Two things. First read the reviews. Second, when you want to cancel your account with 3, as you will do if you have been foolish enough to take one out, tell the 3 call centre person that the reason you wish to cancel is that your laptop has been destroyed. Otherwise you will be bounced to Bangalore and back, including all places in between as they will refuse to cancel the account until they have addressed every reason you give for cancelling and solved the problem for you. A busted laptop they cannot compute and presto, in a single bound you are free!
Three Mobile Broadband Reviews | Page 15
Mmmm... delighted for Mr Robertson that he's been lucky enough to have always had excellent service from 3. Unfortunately there is ample evidence on this and other boards that this isn't always the case. There's no question that when the service works it's excellent but I've had two outages of several weeks in the 18 months I've used the service which were nothing to do with my PC or the way I'd set it up. It appears to be simply a capacity issue with the particular cell and server at 3. The more people that use the service (and T-Mobiles) the less reliable the service becomes and eventually it falls over... and the mobile phone service gets priority over mobile broadband users... Complain long and loud enough and eventually they do whatever they need to do and the service is restored. Very frustrating though to have to revert to dial up whilst 3 are sorting things out.
A final word of warning - do not under any circumstances follow advice from the truly appalling helpline. Like Mr Robertson, they'll convince you it's your PC and have you doing all sorts of unnecessary tests, uninstalls, cookie deletions and changes to your internet security.
I'm sure there's a lot of user-error out there, but not everybody who has problems with 3 is "thick"!
b*****ks!!I've had 3 mobile Broadband as my only source of internet for 18 months now-no problems at all.infact my two nieces(6 & 11)also use it all the time with no problems 7 they expect a fast enough connection-it's all they've ever known(never had dial-up!!ever,the broadband generation).not sure if i can post an image of a speedtest but the results were 3.25 mbs download & 0.33 upload,just under the qouted maximum using a E1550 stick.if you can't use it correctly doesn't make it rubbish it makes you thick!!!
I have been using this dongle since October and I have just found that the dongle gets a better connection by connecting through its icon in Start> Connect To > 3G rather then using the My 3G program. It is so good that it will work when plugged directly into a USB port of my netbook. I was using Virgin broadband but am finding that the speed at which pages load with the 3G dongle is just as fast. The 3GB that came with the dongle lasted over a month and I am now using 7GB which I bought by buying a £25 PAYG topup voucher and it will be interesting to see how long this lasts. If it does 2 plus a bit months I will consider it value for money.
This isn't really a blog but try changing smtp to
smtp-mbb.three.co.uk - works on Virgin for me
The service continues to be wholly unreliable, though. I've had 10 days where the 3 server disconnects my access to the net evry few minutes. I have to keep disconnecting and reconnecting to get access. Appears to wait for a minute or so of inactivity and cuts me off! Got to be down to capacity at their end.
This problem you describe used to occur under Linux too when USB power management turned off the dongle. It doesn't occur with more recent kernels - it's not a great stretch to think the Darwin kernel may have the same problem.
You don't need to wait for the end of your contract, if the signal sucks like you say then you're not getting an internet connection. They can say it's in their terms and conditions all they want that it might not work but that won't stand up in court. If the Macbook crashes too it's just nails in the coffin.
Write to them requesting you wish to be let out of your contract as the internet fails to function correctly during peak hours xx% of the time. Keep a journal (better with a few short video clips each day) showing the internet failing to function. Indicate that you are sure 3G will be happy to terminate the contract now they are aware of the difficulties you are having, that if they won't release you from your contract you will seek a court order to terminate the contract and will contact local and national media to cover the case.
Unless they are very stupid they will release you since even if you lost at court they will lose heavily by having a story like that in the media. Give legal aid a ring too if they want it to go to court, I don't think their conditions "we don't have to provide an internet connection even though you are paying for one" are fair contract conditions so their "it doesn't have to work all the time" stuff won't hold up unless you are only experiencing occasional intermittent outages.
Zena: It works on Linux, I'm suprised to learn it doesn't work on Windows. But I can help you a little, you don't need to use the 3 dongle to connect to the 3 network, buy another companies dongle - you will need to configure the PPP settings manually but a tech support company can help you with that - or just ask on some geeky forums.
I have used 3 mobile broadband for a while but they keep changing the goalposts re how to connect to your SMTP in order to send emails. Even the SMTP provided by 3 now does not seem to work. I don't want to spend yet another few hours talking to their Indian call centre trying to find the one individual who actually knows how to fix it (been there, done that, got the t-shirt before) so wondering if anyone on a different network has better experiences. Ideally I want to plug in a dongle and send emails exactly the same as I do at home without changing networks.
I made the mistake that living in a small town called Leeds, within a mile of the city centre meant I may get a good signal from my 3 dongle... Its rubbish... Within 4 months I've had a replacement, complained 4 times, changed to T Mobile (If poss a bigger mistake), and had hald a dozen mental break downs which inc many threats which would result with a 3 member of staff, and a surgical team to remove the dongle...
Lets just say that signal strength is one bar 1/4km from the station, constantly switches between hspda and 3g networks, when its on 3g its soooooo slow it won't load up a page... 3g speeds under 300kbps as low as 5kbps hspda is only around 400, although does seem to speed up when on speed test sites sometimes... Don't touch 3 or t mobile (3 piggy backs on their signal and towers)...
Seems like I have had a similar experience to most of you. I've been using the 3 mobile broadband for about 6 months now and the signal is always very poor and slow, and as others say, at peak times the signal is barely usable. I live in the centre of Manchester and generally have a decent O2 signal on my phone (which is rare for O2!) so would expect a decent broadband signal too. To make things worse, I have just bought a new Macbook which seems to be crashing when I use the broadband connection......this is not as yet proven and I need to experiment with some alternative internet connections to prove, but seems like an added blow!! Roll on the end of my contract!!
3 mobile broadband does NOT work with Windows 7 even though the sales person + helpline told me it would....over 90 minutes with the helpline before they gave up....needless to say I sent it all back.
Don't expect too much from Mobile Broadband. It's faster than dial-up, a lot faster in the right conditions, but it's no where near as good as normal broadband usually is, although speeds for me have got as fast as 2-3 Mb / sec, but not much faster than that.
E-mail and simple web-surfing is fine, downloading music tracks is just about satisfactory, although sometimes tediously slow.
I would not recommend attempting to stream video while on the move, although if you have a relatively good signal and you are stationary (minimum 2 bars, which is the equivalent to about 1/2 a km from a mast) then it is technically possible, although not advisable because the usage limits are too low for much video (a little youtube is ok, but not much else) to be honest.
Downloading video is also not recommended because a) it uses too much allowance and b) it takes too long, and if it gets interupted then you're left with no video, and wasted allowance.
Despite all of this though I have had a relatively smooth experience so far with 3, touch wood, although I was reluctant to write a review until I was sure that it wouldn't all start going downhill!
Before choosing 3, or any other mobile broadband provider for that matter, a) don't set your expectations too high and b) check here (http://www.sitefinder.ofcom.org.uk/) for coverage where you are, UMTS transmitters are required for mobile broadband, and make sure that you are relatively close (i.e. within a km) of a site, otherwise mobile broadband may not be usable. Also remember that if you do find that the service coverage is so bad that it's unusable then I think there is a 14-day money back guarantee, similar schemes exist for o2 and other operators.
Finally, one more thing, checking usage using the application that comes on the dongle is not 100% accurate, prime example being that if you stay online between 11pm and 1am then usage from the previous day counts towards the usage on the second day AND the first day. Fortunately this anomaly does not actually reflect your usage monitored on the website at https://my3.three.co.uk. Unfortunately checking usage at my3 is very frustrating because it doesn't work half the time!
Ok, this review is probably way too long, but I hope it is useful for prospective 3, or other mobile broadband operator, customers.
NB: Sometimes the connection shows up as available but when you click "connect" an error message pops up saying something like "connection failed, would you like to try again". This error is mostly caused from too many connects/disconnects and/or resuming from standby. It offers you the option to try again, but this is likely to fail. The workaround which works for me is completely closing the 3connect application, wait a few seconds for it to shut down, then un-plug the dongle, plug it in again, wait for it to be recognised by Windows, and then restart the 3Connect program, and it should work fine. If this doesn't then try restarting the machine completely.
got a huawe e1550 on 3 worst mistake i made. i even checked the coverage on there web site and it said it was very good. Its slow its not connecting most of the time its a total waiste of money. shall not bother reloading it. im off to vodafone
I (last week) purchased a £10 internet add on, (I'm on PAYG) after I cleared up the confusing blurb about the £5 and £10 add on 3's help pages (poor write ups from 3).
Anyway I wanted to use my notebook whilst travelling from Glasgow to Inverness via Perth a 3 and a half hour journey.
I found that I had perhaps 4-6 disconnections before I reached Perth (1 hr 10mins to Perth) after that I had perhaps a couple of diconnections, but on the final hour plus 20 mins no disconnection, I must admit I was surprised as we generally believe coverage in the north of Scotland is pretty poor, not so, I found.
Bought a 3 dongle earlier this year to use with PAYG. Assured by Carphone warehouse that coverage was good nationwide. The coverage is terrible I've been all over Britain from north coast to south and east to west and have rarely been able to get connected. It's become a bit of a family joke. How many places can you NOT get connected even when mobile phones on two differing networks have great coverage. Best place for any 3 dongle is in the bin.
No mention of any time limit in the advertising blurb.
They took £10 from my credit card, but I couldn't use that to buy the add in necessary to use the modem for 7 days.
Bought a £10 top up at the post office which was converted to an add on on line, which apparently will expiue in 30 days whether used or not.
Smacks a bit of Dick Turpin.
I haven't used the system, have returned the modem, but they won't refund the £20.
I'm going to Vodaphone.
I've used '3' dongle for £10/month & 1Gb/month & lap-top since Feb 2008. Most months I use less than half that, but the balance is not carried forward.
Early days was awful service. dead slow & stop ! A year ago it got better, though their coverage map was the same colour ? Now approx. 1G download & 300 kb upload, so speeds acceptable for me.
HOWEVER, despite couteous sales staff, their web adverts mislead -- there is no true PAYG - anything you don't use in a month is lost. The only PAYG similar to mob. phones is from Vodaphone, currently £15 per Gb which you can use as slowly as you like.
3 customer service is absolutely rubbish
When you first sign up they tell you that you will get good coverage but when you use 3 it is useless.
Shops do not want to know anything and calling customer services which is overseas in India - very hard to understand what they are saying.
All round very poor and I think they are still using out of date maps
Started in January 09; never very good, got worse through April and stopped working in May. Customer service appalling, take you through ridiculous phone call process and do not deal with the issues - they are actually driven by a bonus system which forces them not to provide customer service!! Waiting to be taken to court, quite looking forward to it. Apparently the contract allows them to charge you and maintain the contract, even when they do not provide the service.
As others have said the peformance varies form poor to good, though I've never come close to experiencing the 5 minute per page that some have claimed! I'm using the Huawei E160G on my netbook and it seems to work ok overall in the covergae areas shown on 3's website. Downloaded a 60 MB file faster than my home broadband the other day at about 8 seconds per MB best speed. Typical speed seems to be around 1 -1.5MB download.
Remenber, dongles have innefficient antennas. The E160G has a connector for an external antenna and disapointed users ought to try fitting a better, externally placed antenna if possible. Retailers really ought to be making these antennas more available as the few around presently are not that cheap.
Have been using it for over a year now, both PAYG and broadband.
It was generally good to start with, but over the past month or so has been unuseable for several hours a day most days. There's either no signal for hours on end or I can get connected OK but can't load anything, again for hours on end. Even when I get going it often disconnects, which never ever happened in the past.
It's fine just now in the early hours, in fact I've been online for a few hours and the speed is great and it's staying connected. Thus it might be something to do with peak loading, but even in the early morning it's been hopeless for several hours some days.
Customer service hasn't been much help, but I've been holding off slightly because I can see it being a frustrating experience!
This dongle really sucks..I wonder how 3 has released it bcos it is really tarnishing it's image.... I live in the city centre in Liverpool and the network coverage is 1 bar out of 5. Strange! I wonder if not in city centre, where would I get a better coverage..The connection takes tooooo much time..Ok..finally I am connected..but for some strange reason, the internet does not work.. I have to disconnect and re connect probably 4 or 5 times to get the internet working..Horrible.. Never go for 3..Tomorrow, I'm going straight to another providers showroom to replace this horrible dongle..Hope atleast the new one works well for me..
Worked fine for the best part of 15 months. However, last 3 months have been hell - 6 new modems, numerous hours on the phone to the service centre and no joy. Apparently 3 have tinkered with the frequency used (well according to customer service) which has rendered older devices useless (MF62). New modem now supplied which connects every now and then and manages less than 56K. All this despite living in a 3G turbo area....avoid at all costs...
Thanks so much for your comments everyone. I was going to sign up with them but will now look at Vodaphone instead. Incidentally I think you should try complaining to OTELO, the communications regulator:
This seems to scare ISPs into action. It's clear that they are playing games with contention rates, as is Demon internet currently.
Reliable connection and excellent performance (90KB-120KB per second) on my quad core desktop at 2am. Connection issues; drop outs; and significantly lower performance at peak times; or on my 2.4 Ghz hp business laptop. Not usable on my netbook. I am counting down the months.
The dongle keeps crashing my iMac. Call center is useless. Apparently its all my fault. I have had Mac replace computer and 3 replace the dongle. However... same problem occurred with new equipment. I'm at a loss. No Help, just excuses. Any one else have a compatibility problem with iMac leopard?
Had my E169g for nearly 18 months now. I tend to use it during the day and in a good coverage area. Although it's slow on video stuff, mostly it's fine otherwise. I really only use it for stuff like Facebook and a few forums etc.
The online info and support is really good I think and it's easy to keep track on spend. Overall, I am pleased with the product given the obvious limitations and monthly cost.
If you want to do lot's of downloads - plug your PC/Lappy in. If all you want is Facebook and other surfing, this little devise works just fine.
bought 3 monthly rolling contract 1 week ago,download speeds were half meg and over for 2 days,when weekend started it keeps cutting out,it been happening for three days now. I contacted 3 and they make excuses - i,e work is being carried out in your coverage location; second day they say that speeds are ok in my location; 3rd day they say my computer has a problem. I was sick of them, i told the to cancell my contract. i was absolutely shocked in hearing all the stories and lies their call centre staff tell customers.
Utterly useless, cannot wait for the 18mnths to end.
Never ever seen anywhere close to the advertised speeds at any time of day and at peak times not worth switching on the computer. This is despite being in a high signal area.
Really poor customer service also. For work I have Vodaphone mobile broadband and this is much better: have had some "races" and guess who wins?
All in all steer clear, guess you get what you pay for.
This is not broadband in any way at all. Think back to dial up on a 386 computer.
Had this for about a year. Total waste of money and getting slower and slower, Now totally useless between 7-11 PM, just freezes and cuts out.
Indian call center will tell you you are using it wrong, and Blame your computer, your XP, your other programs anything but the poor network speeds.
Total waste of money, I will be pleased when 18 months is over.
had my 3 broadband for 12 months, first 6 months would not work in my laptop 3 told me it was the laptop,, as we were thinking of upgrading we now have vista and for the first 4 months it was adequate,but over the 2 months its got slower and slower until over the last 4 days it is useless ,slow. crashes, spoke to helpline they say it could be computer, but a brand new pc which has been checked over recently by service team _i Dont think so....by the way its on monthly contract so in 12 months used it about 4 months and that was pretty poor slow.erratic.going back to land line ,,, anyone got any other suggestions,,,,