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It Appears that Vodafone Unlimited Max Upload Is Capped!

3: Seeker
3: Seeker


In Short:


I have had a consistent problem with low mobile broadband upload speed since 9th Jan. this year when it dropped from a healthy average upload speed of 20.78Mbps (2dp) which I had monitored and recorded over the previous 8 months (see evidence below). Then on 9th Jan this year between 05:35PM and 05:52PM it dropped from 22.1Mbps to 2.9Mbps and has suspiciously remained at that speed ever since!

Since that event, I have check on random days at random times, a few days each week and the upload speed has not improved or worsened for that matter, which is odd in itself and obviously points to the possibility of the signal being capped! (Please see evidence below)




Did Vodafone try resolve this issue?


No! Vodafone Help did not try to fix the problem, instead they started what seemed like a rehearsed obfuscation of the issue, as they attempted to sell me an alternative broadband product, which I know from years of difficulty does not work due to a mile of copper wiring from the (not so) local cabinet to my home. Then they ignored the basic facts of the case and fell back on the minimum upload speed for area and other nonsensical scripted answers. After being passed to the fifth adviser, I was told he knew how to fix this problem and they had me change the settings for the Wi-Fi in a very obvious rouse to get rid of me and after four hours of getting nowhere, I am ashamed to say I gave in and made the changes knowing too well that this was not related to the problem, but I was exhausted and was happy to just end the conversation even though nothing had been resolved.


Has Vodafone mis-sold me a product?


No! Even though I purchased the Unlimited Max plan with the fastest available! If you read it carefully, you’ll see they only refer to the fastest available download speeds and doesn’t mention the upload speed. I find this rather disingenuous, as the upload speed is almost as important as the download, especially for streaming games, cloud services, uploading to YouTube, images, etc. So avoid this plan if any of these are important to your leisure or work time internet habits.



So what’s next?


In my annoyance I did consider making a compliant to Ofcom and I may still do that, but if you have read the previous question and answer, you’ll understand this is probably a waste of time. However, I believe there is a question of fair play and possible misleading advertisements. So if this message gathers traction and others have experienced similar changes to their upload speeds, then I will gather evidence regarding the possible capping and make a compliant to Ofcom. Note I have been told by a representative of Vodafone that I am not subject to any capping.


Sadly as a loyal customer of Vodafone for over eight years with four accounts, I will seriously need to consider an alternative ISP. This is real pain in the backside, but this is Vodafone’s flagship product for mobile broadband and it appears to have been crippled to force users into buying their new fibre plans, which are useless to significant portion of users!





Current Upload Bandwidth:


Note: dates are in the format mm/day/year and all test where completed by my router.


Sixty test results over the last two days measuring the bandwidth. The download bandwidth is not an issue! However, the upload bandwidth remains almost precisely consistently 2.9Mbps regardless of peak times (contention), weather conditions or other changing environmental issues that could lead to the attenuation of the signal.


Date/Time                                                     Download                   Upload


02/10/2022 05:52AM                         50.7Mbps                    2.9Mbps

02/10/2022 05:17AM                         52.8Mbps                    2.9Mbps

02/10/2022 05:15AM                         52.4Mbps                    2.9Mbps

02/10/2022 05:15AM                         51.7Mbps                    2.9Mbps

02/10/2022 05:12AM                         52.9Mbps                    2.9Mbps

02/10/2022 05:11AM                         51.3Mbps                    2.9Mbps

02/10/2022 05:10AM                         54.5Mbps                    2.9Mbps

02/10/2022 05:09AM                         49.8Mbps                    2.8Mbps

02/10/2022 05:07AM                         54.6Mbps                    2.9Mbps

02/10/2022 05:06AM                         52.9Mbps                    3Mbps

02/10/2022 05:06AM                         48.6Mbps                    2.9Mbps


02/09/2022 06:20PM                          22.7Mbps                    2.9Mbps

02/09/2022 06:14PM                          17.5Mbps                    2.9Mbps

02/09/2022 03:22PM                          12.4Mbps                    2.9Mbps

02/09/2022 03:21PM                          15.3Mbps                    2.9Mbps

02/09/2022 03:20PM                          11.7Mbps                    2.9Mbps

02/09/2022 03:13PM                          30.2Mbps                    2.9Mbps

02/09/2022 02:56PM                          18.8Mbps                    2.9Mbps

02/09/2022 01:33PM                          22.3Mbps                    2.9Mbps

02/09/2022 01:32PM                          14.9Mbps                    2.9Mbps

02/09/2022 01:28PM                          10.4Mbps                    2.6Mbps

02/09/2022 01:28PM                          12.4Mbps                    2.9Mbps

02/09/2022 01:26PM                          17.2Mbps                    2.7Mbps

02/09/2022 01:25PM                          9.3Mbps                      2.9Mbps

02/09/2022 01:24PM                          16.8Mbps                    2.9Mbps

02/09/2022 01:08PM                          18.2Mbps                    2.9Mbps

02/09/2022 01:06PM                          14.4Mbps                    2.6Mbps

02/09/2022 01:06PM                          21.3Mbps                    2.8Mbps

02/09/2022 01:05PM                          19.1Mbps                    2.7Mbps

02/09/2022 12:59PM                          13.3Mbps                    2.9Mbps

02/09/2022 12:55PM                          26.4Mbps                    2.9Mbps

02/09/2022 12:53PM                          13.8Mbps                    2.9Mbps

02/09/2022 12:53PM                          8.8Mbps                      2.9Mbps

02/09/2022 12:51PM                          10.6Mbps                    2.7Mbps

02/09/2022 12:50PM                          8.4Mbps                      2.8Mbps

02/09/2022 12:40PM                          26.6Mbps                    2.9Mbps

02/09/2022 12:26PM                          16.9Mbps                    2.9Mbps

02/09/2022 12:17PM                          17Mbps                       2.9Mbps

02/09/2022 12:09PM                          23.7Mbps                    2.8Mbps

02/09/2022 11:46AM                         26.6Mbps                    2.8Mbps

02/09/2022 11:39AM                         33.2Mbps                    2.9Mbps

02/09/2022 11:27AM                         30.2Mbps                    2.9Mbps

02/09/2022 11:18AM                         12.6Mbps                    2.9Mbps

02/09/2022 11:15AM                         9.7Mbps                      2.9Mbps

02/09/2022 11:13AM                         15.4Mbps                    2.9Mbps

02/09/2022 11:08AM                         18.2Mbps                    2.8Mbps

02/09/2022 11:08AM                         17.9Mbps                    2.9Mbps

02/09/2022 11:04AM                         20.3Mbps                    2.9Mbps

02/09/2022 11:03AM                         17.1Mbps                    2.9Mbps

02/09/2022 10:58AM                         20.3Mbps                    2.5Mbps

02/09/2022 10:56AM                         18.2Mbps                    2.8Mbps

02/09/2022 10:55AM                         21Mbps                       2.8Mbps

01/09/2022 06:07PM                          15.6Mbps                    2.9Mbps

01/09/2022 06:00PM                          22.7Mbps                    2.9Mbps

01/09/2022 05:59PM                          18.5Mbps                    2.9Mbps

01/09/2022 05:57PM                          13Mbps                       2.9Mbps

01/09/2022 05:57PM                          19.1Mbps                    2.9Mbps

01/09/2022 05:56PM                          25.7Mbps                    2.9Mbps

01/09/2022 05:53PM                          18.7Mbps                    2.9Mbps

01/09/2022 05:52PM                          11.8Mbps                    2.9Mbps


The Day and Time when the Upload Speed Died:


Date/Time                                                      Download                   Upload


01/09/2022 05:52PM                          11.8Mbps                    2.9Mbps

01/09/2022 05:35PM                          21.5Mbps                    22.1Mbps




Random Previous Readings before Possible Capping:


A random sample of thirty test results, each giving a snapshot of the bandwidth, between the 15th July 2021 to 4th January 2022, giving a bandwidth average for the upload speed: 20.78Mbps (2dp)


Date/Time                                                       Download                   Upload


01/04/2022 07:11PM                          19.3Mbps                    21.8Mbps

01/04/2022 07:10PM                          25.2Mbps                    21.9Mbps

12/24/2021 12:20PM                          19.8Mbps                    21Mbps

12/21/2021 01:32PM                          30.3Mbps                    21.9Mbps

12/21/2021 06:37AM                         36.6Mbps                    22.4Mbps

12/21/2021 06:36AM                         35.8Mbps                    22.9Mbps

12/20/2021 02:00PM                          23.3Mbps                    20.2Mbps

12/18/2021 10:23AM                         32.8Mbps                    19.6Mbps

12/18/2021 10:19AM                         16.2Mbps                    23Mbps

12/18/2021 10:13AM                         17.1Mbps                    22.5Mbps

12/18/2021 10:12AM                         26.7Mbps                    21.9Mbps

12/18/2021 10:11AM                         14.1Mbps                    22.4Mbps

12/18/2021 10:10AM                         16.1Mbps                    22Mbps

12/18/2021 10:07AM                         15.4Mbps                    22Mbps

12/18/2021 10:06AM                         23Mbps                       22.4Mbps

12/13/2021 11:29AM                         29.3Mbps                    20.4Mbps

12/13/2021 10:02AM                         23.8Mbps                    21.9Mbps

11/17/2021 05:21PM                          26.9Mbps                    21.8Mbps

11/12/2021 06:59PM                          37.5Mbps                    23.3Mbps

11/05/2021 11:08AM                         26Mbps                       9.9Mbps

11/01/2021 02:47PM                          18.9Mbps                    21.8Mbps

10/31/2021 06:25PM                          13.6Mbps                    21.5Mbps

10/12/2021 12:39PM                          24.2Mbps                    22.4Mbps

10/08/2021 04:02AM                         37.3Mbps                    22.9Mbps

09/14/2021 10:54AM                         27.5Mbps                    19.9Mbps

07/21/2021 07:45AM                         17.2Mbps                    22.2Mbps

07/20/2021 08:03PM                          9.6Mbps                      22.4Mbps

07/20/2021 08:02PM                          10.8Mbps                    22.8Mbps

07/18/2021 05:51PM                          28.4Mbps                    22.1Mbps

07/15/2021 04:21PM                          27Mbps                       22.3Mbps

07/15/2021 04:15PM                          27.9Mbps                    22.7Mbps


If you have read this far, then thank-you for your time. I have summarized and decided to leave out a lot of yesterday’s conversation with Vodafone help service for brevity. However, I have a transcript and I am happy to share it if anyone is interested. I am more than happy to answer any further questions and if you have experienced a similar issue please get in touch. Thanks again for reading my message.


11: Established
11: Established


From what I can gather from your speed tests/logs, Vodafone has reconfigured the network in your area to allow for greater download speeds (before you were getting around 20-30 mbps down and 20 mbps up, now you're getting 50ish mbps down and 2-3 mbps up)


To me that indicates that you're either a) in a congested area with a lot of users, for most people 2-3mbps upload is perfectly acceptable as they'd be using a mobile phone or b) your device has changed the secondary channel it's using (normally the primary channel is primarily download speed, and the second channel (if supported) will have higher upload speeds). I don't think you've said if you're using one of the Vodafone devices or your own, you could try configuring it to connect to different channels.

Thanks for the reply, information and suggestions. Sadly, that rather good download bandwidth of around 50Mbps only lasted yesterday and I have never seen the likes of it before! Today, I am back to the normal bandwidth for the download of 20Mbps and wait for it 2.9Mbps for upload.


Even with that return to normal bandwidth values, I still believe your suggest is possibly correct. Covid has resulted in a lot of local people working from home and in an attempt to please everyone, I think they (Vodafone) have reconfigured their mobile network to improve contention and download speeds, at the expense of the upload bandwidth. It makes sense and it's understandable, but it's pretty useless for me as I utilise uploads for 4K movies for youtube and occasionally large number of photographs, which will now take 10 time longer.

I may need to look elsewhere for another plan, as mobile data is the only option where I live.


However, I'd be grateful if you could further explain about the primary and secondary channels and any suggestions for further reading or where to get more advice on making changes to improve upload. 

I use my own router its an TP-Link Archer 600 v2


Thanks again for replying and the advice

Ahh, I hadn't really paid much attention to the timeframes!

All 4G+/Cat 6 and above 4G routers use MIMO, which means they connect to a primary band (set of frequencies), and are then assigned/request a secondary band as and when needed, which are then aggregated (that's why the 4G+ is generally only on when you're using the connection) - Unfortunately I don't have any definitive proof about the primary band being primarily download and the secondary bands being for upload, but SDG Electronics experienced it on SMARTY/Three and I've experienced it (100mbps down, 30mbps up drops to around 60mbps down 4-5mbps up when I manually change it to only use a single band) while experimenting on Vodafone - The YouTube video I think he talks about it in is here, if it's not I'm fairly sure it's around that one on the channel.

If you go to the Advanced tab > Network (left hand side) > Internet (in the sub-menu) > Band (at the bottom of the very top section) and change Auto to Manual on the left hand side of your router page (at least it is on mine, I assume all TP-Link routers are similar) it will show you the available band options (hopefully, for some reason mine said none were available).

It's also worth noting if you get relatively stable 4G in your area, that I had to change the router over to 4G Only, instead of 4G Preferred, as the network kicked me down to 3G after I'd used around 200gb/mo (I know it's not the router, as I have a 4G/5G mast which is on a factory within line of sight of my flat).