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  >> Mobile Broadband (3G, 4G etc)


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Standard User coylum
(newbie) Wed 29-Dec-10 05:48:04
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Australian Visitor - advice needed


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Hi All,

I will soon be visiting the UK for about 9 months and will need a wireless broadband connection (dongle) for my netbook so that I can Skype, browse, email and do internet banking etc.

I guess 3GB/month will be fine although I want to minimise any excess charges should I go over. It seems that the Vodafone starter will cover my needs?

Is this reasonable? or what would you recommend?

I'm also going to need a mobile phone - is there any advantage in the UK with going with the same carrier for mobile phone and wireless dongle?

Any advice would be much appreciated as I understand the Australian system well but haven't a clue when it comes to the UK!

Cheers
Standard User ian72
(knowledge is power) Wed 29-Dec-10 10:24:16
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Re: Australian Visitor - advice needed


[re: coylum] [link to this post]
 
To some extent it depends on the mobile coverage in the location you are going to use it. Not much use getting cheap data if you can't actually get a signal where you are going to be using it from.

Mobile networks in the UK are a little scattered in coverage and some areas are much better served than others. Looking at the coverage maps also doesn't help that much as some areas say they have 3G but can barely get GPRS within a house in the area.

Have you looked at three.co.uk? They have some reasonable plans and generally have half decent coverage.

As I say, you really need to find out what coverage is like where you are going to be and then pick a provider based on that. However, finding out coverage is only really possible when actually in the area (or if you know someone there). Most of the shops will allow you to buy based on expected coverage and return within a short period of time if the coverage isn't what was expected.
Standard User Bobbejaan
(knowledge is power) Wed 29-Dec-10 10:54:20
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Re: Australian Visitor - advice needed


[re: coylum] [link to this post]
 
Hi, & welcome to the forum,

My vote would also be for Three.co.uk for mobile-broadband (especially if you might be travelling about the UK), as Vodafone's coverage can be pretty patchy.

Do you by any chance use ebay and paypal AND have a UK address for purchases to be sent to ..... OR have friends/family in the UK with ebay&paypal that could purchase a couple of sub-£10 items on your behalf?

IF so, I can PM you some details & info which would probably make your visit MUCH cheaper & easier for you ... Let me know.

For the Forum Mods :- This is NOT for anything I am trying to personally sell to the OP, merely details of 3rd-Party sellers I have purchased from in the past to save myself money, and which I don't want to publicise here as it would effectively be "shooting myself in the foot" ... This post is NOT Spam.

Regards
Bob


The rooinek-kaffir hypodermic formerly known as Gold_Shogun ..... Baaaa!!
- Bobbejaan
Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch.
Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote.

- Benjamin Franklin
"Let's get this straight: because there's, say, a .000001% chance of me being killed or otherwise abused by the mob, the corner dope pusher, kiddie porn freaks, or religious-nut bombers, I'm supposed to sacrifice my privacy, freedom of speech, security, and other civil liberties? I think not."
- Stanton McCandlish

Edited by Bobbejaan (Wed 29-Dec-10 10:57:40)


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Standard User 5km
(knowledge is power) Wed 29-Dec-10 23:26:33
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Re: Australian Visitor - advice needed


[re: coylum] [link to this post]
 
3 are the best value and have the best coverage. Although you still need to check before buying making sure you are well within indoor & outdoor coverage area for mobile broadband (because after all you are not going to be sitting out side using your laptop in UK weather)

Best to get a mobile broadband dongle in a 3 store so if needed you can easily take it back (within 14 days!).

You will get a (small) discount for having mobile broadband and mobile phone from the same provider.

O2 Broadband Premium LLU
Standard User coylum
(newbie) Thu 30-Dec-10 04:15:01
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Re: Australian Visitor - advice needed


[re: ian72] [link to this post]
 
Thanks for the reply.

I will be going to all areas of the UK and was surprised that coverage was such an issue. I suppose I just assumed that being relatively small in area the coverage would be total!

Anyway I'll look at 3 as you suggest.

What is the availability of general wi fi connections in the UK? Is it present in libraries for instance. If these are available I may be better off looking for wi-fi hotspots?

Thanks again
Standard User dandnsmith
(experienced) Thu 30-Dec-10 07:57:28
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Re: Australian Visitor - advice needed


[re: coylum] [link to this post]
 
Some hotel chains provide wi-fi, but not free.

In my locality, pubs have free wi-fi - but the quality varies.

Again, local libraries (for me) don't have wi-fi, but do provide internet access.

Bristol (and, for all I know, others) as a city, provides free wi-fi.

...

Derek

Edited by dandnsmith (Thu 30-Dec-10 07:57:54)

Standard User ian72
(knowledge is power) Thu 30-Dec-10 08:51:51
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Re: Australian Visitor - advice needed


[re: coylum] [link to this post]
 
To add to the other reply, very mixed bag for wifi. Mcdonalds, starbucks and the like tend to have free wifi. There is also btopenzone and the cloud that you can pay a monthly subscription for - you can get an idea of coverage on this site.

Libraries - some local authorities have wifi in libraries, virtually all have broadband access from library PCs - but some charge, such as my own in West Sussex.

Also on the wifi front BT broadband do use FON in their routers so homes that use them may well be advertising a FON hotspot - however, I wouldn't rely on it as a way to get online as coverage is probably quite patchy.

Coverage of 3G is a nightmare - we may be small but we also have fairly large areas of low population that the providers just don't want to cover (mainly because of cost). Also, we have a lot of people that don't like mobile masts spoiling the landscape and tight planning permission rules that can make it impossible to put a mast in to cover areas. Most cities are not too bad but once you hit the smaller cities and the country it can be a little hit and miss - look at coverage maps for places like Norfolk and you will see there is not much useful 3G.
Standard User Nick_Russell
(experienced) Thu 30-Dec-10 09:08:18
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Re: Australian Visitor - advice needed


[re: coylum] [link to this post]
 
I use a Vodafone dongle and the coverage is usually excellent. if you review this forum you will see that on balance Vodafone gets a very good press and has much better coverage than other networks.

...now customer service is poor, but dongle and connection is very good.

Nick

Plusnet Plusnet Pro 21CN Netgear DGND3300v2 router
Windows XP Pro SP3
Standard User 5km
(knowledge is power) Sat 01-Jan-11 22:28:07
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Re: Australian Visitor - advice needed


[re: coylum] [link to this post]
 
The UK doesn't yet have the luxury of a 3G provider (Like Telstra) operating in the 850Mhz band thus coverage is somewhat limited by buildings etc as all 3G networks in the UK operate in the 2100Mhz (2.1GHz band). (The higher the frequency the more attenuated (weakened) the signal is by obstacles.)

Still by far 3 have the most extensive 3G network. See this Ofcom doc to compare a UK wide over view of the 5 UK networks.

Wi-Fi is available in many places for free these days, just a case of finding your local one.

That reminds me I should set up my FON spot again to get free Wi-Fi on my phone. Although past experience of FON have been very poor, often with unreliable signal and poor speeds (due to being connected to BT broadband I expect).

O2 Broadband Premium LLU

Edited by 5km (Sat 01-Jan-11 22:31:32)

Standard User faplock
(newbie) Mon 03-Jan-11 13:12:36
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Re: Australian Visitor - advice needed


[re: coylum] [link to this post]
 
I would guess that ALL British libraries are the same but can only speak for Gloucestershire. Gloucestershire libraries provide FREE access to the internet BUT only via their own computers. They do NOT allow connection of your laptop (neither ethernet nor WiFi) to their network (they seem to distrust hackers - I wonder why!) Also, some functions are disabled on their computers - such as Right-Click on the desktop - and you MUST save your stuff to your own media as anything saved to their RAM disks is deleted as soon as your session ends. I have seen Skype in use in the libary so you should be OK for all Instant Messengers using Windows OS.
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