Download speeds of 2Mbps are available on Vodafone’s Unlimited Lite plans and on the Reserve Data feature of EE Smart plans.
In general, you’ll still be able to do most things with a 2Mbps connection, including browsing the web, using social media and messaging applications, listening to music online and watching video in standard-definition quality. You won’t be able to watch HD-quality video and web pages may load a little more slowly compared to on faster connections.
In this article, we’ll look at 2Mbps download speed connections in the UK. We’ll start by looking at the mobile phone plans from Vodafone and EE that give you a download speed of up to 2Mbps. We’ll then look at individual activities and applications, asking whether you’re able to use them on a 2Mbps connection.
2Mbps Download Speed Plans
Vodafone Mobile Plans
In the UK, Vodafone offers three types of unlimited data plan: Unlimited Lite (with speeds of up to 2Mbps), Unlimited (with speeds of up to 10Mbps) and Unlimited Max (with uncapped download speeds). Customers choosing an Unlimited Lite plan are subject a maximum download speed of 2Mbps. This is approximately equivalent in speed to a 3G connection.
At present, you can get an Unlimited Lite SIM card from £20/month on Vodafone:
EE Mobile Plans
If you choose an EE Smart Pay Monthly plan, it will come with the Reserve Data feature. This allows you to stay connected with speeds of up to 2Mbps, even when your core (full-speed) data allowance has already been used up.
The following table shows EE Smart SIM cards with the 2Mbps Reserve Data feature:
You can also choose from a range of handsets on an EE Smart Pay Monthly plan. When you choose a handset, you’ll get a core data allowance between 4GB and 100GB per month. Full speed downloads are available on this allowance. Once you’ve used up the core allowance, the remainder of your usage that month will be limited to 2Mbps.
If the 2Mbps Reserve Data connection is too slow for what you want to do, there are a number of ways to restore full-speed data. This includes buying a data add-on (e.g. £7.99 for 1GB) or having data gifted to you from another person on your EE family account. Alternatively, you’ll receive a fresh allowance of full-speed data when your plan allowances next refresh.
How Fast Is 2Mbps?
A 2Mbps connection should still allow you to do most things on your mobile phone. This includes browsing the internet, using social media and messaging applications, making one-on-one video calls, listening to music online, and watching TV in standard definition quality.
You won’t be able to participate in HD-quality group video calls or to watch online video in HD-quality. Some online games may also require something that’s faster than a 2Mbps connection.
The following table shows the minimum recommended download speed for a number of activities, and whether you’ll be able to use them on a 2Mbps connection.
|Activity||Required Download Speed||Usable on 2Mbps connection?|
|General web browsing||0.1-1Mbps||✔|
|Social media, instant messaging & e-mail||<0.1Mbps||✔|
|Skype/WhatsApp phone call||0.1Mbps||✔|
|Skype/Zoom video call||0.5-0.8Mbps||✔|
|Skype/Zoom video call (HD)||1.5-1.8Mbps||✔|
|Zoom group video call (HD)||2.5-3Mbps||✘|
|Listening to online radio||0.2Mbps||✔|
|Streaming music (Spotify, Apple Music, etc)||0.4Mbps||✔|
|Watching YouTube videos (basic quality)||0.5Mbps||✔|
|Watching YouTube videos (720p HD quality)||2.5Mbps||✘|
|Watching YouTube videos (1080p HD quality)||4Mbps||✘|
|Watching iPlayer/Netflix (standard definition)||1.5Mbps||✔|
|Watching iPlayer/Netflix (high definition)||5Mbps||✘|
|Watching iPlayer/Netflix (4K UHD)||25Mbps||✘|
|Online Gaming (Xbox One/PS4)||3Mbps||✘|
Sharing Your Connection
If you’re using the tethering or personal hotspot feature on your smartphone, your 2Mbps download speed will be shared across all of your connected devices. For instance, each device will only be able to sustain a 1Mbps download speed if you’re using your smartphone and a tethered device at the same time.
Because the download speeds available drop very quickly when you tether to multiple devices, we wouldn’t normally recommend using this on a 2Mbps connection. Having a download speed of at least 10Mbps will give you a much better experience for tethering and personal hotspot usage.
On a 2Mbps connection, it should take around 8 seconds to load a typical web page or to download a high-quality photo from the internet to your device. On average, downloading a MP3 file will take around 20 seconds and downloading a mobile application will take about 2 minutes.
|Activity||2Mbps Download Time|
|Accessing typical web page||8 seconds|
|Sending an e-mail without attachments||<0.1 seconds|
|Downloading high-quality photograph||8 seconds|
|Downloading an music track (MP3)||20 seconds|
|Downloading an application||2 minutes|
When calculating the expected download time for a file, it’s important to remember that 2Mbps stands for 2 Megabits per second (where 8 bits are equal to 1 byte). For this reason, it will take around 8 seconds to download a 2MB (2 Megabyte) file on a 2Mbps connection.