Fancy 2GB mobile data per month for £5?

Friday, March 4th, 2011

Whilst browsing the 3UK website a couple of days ago, we noticed a small minor change to one of the SIM Only tariffs on the 3UK website.  The SIM Only Internet tariff, which costs £5.11 per month (1 month rolling contract) now features 2GB of data per month (previously it was 1GB per month common to many other 3UK tariffs).  Interestingly, it also features free voicemail.

Now, this might not suit everyone (calls are 20.4p per minute to UK landlines & mobiles, texts are 10.2p each, picture messages are 25.5p each), but if you want a backup SIM, or a data only SIM (maybe for a spare phone, or even a tablet) then this does look like very good value.

Of course, if you want to spend more, the 3UK One Plan (SIM Only) gets you 2000 cross network minutes, 5000 texts, 5000 3UK3UK minutes and All You Can Eat Data (ie with no limits at all) for £25 per month (12 month contract).

These are both SIM Only deals, where you need to supply an unlocked 3G capable phone, but both are very good value contracts in our opinion.


SIM15 back in 3Store

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

One of the more popular SIM Only packages that 3UK offer, SIM 15, is back available on special offer in the 3Store again.  This offers 300 cross network minutes, 3000 texts, 2000 3UK3UK minutes, 1GB Internet data, free voicemail, Skype and Windows Live Messenger, and all for £15 per month with a 1 month rolling contract.

Of course, the One Plan is still available as another option; at £25 per month it offers 2000 cross network minutes, 5000 texts, 5000 3UK3UK minutes, 1GB Internet data, and the free voicemail, Skype and WLM, and although at first glance it’s offering much more value, it’s also a 12 month contract, which shows how good value the SIM 15 option is if you don’t want to commit to a contract.

As we commented a couple of weeks back, it’s nice to see 3UK formally drop the use of the word “unlimited”, and also nice to see the SIM 15 offering the 1GB Internet data which is common to their higher tariffs, and well worthy of promotion compared to the other networks who are mainly aiming at 500MB as the data limit.


Data roaming bill shock should happen less

Monday, July 5th, 2010

Last week (on 1st July), new maximum roaming data rates were set by the EU.  Although you can still negotiate with your operator for a high limit, the default limit now is that the operator must cut off your data whilst roaming when you reach €50 (excluding VAT) to prevent the “Bill Shock” of going well beyond this limit.  In fact, your operator must also alert you when you reach 80% of the limit.

Alongside this, roaming rates have fallen, now with a maximum of 68p per MB (For EURO 1 zone), and calls must cost less than 33 pence per minute (excluding VAT, for the same zone), and receiving a call 13 pence per minute (excluding VAT, for the same zone). Interestingly, receiving a voicemail message must now be free (although listening to the message will still be charge); the interesting point being that some networks used to class this as your handset receiving a call, and you then making a call back to the UK, granting them the ability to charge a massive amount for the call despite the fact the call actually never left the UK.

This is a good thing, although it is still not enough; the EU has stated it expects the difference between roaming and home-country call cost to approach zero by 2015, although of course whether the networks achieve this by increasing their home-country call costs (easily done by increasing the out of bundle call costs which wouldn’t actually impact many people).


Remember the PeekFON?

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

At the back of last year, FON talked about launching a €99 Peek to the European market (via a deal with Spotnik, a new Europe wide mobile network), which we covered here.  Except everything then went very quiet.  Then, when discussing it with Ben Smith of The Really Mobile Project a few weeks back, we realised it was no longer on the FON website anymore.

Well, Peek and Spotnik have announced it’s finally available, and still at that €99 initial price.  This includes 6-months of European wide GSM roaming (ie no roaming data fees for anywhere in Europe), and will then cost €19.99 per month (or €49.99 if you pay per quarter, or best value €159.99 per year if you pay annually).  You’ll be able to link it to 5 email accounts and it’s available now in either Charcoal (Grey) or Pink (Red).

The website says “Buy Now”, although we should point out that the original plan was to charge around €12.90 a month for the service, but this appears to now be €19.99.

Please note although there may be some similar investments / directors behind Spotnik and FON, it appears that at this stage, it’s only available from Spotnik, and not from FON themselves.

For an email only device, but with the ability to handle 5 email accounts, and have no additional costs over the initial 6 month period, I still think that the €99 device is an interesting one.  As I said before; hand one to your child about to go travelling for the summer and you can keep in touch without costing them anything; use it on business to keep up with your email without incurring massive mobile roaming data bills (in fact, if you use the Pibbix voicemail service, you could leave your “normal” phone turned off, and receive your voicemails on this device for free whilst travelling…)

For (some) more information, head to the Spotnik Peek website, and see here for our article on Pibbix.


Nokia Notifications

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

This is a new homescreen widget available from Nokia Beta Labs, and this one seems to be very useful.  Along with the self learning Nokia Bots (see here), it’s actually possible Nokia are starting to provide that little extra innovation that’s going to be needed to keep users from defecting to other platforms.  This notification widget adopts a similar idea to the S60 3rd Edition E-Series notification area of the screen (where all notifications for missed calls / voicemails / texts all appear at the bottom of the homescreen).

In fact this widget takes things a little further for S60 5th Edition devices (which support homescreen widgets).  It brings together all missed calls, voicemails, texts and missed calendar alarms into one area for the user.

This is only going to be a short beta according to Nokia Beta Labs, when it will get released into the Ovi Store for general use.  One can only hope this is a pre-cursor to actually bringing S60 5th Edition to the E-Series range.


If not SpinVox, then Pibbix

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

For a while now, I have been a big fan of SpinVox, who offer a voicemail to text conversion service and then SMS you the message.  This functionality allows me to not take calls when in meetings / busy, but still see very quickly the details of the message (and without the time and hassle factor of dialling into the voicemail).  In fact, with little things like not having to write down numbers (which are transcribed into the SMS and accessible directly from the phone), it’s very useful, and a service that once you’ve tried is often worth the small monthly outlay.

However, SpinVox is slowly cancelling all personal subscriptions, so for many people SpinVox is no longer an option open to them.  Well, in the UK, Pibbix have stepped into this market, and are now offering their service along similar lines.

Pibbix have 3 charging rates, which are:

  • £7.50 for 20 messages converted to text
  • £16 for 50 messages converted to text
  • £30 for 100 messages converted to text

These are good rates, and depending on how many voicemail messages you get a month will determine which tariff will suit you best; for many the lowest tariff will suffice.

There are nice little touches with Pibbix which is why I’m even keener to promote them; if the message goes beyond 1 SMS message, you aren’t charged more; the cost is per message converted, not per SMS sent to you.  You can choose whether to be notified by SMS and/or email, and the email can also have an mp3 attachment of the original message.  If you need to change your mobile number where the messages are sent, that’s easily changed too (something that required a chat with SpinVox Customer Services).  Even better, as part of the web management interface they offer, you can elect to not have messages from withheld / blocked caller ID numbers transcribed; this means although you’ll still get an email with the attachment, but you won’t be disturbed with an SMS (and because the message is not converted, it does not come out of your conversion allowance either).

The number you are allocated to divert your mobile to works can be used on multiple phones (and even landlines) to being all of your voicemails into one single location.

You can also configure a custom greeting, and you can control what greeting is used via the web interface too.

Payment is via PayPal, and you can cancel at any time.

I’ve been using the service for over a month now, and have had no problems with the service; I’ve had one voicemail where the transcription was not good, but given the amount of background noise, I struggled to understand parts of the message, and I knew what the caller was talking about!  SpinVox suffers from similar problems, so this is not unique, but on other messages the message has been spot on, and at times more accurate than I would have expected from SpinVox.

If you go to the Pibbix website, you can request an invite; the service is still in beta at the moment, so you may have to wait a small while to get into the service, although generally people aren’t having to wait too long.



Tuesday, December 4th, 2007

This page links to any reviews we have written. We will try to keep this page up to date, but we will always announce any new reviews on the homepage first.

Reviews in 2007

3 SkypePhone

Pocket Surfer 2

Reviews in 2008

3 USB Modem

Dell Mini 9 / Vodafone Netbook

LG KF600

LG Viewty

LG Secret

Reviews in 2009

Android Application: Locale

Android Application: My Tracks

3 Mobile Wi-Fi unit (3UK MiFi)

IDAPT I3 Charging Station

INQ Mini 3G – First Looks & Full Review

LG Arena

LG GD900 Crystal

LG Chocolate BL40 – First Looks & Final Review

LG SL9000 LED-Backlit LCD TV

Novatel Intelligent Mobile Wireless Hotspot 2352 (MiFi) – First Looks

orbitsound T3 Speaker

Sony Ericsson T715

Reviews in 2010

Android Application: Tasker

3UK MiFi 2 – First Looks & First Review

Dell Streak (Quick Hands On)

HTC Hero

INQ Chat 3G

Location Based Services & Privacy

Nokia Booklet 3G

Novatel Intelligent Mobile Wireless Hotspot 2352 (MiFi) – Update & Full Review (Coming Soon)

Pibbix Voicemail

SanDisk Mobile MicroSDHC Memory Card

Symbian Application: Maps Booster

Symbian Application: Socially

Reviews in 2011

Humax HDR-Fox T2