For years I used the traditional ADSL broadband and just accepted that I would never have a fast internet connection. Until - that is - I moved house and didn't want the hassle (and delay) of getting a phone line turned on and having a router sent out (which always takes weeks in my experience).
So, I thought about getting Mobile Broadband! Off I went to the library to compare providers. I checked a couple of comparison websites and the one that kept popping up at the top of the lists was 3 Mobile Broadband. The prices looked good, so I inquired further. As I watch quite a lot of YouTube videos I automatically looked for the highest monthly allowance package, which turned out to be 15GB.
With a 24 Month contract I got the aforementioned package for £15 a month. Yes, I could have probably saved about £5 a month if I'd went with ADSL, but I will now explain why I am more than happy to pay the extra money.
Within a couple of days of "applying" on the Three website (and not having to pay any money initially) the dongle arrived by Royal Mail.
Upon opening the package I found a small square box with the dongle, sim card and some booklets inside. I was surprised at the lack of paraphernalia, but this is 2013 I suppose.
After inserting the sim card into the dongle and plugging the dongle into my computer's USB port an installation process started and after 10 minutes (if that) I was online!!
I did notice right off the bat that the connection was very fast. Web pages were loading up much faster than I remembered with my ADSL connection, but it wasn't until I decided to watch a 30-minute YouTube video that I realised just how quick it was. With my old connection I had to let it load up a bit before I could watch it - but with Three Mobile Broadband I could just watch it straight away and it would load without any delays.
Needless to say I am very pleased with all aspects of my new internet connection.
One thing that I did worry about initially was that the 15GB allowance wouldn't be enough for my 2-hours a day of YouTube viewing, but it has turned out to have been more than enough.
All in all, I would recommend Three Mobile Broadband to anybody. There isn't a single thing I can complain about.
Until next time...
I have been with 3 mobile on a contact with various handsets for about 6 years now, and I have consistently been impressed with the customer service provided by 3, along with the price plans, and network reception.
About 6 months ago I received a call from 3 offering me a special deal on a dongle, due to me being a loyal customer for numerous years (a dongle basically plugs into your computer like a USB stick, and gives you acess to the internet, it acts like a mini modem).
The deal was basically a free dongle (the MF112) on a contact costing just £5 a month with roughly the equivalent of 15 hours internet usage a month. My wife had been saying for a while that she could do with internet access at her shop, just mainly for checking her yahoo account, and keeping an eye on facebook and doing online banking etc, so I decided to accept the offer.
After a quick check on reception and signal strength expectations by the 3 mobile salesman at both our home postcode, and my wife's shop postcode, I was told that both locations would have excellent signal strength.
A few days later the dongle arrived in the post. It is black in colour, with a big '3' logo on the front in white lettering. At the top of the dongle in white lettering is the model number 'ZTE', and towards the bottom of the dongle is an indicator light which lights up to tell you when it is working, or out of signal etc.
A black cap to the top of the dongle can be pulled off to reveal the USB connection which is then plugged into the USB port of the computer. The dongle as a whole does have a good solid feel to it, and is not flimsy in any way.
Set-up of the dongle was extremely simple, and took me about 5 minutes at the very most. It was just a case of inserting the sim card inside the dongle, pulling off the cap and plugging it into a USB slot. The 3 software then auto installs and opens up. This then shows you how much signal strength you have and will give you an option to click a button to connect. . . . . . . . and then away you go!
~~~ My Experience ~~~
My experience of using the 3 dongle has been very good on the whole. My wife has never had any problems with it when using it at her shop, apart from just one occasion, when the whole 3 network seemed to be down, during a stormy evening back in March. On many occasions, our internet at home (supplied by talktalk), has failed to connect, and so we have reverted to the dongle, and this has always worked which has come in very handy.
I have also used the dongle during stays in both London, Birmingham and Manchester a few times, as well as on several weekends away in North Wales, and I have never had an issue with it not being able to connect to the internet. The ZTE MF112 does state that it is capable of download speeds of up to 3.6 Mbps! On occasion, there is a little bit of a variation in the speed though depending on what area you may be in, and sometimes it can be quite slow to download pages, but this is fairly rare, and something I am prepared to put up with considering the price that I pay for it. The dongle also acts as a memory stick, just by adding a MicroSD card to the slot it can load up to 4GB!
Dongle's on the whole are a very simple and easy way of connecting to the internet no matter where you are, and regardless of the availabillity of WIFI, and the ZTEMF112 is of a decent quality.
To be honest I am a little reluctant to give this dongle a huge thumbs up, mainly because I have read a lot of negative reviews on the ZTE MF112 dongle on both dooyoo and ciao, but personally I have to say that I have not encountered any real problems. Maybe I have been lucky, or others have been unlucky, but for the dongle to have a chance of performing well, the computer or laptop that it is to be used with must have a minimum of 50MB hard disk space, 1 free USB port, a Windows 2000, XP, Vista or and Mac OSX operating system.
Thanks for reading.
© L500589 2011
The dongle plugs into your computer like a USB stick, and gives you acess to the internet, it acts like a mini modem.
Different dongles allow differrent bandwidths, mine was the largest one, which i didn't need, 3 misold it to me by telling me the amount of time spend on the computer would need the highest contract.
Positivies about this are that i could take my laptop wherever, and use the web without a wifi connection, such as to school, on long journeys, and in the garden on nice days.
However, there were more negatives to this. When connecting, the internet would go down almost immediately in some cases. The connection was slow, and would disconnect itself and try to reconnect without even telling me, at times it would disconnect and still show that it was connected and be counting the amount of time i was online.
This was awful when trying to fill in online forms, or have a conversation online, or even try to shop. It was impossible to complete a task halfway through without being cut off! This is especially worrying when money is involed or you have to resubmit forms that can be 20 pages long in some cases for myself.
I had to phone customer service numerous times for help, and the majority of the time they made some excuse, or passed the book, or even blamed it on me! They said i had to sit in better parts of the house, and said to drive in the car to see if the connection improved. Alot of the time they made me change my computer and delete files, to make the connection actually connect. It was a two year contract and there wasd never a point when the connection could be relied upon enough to fill in important forms in online.
The concept of the mobile broadband was tempting, however, i would never recommend it to anyone, the most frustrating thing ive enountered so far. I would suggest going with another company altogether and avoid 3 at all costs
I took out a 2 year contract for 3 mobile broadband just over a year ago. Price wise you couldn't beat it at the time: 15gb broadband/month for £15/month was far better than its rivals. Signing up to it was remarkably easy as well, I can't have been in the shop longer than ten minutes and within twenty minutes of the purchase I was online on my laptop.
Anyway, the 3 modem looks and feels very much like a wireless network adapter. You just need to insert the sim card inside it, pull off the cap and plug it into a USB slot. The 3 software will then auto install and open up. This will then show you how much signal strength you have and will give you an option to click a button to connect...well that is the theory at least. More often than not you wait for the click to connect button to light up...it doesn't...you unplug and plug in the modem and try again. Several attempts later you get online. The connection programme is fairly basic to look at but it is quite handy as it also allows you to see how much of your 15gb allowance you have used up. You can also use the programme to send text messages but be aware this will set you back 10p each time. One bugbear of mine is that in the last few months they have included adverts on the right hand side of the screen. You can't even slide the programme off the edge of the screen to try hide them as it will just bounce back to the middle :-(
Having used in many different locations I don't feel that I was given all the necessary information at the time of purchase. The sales assistant told me that 3 had the best reception of any of the networks and showed me a map of the country detailing where you would be able to get online and where you couldn't. The major areas with no reception were in the far reaches of Scotland and as I rarely go there I was happy to make the purchase. On reflection the map is mostly accurate but there are some areas where I should get a signal but cannot. What was not explained though was that the variation in speed from one area to the next is huge. In Cardiff I whizzed along quite happily at broadband speed but in Birmingham it was like using an old fashioned dial up modem i.e. forget streamig video, downloading anything and be prepared for a long wait when opening webpages. I could accept that as par for the course if it wasn't for the fact that I can connect my o2 mobile to my laptop and in general connect at much faster speeds.
In the last couple of weeks 3 have issued some auto updates that do seem to have improved speed and first time connection rates. I have only tried this in a couple of different places so I'll reserve judgement for now at least. At the end of the day though I wont be renewing my contract next year. I can get unlimited internet on my mobile for half the price of this 3 deal and can just dial up with that instead.
I, until some what recently, used to be on 3 mobile broadband for my laptop. I got a new laptop from Vodafone which has built in mobile broadband, so I no longer needed to be with 3, and I gave the modem to my Nan and Grandad to use. The 3 modem costs £15 a month, and this gives me (well now my grandparents) 5GB a month of Data Usage.
I originally had the older style dongle modem, but when 3 changed their USB modems they sent me their newer one, which is just a USB Stick Modem, similiar to a USB memory stick. It is black, and made from a smooth coated plastic. It has a 3 logo printed on it, and there is a removeable cap which reveals the USB connection. There is a little LED light near the bottom of the modem, which will be green when you are connected to the internet, and red when there is a problem with it. When not plugged into a USB port, there will be no light on. The USB Modem is very light and slim, so it is not the easiest thing to not lose if you do not keep it plugged into the computer, like my grandparents do lol. The modem has a sim card in it from 3, which enables the mobile broadband connection. If you do not have a sim card in the modem, it will not be able to connect to the internet.
To be able to use the modem, you have to install the 3 mobile broadband software. This is already on the USB Modem, and when you plug it into your computer for the first time, it will automatically start the installation of the connection software. This only takes a couple of minutes, and as soon as it is installed it is ready to go, there is no need to even restart the computer. To get online, you have to click on the 3 symbol that will have been installed onto your desktop, and allow the software to load up. Then you just click on the connection button and within 15 seconds, you will be online.
The modem itself is pretty good, although I have had many problems with it dropping connection, even in areas of great signal strength. I used to get very ratty with it, as the signal dropped quite often at times, and in some places I would just never get any signal and could not get online at all. This was more of a problem when I had the older style modem, but I still have the problem now with the newer modem, just not as often. I still can not get online in a lot of places because of the signal.
Personally I am a lot happier with my Vodafone mobile broadband, and I will be sticking with them. All in all, this modem works pretty well, and it is sturdy enough to cope with the amount of times it has been dropped and bounced. I personally would not go back to a USB modem, as I prefer built in connections for my laptop.
Since using built in mobile broadband, I do not recommend using USB modems, as they can be easily lost or broken and they can be annoying whilst sticking out of the side of a laptop. Because of these problems, I do not recommend the 3 Contract Broadband Modem, and also because of the signal dropping problems.
I first got a Three Mobile Broadband contract modem nearly three years ago. At the time it was one of the first providers of mobile broadband and there were a number of different options available. I opted for the 3Gb per month option at a cost of £15 per month with a free modem on a 24 month contract. (I believe that current available deals are more favourable and that you can now for example get 5Gb per month with a one month contract).
Prior to getting this device I was using dial-up internet, and as I was considering a house move I didn't want to commit to a fixed line broadband contract. I like the flexibility that I can take this mobile broadband with me when I visit family or friends and that I don't even need to bother with a fixed line phone anymore.
Normally mobile broadband is associated with laptops, but I use it with my desktop PC. Any reasonably modern PC or laptop should be able to support it. You connect the modem to the USB port and it is really simple to set up. When you want to connect to the internet you just click the icon to open the connection manager and then the Connect button, rather similar to how you connect with dial up internet.
Mobile broadband is certainly much faster then dial up, but doesn't compare with fixed line broadband. I've found the connection reasonably reliable, although not perfect. At peak times for the internet it does seem to occasionally struggle a little and lose connection or be difficult to connect. There is far less disruption to the service though than I was used to with dial up.
I mostly use the internet for browsing and emails. I very rarely download, but have occasionally have downloaded music and it has worked ok. Mobile broadband would't be suitable for anyone who watches tv online or does a lot of downloading due to the limited bandwith. If you use more than the bandwidth you have paid for each month the charges are extremely high, but I personally have never got near my limit although I spend a lot of time on the internet.
There is an accelerator program available free to download from the three website that allows compression (which reduces bandwith usage by reducing the quality of pictures etc). This works ok and is worth using to keep bandwidth usage down to a minimum. I've found though that there is an independent paid for service (costing £24.99 per year) called Onspeed which does is a similar idea, but works much better and has a wider range of quality settings.
Overall I'm more than happy with my choice of Three Mobile Broadband, and I'm still using it as my main internet connection today nearly 3 years later.
Would I choose it again? Probably, but I think the availability now of cheap pay as you go mobile broadband means I would be more likely to go down the pay as you go route than another contract.
I spent around 20 months getting my internet coverage from the mobile contractor Three. The reason I originally signed up with this contractor was because, at the time, they were one of the only providers offering competitive deals on the mobile dongle, but now a lot of others are offering more competitive deals.
******* How much did you pay? *********
Within my 18 month contract (which continued to roll on once it had expired), I paid £18 per month for 7GB of internet access and I received a free mobile dongle when I signed up to the contract. My bill would have been £3 cheaper if I'd opted for the direct debit option of payment, but I decided to call up and pay each month.
I only exceeded my allowance once and because I opted to continue using the net, I was then charged per MB and had to settle my bill the following month.
********* The software **********
I am not very good with technology but it was easy to set the internet up on my computer and nine times out of ten I connected to the internet without any problems. Occasionally my computer would fail to connect, but I usually found that restarting my computer solved the problem.
I found the dongle quite easy to set up and I had no problems with the software provided. However I was given a large white dongle, that didn't look great but seemed to be more reliable than the model pictured. Two of my friends both had the slim black dongles like the one pictured above and they had numerous problems. One of my friends went without internet for about four months while she tried to solve the fault with Three and my other friend had to return her dongle on three separate occasions. In retrospect I was very please that I was sent a different model, because although it didn't look great it did the job.
************** Mobile Coverage *************
In general the Three mobile coverage is quite good, however the speed of the service changed depending on where I was sat in the house and I have heard that other providers offer better, faster coverage.
************* Customer Service ***********
I don't think that Three are aware of what 'customer service' is, because I've received a terrible service from them since I initially signed up, in fact I often wonder why I stuck with them for so long... My main issues with the company follow:
1) Long waiting times: If I had a query or I wanted to pay my bill then it wasn't unusual for me to be waiting 45 to go through the process. In my opinion this is totally unacceptable, especially when you have to call a premium 0845 number.
2)Many staff members speak very little English and I had lots of problems understanding them. Also, if you do manage to speak to somebody that you do understand then don't expect them to be able to answer your query, because most of the staff seem clueless and they will try to fob you off and transfer your call so you can expect to wait for another ten minutes while they do this.
3)I only felt like Three cared about my custom when I tried to leave. They offered me a new dongle and unlimited internet for a fiver if I stayed, or a new computer... the department (that had obviously been set up to retain staff) is also based somewhere in England (rather than Mumbai) so the staff can be understood. Shame Three didn't care so much when I was paying them for a service each month.
********** Overall ************
I would not recommend Three as a mobile broadband provider because I think they are only interested in money and cutting costs, they really don't give a damn about their customers.
Although I didn't suffer with software problems, friends of mine did, which were a major hassle to sort out.
If you are looking for mobile broadband then search for a company that cares about their customers and stay well away from Three... you have been warned...