Posts tagged with: mobile broadband

With the huge rise of mobile communications, many have believed that the problems with connectivity and speed have been driven by the rise of mobile broadband and the seemingly ‘huge amounts of data’ used by such connections. This is about as far from the truth as the moon is from earth : A long way.

The truth is that any bad connection that you are receiving courtesy of your Mobile Broadband dongle is thanks to all these clever smart-phone types swallowing up all of the mobile data allowances on networks, leaving you the dongle user to a substandard connection.

How? I hear you cry! This question has been summed up excellently below.

Broadband Genie editor Chris Marling said, “It seems mobile broadband service providers can’t keep up with the demand for data, which is being fuelled by advances in smartphones alongside the desire for mobile broadband via dongles and embedded in laptops.” Marling said that the devil’s gadgets (our words) including the Iphone are hogging all the bandwidth with their fancy applications, gaming, and email attachments, thereby ruining the “Oh. I’m in a coffee shop writing my novel” experience for dongle users everywhere. “It will be interesting to see how Vodafone and Orange hold up under the extra data strain Apple’s iconic device clearly brings.”

The Original Smart-Phone

The Original Smart-Phone

Take for example how an Iphone makes a connection:

When the iPhone wants to access the network, it turns on the 3G radio, establishes the connections, download the email or web page it wants, and then drops the connection and turns off the 3G radio. Total time – around 1 or 2 seconds. A few seconds later it will repeat the process for the next data access. This rapid turning on and off of the radio saves the phones batteries but causes the control channels to be clogged and the radius and DHCP servers to be overloaded.

Dongles do not cause problems with signals as they tend to setup a connection and hold that connection for a long time. With more and more people using smart-phones to create a connection to their PC commonly known as ‘tethering’, which cause’s a almost bottleneck type problem with the network. This problem seems to be exacerbated by the plethora of free SIM ads which seem to be omnipresent around the internet, what needs to happen is contract SIM smart phones need to be allocated set data amounts. Doing this will allow everyone to achieve the best connection.

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It’s great to think that a person is able to communicate with companies and other persons on the move without having to pick up the phone or send an e-mail. Real time communication is even being transferred into the search results of Google in the form of ‘Tweets’.

With the rise of Social Networking sites like Facebook, Myspace and indeed current big hit Twitter (lol), its probably fair to say that its better to be involved then it is to not be. As the access which these sites give you to either direct members of staff or third party (in the know) agencies is incredible. Brands are finally starting to remember the customer and of course well thought out any strategy should incorporate elements of social media and interaction with the customer: not just treating them as your end of year bonus package.

Of course “Being Connected” comes in many different ways. Some prefer being able to maintain their communication with a company through the medium of the telephone. Others enjoy being able to Tweet the company about the concerns they might have and if you are slightly jaded like myself you probably still like sending long e-mails with long thought out sentences like:

“I’m going to boycott you unless you meet my probably unreasonable demands…”

Alternatively you could use a Netbook using a mobile broadband connection or even WIFI (I’m tempted towards actually being in charge of the connection as opposed to relying on a signal created by say a coffee shop or library). Recently I took part in a consumer panel for a mobile broadband ISP. It was very interesting and my opinions where found thanks in part to a social media/interaction with users strategy.

Others may use contract SIM phones or even pay as you go phones to contact companies to make their complaints or sing praises. As I said earlier I was picked to go to London to communicate directly with the head of product development (this did however involve drinking a little bit too much wine and a stay in a very expensive hotel). All this was possible thanks to the rise of online communication and the willingness of brands to stay in touch with the customers who at the end of the day – pay the wages.

As a consumer its always worth remembering that being in contact will enable to you to maintain an element of ‘closeness’ with a product/brand. Believing a brand wants to hear what you think makes you want to invest your pennies into a company, remember someone somewhere wants to hear what you think…

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There was a fairly good post put on Broadband Expert this week on whether ‘The free laptops included in Contract Mobile Broadband are free or not’. The Post is below for convenience’s sake:

Whilst many mobile broadband providers and resellers offer free laptops with a range of mobile broadband deals consumers are being urged to consider whether these laptops really are free in the true sense of the word.

With mobile broadband services having become increasingly popular the market has grown more and more competitive, and rival mobile broadband providers have had to find new and inventive ways to try and attract customers. One of the incentives that many mobile broadband providers offer when it comes to deals is free laptops with certain mobile broadband packages. Often consumers can look forward to a pretty high specification laptop with certain mobile broadband deals and contracts and this is what often sways the customers to go for a particular mobile broadband deal.

However, whilst the offer of a free laptop can certainly be tempting for consumers officials are urging those that are considering opting for a particular deal simply because of the free laptop offer to consider just how free the laptop is in the true sense of the word. Often consumers will simply choose a particular deal because of the thought of getting a free laptop, when in fact they could have enjoyed greater value for money with a different package option.

It is important to remember that often these free laptops are only available with longer contracts, so you need to consider whether being tied into a contract for eighteen or twenty four months is worth the free laptop. Also, often the laptop is only available with the more expensive packages, which means that in effect you are still paying for the laptop over time.

Its worth bearing in mind however just how prevalent mobile broadband has become in the last 2 years.

At the end of the article comes this interesting point.

If you want to save money or enjoy greater flexibility with your mobile broadband then you may find that you are better off with another deal rather than a free laptop package. If you are determined to opt for a free laptop deal then you should make sure that you check on the specification of the laptop that comes with the deal to ensure that you get the best possible laptop as part of the deal.

There you have it?

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Interesting news courtesy of Broadband Expert regarding the prevalence of mobile broadband in this country. There are definately some points made in this article which suprised me quite a lot.

For many years now there has been a steady increase in losses for landline voice services in the UK as many customers substitute them for mobile handsets.

The broadband access market is now being carefully watched by many broadband service providers for indications of any similar behaviour in this area. According to recent findings from the telecommunications regulator Ofcom, mobile broadband connections are relied upon completely by six percent of consumers in the UK, whilst a combination of fixed and mobile broadband services is used by 8 percent of homes in the UK.

Austria currently has more mobile broadband users than fixed line users, which is currently far higher than the number of consumers in the UK that rely purely on mobile broadband access services instead of fixed-line broadband.

Mobile broadband access is seen to be the main form of connection to the internet in the home for 41 percent of UK consumers and as was expected 43 percent of mobile broadband users said that their only form of internet access was through a mobile broadband connection.

The use of mobile broadband is currently driven by the wealthier UK demographic and is most popular with adults between the age of 15 and 34, which is similar to that of general broadband users. Just 10 percent of users rely solely on mobile broadband for internet access in the 15 to 34 age range at the moment.

Since 2008 many homes are more likely to use a mobile phone service than a fixed line for their voice services, with an increase in the penetration of all communication services except for fixed-lines. This shows that in terms of voice services the mobility trend is far more pronounced.

This is perhaps the most interesting statement from the entire article: Mobile broadband access is seen to be the main form of connection to the internet in the home for 41 percent of UK consumers and as was expected 43 percent of mobile broadband users said that their only form of internet access was through a mobile broadband connection.. As simply I did not realise that mobile broadband had taken off to the extent that it appears. It did occur to me that people might take out the netbook deals (bundled with Mobile Broadband) to get the free laptop, but it did not make sense that they might use MB as there main internet connection. Perhaps a sign of the times and how people are not wanting to be tied down to a TV/Phone/Internet package.

Like with all things developments like this could been seen to herald the end of the landline and its internet connection, which most people have (thanks in part to the aforementioned deals), but perhaps only use once in a blue moon. With younger people moving out of home, its probably best to have a mobile device rather then a contract which effectively stays in place in the home they are living in.

My predictions are that MB will continue to grow thanks in part to the ‘mobile’ generation in which we now live. Currently I am live testing a MI-FI device for a company, which is going really well! But it means everyday I lose apart of my soul as I can use things like Facebook,Twitter, and if I’m feeling really sad – Blog on the move. It simply is the time to be connected…

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Some good news for the avid readers of Fashion Contrast. We have been asked to take part in a product review! Which for one is good news and makes me slightly happy as I get a new toy to play with for 6 weeks.

The blogosphere is an interesting place, ideas can be communicated quickly and readership can be found very quickly. Come the end of month 1 I had been in touch with the firm who are to run the survey around a new mobile broadband like device called MIFI, which is essentially a wireless hotspot which you can carry around for use whenever/wherever and transmit a signal to either friends or whoever you want, a device which could be very useful for small cafes or even places like train stations who can then just allow whoever to connect to the network for a price worked out accordingly.

So yeah, basically just a heads up to look forward to some product reviews which will be appearing on the site in the not to distant future, we are excited and so should you be…

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Today I wrote a post on a blog that I occasionally write on – Blackbeard My Telegraph

I will copy it here for you two read. Its about being conned by companies and their Direct Debit Schemes, I will also put a couple of the replies it got here!

Companies need to be fairer thats my only real point to this post.

When one takes out a contract with a company for say Mobile Broadband/phone/Tv – I would really like them to give me the option to set up the direct debit so it comes out of my account pretty soon after I have been paid. It always seems that they decide to take the money say 1 week just before I have been paid.

Frustrating – how is one meant to put aside money to budget/put into savings when these potential essentials are being charged to us willy nilly. We need change and we need it now…

SteddyEddy put forward this interesting reply:

I am experimenting with Standing Orders, where you have the ability through online banking to change the date. I find this much more suitable although many of the companies seem reticent to agree.

The direct debit system is really crap, despite their so-called guarantee (“We guarantee to pay FredShred £6000 a week pension regardless”).

Agree 100% – it does need radically changing. After all, we are the customers!

Steddy, I think is right on so many grounds – surely if you want to pay as you have signed the contract you should be able to decide when they take your money? Rather then having it decided by someone else. Interesting it is possible to have the dates changed by it seems some companies will put a lot of effort into making this a lot harder then it should be. We the consumer need to stand up to this.

The MyTelegraph Blogging section is filled to the brim with fun loving fairly angry people, its a good read if you feel like also getting angy about stupid things.

Oh dear BB,

You have committed the original sin. Amicus (OTHER MEMBER OF THE COMMUNITY) will be here any moment to remonstrate with you most vehemently.

They either decide to take the payment 1 week before you are to be paid, or if you are on a 4-week rota, 3 weeks after you have been paid. You jumbled your tense. :o)

I know what you mean though, when the wages barely cover the cost of living, the last thing anyone needs is a 30 quid letter from Fred the Shred et al telling you that you went £0.03 overdrawn for a period of 20 minutes and they will be charging you interest of a gazillion percent as well as the cost of the computer generated letter.

Steddy has it right, somewhere along the line everyone seems to have forgotten who the customer is.

Again total agreement from my side – Fred luckily has gone from our lives but there is a new generation out only to make as much money as possible. Its upsetting really to think that people now seem only out for ‘career’ rather then being a young person and enjoying and living a fulfilling non monetary life!

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This week has been an interesting one. It seems that technology such as Apples Iphone is becoming multi denominational with Orange Users today gaining access on their network and Vodafone in the near future.

Personally as a bit of a pay as you go phones junkie – I do realise that generally the best deals to have are through contracts, as they allow for greater allowances in terms of data and other useful things like always having minutes at your diposal – Why is it that whenever you have a top-up phone you always seem to run out of credit at the very worse times?

Some furor is being kicked up online in regards to Orange’s slightly amazing sound ‘Unlimited Data’ Package which infact turns out to be only 750MB a month – which for a savvy phone user is pretty small. Basically a these types of phones are simply 3g devices running of Mobile Broadband networks.

Even the humble Mobile Broadband dongle seems to be being pushed out of the way despite how tariffs for Mobile Broadband being at there best ever. In October the almost Original coiner of the smart phone – 3 won an Award for its Tariffs.

Last night, 3 triumphed in the category of Best Mobile Broadband Package at the Mobile Choice Consumer Awards 2009. In 2008, Mobile Broadband from 3 took home Tariff Deal of the Year.

3 beat off competition from Vodafone, The Link, O2 and T-Mobile as the ultimate netbook and data package.

The judge’s comments: “The standard aspect of 3’s great value Mobile Broadband deal is not so much the excellent Samsung N130 Netbook with its 10-inch LCD screen and Intel Atom CPU, but the amount of free data available every month. A mighty 15GB makes this tariff a market leader, reflecting the requirements of real life like those data-sapping media transfers. Featuring an additional 100 free texts per month, this two year deal from 3 costs just £25 per month, and makes 3 the clear winner if Best Mobile Broadband package.”

Marc Allera Sales & Marketing Director at 3 said: “We are delighted to be recognised as winners for our Mobile Broadband year on year and to be able to offer our customers deals that are great value for money. We are very proud of our Mobile Broadband offering and to win at the Mobile Choice Consumer Awards, yet again, validates our position as market leader.”

The INQ1, voted the GSMA’s ‘Best Mobile Handset or Device’ in February this year, also took home Best Handset for Social Networking. INQ fought off stiff competition from the HTC Hero, Nokia N97, LG GW520 and BlackBerry Curve. Source

I really hoped that customer’s will not be fooled by Orange’s advertising tricks and that perhaps other Network providers will realise that to actually win in this game you must have the best deal.

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I quite liked the recent ad campaign from Verizon Wireless in the USA.

What a great way of completely slating another brand in terms of their Mobile Broadband/3G coverage and keeping an element of the whole truth in line.

For a great article on how AT&T and Verizon have been attempting to sue each other since the inception of 3G visit here

In many ways coverage is perhaps the biggest issue effecting the advancement of Mobile Broadband/3G/HSPDA. How is this the case? With so many Network Operators fighting for ‘prime’ signal and overall network space, the real issue is in how the Operators have accepted so many contracts or Pay As You Go Mobile Broadband dongles, that they have totally forgotten that if you oversubscribe millions to an already underdeveloped system that in fact all you are going to get is dissatisfied customers and a dip in the amount of people subscribing for long term contracts which are what really makes a company money in the long term.

Personally the way I feel about stuff like Iphones which are heavy on 3G usage as is my phone the terribly underrated Nokia 58000, is that there has been a lot of effort made into inticing me the consumer into using the product but not enough has been made in actually making it a product which I will want to use for a long time. As my mother says: “A Mobile Phone is for making Phone calls and sending Text Messages”

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I think its fair to say that everybody wants to feel like they are connected in some way – My mother loves being able to send e-mails at any time in the day. I was phoned at 11 o clock in the evening the other day as she panicked as the e-mail she was trying to send would not send, of course I went to her aid and realised the problem was not of her own creation rather a very stupid computer program being well, just silly.

Liberia has a fairly interesting past seemingly mauled by poverty and a lot of civil wars. This leads to obviously a complete lack of credible internet connections, which of course helps to keep people informed as to what is going on around them in the world. Of course there are newspapers but whats the point in newspaper when the hip world wide web is around.

Vice is also a good magazine – I can never seem to find actual hard copies so I reside myself to the fact I can just type in ‘VICE MAGAZINE’ into Google and it will come up with what I want. Recently they went to Liberia (see the connection?!) on a mission to write about the local warlords : General Rambo, General Bin Laden and General Butt Naked (stupid names but I wouldn’t mess with them). They came across the interesting Alfred Sirleaf a man who despite any form of internetty connection manages to ‘blog’ using a blackboard and some chalk.

Vice also interviewed the man who met Alfred, over the an internet connection despite being sat opposite each other.

The interview is posted below.

Vice: Where’d you meet this one-man Reuters?
Andy: We met this guy on the last day of the trip to Liberia. We’d been there to meet these three warlords called General Rambo, General Bin Laden and General Butt Naked. We’d spent a lot of time with these guys in really dangerous situations and so working with Alfred was a really relaxing shoot to do, as opposed to fleeing a brothel at midnight in the worst slum in Monrovia.
Yeah, he seems very charming. Is he famous round there?
Yeah, he stands on one of the main highways and every morning he updates this Daily News chalkboard with stories. He’s an “analogue blogger”. The things he was talking about at the time were Charles Taylor’s trial at the Hague and whether or not the United Nations’ occupation of Liberia was actually the work of the devil.
He says “the UN are the devil” a lot when he’s explaining. Does he have an agenda?
Liberian people are very religious. They relate a long of things back to the Bible. He’s a Christian reporter and he’s hearing a lot of things that typically happen when the UN set up shop somewhere, i.e. an increase in the sex trade and rampant corruption, so I suppose that informs his news a little.
And everyone trusts him like a preacher or Jon Snow?
Very few people can afford to buy the papers or get on the internet so he’s one of the main news sources in Monrovia. I prefer him to Perez Hilton.
Oh, I don’t know about that.
He’s not as great at reporting celebrity stuff, but he has a better style I think.

Here is also the fairly interesting video.

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There has been a lot of interest on the net regarding the fairly recent Report which looked into a Digital Britain, which has provided a possible as the BBC calls it ‘Blueprint for the future of everything from fast broadband to Channel 4 to online file sharing.’

Last Wednesday the 23rd of September – Digital Minister Stephen Timms confirmed one the most contreversial measures would go ahead – a 50p a month tax on your landline to fund a ‘superfast broadband connection’. There is a feeling that the government is seeing this as an essential tax to be introduced slightly before the elections which would potentially have cross party support, also by making an investment in a fibre optic network which many see is vital to Britain’s economic future.

On the BBC’s site an interesting comment came up…

“Will you pay for a Digital Britain?”

We don’t have a choice. But the 50p tax is a drop in the ocean, it will only bring in about £175million. Far more is needed to bring our network up to anywhere near the standards of the likes of the far east, South Korea for example.

And the 50p from this tax won’t be spent how it should be.

Also as a person without a home broadband connection (I use mobile broadband although I’m starting to think I should be using a fixed line) I don’t see why I should pay a tax when I don’t even have a fixed line broadband package.

Oh and you can bet that 50p will be where it starts at, with year on year increases in that figure.

I for one don’t see why, when BT have underinvested in the infrastructure for decades, any of us ordinary citizens should be paying for the improvements needed.

Force BT to cough up the money, force their fat cat directors and shareholders to put their money back into the system rather than living into luxury, stop forcing the ordinary person to fix what the wealthy have broke

I totally agree with this posters point, surely if a network provider such as BT is surely it would be worth them approaching all of the Broadband providers and posing the question – “Pay towards the network or we will refuse our services!” Of course this new tax will only cost us £6 a year, but that’s not the point the money I pay towards my internet connection is roughly £12 a month, and I personally see this as the funding for a Digital Britain. I don’t particularly want to have to pay for anything else especially when I can’t personally see it making a huge amount of difference.

Lord Carter

Lord Carter

Another great point made by a chap with Grandparents in the country read as follows…

I think this is a shocking idea. It discriminates against those who CHOOSE to have landlines, and will probably affect most of the older people in the UK. For example, my parents live in the country, are aged 80 and have a landline. They have no interest in super-fast broadband or mobile phones (which do not work effectively in their area). This is another example of doing things on the cheap, when a sensible solution would be to do some advanced planning, work out the projected costs and then fund through general taxation – instead of using our taxes to fund MP’s election campaigns and expenses. The problem is, we won’t have any say in the matter because it looks like this will be forced through before the election, then the excuse will be “Oh, it takes too long to get this undone and re-imburse everyone.

At the end of the day – I’m sure eventually we will all have to cough up or be taken to court despite being a internet user or not, lets hope there is some sense to this plan and it actually delivers the digital goods …

For more information on Digital Britain a great video featuring Lord Carter is available here

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