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Summary:

UK-based wireless operator is all set to launch a cheaper 3G service next month, according to Unstrung. The company is going to offer HSDPA services with speeds up to 2.8 megabits per second for $20 a month that would allow up to 1 gigabyte of data. […]

three_logo_black.gifUK-based wireless operator is all set to launch a cheaper 3G service next month, according to Unstrung. The company is going to offer HSDPA services with speeds up to 2.8 megabits per second for $20 a month that would allow up to 1 gigabyte of data. There are plans at other price points that include larger download services.

This is much much cheaper than similar plans from rivals (about $40 a month), who I suspect will have to compete by cutting their own prices, thus leading to some kind of price war. I hope to try this (if its available by then) when I am out in UK late next month for the Future of Web Apps conference.

  1. 3 did something similar in Sweden earlier this year. For $20 you get 3,6 Mbit and unlimited data. (After 10 gigabyte they have the right to lower the speed). Thats for your phone.

    For $30 you can plug a 3G modem with 3,6 Mbit to your computer and get unlimited data at that speed. Sales for this service has exploded in the last six months. And all the competitors have joined the race.

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  2. Let’s hope this encourages O2 to make some changes to their £45 a month ‘unlimited data plan’ (which I was kindly offered by an O2 rep) before they snag the iPhone.

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  3. Holy smokes… that is indeed fast. Now if we could get some of our carriers to do something similar. it is a shame we have to struggle with miniscule speeds on the networks.

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  4. I meant to say US 3G networks. I barely get 300 kbps and that is good only for email and some marginal surfing on the laptop.

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  5. Well, at 2.8 Mbps and 1GB of data for the basic plan, that’s $20/hour at top speed. Any flat rate plans ?

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  6. HSDPA rocks! I recently checked it out from Vodafone on a friend’s laptop and it’s as fast as a DSL connection. He is using the 3,6 Mbps regularily to do Skype calls.

    The only point: VoIP and Skype are forbidden as of july.

    Yet two years ago Vodafone Germany changed its Terms of Service (TOS) to reserve its right to block VoIP from the 8th of july 2007 on. But they weren’t sure whether they would really do it. In february 2007 Vodafone Germany’s speaker Heiko Witzke still told me that it was unclear whether or not Vodafone would really adopt the ban.

    Now, since the deadline has passed, the German webzine Teltarif inquired and got a straight answer: It’s forbidden to use Vodafone Germany’s data plans for VoIP, says the press department. The other German mobile telephony providers, E-Plus, O2 and T-Mobile, have similar footnotes in their TOS.

    My HSDPA using friend had weird problems anyway. The service, Vodafone Mobile Connect, doesn’t run on Windows Vista. But as a newbie he has a brandnew laptop with Microsoft’s latest OS. We installed everything from CD as told. But it did not work and so we went to a Vodafone shop for a reinstallation. The clerk was quite friendly and invested one hour of his valuable time for a reinstallation, but all in vain. Then we went home and downloaded the latest Vodafone Mobile Connect software from the website and did all possible firmware updates. Still no success, although the Vodafone website tells that the latest software should work with Vista.

    Luckily we found this solution which tells how to use the Vodafone 3G PCMCIA card as if it was a normal network adapter. This works great. My friend could uninstall the crappy Vodafone software entirely and is now happily surfing the internet.

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  7. Wow, deifnitely smell a price war coming soon…

    Though, one thing that still gets me with these “unlimited” plans is that operators are still capping them up to some limit (e.g., 1 GB max). Seems to still be a major customer deterrent given the lack of real flexibility and freedom. Any idea when operators will operators start offering true unlimited plans (no cap, no limit)?

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  8. Three launched similar products here in Ireland featuring a 3G modem but the user experience has been somewhat less than ideal. If you want to learn more check out the broadband forum at boards.ie.

    However I have to say I am delighted with the 3G service on my phone – €20 per month for 2GB with Fring and other VOIP applications allowed under their X-Series package.

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  9. It’s worth noting that users of these 3.6 Mbit/s services (which can give actual throughput of 2.8 Mbit/s) rarely find themselves in the right place to take advantage of the higher order 16-QAM modulation. The terminals drop down to 1.8 Mbit/s service with QPSK modulation in most cases.

    The services I’ve used in the UK give actual performance of around 800 kbit/s downlink and very slow uplink (64 or 128 kbit/s).

    And of course you have latency issues… but overall it’s good technology.

    It keeps the email flowing and browser running, at least

    I find VOIP (Skype etc) works OK in a pinch, but it’s not exactly a quality experience.

    It’s gotta be worth a tenner a month thou’, no?

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  10. Here in Ireland we have 3 HSDPA providers, two of which offer 3.6MBPS.

    The providers are :
    O2 Telefonica (3.6MBPS)
    Vodafone (1.4MBPS)
    3 (3.6MBPS)

    The prices vary from €20 to €40 and O2 offer a unlimited download under FUP policy & fallback to EDGE/3G in areas of bad coverage. It appears we’ll start seeing 7.2MBPS from providers early in 2008.

    Its a great technology and theres no restrictions around Skype whether over USB modem or HSDPA enabled handset here.

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