I was trying to get a handle on how much mobile data download speeds have improved over the years, so I did some digging through my archives. (The only thing I like more than a mail archive that spans decades is a website that spans decades. Great work, ALUG!) Here’s some totally arbitrary numbers to illustrate a point.
In response to A few Questions, this is what I wrote in May 2002:
That should have been 14.4kbps (14,400bps). In 2002 the phones were ahead of the network’s ability to deliver. In 2014, not much has changed.
In GPRS on Debian, this is what I wrote in November 2002:
I finally took the plunge and went for GPRS [..] (up to 5x the speed of a dialup connection over a GSM mobile connection)
In 2008 I upgraded to 3G with the Nokia N80, and wrote:
3G data connections are dramatically better than GPRS
… but sadly I didn’t quantify how much better. According to GSM Arena, it was 384 kbps.
That’s a pretty good and pretty dramatic speed increase:
But then in 2009 I was using the Nokia N900 (and iPhone, HTC Hero, Google Nexus One, …). GSM Arena on the Nokia N900 states a theoretical 10Mbps … quite the upgrade, except O2 were limited to 3.6 mbps.
In 2012 I was using the Samsung Galaxy SII. GSM Arena on the Samsung Galaxy SII promises 21 mbps.
And now the Sony Xperia Z Ultra supports LTE at 42 MBPS and 150MBPS. Sadly, the networks don’t yet fully support those speeds, but if they did, the chart would be truly dramatic. 2003-2008 starts to look like a rounding error:
I don’t need to use a modem or infrared, either. Things have really improved over the last twelve years!
(This post is probably best read in conjunction with Tom’s analysis of Mobile phone sizes.)