On The Existence of Slow(er) Mobile Networks
We have been talking about web performance being part of the design and how UX can be improved by performance for quite a while now and web performance has even become a whole new discipline to specialize in. Web Performance belongs and luckily already gets a lot of attention early on in the process by making it part of the strategy, part of your design thinking and so on.
Unfortunately this concept isn't too widespread yet and I'm always surprised to come across designers and developers who don't recognise a 1MB or 2MB pagesize as a problem, because "with nowadays" bandwidth it isn't a problem anymore", who don't test their designs for page speed and other performance and pretty much don't care about mobile users on a slow connection speed at all, unless it's a "mobile-first site/service/app", misunderstanding the approach of "mobile-first" as a design strategy in the first place. But back on topic:
While I was in Europe over the last two weeks, I used prepaid SIM cards including data. Usually I don't do any research before buying one, I'm just happy to get my hands on one that gets me online quickly. Mostly this approach works well, at other times I might not get the best speeds or coverage. Most of the time this is ok, since I don't use it for a very long time and I get somewhat of a good 3G or at least an EDGE connection which basically gives me all I need. don't get me wrong here, of course I don't mind a faster connection at all, but for short travels, I'm not too picky.
This time, I was slightly surprised to see that my prepaid O2 Germany SIM wasn't getting me the same experience that I was used to. I"ve been using this SIM on all of my Germany travels for more than a year now and it mostly provided me with a stable 3G signal. Unfortunately on this last trip GPRS (speed comparison), or even worse no coverage at all, was not rarity.
Quite surprising to me, but a definite indicator to those still in doubt, that slow networks aren't only limited to developing countries, but might exist just in front of your very own doorstep. No matter where that doorstep.