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Apple i-Phone - 100 Kbps if you're lucky

I was quite intrigued to hear that O2 will announce this week that the Apple iPhone will go on sale within a matter of weeks, especially since El Reg and a few other newswires are reporting that O2 is busy upgrading its network to support EDGE, the enhanced GSM mobile data system.

Despite what a lot of peeps have been saying, EDGE's real-world data rates are around the 100 Kbps mark.

Ericsson staged a trial in Hungary a few years back that established a world record of 235.6 Kbps across GSM EDGE - that's in an ideal situation with a single user.

Compared to 3G, these rates are pretty pathetic. I've been using the 3 mobile broadband USB modem for a few weeks now and can report HSDPA speeds of around 1.2 Mbps down and 300 Kbps up.

On the motorway, away from city areas, regular 3G data with data speeds of around 300 Kbps down and 200 Kbps up kick in, whilst in the country, the Huawei/3 USB modem chugs along at around 60 Kbps thanks to the O2 (and Orange) network's GPRS facilities.

The freedom of being able to use a PC laptop almost anywhere is not to be underestimated, but when the modem falls back on to 60 Kbps, the slow speeds involved mean that Web pages take several seconds to load.

Even with EDGE available, I doubt that iPhone users will be overly happy with their new handset on the mobile data front, especially if users are trying to access a secure VPN.

For that reason, I suspect that sales of iPhone will tail off, once people realise it's a bit of a turkey on the mobile data front.

Having said this, I also suspect that Apple is developing a 3G version of the iPhone, but you're probably looking at a spring 2008 release date for such a beastie, assuming it even exists, of course...