UK mobile broadband question

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by NotVeryTechie, Mar 31, 2009.

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  1. NotVeryTechie

    NotVeryTechie Notebook Geek

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    Hi there, hope I am in the right discussion area with this question. I am currently a lodger and my landlord does not have internet access at home. I don't want to get a contract set up as I don't know how long I will be there. So I have been looking at the mobile broadband options, but can't quite work out what how and how much. They seem to offer good deals, but then have a limit this and you can't extend limit that and only local and so on. I am not sure what to go for.

    I don't do much surfing - particularly during the week I do practically none (I am on the computer at work all day so don't want to spend evenings as well). On the weekend I might look for a few things and check emails. Occationally I download bits of things and look at some streaming video. So I don't want something where I am paying a premium for lots of GB and then not using it, but when I do want to download something, I want to be able to do it without incurring penalties.

    Any thoughts?
     
  2. HyperionX

    HyperionX Notebook Consultant

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    In 2006-2007 I was based in Winchester, working in the hospital there. And surprise surprise, no internet was provided in their accomodations.

    2 weeks later I cracked and got the "top" deal at the time it was available, which was a 1gb limit per month + the PCMCIA card for £54.99 a month. Expensive back then but hey, it was still rather new.

    I play a MMORPG at the time too, Final Fantasy XI, and my monthly usage on top of the game and e-mail/MSN/message board viewing was about 350mb, typically 5 hours an evening, 12 hours per weekend day. What I did was near the end of each month I used it up near 1gb to download things even if I don't need. Also, the software stupidly degrades all the images to a crap quality so unless you view the image manually and "force refresh" it, the full quality image won't be loaded. This was obviously implemented to cut bandwidth down.

    I didn't stream videos because it was too slow, back then. But I'm sure it's all improved nowadays and is possible.

    Which provider are you going for? I know 3 does extremely good deals, and looking at it now, £15/month for £15 gb is overkill and cheap and I don't think I even get through more than 3gb a month myself, but this is a 24month contract. As long as you don't P2P files I'm sure 3gb is quite reasonable.

    And since you're lodging/posting this, I assume you're working somewhere with internet access. What I did back then was e-mail myself stuff I wanted to download, arm myself with a USB stick, download stuff at work/library, and enjoy back home.
     
  3. NotVeryTechie

    NotVeryTechie Notebook Geek

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    Thanks for the info HyperionX. I have been considering the Vodafone pay as you go option. It is expensive (£15 per 1GB), but then I don't have to sign up to a contract - I am not sure about this though. Can't find the "fine print" for this deal.

    By the way, I will be using it on my laptop - don't think I mentioned this before.

    I really have no idea how much I would use it. And I really have no idea how much of the 1GB I would use up to do different things. For example, I assume that streaming video would use up lots, but that checking my emails would be very little. What about downloading an image, or chatting to helpful people on this forum? I just have no idea.

    Oh, and also, I am quite keen to get Skype at some stage as my parents are in South Africa and it costs a fortune to call them. I have seen that most providers don't support Skype. Can I do this on mobile broadband.
     
  4. DetlevCM

    DetlevCM Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    Bandwidth usage can vary a lot - BBC iplayer, I an easily use 3GB in a day...

    But pure browsing needs little memory.
    1GB is more than enough as long as you don't download a lot of files, or stream videos (iplayer) for a long time.

    iplayer- you can expect about 100-200MB for a 1 hour film I think....
     
  5. HyperionX

    HyperionX Notebook Consultant

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    With image, it's however big the image is. Granted, I'm not sure what the software does currently as I've not used it past 2007, I do wonder if it still compresses it.

    On images, if you consider random images such as the buttons on this forum and avatars, they amount between 1kb to 50kb to be reasonable. And if you read reviews which includes big pics, or links to big pics, providing you don't click them it should be generally "ok".

    I'm unsure about streaming videos at the moment, I've not yet gone and investigated how much bandwidth it takes for say, a 5min youtube video.

    However, if you download Netstat Live:

    http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/file/fid,7769-order,4-page,10-c,lanutilities/description.html

    This is a bandwidth monitoring tool, in the simplest level. If you want to calculate "sessions" lets say, you can simple download it, run it and then right click the window and choose "reset", then what you do next is to go about your normal activities EXCLUDING downloading files such as updates/mp3s, but everything else like web browsing, MSN chat, forum (web site) browsing, will use very little. After say, 2-3 hours, look at the tool and see how much you've used.

    Also, what they don't tell you is that it counts for uploads as well, so if you upload a 100mb file here, to a MSN friend, etc, it uses 100mb of your limit.

    If you don't stream videos THAT much and turn off images (until you really want to view them) I doubt you'll breach 1gb, as I said before, I play MMORPG on top of it back then and never reached the limit.

    As for contact vs Pay As You Go, it depends on your situation. Are you there temporarily? Are you likely to get internet connection anytime soon? Vodafone's offers don't look as good as the 3 ones. Infact, T-Mobile offers 3gb PER day for £1.70/day, £8.51/week, £17.02/month and no contract.

    Vodafone really really sucks in comparison.
     
  6. meegulthwarp

    meegulthwarp Notebook Consultant

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    I'm with 3 and I use around 5GB a month (out of 7GB max) and that is shared with my girlfriend who spends most of her day on Facebook. We don't do much streaming except for the odd Youtube or BBC iPlayer. The reason I don't download or stream much is not due to the 7GB limit I have but is due to the fact that it is just too slow, a 5 min clip takes around 20 mins to stream and it isn't worth waiting usually. I'm supposed to have full coverage but the modem gets 1 bar or nothing most of the time and I have to sit near a window to get it working. I've contacted 3 in regards to this and they have been rather useless. I've also tried to cancel the contract (I've served 12 months of my 24 month sentance) due to the horrible service but they still want a cancelation fee + the remaining balance.

    May I also point out that the mobile broadband was originally bought due to a lodging situation and was alright then but now that I have a house and have the ability to have broadband (but cannot justify the double internet expense at the moment) it is really driving me mad.

    I like the fact that you can use it almost everywhere and when I travel around its a real nice thing to have. Download speed varies and during peak hours I sometimes struggle to get 5 kb/s.

    All in all I think it is good thing for a lodger to have but try and avoid a contract (or lengthly contract). I also do what HyperionX does and download anything over 50MB via a public Wifi or Library. Your basic forum browsing and what-not shouldn't go over 1GB and if you are looking to use as little as possible you can always disable pictures etc.
     
  7. Baka

    Baka (・ω・)

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    Also with 3 here and the speed is simply slow... It's the only one with the 7GB option last time so I went with it :/ I use up quite a lot up to 6GB a month and never below 4GB...

    Friend of mine uses T-Mobile pay as you go and he's getting quite ok speeds... Another friend of mine uses Vodafone and he's sometimes getting very fast speeds but most of the time it's average... Vodafone is expensive though
     
  8. Hirohata

    Hirohata NBR BRO-ducer

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    What's really important is how much coverage you can get in your area. Vodafone is quite fast compared to 3 at times, but 3 has more coverage. There's also the option of Pay-as-You-Go if you're gonna vary the amount of data usage per month. Using 3 Pay-as-You-Go when I'm not in my University Halls.
     
  9. NotVeryTechie

    NotVeryTechie Notebook Geek

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    Thank you so much guys, I really appreciate the feedback. I think not having a contract is a big plus for me as I don't know how my situation will change in the future and don't want to be tied in to some horrible service situation I can't get out of. The big question is then just which one.

    One thing - do you know what happens on pay as you go if you don't use the GBs in a certain time? Does it carry over or do you have to use it within a set period?

    Anyone know about the skype issue?
     
  10. Hirohata

    Hirohata NBR BRO-ducer

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    For 3, the remaining data doesn't get carried over, so you might as well try to finish whatever remaining data you have left, or choose more wisely next time.
     
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