First of all, I decided to update my dongle to a Mobile WiFi device. My location has a good 3G signal from Vodafone, I can see their mast through my study window and it is about 200 metres away. That said, the best speed I ever got from it through the K3565 was 2.25 Mbps on TBB's HTTPx6 Speedtest.
Depending upon network and whether 3G and its variants or 4G there appeared to be scope for more speed, subject to signal at my location.
I decided on a Huawei E5776 which would be reasonably future proof for some time at my location. I also decided that I wanted a Huawei badged device and not an unlocked one. Looking on Huawei's UK website, there was a link to Amazon and I placed my order. I more surprised than annoyed to receive a E5776 which whilst Huawei badged, had EE branded firmware although was not locked.
Meanwhile I was considering which network to go on. GiffGaff looked promising, but at 20p per MB after the first 20 MB per day, was a little too much even for a very low user such as myself. Basically I am looking for a reserve/standby means of internet access should my BT line fail and also for use away from home.
I am grateful to Mark (mixt) who reminded me that my ISP, Andrews & Arnold offer mobile & data SIMs. Their monthly charge is £2.00 + VAT and 2p per MB + VAT for data used. A&A's tariff has to be looked at in the context of what I was paying previously with Vodafone. I had been with Vodafone for over 4 years and had only topped up 2 or 3 times. Vodafone's tariff having been £15 for 1 GB of data.
So I ordered an A&A Data SIM which arrived the next morning. A&A use the Three network which according to A&A's website gives marginal coverage at my location. Also the nearest masts are each about a mile away. So I was not too surprised when the E5776 connected at 3G with NO signal bars showing. What did surprise me was the speed, an improvement to 3.32 Mbps using the same Speedtest. A 3G yagi antenna is currently on its way to me from Hong Kong, which I can aim in the appropriate direction and if worthwhile I can easily mount and connect to the E5776.
Once the charges for data roaming in Europe have been levelled off, next year I believe, it will be worth looking to see what PAYG offerings are available. There should be an advantage then that when outside the country of registration, it should be possible to use any UK network; as happens now when you take a mobile phone outside the UK.
Getting back to the Huawei E5776 having EE firmware, I contacted Huawei's UK helpline and from the IMEI confirmed that it was from a batch intended for EE. They were not too helpful as to how to resolve the problem, despite the link on Huawei's website pointing to the particular E5776 offering at Amazon. Their suggestion, which really was quite bizarre, was for me to approach EE! That I know would have got me nowhere. The fact that they could not even locate a User Guide (there wasn't one in the sealed box it came in) nor is it listed on their website, together with any idea of how to supply me with what I wanted if I were to return the unit I have to Amazon, suggested that I would be better making my own arrangements. Google came up trumps here when it found an article entitled Updating Huawei E5776 Firmware at http://willtaylor.org/update-e5776-firmware/ which advised that the German Huawei website had unbranded firmware available.
The process was simple and my E5776 has now lost its EE user interface.
All looking good!
Andrews & Arnold FTTC
DrayTek Vigor 2920Vn
Edited by Ancient_Mariner (Mon 05-May-14 16:19:29)