Three UK announce Web Cube – Broadband in a box

February 3rd, 2012 Tags: , , ,

Although the MiFi is a fantastic device, it’s designed for use on the go, and anything with a battery risks damage if left permanently on charge. So, for people who want the benefit of the MiFi (3G available to up to 5 devices via WiFi), but want a more permanent solution, this may well be the solution you’ve been waiting for.  3UK also suggest it’s useful for students or people renting where committing to a new landline contract (often 18 months nowadays) is either not an option or not worthwhile.

Although it’s been available in other countries (such as Ireland) for a while now, 3UK seem to be the first UK Mobile Network to offer a realistic “Broadband in a box” solution with the Web Cube.

The Web Cube comes on a Mobile Broadband tariff, and the SIM is already inserted, so it really is a case of plugging into the mains and you’re ready to go. That’s one of the key points about the Web Cube; it’s powered from the mains, so for some people that’s a downside (and for those a MiFi is a better option), but for others that want a permanently on option or can live with only having access whilst near a mains power socket, then this is for you. To show that’s it’s a little bit less convenient than a MiFi, it’s also a little cheaper per month for the same amount of data.

Data? Lots! You have two contract options:

  • For a rolling 1 month contract (ie no long tie in period), you can get 10GB of data each month for £15 per month, but there is a £60 upfront charge for the device.
  • Alternatively, and what I suspect will be the more popular option, you can get 15GB of data each month for £15.99 per month, with no upfront charge, but instead you will commit to a 24 month contract.

15GB is a lot of data; that’s approximately 500MB per day, which is the limit many network place on handset tariffs for the whole month. Of course, the main reason for the extra amount is things like Security Patches and viewing full web pages, but even so, 15GB is a lot of data. The device is HSPA+ compatible, so (where it’s available), 3UK could provide speeds upto 21.6Mbps download and 5.76Mbps up; even at a quarter of those speeds that’s more than many of us can currently achieve on our landlines; in fact, 3UK carefully market their network as “in excess of 10 Mbps, with typical speeds of 2-5 Mbps”.

Of course, with all good things, there has to be a downside, and I’m afraid this device does have a downside; for many people it’s simply not available 🙁 3UK are launching it in 3 cities to begin with; Leeds, Glasgow and Edinburgh – if you are outside of those cities, it’s not yet available, but you can put your name down to be informed once it is available.

I expect as the year goes on and the device becomes available across the whole of the UK, and especially as students set off in September, this is going to become a well selling solution.

Although 3UK have also talked about adding a Mobile WiFi docking station for existing Mobile Broadband dongle customers (see here), I think this is a nicer cleaner solution.

Head to 3UK‘s website for more information on the Web Cube.


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