Well, a week after we first mentioned it, we have one of the new 3 USB Stick Modems here. As with some other people, the first laptop we tried wouldn’t accept that the device was there, but on a second laptop it worked just fine (some software conflict that Huawei really need to find and resolve, or at least offer advice on).
In terms of speed, we’ve mainly seen connections at 3.6mbps, which is faster than our broadband. As well as offering a data connection, the software allows you to send and receive SMS text messages.
For those times when you are on the train, or have limited room for the stick modem to point straight out, it also comes with a short USB extension lead, but for most uses, it’s a straight plug in and work setup. The device also features built in storage where the software and drivers are stored, meaning you don’t even need to carry around an install CD.
As part of the launch of this new modem, 3 are offering some innovative pricing deals: for a start, if you are an existing customer, you can get the Mobile Broadband service for half price. Also, they have recently announced some very competitive tariffs, where you can get a free phone, pay a fairly reasonable monthly cost, and get a fair few minutes included as standard, yet also get unlimited texts.
Now, that means if you took the free phone, and then applied for mobile broadband, for a combined monthly cost of just £32.50 would get you a free phone, 500 minutes, unlimited texts, and mobile broadband with a 3Gb a month allowance. Note: the phone contract may be only 12 months (a bit of a rarity nowadays), but the mobile broadband contract has to be at least 18 months to benefit from the half price deal, although you still get the choice of all the USB modems (although the new USB Stick Modem will come with a one off charge to purchase unless you take a 24 month Broadband contract). This offer is only valid until the 31st May, so worth thinking through these options right now.
Although we’ve yet to try it, if you are roaming onto one of the 3 networks around the world, you still get the same deals and benefits – which means mobile broadband at no additional roaming costs.