Orange has the slowest mobile broadband speeds in the UK. According to Ofcom consumer research, 17 per cent of UK households use a dongle or datacard to access the Internet via providers' 3G networks. However, when it comes to average speed, Orange can only muster just over 1 Mbit/s to around 1.4 Mbit/s.

O2 is the fastest, according to the independent report which shows data gathered from September 2010 to December 2010. The testing showed that it reaches an average of just under 2.5 Mbit/s all the way to just under 3 Mbit/s. Essentially, and importantly, it has been found to deliver web pages faster than its rivals.

The other three main providers each fall in between, with little difference between Three and Vodafone, who were just a little slower than O2 in figures, and T-Mobile a bit ahead of Orange.

Ofcom has also found that 7 per cent of Brits use dongles and datacards as their only access to the Internet, and notes that speeds are unlikely to be improved until 4G hits the UK: "Mobile broadband performance is likely to remain significantly below fixed broadband performance until the rollout of additional spectrum for mobile services in the UK, which is expected to begin in 2013," it says. "The new spectrum will provide much needed capacity for the fourth generation (4G) of mobile technology, set to deliver significantly faster mobile broadband services."

It is also keen to point out that this report does not include connectivity through smartphones: "Ofcom is planning to undertake further research into mobile broadband, including the performance of smartphones."

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Do you use a mobile broadband dongle or card? If so, does the report match your experiences? Let us know in the comments below...