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What is your perception of mobile broadband?
Saturday 01 November 2008 14:08:29 by Andrew Ferguson

An issue as old as shopping is being mis-sold something, and with mobile broadband being the new kid on the block perhaps it is no surprise to find out that a survey suggests one in ten who have mobile broadband feel they were mis-sold the product.

The survey carried out by O2 tells us that the main source of moans is that around a third of people complain that the ongoing costs for the product were higher than expected. Something like one-fifth were annoyed at not being able to use the service where they wanted even though the provider said it would work in a location. The full press release with details of the survey is in the press release section of the O2 website.

In steps O2 with its solution to the problems, which include price reductions on their core tariffs, a new and improved coverage checker and a 50 day Happiness Guarantee. The Happiness Guarantee only applies to products purchased directly from O2 and allows you to return the device within 50 days of purchase with no termination fees and the cost of purchase being refunded.

The issue of ongoing costs being higher than expected does not just plague the mobile broadband market, it is an increasingly common complaint with other broadband services. Too often an introductory price is quoted that runs out in three months, or is only achieved by a rebate scheme. To that extent O2 is keeping things simple by only listing the standard monthly fee on its site, and it has one month, 18 month or 24 month contract options. A 3GB plan with a free mobile dongle on an 18 month contract costs £15 per month, or if you opt for a 1 month contract the monthly price is still £15 but you pay £99.99 for the modem. For those not put off by a long contract if you opt for a 24 month contract, you can have a 10GB monthly allowance for £30 a month.

As ever a key thing to check with mobile broadband contracts and to a lesser extent other broadband services is the costs of going over your monthly allowance. With O2 this is billed at 20 pence per MB, so an extra 1GB of usage would cost £200, so be careful and keep track of how much you use in a month - leaving a video streaming while not watching it could prove expensive.


Posted by bosie over 8 years ago
My perception of of 3G broadband is, in a word, disappointing. On any provider down / up speeds of 768/512 kbps are the average. I have seen bursts up to 2.7 Mbps and sustained 1.2 Mbps but nevertheless, not what I would expect from 'broadband'. No provider mentions web acceleration, the fact your web is subject to awful compression and removing it requires some googling. Included bandwidth is low for the price, 3-5GB and very expensive to exceed. But 3G is enormously useful and real world performance is considerably faster than most public WiFi hotspots.
Posted by bosie over 8 years ago
Oops my mistake, i was too generous with the upload speed which is generally stuck at 384 kbps in a HSDPA area.
Posted by mishminx over 8 years ago
Overhyped, underperforming and expensive.
Posted by chrysalis over 8 years ago
with the billions that were wasted on 3G you would think its capable of something better than a few mbit and hideously limited traffic usage.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
We can if we want communicate with an astronaut in space, yet when it comes to anything internet related or even wireless (radio waves) everything seems to suck, be it mobile broadband, wireless in your home and so much more... They even admit now DAB is rubbish and not really better than good old FM, and dont even get me started on wireless laggy keyboards and mice.... When i see something hyping itself and then see the word wireless i tend to cringe rather than think it will be superb.
Posted by ian72 over 8 years ago
That's probably because consumer wireless is done on the cheap whereas they spend a few billion more on talking to astronauts.
Posted by clarkac over 8 years ago
We tried Vodafone broadband in Aug/Sep in the Derby area but coverage was hopeless so we returned it. Tried 3 Mobile which is much better and improving. But speed is very erratic and sometimes at a dead stop.
Posted by Gethryn over 8 years ago
Mobile coverage on O2 network has always been patchy, but I have hung in for 10 yaers because the legacy deal is very cost effective. O2 rarely can be found in rural areas such as mid-Wales unless there is a town in sight.
Posted by Gethryn over 8 years ago
Hence its not surprising that the mobile broadband coverage is patchy. If you do not want to carry around two mobile phones(contract O2 and pre-pay Vodafone in my case)use Orange or Vodafone!
Posted by tpferret over 8 years ago
Tried it but no signal, returned to o2 without hassle, wish it had worked cos I live a thousand feet up in the hills and when lightening strikes within a mile or so I lose a modem through induced current. I have a stack of burnt out modems from bt. Fortunately BT replace them under guarantee. They dont make much out of me. Mobile would solve the problem. tpferret.
Posted by thexyone over 8 years ago
I was on a two week trial period with T-mobile at £10 for the first 3 month, then to rise to £15.
I was disappointed, so I asked if they would give it to me for £10 for 12 months, they said "NO", so I sent it back.
Posted by doust over 8 years ago
IMHO, broadband is the most overrated product this century. For the expenditure, you get bad service, a poor product, expensive and very time consuming. If you travel anywhere other than England (I have not been to the USA) the price for usage gets really silly, I would not trust any ISP with yet another increaser in price for which can only described as an erratic product!
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
Mobile broadband is a business service. Anyone else using it is deluded at the current prices.
Posted by KevinCurrie over 8 years ago
I use T Mobile PAYG mobile broadband and have found it very good - I dont understand how a company as big as O2 cant offer the same service, and why they should tie folk up with long contracts, £2 a day is enough for me as I have good broadband at home via my telephone, I only use mobile broadband when away from home, 2 or 3 days a week, I am sure that all the big names would have a better take up of mobile BB if they offered PAYG terms like T Mobile. I have an O2 phone and think they have better coverage in my area than T Mobile.
Posted by MJSUSER over 8 years ago
I have been battling with '3' and Car Phone Warehouse since June after purchasing a '3' Mobile Modem. The charging structure and coverage were misrepresented at the time of purchase. I have subsequently posed as a new customer and had the same erroneous sales information given to me. I travel a lot and therefore have ample opportunity to test coverage - ‘3’ currently claim to cover 99.5% of the population. So 0.5% of the population must be spread from Dover to Lands End, various bits of the Midlands and Ipswich. I wasn’t aware that these areas had such a low population density.
Posted by me7057092 over 8 years ago
My impression is DONT BUY IT. Have work flat in Glasgow, a city which supposedly has universal '3' HSDPA coverage and the nearest '3' mast is about 200m away, but cant even get 25kbps let alone broadband speeds. Extensive conversations with '3' have resulted in nothing useful whatsoever. Stuck in a twelve month contract for something I just dont get...
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
quote"That's probably because consumer wireless is done on the cheap whereas they spend a few billion more on talking to astronauts."

Exactly so following that logic why would anyone want a service that’s all hype and no function? Id sooner have performance than convenience, hence why my router is wired, why I never bothered with DAB and when my keyboard has a 99p extension cable for when I don’t want to sit right in front of the monitor.
Posted by pistolpete1980 over 8 years ago
Have had T Mobile broadband for a few months now. Sometimes it works perfectly, but alas those days are few and far between now. My area of coverage is fine, problem is connection just hangs and doesn't do anything for an extended period of time. Phone T Mobile a few times but technical support of mobile internet is somewhat limited - maybe due to the delivery method. When contract expires I will be storing my mobile broadband dongle alongside my Betamax and Toshiba HD DVD player
Posted by StickyMome over 8 years ago
In response to comments left by MJUser and me7057092, I too have "3" Broadband that I find very erratic at times. However I recently fed my dongle through the supplied USB extension cable and have found that this has greatly improved the download speed from about 0.35mbps to 2.50mbps, still not brilliant but better.
Posted by StickyMome over 8 years ago
I live in Glasgow city centre), my friend who lives in Glasgow's eastend is also with "3" Broadband, but he cannot get a signal at all! He simply cancelled the Direct Debit because 3 customer service were hopeless in finding a solution.
Posted by StickyMome over 8 years ago
I initially had problems obtaining a satisfactory signal. When I complained to "3" customer services I was advised to try my dongle in a different computer in an area that had good coverage to make sure the dongle was not at fault. I asked them to identify a good area. They did not respond.
Posted by StickyMome over 8 years ago
Lastly, I don't think Mobile Broadband is value for money as it is now, but I am optimistic that it will improve in the future.
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