Time for people looking for mobile broadband solutions to get the calculators out to decide whether the next round of free laptop deals that are on the way from 3 are worth taking.
MobileToday.co.uk reveals that in addition to 3 offering a free laptop in an offer starting in August 2008, Vodafone and Orange are not far behind also. There looks to be three price points on the 3 offer of £30, £35 and £40 with a usage allowance of 5GB. The different prices are down to the choice of three HP laptops which apparently includes the Pavilion DV6000. In terms of price per GB this is higher than fixed line broadband and carries a lengthy 24 month contract.
Mobile broadband with a free laptop as an incentive is not new, Carphone Warehouse and Phones4U have both ran schemes as retailers, but now we are seeing the network providers entering the game.
Mobile broadband is great if you are in an area that supports 3G or faster speeds, but our own experience on places like trains or as a passenger in a car is that GPRS speeds are an all too common experience. The biggest concern is what happens once you breach the 5GB allowance, if traditional per MegaByte pricing of £1/MB applies then exceeding your bundled allowance will quickly run up a heart stopping bill.
So while mobile broadband avoids the cost and hassle of obtaining a fixed line contract, for those looking to embrace the growing ability to watch TV shows over broadband or download films, a 5GB data allowance will soon vanish (a 60 minute TV show is around 0.5GB of data allowance). Similar issues occur with some of the cheaper fixed line broadband deals, so while many places are promising to save people £100's a year by switching, be careful that any new deal will support your usage habits.