The Mobile broadband market really is shaping up. It’s interesting really, becuase Unwired was a real gimmick when it started, but has now been left way behind by the advanced technologies of the Telcos and the speeds they can deliver.
Vodafone yesterday sent around a release for a new product they feel is the best value mobile broadband on the market – and at face value, I have to agree.
For $99, you get the mini USB Modem and 1Gig of data allowance (assuming you activate before the end of this year).
As for re-charge, again, not too bad – for $19 you get 500Meg of Data and 15 SMS’s (SMS not available on Mac’s). For $29 you can get 1 Gig recharge, and for $39 you’ll get 3Gig. There are rollover options and all sorts of things so do your homework.
But for the average user who simply wants to have Internet on the road – to match the uptake in Netbooks – this looks a real treat.
Expect a few competitive pressures on the other players. Optus have a $99 starter kit too – but just 200Meg of data. Optus re-charge rates are $15 for 500Meg, $30 for 1Gig, and $50 for 3Gig. So on recharge, you’ll find at the low end Optus wins, but at the high end Vodafone wins.
Bigpond re-charge rates are out of the ballpark here, $80 for 3.5 Gig, so the comparison ends with Optus and Vodafone.
HOWEVER, as I mentioned in my look at the Dell Mini from Vodafone, you do get what you pay for. Simply put the Telstra NextG network is almost spotless. In that it provides consistently high speeds, up and down. My tests of Vodafone were sparatic. Some massive speeds, but some shockers too. And Uploads were never very good at all.
BUT, you certainly can do all the surfing and email you need with any one of these Carriers. Bigpond really is for high end users, if you’re someone with a netbook or laptop, looking to take advantage of true mobile computing, look for one of these Starter Kits. For mine, The Vodafone kit is the winner because its good to have a decent data buffer of 1gig or more.