Tuesday, 3 March 2009


Blogging on the go may become easier now. From the way I see it there are the following options :

1. Wi-fi
2. 3G dongles
3. Mobile phone

1. The main problem with Wi-fi is that in London it really sucks. It's crappy Britain again and their total lack of any form of free wifi. This actually be a Europe thing but as soon as you get out of the country, for example China, Hong Kong, Egypt, Doha, Korea providing free Wireless access in airports doesn't seem to be a problem. In the UK providing free wifi is really so difficult. Relying on just a wifi enabled device in London is pretty much useless to get online.

2. 3G dongles were always quite expensive and pretty ugly. Also they usually meant carrying around a cable and an ugly egg shaped item which was pretty much useless until someone decided they could double up as mass storage. I have had these 3G dongles for the last 2 years on various providers and I just want to say my opinions.

T-mobile : They are quite good actually but very expensive compared with the rest of them. They have the advantage compared with the competition of not screwing you over if you accidentally exceed your limit. In this sense it's probably the most relaxed option there is out there and there coverage works for me in most situations.

Three: Now I'm not happy with three at all for a few reasons. They never delivered the promised speed. Download was acceptable but nothing special even when reception was perfect, but the upload speed was catastrophic. You get a maximum of 56kbit/s upload even with full hsdpa and full coverage. This means that uploading an image to my blog would typically take 10 or more minutes. To make matters even worse, if you dare go over your allowance they will send a quick SMS to your 3G modem which you are unlikely to see but anyway if you do see it, it's likely you have already exceeded by 100MB by the time you call them and they will charge you around 10 quid. If you realise after 1GB then they will bill you around £100. So they may charge £15 a month for 3GB but the excess is £100 / gig. Think what you want about their business practises...

Vodafone : Now Vodafone has always made me laugh out of their shops. I remember the day I took out a blackberry contract and they told me I had unlimited data. *cough* unlimited "6MB" whatever that means. A year later they offer 3G dongles with 512MB allowances when T-mobile were offering a completely unlimited solution. Anyway I think the joke has finally ended because they finally have a decent offer on the table : Their Pay As You Go Dongle. This one would give you a 1GB allowance at £15 per top-up to use whenever you want with the first initial cost just under £40 which includes the modem + an initial top up. I took one out yesterday and evaluated the upload speed which is most important for updating my blog and I'm happy to say they do deliver acceptable speed of just under 400kbit or so under optimal circumstances and it took only 1 minute to upload a 2.5MB image.

Now for Mobile phones :

This can be a good option depending on how much you use it. With the iPhone is apparently against the terms of service to acceess the Internet from a PC through it and even if you decide to do it anyway it's a real pain.. oh and did i mention your battery will drain very fast. Bluetooth is the way to go, I have used nokia phones to do this in the past, lately with the E51 business phone and it's very easy to setup and get running. You will need to add on to your contract some data but make sure it's unlimited and really unlimited. Don't take any cr*p about unlimited 7MB. If someone says unlimited it has to be unlimited fair usage with no excess charges. Currently I only know of T-mobile who do this but I have not checked all of them lately. From memory it's around 5 quid extra on top of the usual bill to have this option and T-mobile will charge yet another 5 pounds to have the improved speed. The in effect add quite a lot to your monthly bill so depending on how much you actually use the Internet it may not be the best solution. A friend of mine I believe emphasizes on the fact they want to carry the least stuff on them and in this respect having 1 device that can do everything is very nice to have.

Now for me I find I'm either at home or in the office so the times I would require this connection would be the weekend in coffee shops updating my blogs or after work. For emailing on the go I have the iPhone and Perhaps I will only use 10-15MB in a day from a laptop, every few days so the pay as you go is the one i need to go for.