If you are purchasing a USB modem, a MiFi or a smartphone, it is possible that what you do is just grab one that you like as long as it is labelled as HSDPA enabled. In this case, you might just be making a mistake. HSDPA devices have different speed ratings. In layman’s terms, HSDPA is an enhanced 3G technology. That is why it is called 3.5G. You get much faster speeds than you would get on basic 3G. At the moment, there are networks in Nigeria that deliver a maximum theoretical speed of 42Mbps. The question is, Does your device support 42Mbps? 21Mbps, 14Mbps, 7.2Mbps, or just 3.6Mbps?
I hear and read some users complain that the 3.5G speeds they are getting are not what the network advertised. Sometimes, the problem is both the network AND your device. You may have a device that cannot take advantage of the network’s full speeds.
Yes; each user device has a maximum speed rating, and if what you have in hand is a smartphone or modem with a maximum rating of 3.6Mbps, don’t expect anything close to 21Mbps speeds and performance. Yes; I also know that no user will experience the theoretical maximum speeds advertised by any network anywhere in the world, but the higher the speed rating of your device, the better the speeds that you will enjoy.
For example, the Nokia Lumia 610 that I am using now has a maximum HSDPA speed rating of 7.2Mbps, while the Sony Xperia P that I am currently reviewing is rated 14.4Mbps. There is no way that I will get the same experience on both devices, except my network offers nothing more than 7.2Mbps. This same principle applies to USB modems and MiFi devices. Each mobile broadband device has a maximum internet speed cap, so if broadband mobile internet is important to you, be sure to ask questions and read up before making that purchase.
Founder of MobilityArena. Yomi’s journey in mobile started in 2001. Besides obsessing over mobile phones, he also started creating WAP sites (early mobile-friendly websites created with WML). He began writing about phones in 2004 and has been at it since then. He has owned over 200 devices, from Symbian, Palm, PocketPC/Windows Mobile, BlackBerry/BB10, webOS, Windows Phone, Firefox, Ubuntu Touch, to Android, iOS, and KaiOS operating systems.