Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Three Offers 15GB Mobile Broadband for £15

Mobile Broadband provider Three are now offering 15GB of data per month for £15. The deal is avaliable for those who sign up to a 24 month pay monthly contract. This is perhaps Three's best mobile broadband offer for those willing to comit to a long term contract.

Most mobile broadband contracts offer around 3-5GB for £15 so this latest offer will appeal to those who are 'heavy' users. There is nothing worse than going over your monthly alowance and being charged an arm and a leg for a few mb of data so the 15gb limit will appeal to some.

Hopefully this offer will lead to a 'price war' between the main providers. If a company wants to keep its customers during such shakey financial times they need to offer great value epecially for luxurys such as mobile broadband. Three seem to know this, lets just hope the others are paying attention.

Monday, 28 September 2009

Vodafone Criticized for Download Speed Discrepancies

A recent report by Broadband Expert investigated the actual download speeds customers can expect to recieve with each of the main mobile broadband providers. It will come as no surprise to anybody that users are unlikely to experience 'up to...' speeds often quoted.

Vodafone in particular was singled out for criticism, not because their mobile broadband was particularly slow, but because they claimed to provide speeds of up to 7.2Mbps. Despite this tests carried out resulted in speeds of around 1mbps. Most providers quoted speeds of up to 3.6mbps about 3 times faster than the average speeds experienced during tests.

Vodafone's claims to offer speeds up to twice as fast as their competitors was disputed by Broadband Expert. Vodafone have responded to the report by claiming that "reliability and consistency were more important to customers than speed" which begs the question: why are they advertising such high potential (but unrealistic) speeds?

Whilst the best mobile broadband is reliable and consistent nobody wants consistently lower than advertised speeds. Mobile broadband providers should not, in my opinion, be allowed to advertise speeds that less than 25% of users can expect to receive.

This is not the first time Vodafone's claims have been questioned. An advert they created featuring a mobile broadband dongle as a rocket with the tag line "The fastest, most reliable mobile broadband in the galaxy" was disputed by the Advertising Standards Authority and had to be pulled.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Broadband Tax To Be Law By Next Election

The minister for Digital Britain Stephen Timms has said that the new broadband tax will be law by the time the election comes around. Speaking at a debate in London Mr Timms said that the tax is still a priority and will be 'presented to parliament as part of the Finance Bill'.

The proposed tax which aims to raise cash to improve the nations broadband infrastructure will cost those with fixed phone lines 50 pence per month. The idea for the broadband tax was proposed in the Digital Britain report in order to finance the government's plan to provide 'broadband for all' by 2012.

Those without a fixed line will not have to pay the tax another reason why mobile broadband is best when it comes to saving money if not for download speeds. Pay as you go mobile broadband users will be able to avoid the tax which may help to provide them with a fibre optic connection (eventually).

The tax has proved to be controversial with the Conservatives saying that they would oppose it. Some have said that broadband providers should foot the bill as they stand to profit from increased broadband coverage whilst others have questioned the ability of a 50p tax to pay for a fibre optic network.

Steve Weller of says that the proposed tax is 'a classic case of robbing Peter to pay Paul.'

"We are talking about a digitally dependent economy and society, and as such, the Government should be looking to share the burden across businesses and consumers alike."

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Starbucks in the UK Offer Free Wifi to Loyal Customers

Starbucks has followed the lead of Pret-a-Manger in offering customers free Wifi in their stores. The Wi-Fi will be provided by BT Openzone and will be in 650 branches in the UK. In order to connect customers will need to sign up for a Starbucks reward card. Reports so far suggest that this will allow them unlimited acess.

Those with Wifi enabled laptops and mobile phones will be able to benefit from the service whilst they sip over-roasted coffee.

Monday, 21 September 2009

New Peugeot To Include In-Car Internet

We all know that the internet is moving away from the computer and into our everyday lives. 3G enabled mobile devices mean that we need never be offline (unless we are unfortunate enough to wander into a 'notspot'.

Peugeot have decided that their new 5008 needs an in-car Wifi router so that multiple devices can connect to the internet during those long tedious car journeys. No specific technical details have been released yet but it looks like the device will be an inbuilt router which will connect to a mobile broadband 3G network via a USB dongle.

It remains to be seen how useful an in-car router will be considering that most internet devices may soon have inbuilt mobile connections. If two people wish to connect and you have a pay as you go mobile broadband contract I guess it would be suitable.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Students Boost Pay As You Go Mobile Broadband Sales

Pay as you go mobile broadband is perfect for students. Having a fixed line connection in rented accommodation is expensive and can be a pain to organize so mobile broadband is an obvious choice. A pay-as-you-go contract means not having to pay for anything other than what you use, no point paying for mobile broadband during the summer if your parents have a traditional fixed line broadband connection after all.

Tesco's Telecoms division has just reported that they have seen a 71% increase in takeup for their flexible pay as you go mobile broadband which coinsided with the begining of the University year. Tesco sells mobile broadband contracts with a selection of providers including Orange and O2 including pay as you go and pay monthly contracts.

Vodafone Launch Wireless Mobile Broadband Router

Vodafone has launched a wireless mobile broadband router with the snappy title 'Vodafone Mobile Broadband Hotspot'. The VMBH will allow users to set up WiFi networks for multiple devices all using a single Mobile Broadband signal.

The device would seem to be similar to 3's MiFi which was launched last month which also allows multiple devices to get online via mobile broadband using a wireless connection. The routers are aimed at business users or those in larger households without a phone line. Only those receiving the best mobile broadband signal will be able to reliably connect more than one laptop and still receive decent download speeds.

“The Vodafone Mobile Broadband Hotspot offers mobile professionals, students and families a one-touch connectivity solution that turns Wi-Fi-enabled devices such as MP3 players and laptops into connected mobile internet devices,”
Huw Medcraft Vodafone mobile broadband director.
The device itself has been named the MiFi 2352 which sounds similar to 3's MiFi. It will be interesting to see if 3 have trademarked the MiFi name and if so what action they take.

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

3 Billion Mobile Broadband Users by 2014?

There could be 3 billion mobile broadband subscribers by the year 2014 according to the CEO of telecoms company Ericsson. Hans Vestberg was speaking at the Broadband World Forum in Paris when he made the prediction. Vestberg says that although mobile broadband is only in 1 in 10 homes so far Ericsson are expecting this figure to rise dramatically.

"It's a fantastic growth we can see in front of us"

Mr Vestberg added that "there are currently four billion mobile phone users and that this is likely to rise by three billion in the next five years". The stats quoted include multiple those who own multiple SIMs taking into account the fact that some households have several mobile phones, pay as you go mobile broadband and traditional fixed line broadband.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Orange and T-Mobile to Merge

As predicted on this very blog Orange and T-Mobile are to join forces to become the largest mobile telecoms company in the UK. The deal has been announced but has yet to be checked by the relevant regulatory bodies. The new company will start with 28.4 million customers and around 37 percent of the market. No details about branding have yet to be released but T-Mobile has been under performing lately and insiders have suggested that this deal has saved them from certain doom so I wouldn't be surprised in their brand name is let go.

This means that the Big Five mobile phone companies in the UK are now to become the Big Four with O2, 3 and Vodafone making up the numbers. Some have speculated that this could have a negative effect on consumers. Whilst the new Orange/T-Mobile hybrid will no doubt be able to offer increased coverage for mobile and mobile broadband it reduces the amount of competition in the UK market which could have an influence on prices.

Whilst the merger will cost the newly formed company it will also allow them to drastically reduce costs. Duplicate base stations and retail outlets will be closed and staff costs reduced. Most large towns have both an Orange and a T-Mobile shop and there will be no need for these to both remain open. Those who are already signed up with one of the companies are likely to see signal and coverage improvements.

Thursday, 3 September 2009

The End of the Mobile Broadband Dongle?

Whilst mobile broadband continues to increase in popularity the future of the 'dongle' looks like it might be at risk. The trusty USB accessory might become a thing of the past, confined to the internet rubbish heap alongside dial up modems.

The GSM Association and Microsoft recently collaborated on a study into the possibility of creating laptops with built in mobile broadband receivers. This would bypass the need for wireless dongles in a similar manner to how built in wireless receivers have taken over from USB powered wifi dongles.

This latest development shows how much faith the GSMA are putting into mobile broadband as The Future of the Internet. They see pay as you go mobile broadband and a service for all internet users rather than just businessmen and those without access to a phone line. If mobile broadband speeds and reliability continue to increase a fixed line may become an obsolete idea after all who actually uses their home phone to make calls?

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Mandelson To Discuss Broadband Access with The Big Five

Lord Mandelson has announced plans to organize a meeting with the five main mobile broadband operators in the UK to discuss broadband access. The Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills is possibly looking to speed up the spread of mobile broadband coverage to rural areas in order to meet the targets set out in the Digital Britain report.

Mandelson will meet with Vodafone, O2, Orange, T-Mobile and 3 who between them provide pay as you go mobile broadband to 1 in 10 households in the UK.

The Government aims to provide 'broadband for all' by 2012 although if Mandelson has his way and those who illegally download music and films have their broadband connection taken away from them this could be a challenge. The proposed move would criminalise a large percentage of the population and would make 'broadband for all' impossible. Lord Mandalson recently decided that illegal downloading should be stopped days after meeting with David Geffen, founder of Asylum Records and DreamWorks although those events cannot be connected because that would mean that Mandelson was corrupt.