Today I will be reviewing the T-mobile dongle. I have recently begun using it again since receiving a new netbook for Christmas. I purchased my first T-mobile dongle as part of a contract package around December 2010 when mobile broadband was first launched, and continued to use it as a pay as you go dongle, when the contract ended. I bought my second dongle (same model) shortly after this time when the first one malfunctioned. My first I was very happy with, my second which I bought around April 2012 on a pre-loaded basis for £39.99 from Argos, not so much so. (You will soon see my reasons for this as the review progresses).
As I state at the beginning I have only begun using this again since Christmas time, and the service has changed dramatically, and which is what I am going to be centering this review around, as there isn't really many technical aspects to share.
To begin with the dongle is very simple to use and install. You can purchase either as a contract, pay as you go (where you get an e-top up card to top up like a mobile phone), or you can purchase pre-loaded with 90 days internet (you can use it as a pay per day dongle after this pre-loaded time expires). When you get it home, you simply take it out of the box and plug it into you PC/laptop/tablet/netbook. There is no installation disk as the software is preloaded on the dongle. So no worries if you don't have a disk drive. Once you plug it in the light on the dongle will flash from green to blue, then settle on blue. A dialogue box will pop up, prompting you to set the installation language from a drop down menu. Once you select your language the software will begin to install itself, and next thing you know a little box will pop up saying installation complete and prompting you to restart your machine. Voila, your Web 'n' Walk Manager software is then successfully installed.
In Web and Walk Manager there are five main buttons:
Connect/Disconnect - Exactly as it says, an option to connect or disconnect your internet.
Internet - An option to launch your internet browser directly from your internet software.
Statistics - A handy display where you can track you upload and download speeds.
Text - Another handy feature where you can send and receive text messages directly to your internet software.
Phonebook - Yet another handy feature included in the software is the application to store important contact details, for friends, family and colleagues.
Across the top of the software there are also, the usual scroll-over, drop down bars: File, Operations, Tools and Help, which allow you to customize your software options.
Another handy feature about the software is that down the left-hand side it tells you your daily, monthly and annual upload and download statistics, which is handy for keeping an eye on your data usage.
One annoying feature upon successful installation of software is the pre-set content lock. It is rather strictly set too and until removed limits access to even the most used components such as social networking, video streaming and online gaming, such as bingo or poker. Annoyingly it can only be removed online by entering your credit card details. If either you don't have a credit card or are not comfortable entering your details online you can pop into your local T-mobile store with photographic ID and have the staff in-store remove it for you.
Strangely, even when you buy on contract (which obviously you must be over 18 to have gained in the first place) the content lock is still in place until removed.
I think I will begin with the positives in this product first.
- Obviously the fact that the dongle is transportable is extremely handy. As long as you have aerial coverage you can have internet at anyplace, anytime.
- As I've previously mentioned this product is easily installed and extremely easy to use.
- Topping-up your dongle is fairly reasonable when it comes to the terms of price and you can expect to pay for your booster: £2 per day, £7 per week, £15 per month or £30 for three months, although a fair usage policy(FUP) does apply (and sucks in my opinion, but I will cover that later in the review). It is also unlimited, meaning if you ever go over your FUP, you will not be charged any extra, but your usage will be restricted. Which means there are no hidden costs, you will know exactly how much you are spending and how long you can expect to be able to access the internet for before needing to purchase another booster.
- If you go for the pre-loaded or pay-per-day option there are no contracts involved, so you are not tied to the company in any way, and can leave whenever you wish, should you be unhappy with the service provided.
- It is ideal for browsing, checking email, low-usage gaming, checking the news online shopping and such as, but not for activities like video streaming, or downloading files, but again I will cover this later in the review.
- I find the earlier covered fact that you can text and receive text messaged directly from the software to be a really handy feature, and use it myself often.
- Also another very handy option that I'd almost forgotten about to be honest, as I have a seperate device in which I use for this purpose, is that the device can double as a Memory stick. To achieve this, all you have to do is simply pop a Micro SD memory card into the slot provided under the covering of the dongle, and you have a 2-in-1 mobile broadband dongle & USB memory stick combined.
Now I will begin to cover the downsides to the product.
- My main bug bear is the Fair Usage Policy attached to the dongle. This wasn't previously a problem for me, which I will explain in a moment, however, due to recent service changes as I said it's a real bug bear.
If you purchase the £7 option or above you have a fair usage limit of 1GB. This may sound like a lot but it really isn't. (For example, if I catch up with one half-hour episode of Eastenders on the BBC iPlayer, I am then over my FUP for the remaining web time on my dongle)
Now once you go over this limit, they do not charge you anymore, they do however restrict your usage, which means; no online video streaming, no downloading files and no online gaming. You can however browse the web, check your email and social networking.
The FUP resets either at the beginning of the next calendar month, or when you booster expires and you purchase a new one.
This really bothers me as I like to catch up on my soaps online once I've finished doing hair for the day and got my little one off to bed, and after one episode I can no longer do that or play any of my many vices, which are facebook games.
The policy used to work slightly differently and was much better in my opinion. Once you went over your FUP you were only restricted during peak times and could use as normal between the hours of 12am and 4pm. Which meant that I, could either stay up a little later to watch or download overnight to watch the following evening.
If you are looking to do things like this, then I would advise that you go for regular broadband as opposed to mobile broadband.
- Another bug bear is download speeds. T-mobile advertises that their dongle reaches speeds of up to 7mbps. Well if that is the case I've certainly never seen them. The best speed I have ever had is approaching 2mbps.
(As I previously noted you can track your speeds, in the software, which is handy) This means that streaming and online gaming to do tend to lag during play.
Not that I personally have tried it with my dongle (it really doesn't appeal to me), but my partner has and has advised me that due to the very low internet speed, it is unsuitable for use with things such as Xbox Live.
- A small but another slight pain with the dongle is that I have to use an USB extension to use it as with the dongle plugged into the USB on the netbook, I can't fit my charger in at the same time, as it's a bit on the bulky side for a dongle. This however, may just be due to the fact that I'm using a netbook and in fairness the USB ports are not the most ideally placed.
- One thing that really is extremely frustrating about using the dongle is the nightmare it is to top up if you lose or misplace your e-top-up card. If you a have T-mobile phone to put the sim card from the dongle in then it isn't really a problem, as you can buy a regular top-up voucher from the shop. If not you have to top-up online with a credit/debit card, as there is no place on the website to enter a top-up voucher. Which is my opinion is a pain in the rear if you don't like using your card online or simply don't have one, as the site also likes to save your card details and the website isn't exactly what I'd call user friendly (in short it's a nightmare to navigate).
Another thing is unless you top-up online with your credit/debit card, you can only top up in multiples of £5, when at least two of the options are priced not within these multiples, but with your card you can top up in multiples of £1, which makes much more sense.
- Something I find to be particularly annoying is a fault with the Web 'n' Walk Manager software required to run the dongle. It is a nightmare to close, and it actually wont. Without selecting the force shut-down option on your machine, which although I'm no expert I'm sure can't be very good for it in the long run.
- As previously mentioned the content lock is also pretty annoying as is, although not really relevant, T-Mobile's customer service, which quite frankly sucks! On the several occasions I have had to call them up (and pay the 25p for the privilege) the staff I've spoken to have been unhelpful and downright rude (although I'm sure they're not all like that).
You may be wondering if I can pick so many faults with the dongle why I have continued to use it. Quite simply, I grudge paying the abdominal installation charge for home broadband, when it is something I am confident in installing myself or paying the line rental for the required landline, when both my partner and I have contract mobile phones, so have no need for.
In conclusion, I would recommend this product for someone looking to use the internet for low-usage activities such as browsing, checking emails etc. However, it is not really suitable for the heavy usage internet user who likes things like downloading music, watching videos on YouTube or playing online games frequently.
It is a bit of a menace to top up if you lose your e-top-up card, but in general is easy to install and easily operated.
- Introduction -
T-Mobile was the second company following Three to produce a step forward in the way we communicate, offering these budget dongles either as a pay as you go device or by entering a new monthly contract.
The dongle itself costs between £10 and £30 when purchasing up front with useage from £2 per day, £7 per week / £15 per month or you can enter in to a similar priced contract between £10 and £20 per month with a useage allowance of upto 5GB.
Over the last year we've experienced some major improvements with regards to the reliability and speed of broadband connections offered to us here in the UK, many speeds are varied and reliability generally come down to our Service Provider.
- How does it work? -
The dongle from T-Mobile allows connectivity at almost anytime, anywhere by using the USB dongle. When you initially purchase a dongle from T-Mobile you will need to install the "Web & Walk" software which installs the driver for the dongle and reports your current useage in real-time, the software also shows you how much data you have transferred per day and week so you can estimate how much data you will use in the period of your useage allowance.
The dongle is 100% plug and play, once you have your software installed the dongle is automatically found and made available for use however you are required to connect your dongle and disconnect following a connection all via the Web & Walk software.
In the time of using the dongle from T-Mobile I have always had a connection even when used in more rural areas, the speeds are not comparable to what you will receive on a static home or workplace connection however works fine for simply checking e-mail, social networks, eBay etc.
- How does it compare? -
The only downside about the dongle is of course the usage allowance, if you are one which loves checking out new youtube videos or are often sharing images and videos then you will be more suited with a standard DSL/ADSL connection. On the other hand if you are an active business user who needs access to e-mail and internet browsing at different times in the day then this is the ideal investment.
Prior to purchasing this dongle from T-Mobile I previously had a dongle contract with Three who offered ultra-fast connectivity for a similar price, having used both providers I would really recommend a package with T-Mobile.
Speeds on average are at least 1.0MBPS which can be seen at over 2.5MBPS during off-peak times, where as speeds where less than 350kbps with Three and connectivity was very hit and miss!
I use a T mobile boradband USB stick for when I'm out and about and need internet connection in a place where there isn't wi-fi. There are different sticks and plans on offer - and the one I have is the Mobile Broadband USB Stick 615 Pink which is a girly pick USB stick and cost me £10.00 for the stick and then it's internet use is pay-as-you-go which is paid on a top-up system. It is available on a monthly package for about £20.00, but I don't use it often enough to make that the best economic package for me.
Using the USB dongle is easy. It can be used on a PC or a Mac system - which is a rare occurrence! When you use it for the first time you need to initiate an installation program which is very simple to use and you'll also need to set up an online T-Mobile account so you can top up your credit. I tend to pay £10 which will give me a program of being able to use the services for 7 days, which doesn't have to be consecutive. There is a restriction on how much you're allowed to download, but it equates to either 250MB per day on the 7 day program, but you can continue to browse unlimited. I tend to use the internet for browsing more than anything else and so this is more than enough for me. I find the coverage to be good in most parts of the country, although it wasn't great when I visited Cornwall recently and connection was a little more patchy.
There is als 4GB of space on this USB stick and so it can be used to save documents and photos etc. I tend not to use it for this as I have other dedicated USB sticks for this purpose.
Overall, I think this is a decent option. It's easy to use and quite reliable - and reasonable price wise as well. I have a Vodaphone one as well and I find by having a dongle for 2 networks means that I have greater coverage all over the country.
The T-Mobile Dongle I am using currently is the first dongle I have ever used for internet. I have recently moved into a shared property where the broadband internet connection doesnt work very well, and as a person who uses the internet every day for work, communication and entertainment, it was vital that I sourced myself a dongle.
Having done my research about the costs of using mobile internet, I settled on the T Mobile broadband USB stick, which I purchased from Argos - and at the time came with £10 of credit to use against internet top ups.
I have been very pleased with the service T Mobile provide. Unlike many other services I researched, you pay for a day / week / month at a time, rather than the amount of data. If you do exceed their fair use policy limit ( which is quite fair, my housemate uses it for online gaming and is able to use it for quite a proportion of the month before the fair use policy is hit) you are still able to browse the internet and go on websites such as facebook for the remainder of the time in days you purchased, although not able to access videos online.
I have had a couple of issues with my dongle. Firstly, the dongle itself ( not the T Mobile sim) stopped working, no matter which usb port I put it in, it just stopped connecting to the internet. Luckily a friend of mine had a spare USB stick I was able to use it in, but it was quite frustrating. The same friend suggested that if you sit your laptop on the bed when you use the dongle, the connectors in the dongle can be easily bent if you move suddenly and knock the dongle.
Another issue is that it comes with a content lock on many websites which you need to have unlocked. I have tried to do this several times online with a credit card, which it will not let me do, and I am not on T mobile on my phone, so the only way seemingly to have this content unlocked is to go into a T Mobile store, which I havent as of yet had time to do.
Overall though, I find the dongle / T Mobile broadband really easy to use, with no discs of software or anything to install, and overall good value. It has consistantly provided me with internet of a reasonable speed and I have been able to use it wherever I have gone without any connection problems.
i not long moved into a new flat and with the costs of furnishing and settling into a new home i didnt want the cost and hassle of setting up a landline for broadband, and couldnt be doing with having the internet as another bill. where iam the signal on everything is rubbish mobile phones radios etc, but i do like an internet connection, so i went into carphone warehouse cos i thought they would be impartial instead of going into the many mobile shops and having them tell me that their signal was the best !
t-mobile just so happened to be the one, and after finding out more about their pay as you go mobile internet deal i was NOT disapointed. its amazing , you plug in and play basically its wicked, you get a fair usage allowance per top up which means after you have used that you cant do heavy things like streaming videos etc, but throughout the whole top up you get UNLIMITED browsing , YEP you read that right unlimited browsing whichout any extra cost , unlike other leading mobile broadband companies who like to charge for the data used, so things like msn, facebook etc can be used all day everyday at no extra cost for the data used.
this dongle cost me about 20 quid had to put a tenner on and that cred was used to get me started on the broadband. the signal is amazing the speed fast i have no complaints about this t-mobile dongle and would recommend it to everyone its pukka !
I bought a T Mobile Broadband stick for £20 about a year ago and it is still going strong with constant weekly use. I currently use it on a Dell Inspiron, which is a bit daftly designed, as I cannot get the dongle into the USB as it is too near the power cable. I use a USB extension lead and that is then fine.
The software installs automatically and quickly and appears as a pink 'card' on your screen.
This contains various options and facilities, including preferences, and advanced settings. You connect and disconnect by selecting a virtual button onscreen.
You can top up online but I find the T Mobile site a bit confusing, so I just take the included T Mobile Top Up card to the local shop.
To add the top-up, connect, open the browser and it goes straight to the T Mobile page- now choose the price plan you require.
If the 3g connection fails diue to insufficient network coverage ,you can go to the T Mobile Preferences and select 2g. If it is really down, you can use the same network that sat. nav. uses but it is slow.
The light on the stick changes colour depending on your network preference.
Generally I find the connection very fast and satisfying.
You must choose the best broadband network for your area and whilst T Mobile does not work well at my home, it works brilliantly when I am away at my boyfriend's flat.
I use a Pay as You Go system and top up at my local Co-Op choosing £15 for 30 days.
There are other price plans including £2 for 1 day if that is all you need.
T Mobile have a Fair Use Policy : 250MB per day, 500MB per week, 250MB per day for7 days,1GB for 30 days, so you cannot go mad with loads of downloads or games.
I find T Mobile incredibly helpful, nice and friendly whenever I phone up- I cannot fault the customer service.
They seem to be in Ireland, and they are well trained to be as pleasant and civil .
I am also very impressed with the dongle, and find it invaluable when away from home.
Do unplug it when it is not in use, as otherwise it wears it out as it means it is on all the time, even if unconnected.
Update: a year later. I am STILL using this stick! I cannot believe how long it has lasted with no complaints! T Mobile has now changed to EE but coverage is good as ever.
I find it alsmost as fast as my home broadband, very reliable and excellent in every way.
I can access all my emails, my registers and importantly, ebay when I am staying at my boyfriend's house.
TBH I don't know what I would do without it.
I have used TMobile payg broadband dongle for quite a while now, and really believe it's the best mobile broadband there is due to the unlimited browsing. If you are someone like me, who uses the internet purely for browsing, shopping, paying bills etc. and download very little, it's absolutely perfect and you are not tied to a monthly contract.
I first got TMobile broadband about a year ago from Argos, and at that time got a black dongle with 3 months data included for £39.99. After that I didn't bother topping it up as we got regular broadband at the time, but I got so fed up with it I recently bought another TMobile dongle. I have this little dongle in gloss pink (to match my netbook!) which makes it look a little more stylish than the matt black alternative. I got it half price too, for £9.99 reduced from £19.99 which made me very happy.
When you first get it you have to go through the installation process on you computer, which is very straightforward as it's just a case of following the guide and clicking the "next" buttons. After that you can go online to your account page (all automatically) and either top up online or input a voucher code to top up - much the same as a mobile phone - then you can choose how you wish to spend your balance. You can top up from as little as £2 which gives you 1 day, £7 for a week, £10 for any 7 days (ideal if you don't want to be online everyday) or £15 for 30 days. If you top up your account with say, £10, you can allocate £7 of it for a weeks usage, then after that spend £2 for a further day - giving you 8 days for £9, and £1 remaining in your balance.
The only downsides to TMobile broadband, are the Fair Use Policy - which is 250MB per day, 500MB per week, 250MB per day for any 7 days, and 1GB for 30 days. If you go over this with your downloads and watching videos, you be restricted from continuing to do so until you next top up. This personally isn't a problem for me, and I think all mobile broadband providers are the same. However, where TMobile IS different from other providers, is that they don't charge you extra if you go over your data allowance, nor do they stop you browsing! Browsing is completely unlimited, which I think is fantastic - I could remain online 24 hours a day if I wanted and only pay the amount I topped up. The other downside is that it has a content lock on websites TMobile deem unsuitable for under 18s. This would be fine if those sites were all porn or something - however it wouldn't initially let me go on Figleaves website to buy some underwear! A bit excessive I thought, after all, many under 18 year old girls need bras! This can be fixed by either entering credit card details to prove your age, or by going into a TMobile store to ask for the content lock to be removed.
So to sum up, I think generally TMobile have got it right with their PAYG broadband package. It's not going to be for the serious download addicts and gamers out there, but those sorts of people wouldn't be wanting mobile broadband for that use anyway. As for speed, the browsing speeds are very fast for me personally - I've not found any difference with it to regular broadband in terms of speed.
Would highly recommend!
I was really dubious about purchasing this product after we made a decision to scrap our BT broadband and line rental. I made sure I checked my signal coverage at http://www.t-mobile.co.uk/shop/mobile-broadband/coverage-checker/ and was promised it was very good.
Amazed at how speedy it is, how easy the installation was, and the clarified terms and usage policies set out by T-mobile. It comes content locked and with full, clear instructions. I have found that I use my fair usage policy rather quickly, this means that if you download frequently or watch alot of videos you will be restricted from doing so until you top up again, however you can still browse the internet (without the ability to download or watch videos) as usual. The fair usage policy has outraged a couple of friends of mine who watch a lot of videos online or download a lot of stuff, we use it alot for work and shopping and news, so our light usage is perfectly matched to this product. Heard from a neighbour that his 3 dongle is absolutely rubbish, so am relieved at the quality, accesibility and reliability of this product. I'd look up the Fair Usage Policy and coverage on T-mobile's website before even thinking about buying, however I can't recommend highly enough. This has saved us an absolute fortune on our home broadband:)
Over the past few years I have had my run-ins with mobile broadband and at times, well it's been somewhat of a battle. Since my first run-in was with 3 and well that put me off ever using them again, for anything - take my warning with their call centres your blood pressure will go through the roof! So, I had always said that I would never again get mobile broadband - unfortunately due do BT being absolutely useless with their broadband, and their 'Home Hub' thats apparently worth £90 - ha! Still due to that I was forced to take out something so I could carry on playing my online bingo, so I went into T-Mobile and asked to combine it with my phone contract.
~*~ What Is Mobile Broadband? ~*~
Mobile broadband is basically internet that is portable really, you can have it in many different forms the most common being a USB Dongle. It picks up 3G singnal and povides you with lots of shiny portable internet (not sure why it's shiny, but it just is!) Well all providing you have the right signal in your area. As I say most come in the form of a USB but there are also mobile broadband modems, but I'm not sure if you can get hold of those anymore, and I don't know enough about them to get all technical with you about them! If you are looking for mobile broadband, you can get it from the majority of mobile phone network providers, as I did from T-Mobile, but there are also home broadband companies that will provide mobile broadband - not totally sure which ones but I remember BT having an offer if you dare!
~*~ Why Have Mobile Broadband? ~*~
If you have no landline at home, having mobile broadband is probably a good way of getting internet into your home. The plus side is that it can be quite inexpensive too, compared to installing a phone line in your home and then setting up the internet. If you are a student like me, it is even more useful especially if you are moving around a lot and if your residencies have no included internet! Especially if you are travelling a lot, on trains due to work or visiting family, it is good to kill a few hours browsing online with your USB... Plus if you spend a lot of time in hotels, it's far cheaper than paying those silly amounts to get internet in your room!
~*~ Installing The USB ~*~
Thankfully it is a very installation process providing your computer or laptop has a compatible running system - such as XP, Vista or 7. I'm not overly sure about the Mac programmes it will run on as my box has disappeared into the black hole that is under my bed, but that would be something that you ask the internet provider, I would say it will make no difference but I don't know. For my USB it was a simple task of putting the dongle in the laptop and letting the Install Wizard do it's magic, all it will ask you is a few easy questions about desktop icons, shortcuts and where on the computer you want the software added. Normally the default options are the best and least time consuming so I just stuck with those and they have worked fine since. If your computer doesn't take the information from your USB, you will get a disk included in the box the dongle comes in so just pop that in and it will do the same.... If that still doesn't work then ring T-Mobile and they will give you hints and tips!
Like I say however it is a very easy and simple process, that doesn't take very long. My laptop asked for a restart before I could use the dongle, but that isn't a big ask since it takes very little time to do it, about a minute for me on a year old laptop. As soon as that was done, it worked perfectly straight away!
~*~ Overall Satisfaction ~*~
Now, since I have had the same product from 3 and if you have read a far older review you will know that I didn't get on with it all that well or the people in 3's call centres, I was understandable dubious about this one - so I reserved judgement for a while. Thankfully I am delighted to report that it works brilliantly and I am very happy with it. I have not encountered it being over slow, admittedly it can be a little sluggish if it's been in the cold, but it will soon start working efficiently again. Obviously there are the normal warnings that go along with these kind of bits of technology such as don't get it wet, and don't get the USB bent or broken - else it won't work... I do sometimes just leave my dongle in my laptop and haven't bent it at all yet, I've seen some reviews that have said they have bent, but mine is a recent purchase and mines been really good.
The speed of the internet obviously varies dependant upon your area. I suppose I am quite lucky living in the middle of a town so the signal is quite strong, but I have used it in the countryside and the signal has dropped a little, but doesn't seem to affect the speed dramatically at all. The only thing you have to deal with that bugs me a little is the flashing light while it is connected, especially if you are sat in the dark, but at least you know that it is connected I guess. The one thing I wish I hadn't done was set it up so the connection package pops up everytime I turn the laptop on because I don't always use it, especially when I've gone over my download limit, which I do regularly but still!
To connect is also really easy, all you have to do when the connection screen pops up, and if it doesn't it will be on your task bar near the time... Click on the big pink square button and it will connect happily, and wen you are done, click on it again to disconnect. While you are using the dongle you can minimise the connection panel and it will disappear back into your toolbar and you don't need to worry about it until you are ready to disconnect! Also, it's quite an attractive looking dongle, all black with pink inlays around the outside, not totally pink but we can't rule out men wanting it now can we!
There isn't really anything to complain about to be honest, the screen automatically pops up when you are close to your download limit and then again when you are over it, so you are well informed of when you are probably going to get an extra charge. The dongle does affect your battery life on your laptop when not plugged in a tiny amount because, it is taking a little charge to power it and keep connected but it's not enough to complain about on my laptop. For older laptops or ones with dodgy batteries it might be a different story but personally it's been good for me! The good thing about this USB, is that it has a space for a memory card a MicroSD card, but it turns the dongle into a memory stick too, talk about 2 in 1!
~*~ Price Plans ~*~
I won't go into all the price plans there are out there because you are capable of looking them and their ever changing prices up! I have the unlimited browsing and 3GB download limit, but it has recently changed to 2GB download limit, but if all you are doing it browsing the internet, sitting on facebook and looking at random sites, you will not exceed that limit.All that for £10.21 a month for first 3 months and then £15.32 thereafter for 18 months, it is a bit of a bargain... Silly pennies added due to silly VAT increase obviously! Now here is what I found that suprised me, and annoyed me but tough, that online Bingo is classed as a download not sure why and I'm sure someone out there can tell me why but that is what puts me over my download limit, so I have to sneak on the home internet to use it ocassionally, especially since I sit on it a lot!
There are plenty of ways for you to have mobile broadband through T-Mobile such as pay as you go and pay up front but this is about the pay monthly option, and looking on the T-Mobile site today (17.1.11) The option I am on is the only one you can get which is a good plan to be on considering what you get for it!
If you like the idea, then give it a try with T-Mobile, in the 4 years I've been a contract customer I have never had a problem with them, not with any content lock, as they know an over 18 doesn't need content lock unless you specify it for particular times incase of children. If you buy instore they will do a credit check, and/or check if you are allowed another line to your contract if you are already with them, but so far so good for me!
During the Christmas season we made several family trips out to visit relatives and took along the laptop to show them photos and online albums, and I also wanted Internet access whilst on the move. I have broadband at home, and the laptop is wireless, but as our relatives don't have wireless access we could tap into, my husband and I decided to buy a USB Broadband stick from T Mobile so we could plug this into our laptop and have net access that way.
The device looks very much like a flash drive, with a USB end and a smooth black plastic body containing the technical bits of the broadband stick. The device is plug and play, meaning that all I had to do to get it to work was literally plug it in and wait for my laptop to recognise the device and prompt me to the next step. It was very easy to use and I found that getting a strong Internet connection was easy with the T Mobile Broadband stick. The signal might not be strong enough for running things like Skype, but I didn't try to use anything like that, and for decent, pretty fast basic net access, including using emails and Flickr, the USB stick performed pretty well.
I took the laptop to several suburban areas in different parts of the UK, and found that I was always able to get a good connection, although in areas where mobile phone signals are poor, you're likely to have problems, but that's the same with most mobile internet type devices.
Before you can use the stick, you also have register the stick with T Mobile and choose one of two ways to pay for the use of the Internet. I chose to pay for my usage in advance, and this cost me £34, but for this I got the stick itself plus 90 days worth of unlimited Internet access, at that set price which meant I would get no nasty bill surprises during those 90 days.
There's also to pay as you go option, which is £2 a day, £7 a week and £15 a month, but you also have to buy the stick seperately if you pay this way, and the sticks are usually around £15-18 each. You can top up online if you want to, but as I said, I chose to pay upfront in advance.
Overall, for what I needed it for, the T Mobile USB Broadband stick was very good. It enabled me to get online quickly, loaded web pages at a good speed and made having mobile internet much easier in places where wireless connections were not available.
I brought this dongle a while ago because our internet connection was always coming and going and was very unreliable. I saw it online and read about it and decided that this could be the solution to our problems.
The idea with a pay as you go dongle is that you top up your credit, just like a pay as you go mobile phone. This was ideal for me as I could top it up when I needed it and only pay for what I actually needed and/or used, rather than payiong monthly. You can choose to pay monthly if you want to though.
To use the stick you simply plug it into the usb port and then follow the on-screen instructions, which are very simple and take you through the installtion process. Once it is installed you are ready are to go and can use the internet as you normally would. You only need to install the software the first time and after that you will see an icon on your desktop. You just double click the icon and then you are guided through anything else you need to do.
I thought this would solve our problems but it really didn't. Whenever I top it up it works for around 2 hours at best and then you lose the connection and have to close the programme and start again. I have also had times when I couldnt actually get it to work at all.
When it does work, it is very slow and it has a content lock on it which has to be unlocked before you can use any websites like facebook or twitter which is very annoying and not really needed in my opinion.
This dongle is a great idea and when you need internet on the go its great, just don't expect too much from it in term of reliability and speed.
I first brought the T mobile stick 20 months ago and was paying £15 a month. I got it because it was useful for work being able to access the internet whilst on the move and on different locations was vital for me. However the problem was that sometimes the signal was not as strong and playing videos on youtube took ages because the the screen would keep flickering.
I did think long and hard about cancelling it and rang up T mobile to discuss my options. The thing with the company is that their customer service has always been second to none and they don't give me the hard sell just a genuine person on the other end of the phone. I have had a mobile contract with them for 6 years now and they have always been great and I would not want to be with any other company.
The lady advised me that she could give me £5 off if I renewed my 18 month contract and also assured me that the new stick I would get was more powerful and better.
I have had the new stick for 2 months and she was right. I can watch videos without the screen jumping. Most of the the time it does from time to time and also it seems faster to load. All round it is much better quality for less money.
I did have to renew this for another term but I am very happy with the product. I appear to have better reception in places I didnt have before too.
Simply plug the modem stick into your laptop and your away, free to surf the net. And now they have made the modem faster and more reliable you shouldnt encounter the problems I first did.
T Mobile Broadband USB Stick
I recently took my laptop on holiday with me as I like to keep in touch with friends and family who don't live near me and I often buy and sell things online, as well as playing games and surfing the net, so taking the laptop with me on holiday helps to to stay in touch.
To be able to get online whilst away from the broadband home hub I bought myself a T-mobile USB Stcik , which justs plugs into your laptop and is easy to set up to use.
It has the plug and play facility which means it does exactly that, plug it in and your away.
The USB sticks are PC and Mac compatable and you can store files on them for when you have to work away. It also has something called Receive Diversity which bounces signals off hills and buildings to give you a stronger signal in poorer reception areas. Clever little thing isn't it.
A T-mobile USB Stick will cost you anything from £14 upwards depending on where you buy it from. The software installs itself straight away onto your computer the moment you plug it in and it prompts you every step of the way so you can't really go wrong with this gadget.
It comes in pink and in black depending on your preferance, I have a nice pink one as it is a shocking pink which I like.
You have to register for the USB Stick before you get online and you can have it as a pay upfront where you pay for the month which is £34 .03 for the connection and the USB Stick and for this you get 90 days unlimited browsing, but you really have to remember when your time is up as once it is you have to pay by the day and it can work out expensive.
Then there is pay as you go which explains itself as you buy top up for your USB Stick. You can pay £2 a day, £7 a week or £15 a month but you have to buy the USB Stick seperately.
Most people will get speeds between 1 and 2Mbps - perfect for emailing or checking Facebook.
It is compatable with Windows and Vista and the coverage is good.
Mobile coverage is available in all the key cities and I have taken my laptop to Wales, London and up north to visit family and the coverage has been satisfactory, so far I have been able to get online without a hitch so for me I'd recommend the T-mobile USB Stick as very good.
Sometimes the speed is slow though depending on what times you connect to the intenet due to others being on at peek times, but getting online when your away from home is sometimes essentail especially if you work away like me and want to keep in touch with family.
I like the ease of use of the USB Stick you can buy top up online with your card. T-Mobile users can top up with vouchers purchased in stores.
Its that simple to get online whilst on the move.
I have been using the internet for 6 months using this dongle T-mobile on pay as you go, I pay 15 Pounds for 1 month at a 2 Gigabyte booster. It was alright because you can already use it to search everything in the internet. Watch videos, download music or files. It comes with a fair use policy so once you are exceeding with the internet usage it will remind you and it will automatically limit your usage so there is no need for you to worry about your remaining time and you don't pay more. It uses a sim so you need to remember the number when topping up at a T- mobile shop. Installation is easy you just need to plug in your dongle to your USB port and it will start to install itself. After installation you will see the signal on your browser try to reposition your laptop till you get the strong reception.
Constantly travelling around means that it is hard to get internet everywhere I go, the place I'm staying at may not have Wi-Fi, broadband or any internet altogether, which means it would be really handy if I could have access to the internet without having to be connected to a modem that cant be moved.
I was travelling around UK for a year and took out a 12-month contract.
I have had a T-Mobile pay-as-you-go account for years now and absolutely love their service so I figured that if I'm going to get a broadband stick it might as well be with them.
The T-Mobile Broadband usb Stick is mostly all black with "T-Mobile" in white on the side of the stick, it looks like a regular memory flash drive but with one exception, this can go on the internet from practically anywhere.
It is not hard to install this stick, you are provided with an installation CD and all you have to do is follow the instructions.
Because I have a lot of flash drive pens I try to keep them in there place so I don't pick up the wrong one by accident, and the only thing that is different from this pen to all my others is that this one has T-Mobile on the side.
I'm not going to lie now but my flash drive pens do get put through some abuse just from throwing them here and there or lending them to friends, it doesn't bother me because they are so cheap, well the smaller ones are anyway, but they are very strong.
This T-Mobile pen on the other hand is not strong, 2 weeks after purchasing it I cracked the body across the plastic, but that's ok because its only a protective casing, but then the front usb connector was getting loose towards the last 2 months of me using it
It may state on their product it's a plug and go device but it's more like a plug (instillation CD) then go.
It is compatible with practically all computers, Windows, Vista and Mac osx.
Connecting onto the internet was a breeze and took no effort at all, you even get a data usage section so that you don't go over your allowed time on the internet for the month, even in places that you would expect the T-Mobile to be poor in low coverage areas, it surprises you by revealing how good it is in delivering in bad areas. You will find the speed above average and find yourself wiping through the net like a panther on speed. You will also see that there is a slot for an antenna boost if you ever should require one.
But there is a big hindrance you will notice almost immediately, you will find that there is a content lock, which is a great feature in and of itself to keep kids out of unwanted areas, but it also locks out websites like facebook, Twitter, even hotmail, this really bothered me so I rang T-Mobile to sort this out and they told me to go onto their website fill out the form with my details, then I can go to the settings where the content blocker is and change it to my liking, as easy and straight forward as this sounds it really isn't, I was so wound up that I had to leave it alone for a while so I didn't break it, anyway I found it, and I changed it all to my preference.
You can buy this from Amazon for £18.99
I would say the money is not worth paying when you are getting a shabby brittle casing and the usb connector not being very strong, you have to be so carful with it, you can also use this as a normal flash drive with some of the memory not used on the stick, but I wouldn't advise it because the more the stick gets full the slower you broadband will get (trust me).
This little device is a nice on the go broadband stick for those people who are traveling, it's not quite as simple as "plug and go" but it does stay up to date with new software that might improve itself, and as a little top off you can use this stick in the U.S and Australia, but maybe you want to think about that.