Got a 3G Dongle? Know your limit!

July 29, 2009

So have you got a 3G dongle?

Do you know your limit?

Do you know how much you will be charged if you go over that limit?

If you’re on O2 and go over by just 1GB you would be facing a £100 bill!

The BBC reports on the issue of 3G bandwidth caps on mobile broadband services.

Mobile broadband users face stiff penalties for exceeding their download limits even though most aren’t aware of what those limits are.

I use a Vodafone 3G dongle and though the Windows software (on a single computer) does measure how much data use the Mac connection software (in other words what I normally use) doesn’t. Generally I guess that my usage is fine as I don’t use the dongle everyday and rely on my home and work internet connections and not just the mobile broadband connection.

However I know some people and some learners have a 3G dongle for their internet and that’s it! Using a 3G dongle everyday would be getting close to their limits if they were downloading podcasts and watching online video.

Do you have a 3G dongle? Do you know your limit?

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3G usage rises as prices fall

June 12, 2008

So you lower the price of 3G data plans and what happens, the number of 3G users doubles!

Duh!

3G usage rises as prices fall

BBC reports on a survey which has found this out.

Price cuts and the popularity of 3G are prompting Europeans to use mobile data like never before, says a survey.

The GSM Association survey shows that European data roaming traffic grew by 75% between April 2007 and 2008.

Over the same period the numbers of 3G users doubled and the average price of data roaming services fell by 25%.

Read more.

When I first used 3G in June 2004, I was paying £100 per month for 1GB of data per month, this went down to £75 pretty quickly. A year later it was just £45 per month and by 2006 it was just £25 per month.

Now you can get 3G for just £10 per month with as much as a 3GB fair usage limit, and as part of a phone plan it can be as little as £5 per month!

Also we are seeing an explosion in speed (just don’t tell O2 who are still stuck on 128Kbps), back in 2004, I was lucky to get 384Kbps, today with my Vodafone 3G dongle I can achieve 7.2Mbps (well I can in London, less so in Gloucester).

These fast speeds and low prices start to make 3G a viable option for many people and as a result we are seeing an increase in demand and users.

As mentioned earlier on this blog 3G usage is increasing really fast.

Now for all the economists out there, does this mean that the demand for 3G is elastic or inelastic in demand?

Photo source.


Making it easier to get a signal

April 23, 2008

If you are like me you depend on your mobile phone.

Actually if you are like you depend on your mobile phone and 3G dongle for data.

I actually rarely use my mobile phone for actual phone calls, for me mobile data is what I use all the time.

I use it to allow my laptop to connect to the web, for all those kind of laptop based activities, browsing, e-mail, etc…

I use mobile data to Shozu my photographs from my phone to Flickr.

Making it easier to get a signal...

I use mobile data to update my Jaiku feed and use SMS to update Twitter.

I (now and again) browse the internet on the web browser on my phone – usually t find out if my train is delayed or cancelled or for traffic reports.

I use mobile data to allow me to stream live video from my phone via Qik.com to other locations.

If you are like me you depend on your mobile phone for mobile data, or you might just use the phone for phone calls!

Anyhow I was interested to read on the BBC website about a new technology which will make it easier to get a better signal.

The signal strengths of laptops and mobile phones are set to be radically improved if new technology developed by Oxford scientists comes to fruition.

Engineers at Isis, a technology transfer spin-out company of the University of Oxford, have found a way of creating antennas which can work in three “planes” but that are small enough to fit in hand-held devices.

Now if you are making a phone call and the signal strength drops, what you notice is a reduction in the quality of the call.

However with mobile data, if the signal strength drops, you find that internet access crawls and often you are faced with timeouts. You can replicate this by using 3G in a moving vehicle such as a train or a car.

If the signal strength can be increased this means that you can have greater reliability in using mobile data then you can now, which means you would be able to rely on it working rather than hoping it would work.


Lots of dongles

April 10, 2008

BBC reports on how the use of 3G for data is increasing really fast.

This graph from 3 shows how fast 3G data usage is rising.

Lots of dongles

Why is this, well according to Rory Cellan-Jones of the BBC, the reason is simple.

So what’s behind the sudden explosion of data use? One word: dongles, those plug-and-play devices that give your laptop mobile broadband wherever you go.

3, T-Mobile and Vodafone have been pushing their 3G USB dongles hard over the last few months, and the monthly cost of such services has dropped considerably.

When I first used 3G in June 2004, I was paying £100 per month, now you can get 3G for just £10 per month, and as part of a phone plan it can be as little as £5 per month!

Also we are seeing an explosion in speed (just don’t tell O2 who are still stuck on 128Kbps), back in 2004, I was lucky to get 384Kbps, today with my Vodafone 3G dongle I can achieve 7.2Mbps (well I can in London, less so in Gloucester).

These fast speeds start to make 3G a viable option for many people.

With more people using 3G dongles and laptops, suddenly they will be able to access media-rich learning content where they like, mobile learning starts to become more real and accessible.

Of course as noted in the BBC, problems start to arise if you exceed the fair use limits of these 3G services.