Three UK announce Web Cube – Broadband in a box

Friday, February 3rd, 2012

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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3 launch Mobile Broadband Wi-Fi Hub

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

3 have announced they are launching a Mobile Broadband Wi-Fi Hub, which will allow users who have selected Mobile Broadband USB Modems to be able to share them (to up to 5 devices) via Wi-Fi, in a similar way to the newer 3 MiFi.

This, I guess, is similar to the original D100 USB Router they released a few years ago now, and like that device, only works from mains power; ie it has no battery (again another plus for the 3 MiFi).  However, one very positive aspect is that it covers many of the recent and not so recent USB modems 3 have sold.  The list includes:

  • Huawei E122, E1550, E156G, E169, E1750, E1820, E353u, E367u
  • ZTE MF112 and MF627

This list does include the latest Huawei USB Dongle that offers HSPA+ speeds (up to 21.1Mbps).

It’s 88mm x 66mm x 25mm, gives you around 30 metres range, and is only available in Black (unlike the 3 MiFi, which now comes in White too); pricing and exact availability will follow in time.


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3UK release Huawei E586 in White

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

Although already announced, 3UK have confirmed that they now have stock of the White version of the Huawei E586 White MiFi device, which offers the latest HSPA+ speeds where available on the 3 network (they’ve confirmed to me they already have 40% coverage across their network, and will aim for 70% by the end of the year).

Although there’s nothing wrong with the Black variant (I’ve had one on test from 3UK for a few weeks now, and it’s been terrific), a lot of people will like the White variant to match their other devices…

For more information, head to the 3Store.


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New phone launches

Friday, October 7th, 2011

This week saw the launch of the Apple iPhone 4S. Despite many people not convinced the upgrade from the iPhone 4 was worthwhile, the consensus is that all pre-order sites have been inundated with people pre-ordering the device today.  The deals aren’t bad either; 3UK will sell you the new top of the range 64GB model for £279 upfront with a £35 per month (but 24-month contract) One Plan, offering 2000 minutes, 5000 texts, and All You Can Eat data.

Vodafone (as are all networks to be honest) are also offering the iPhone 4S; their closest deal is £319 upfront with £36 per month (24-month contract) with 600 minutes, “unlimited” texts, and 500MB of data; to rival the 3UK deal you would need to spend much more per month (which would equally reduce the upfront cost, but increase the total cost ).  However, there are always deals to be had; Vodafone seem to be currently offering a £59 cashback on online orders, and will allow unlimited data usage for the first 3 months as part of their new Data test drive promotion.

For those with a desire to upgrade, especially from an iPhone 3GS, this is a tempting offer.  For those looking for a new phone but do not necessarily need an iPhone, there are new releases from Samsung, HTC, and more importantly Nokia due to start shipping in the next few months that may suit you better…


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3UK Providing Office 2010 cheap for students

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

3UK have launched a range of Student special deals to coincide with students going to college. If you are a student and you purchase a Standard USB dongle, the Premium USB dongle, or go for the Samsung NC110 Netbook then you can get Microsoft Office 2010 Student Edition for just £4 extra per month. Unlike other student Office deals (such as software4students.co.uk) you will need to have an .ac.uk email address (and if you want Outlook, Publisher and Access included in the deal you need to activate before 25th October).  However, being able to spread the cost of the Office software over 24 months may appeal to many.  For the rest of us (including those with non-university children in education), head over to software4students.co.uk who have plenty of other offers.


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3UK Improve laptop trade in offer

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

Back in May this year 3UK launched a trial laptop trade in scheme (see here); not just does this continue to be available, but 3UK have just widened the criteria to qualify for the scheme.  The amount is still £150, but the criteria is now:

  • Up to 5 years old (originally 3)
  • Screen size over 12″
  • Be undamaged (although some wear and tear should be accepted)
  • In working order, with battery and all cables

With the greater age range, that old laptop sitting at home may suddenly be more useful to help fund a new laptop.  If you are interested in this deal, head off to the 3UK website where more details can be found.


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Has the 3UK AYCE gamble paid off; it seems so

Friday, June 10th, 2011

I was able to chat with 3UK last night about their current “All You Can Eat” data contracts they now offer.  Not just are they happy for users to use as much data as they like, they have studied the actual results now it’s been available for a while, which are quite interesting.  3UK confirmed that although some of the users do manage to use up a large amount of data each month, most customers average around 1GB of data.

Similar to the PAYG statistics I obtained last year, it’s clear that most people don’t need or use excessive amounts of data, but those customers want to be free to do so, and not in fear of extra charges or getting cut off, and for that, I think the gamble for 3UK to offer such a deal has paid off.


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3UK clarify tethering options on The One Plan

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

When launched, 3UK were happy that tethering (and Personal Hotspot for Apple users) was included with their All-You-Can-Eat truly unlimited data bundle that comes with the One Plan.  Starting at £25 per month (24 month contract, price depends on selected handset), it was still very good value, given the sheer amount of minutes and texts it also comes with.

Later, when they made the All-You-Can-Eat unlimited data available on their PAYG plans they were again quick to point out that these tariffs did not come with tethering support (although with non-Apple devices it’s more difficult to control, although the mobile networks can spot you using apps like Joikuspot or the built in Mobile WiFi AP in Android).

Most recently, they have now launched The One Plan on a SIM Only basis, with a 1 month rolling contract.  SIM Only contracts are a little strange with the short minimum contract period, and are often treated more like PAYG arrangements by the networks.  So, when it came to whether or not they supported tethering, their initial response was No.  However, within hours of this decision, they confirmed via Twitter (see Ben’s post that’s documented it here) that tethering and Personal Hotspot are supported on the SIM Only One Plan.

This is good news, and a sensible decision, and is certainly a good plan to consider if you are looking to change contracts but don’t need a new phone; with 2,000 cross network minutes, 5,000 texts, 5,000 3UK3UK minutes and proper unlimited data each month for just £25, it’s also difficult to beat elsewhere.

As always, all 3UK offers are available in the 3Store.


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3UK launch laptop Trade In scheme

Monday, May 16th, 2011

3UK have launched a laptop Trade In scheme.  In simple terms; if you buy a new laptop from 3UK and you then send them a laptop which is up to 3 years old, they will send you £150.  There are T&Cs attached to this (it must be working and complete with battery and accessories), and it can take a month or two for the money to arrive, but it’s well worth considering and factoring into the cost of a new PC if you are thinking about it.  I understand this is a limited offer, although 3UK have not yet said when it will end.

For more details, head here.


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Symbian, Android or the latest iPhone; all available from 3UK!

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

Over the last couple of weeks, 3UK have released (or will release) a fair range of new handsets, covering the main smartphone OSes; a couple of weeks ago, they released the Desire S running Android, which although not a great upgrade from the old Desire, is a worthy phone contender for someone looking for a new Android phone.

Yesterday they also announced the Nokia E7 (Symbian^3 with a flip out QWERTY keyboard) was now available, and today they have announced that from tomorrow you’ll be able to buy the long-awaited white Apple iPhone 4 on 3UK.

So, it seems whatever your smartphone OS choice is, you have an option to get one of the latest phones available from 3UK (although less popular, they also have BlackBerry and Windows Phone 7 devices).  As always, head to the 3Store for more details.


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