have high received signal strength, I suspect achieving a usuable speed commensurate with the purpose of the package that I am subscribed to is likely to be impossible.

Re: Slow 4G mobile speed

3 Moderator

Hi Erik, the response that you received came from the team investigating your case. I forwarded this onto them in order to see if there was something causing the difficulties you described. The purpose of these case, normally, is to rule out a fault with the mast and I was looking at the analysis to see if it confirmed what we had already spoken about.  The response confirms that there is no fault with the mast(s) you're connecting to. Taking this into consideration and combining it with the thorough investigation I completed, with your help, we can undoubtedly confirm that your service is being impacted by geographical structures/factors such as hills and woods. I have also replied to your PM to provide you with the updates as promised.  


Re: Slow 4G mobile speed


Hello Deborah. Telling me the service is back to normal implies that it was not previously in that state. But seeing that nothing has changed shows me that this was a very poor choice of words by your tech team. I do however note the conclusions you have given me in your PM and in your reply on here and do not doubt that you are completely correct. So I thank you again for your assistance. I will, as you know, attempt to improve the speed by the means I have previously stated prior to exploring alternative ISPs. I do not expect success but if a miracle happens I will report it here. Regards, Erik.


Re: Slow 4G mobile speed


Hello Erik I had terrible connection too.. it is since 3 weeks or so, I got 0.5 mbs average on a payed "4g all you can eat data".. but there is nothing you can eat with 0.5mbs.. sometimes even no connection at all.. I never had so much trouble in the past with Three.. it looks like they completely don't care of their service which is equal to 0 at the moment.. in exchange I pay regurally every **bleep** month as direct debit..

Tried everything, switch sim, change network, cheking area coverage, mast with tons of customer service.. nothing.. they just told me "everything is running fine in your area".. and I have an internet speed that not even in the early 90's I had..

And I'm reading so many people as us..

Already checking for an alternative provider.. but I don't think they care

Re: Slow 4G mobile speed

3 Community Manager

@Luke5 You've sent a PM there with your account info. A mod will come back to you on that and will check this for you. 

uke.Re: Slow 4G mobile speed


Hello Luke. I am already checking with another provider and have found one. But their package is not as attractive as Three. Of course, you'll know and you have said so, it is no good having a package that cannot be used for the purpose it's designed for. My download speed is so low that I could not download to the maximum amount of the data allocation even if I constantly streamed 24 hours a day for the 30 days! Since you have had a change for the worst, I can see there is a genuine complaint for you. I, on the other hand, have never had better than 2Mbps average and very likely have specific local issues. The difficulty is exacerbated by the numerous variables involved with 4G service provision. But no matter what your opinion of Three is, and in my case I had a lot of help from customer services and an obtuse text from tech support, in my location which is rural and some distance from the nearest mast, I have to try to help myself. This has involved considerable research into LTE and making an action plan to try to effect some improvement. Once done I will report back. Meanwhile I hope you get your own problem sorted out or you can find a more suitable provider. Regards, Erik.


Re: uke.Re: Slow 4G mobile speed


I said I would follow up on my low download speed issue. So here it is. Note that the actions here would not be relevant in an urban environment because the frequency used is different. Also if you have previously had acceptable speeds but now do not, then something has changed and you need to take that up with Three.


In my case I am new to Three 4G and had low speeds (less than 2Mbs at any time of day) from the outset. I live in a rural area, 4.5kms from the nearest mast, at 210 metres above sea level with some hill ridges just under my height between me and the mast.


I have the Huawei B525 router and initially had two different external antennas connected. Assistance as received from Three is recorded in this thread.


Much research went into the issue and I learnt about 4G LTE and MIMO. A useful reference can be found by searching MIMO on Wikipeadia. Other things I found out are that most external 4G antennas are broad band, covering 700Mhz to 2700Mhz, and are often inaccurately claimed to be high gain even up to 35dBi. Rural 4G from Three uses 800mHz so if you are more than say 2.5kms from a mast this is likely the frequency you need antennas for. Download the LTE Inspecteur (online search will find it) to not only confirm which mast you connecting to, the frequency used, but also important data about quality of signal.


The broadband antennas are of no use, proven by the fact they were what I already had. Their gain figures are also overstated, and only closest to the claimed figure at the high end of their mHz range. I purchased the Iskra P-40-L700900 antenna pair, 800mhz MIMO, found on eBay.


Now the good news and band news. All the quality of signal parameters improved greatly. Without defining the terms here, RSRP-RSSQ-SINR and RSSI are all now at or better than the minimum requirements. Outside of peak times my download speed has increased from 2Mbs to up 27Mbs. So clearly I have done what needs to be done by the Three customer to obtain a usable speed for the 4G Unlimited package. However, from about 5pm each weekday and for most of Saturday and Sunday my speed is down to the 2Mbs or less mark and this means Three are not doing what needs to be done to provide all-round usable service. They will say it is out of their control, which it is in some fashion, but nevertheless is totally disappointing.


Of course your mileage may vary but maybe the above can help someone.


Regards from Erik.


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