Here’s a great A-B test by Matt Larsen:
Matt ran these tests on a Saturday morning, a low usage time, so this is the best he can expect from his 3G phone. There’s more on broadband access at Matt’s Nebraska farm in his blog post here.
I’m sure 4G LTE networks will do better (although nowhere near the speeds currently be touted for today’s lightly loaded networks). But of course the fixed wireless networks will continue to improve as well. netBlazr is routinely getting > 90 Mbps over fixed wireless links today.
Besides the order of magnitude difference in download speeds, it’s worth noting the ~300 ms latency of the mobile connection. At 300 ms, any kind of VoIP becomes very marginal.
Mobile broadband is great, and the perfect solution when you are mobile, but it will never compare with fiber connectivity, or even with fixed wireless access.