Three's new Mobile Broadband service

  nickhick 16:57 04 Sep 07
Locked

Believe it or not but I am still on dial-up and was wondering whether Three's new mobile broadband service, offering up to 2.8Mbps on the 3.5G network is going to be any good.

One just plugs in their USB dongle and you're away, apparently, providing you are in their coverage area which is extending all the time.
Packages start at £10/month for 1Gb download but their £15/month would seem a better bet?

  Andy_Sheldon 13:37 16 Nov 07

I'd also be interested in any feedback on this.
Having had enough of being screwed around by BT, I want to cut landlines out of the equation altogether. 3's option seems ideal on paper.
Apparently you do get three days to try the thing out and if you're not happy, they'll cancel the contract, but three days isn't a huge amount of time.
My other concern is that 3 are not renowned for having great cover. The joke used to go, "Hello! I'm on a 3 phone and touching the mast! Can you hear me?"
Having said that, they do postcode checks to ascertain what the cover is like where you live.

I've been putting a bit of research into this and the next most appealing package for me is T-mobile who offer 3gb and give you a more generous 14 days to try the thing out before the contract becomes set.
They are naturally a bit more expensive though.

  pauledg 10:23 09 Jan 08

re 3 mobile broadband - a sorry tale

So you're fed jup with BT messing you about? Can I suggest you commit suicide rather than signing up for 3's mobile broadband. If you reckon BT is bad.....

It is now 6 weeks since I took the plunge and signed up for a 2 year £15/month contract and received my dinky little modem. "Just plug it in and away you go" it suggested. Nope.

No response. After a few more tries I contacted customer services. That was my first mistake. Customer Services themselves are a major problem as they seem determined not to "let me off the hook". They do not accept the recommendations of Technical Services, nor do they accept the possibility that their modem is to blame. Their sole purpose in life is to ensure customers continue with their contract, come what may!

However, I was advised to contact Technical Support (India?) which I did. An hour later and they washed their hands of me and passed me to Modem Support. And my free phone call suddenly became a chargeable one, as I discovered when my phone credit was exhausted 2 hours later!

Modem Support did their best, talking me through numerous changes to the computer setup and finally decided the two were just incompatible. Not wanting to lose this one chance at broadband I came up with the suggestion to try the modem on a friend's computer. This worked and I was able to make a CD of the software and transfer it into my machine.

You might think that I was delighted that it came alive. But no, I then discovered that the machine would lock solid when powering down and pulling the usb modem crashed the computer, damaging files! Every time.

From her on, the saga developed into a nightmare from which I am still unable to recover.

Customer Services should be renamed Gestapo. Their sole purpose in life is to prevent you from cancelling your contract. They have never heard of consumer protection legislation, fitness for purpose or merchantable quality. They stick by their 3 day guarantee and no way can I get them to understand that the time I spent online, spread over 3 days and a few minutes (just to check once more before I cancelled) was purely an attempt to get their darned thing working! I thought usb devices were supposed to be plug and play?

I should have listened to their engineer who suggested that I let him organise cancellation, he did warn me I'd have trouble! By God he was right!

If I had the money and the energy I'd be delighted to take them to court. As it is, I susepct the only rapid solution is to try the device on various computers then go and buy a spare one just to get broadband. What an unnecessary and total waste of money, which I, as a pensioner, can ill afford. I already have a year old top of the range Acer Ferrari that works perfectly with all other usb devices that I regularly use, why should I be forced to buy another or throw away £360-worth of contract!

Maybe 3 would like to justlfy their actions here rather than in court?

Avoid like the plague.

Pauledg

  pauledg 10:28 09 Jan 08

Of, b the way, I nearly forgot. According to 3's postcode map I am in a turbo enabled area. 2.8Gb/s. Actually I achieved 110kb/s (that's right) and the signal coming from their aerial produced about 350 kb/s, that's 3G performance, not turbo. And my house is in sight of Beckley, where the aerial is situated. So they can't even get that right. "Taking money under false pretenses" is the expression that springs to mind.

pauledg

  Covergirl 13:44 10 Jan 08

My experience

I'm still on dialup, saw the ad's in the Three shop and thought £10 for 2.8mbps - can't be bad. So on 30th Dec 07 I went in the shop, checked my "get out clause" (3 days) and signed up for 2 years.

Dongle recognised OK, software installed OK and connected (nearly) first time. (Acer Inspire T180 5000, 2MbRAM, Vista Home Premium). Connected at 7.2mbps (everytime) it said in the modem status box. Hmmmmm . . . . ?

I thought the speed wasn't too fast, so checked on the Gadget Show speed campaign and got max 60kbps. A subsequent download of Google Earth averaged out at 40kbps.

Everything OK over the next two days but seemed to be a delay connecting after pausing to read something, maybe like it had gone into standby and needed woken up, but once it was going it seemed fine - obviously faster than dialup so I was happy for a while.

One issue was that "something" had altered the boot order - I got the POST screen with Press F1 to continue or DEL to enter the BIOS, so I F1'd it a couple of times and eventually DEL'd it to see if a BIOS save fixed it. Nope.

Tuesday 2nd Jan and the software broke. Couple of error messages and no access to the Connect button. System restore didn't help. 40 minutes onto the (tech or modem - not sure) helpline (talking proper english to a helpful english chap) and a couple of software removals and reinstallations later and I was back up and running. He'd not encountered the boot order problem before.

However, I took it all back to the shop (with an hour to spare) and got a cancellation for the following reasons :
Download speed
Download limit - the 1GB limit is the sum of downloads and uploads
Software problems
Boot order problem

Wednesday 9th I got a bill for £13 which is £3 more than I signed for . . . . Hmmmmm ? Hopefully I'll get something through shortly cancelling this bill.

So, Tiscali here I come. It would have been TalkTalk but they're still bundled and there's a £10 surcharge on the £5.89 making it £15.89.

And the boot order problem - gone since I took the modem back !

I think this dongle/3g idea is great in theory, providing the coverage is adequate. I see O2 are also doing something similar but not available in my area.

  Covergirl 13:46 10 Jan 08

Oh, and the "Log Into My 3" on their website never worked.

  nickhick 14:25 10 Jan 08

Covergirl, did you not use any other speedtest sites as those speeds seem very low. In one of their shops I got speeds of 1.5Mbps and then 500kps a few seconds later. However the figures you got seem little better than dial-up (at least the 40 one).
It's too late now, but you could have monitored the speeds, say, with click here or click here

  Covergirl 08:06 11 Jan 08

Nick - yes, I tried one or two others but nothing conclusive and some required a registration or a downloaded prog so did the gadget show test about 12 times at least. Lowest speed was about 10kbps, highest around 60kbps with most of the results in the 56-59 region and one upload speed of 310kbps where the norm was about 10kbps. Not a lot you can do at those speeds in 3 or 4 days and with 10% used I was getting edgy not wanting to waste anymore allowance.

I even stuck the dongle to my windowsill hoping to get a bit more bandwidth.

If you haven't signed already, I recommend you give it a try for 3 days and see if you like it, but heed Pauledg's comments. Hopefully speeds will increase over the next year as their Turbo program rolls out.

Thanks for the test sites, I'll give them a try.

  nickhick 09:17 11 Jan 08

Covergirl, according to their map I am bang in the middle of their Turbo area, in South London - don't know which region you're in however.
The trouble with all these things, is that I have read quite glowing reports elsewhere.

  currie20 15:52 15 Jan 08

On 12/10/07 I purchased a modem from Three Store, Belfast. I contacted the technical team on the 15/10/07 to say that the modem when installed showed ‘invalid modem’ the technician did get the modem working, initially the service was slow but I accepted this.

However one month later approx 15/11/07 the modem failed to allow me to browse the net, only allowing me to open one or two pages at a time and I had to disconnect and reconnect repeatedly. This was about every 3-5 minutes.
I called to report it was not working satisfactorily. I was told that it must be the modem and to bring it to the store where I purchased to have it repaired. I was contacted by a technician who said the modem was not faulty it must be my location. He checked the system and informed me I am on the border of the 3G network and his only suggestion was to sit closer to a window and try every room in my apartment! He also told me that another Mobile base station that would improve my signal was due in the Belfast area, but not until mid 2009. When my contract would be due to expire!
After receiving the modem back I am able to confirm that I can only get it to work in the kitchen on the window sill and I still experience frequent usb mounting/dismounting and ‘data modem invalid’ errors which require restarts, when it does connect this is only for 3-5minutes at a time, speed is a real problem barely enabling me to check my email let alone download anything. Browsing is not consistently smooth - I believe there is a fundamental issue with browser posting events. Sometimes links must be clicked several times, or pages refreshed halfway through loading.

Now in the new year the service has not improved I have called your technical team twice who each confirmed that the problem is my location and customer services on three occasions, who have been very unhelpful, telling me to persist and the service will improve, which is has not the past 2months.

I have spent over 6 hours on the phone to be told, I am not entitled to a refund as I am outside the 3day refund policy and the modem is not faulty. I was told in store that the modem works in 99% of Belfast clearly I am in the 1% bracket.

Stay well clear of three, i am now in the process of taking them to the small claims court, have yet to receive a reply from their crap India customer services!!!

  scoobyjones1 18:45 10 Apr 08

Avoid these crooks like the plague!I bought a 3 mobile modem for my daughter to use at University,first 4 months fine,a bit slow and she found it impossible to use more than 1GB, despite paying for 3GB (and no the credit doesn`t roll over,even though you pay for it)Then over easter (she wasnt even there for 10 days) she logs on and she gets 50,yes FIFTY messages saying she has gone over the 3GB (2 days previously!) they have charged her £23 for an hours use,that she wasnt even aware of,even though an upgrade to 7GB is only £10 a month more.Now she needs to use it for studying, but cant for a further 10 days, unless I pay £23 an hour, until the next bill is due.Spent all day on the Indian call centres with no help at all just arguments.Point being, it must be impossible at that speed ,less than 2.8 meg,to run up a bill that big,and not even be warned,or capped, or offered an upgrade.I firmly believe they just make up the bills as I have spoken to other users with the same exact problem.

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