Product Type: Three in Modems & Communication
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Good alternative to fixed line internet.
3 Contract Mobile Broadband Modem
Member Name: inkjet
3 Contract Mobile Broadband Modem
Advantages: Don't have to have a fixed phone line.
Disadvantages: Not as flexible as as pay as you go mobile broadband
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.
Summary: Good as long as you don't download a lot.
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