3G-less areas mapped

So you want to use 3G and you have no idea if it’s going to be worth it.

So in London it is possible with HDSPA to get 7.2Mbps, but in rural areas you generally only get GPRS speeds and that is like a very slow dial-up connection!

Hopefuly Ofcom will be able do something about this.

The BBC News reports:

There are still significant notspots when it comes to 3G mobile coverage in the UK, regulator Ofcom has revealed.

It has pledged to investigate why some places, particularly in rural areas, are still failing to get any coverage.

It also said it will investigate mobile broadband speeds, which vary tremendously in different areas and at different times of day.

Personally I am a great fan of 3G, I was on Vodafone 3G when it first came out in 2004 and since then have used them, T-Mobile and 3.

Picture source http://www.flickr.com/photos/martin-kliehm/1352621004/

Now I know I can’t work or play without a 3G connection, if I am on holiday in an area without 3G I find it very frustrating. It’s not that I want to spend my holiday online, but so much we do these days is dependent on knowing information, opening times, route planners, online reviews, communication; without a decent internet connection you can feel a little lost. Though it has to be said to be totally internet free can be somewhat refreshing.

Hopefully one day there will be greater 3G coverage, or whatever takes over form 3G will have greater coverage.

Which 3G USB Modem?

I have been thinking for a while about getting a 3G USB Modem.

My preference is to use a Bluetooth connection to my phone and use that as a modem, however this is very heavy on battery life for both the phone and the laptop and I am thinking that a USB modem will have less impact on the laptop and (obviously) no impact on the phone’s battery life.

I don’t want a card solution as I use different computers, some have CF slots, come have PC Card slots and another uses ExpressCard, so a card solution will be too limiting.

I am not overly happy with having a dongle hanging off my computer, but it is better than no internet connection.

So which one do I go for?

My initial choice was “3” which has the cheapest solution at £10 per month, however they do have a 1GB limit and will charge if you go over that limit.  £15 gives you a 3GB allowance.

Speeds are suppose to be in the 2.8Mbps range, but that’s not the case across the whole country.

Having used Vodafone before and get very annoyed with their content control and the complexity of having to pay to turn it off, I am not keen on using Vodafone. Also at £25+VAT per month they are the most expensive. However at 7.2Mbps they are the fastest. Though that speed is not available around me, so is less inticing.

I am coming around to T-Mobile which is around £20 per month now. However it does appear to be the slowest of the lot. It has one advantage that the service also includes free access to T-Mobile wifi hotspots.

Still thinking.

3 Launch Skype Phone

The mobile phone company “3” has launched a new handset that allows you to make free Skype calls to other Skype users.

The BBC is reporting that:

Mobile phone provider 3 has launched a new handset that will allow users to make free calls over the internet via telephony service Skype. Users will also be able to use Skype’s instant messaging service, 3 said.

However unlike Skype users who can make cheap calls globally, 3 customers won’t be able to do this.

But while people using Skype on their computers are able to make cheap global calls to any phone number, this will not be possible via the new 3 handset.

It’s quite a dramatic move for a mobile phone provider, who generally try and block Skype or VOIP as it is a direct competitor to their core business.

Wonder how others will respond.