Mobile broadband

I’ve been toying with the the idea of getting myself one of the mobile, USB broadband thingies for when I don’t have wifi access available. I see that both MTN and Vodacom offer 3.6Mbps HSDPA access.

I have been using the 3G connection available through my N73 (I have a 100MB package which is proving to be more expensive than shelling out for a 1GB package) but I am beginning to think it is a better idea to go with one of these USB devices, even if that means another contract.

What are your experiences with these devices? Are they worth it or should I stick with my current solution? Does it make a difference whether I go with Vodacom or MTN?

Update: Ok, I think this pretty much answers some of my questions:

Telkom’s ADSL 4 Mbps service produced an international upload speed of 252 Kbps and a local upload speed of 301 Kbps.

Vodacom was however not too far behind with an international upload speed of 230 Kbps and a local upload speed of 238 Kbps.

MTN however limits its HSDPA upload speeds to 64 Kbps. Its international average upload speed of 59 Kbps and local uplink speed of 57 Kbps may frustrate some users.


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Paul

Enthusiast, writer, strategist, web developer, and photographer. Passionate about my wife, Gina and #proudDad.

12 Comments

  1. I've been using a MTN USB HSDPA modem (the little black one) for almost a year now without any particular issues. I would sincerely recommend that you don't buy your modem from MTN or Vodacom and rather just look for a normal non-branded (and without modified firmware) modem. The particular model that you're looking for is the Huawei E220 USB HSDPA modem (the “bug” modem).

    About the only other thing to give any serious thought to is whether or not you'll get your bandwidth on a contract or via pay as you go. The pay as you go service on MTN is an absolute bloody nuisance to deal with – to convert minutes to bandwidth, you must put the SIM into a cellphone and phone 141 and then go through the voice prompts to make the conversion. To make matters even more irritating, you can only convert airtime to bandwidth once per month on any given SIM card. As a side effect of this, I am now the proud owner of 4 MTN SIM cards which are rotated so that I can exceed their 2Gb per month idiocy.

    Other than daft corporate policies and absurdly expensive bandwidth cost, I am very happy with my internet connection.

  2. I’ve been using a MTN USB HSDPA modem (the little black one) for almost a year now without any particular issues. I would sincerely recommend that you don’t buy your modem from MTN or Vodacom and rather just look for a normal non-branded (and without modified firmware) modem. The particular model that you’re looking for is the Huawei E220 USB HSDPA modem (the “bug” modem).

    About the only other thing to give any serious thought to is whether or not you’ll get your bandwidth on a contract or via pay as you go. The pay as you go service on MTN is an absolute bloody nuisance to deal with – to convert minutes to bandwidth, you must put the SIM into a cellphone and phone 141 and then go through the voice prompts to make the conversion. To make matters even more irritating, you can only convert airtime to bandwidth once per month on any given SIM card. As a side effect of this, I am now the proud owner of 4 MTN SIM cards which are rotated so that I can exceed their 2Gb per month idiocy.

    Other than daft corporate policies and absurdly expensive bandwidth cost, I am very happy with my internet connection.

  3. I’ve been using a MTN USB HSDPA modem (the little black one) for almost a year now without any particular issues. I would sincerely recommend that you don’t buy your modem from MTN or Vodacom and rather just look for a normal non-branded (and without modified firmware) modem. The particular model that you’re looking for is the Huawei E220 USB HSDPA modem (the “bug” modem).

    About the only other thing to give any serious thought to is whether or not you’ll get your bandwidth on a contract or via pay as you go. The pay as you go service on MTN is an absolute bloody nuisance to deal with – to convert minutes to bandwidth, you must put the SIM into a cellphone and phone 141 and then go through the voice prompts to make the conversion. To make matters even more irritating, you can only convert airtime to bandwidth once per month on any given SIM card. As a side effect of this, I am now the proud owner of 4 MTN SIM cards which are rotated so that I can exceed their 2Gb per month idiocy.

    Other than daft corporate policies and absurdly expensive bandwidth cost, I am very happy with my internet connection.

  4. Thanks Andrew. There are a couple services that will also hire out the devices for as long as they are needed. I might try one of those.

  5. Thanks Andrew. There are a couple services that will also hire out the devices for as long as they are needed. I might try one of those.

  6. Thanks Andrew. There are a couple services that will also hire out the devices for as long as they are needed. I might try one of those.

  7. Paul I found the cheapest way to pickup an HSDPA modem is to take the MTN MyChoice TopUp 75 contract. You end up paying about R83 per month and you get a free modem as well as R75 airtime. Then since my ADSL line hasn't been installed in my new house yet and MTN has only EDGE coverage I bought a Vodacom Prepaid Starter Pack (R2) and then charged the airtime up through my online banking to buy a 1GB data bundle (R289) using a mobile phone – no calls. Bigger bundles are available as well. If you run out, you can recharge your bundle when it is under 10MB remaining. Quick and easy.

  8. Paul I found the cheapest way to pickup an HSDPA modem is to take the MTN MyChoice TopUp 75 contract. You end up paying about R83 per month and you get a free modem as well as R75 airtime. Then since my ADSL line hasn’t been installed in my new house yet and MTN has only EDGE coverage I bought a Vodacom Prepaid Starter Pack (R2) and then charged the airtime up through my online banking to buy a 1GB data bundle (R289) using a mobile phone – no calls. Bigger bundles are available as well. If you run out, you can recharge your bundle when it is under 10MB remaining. Quick and easy.

  9. Paul I found the cheapest way to pickup an HSDPA modem is to take the MTN MyChoice TopUp 75 contract. You end up paying about R83 per month and you get a free modem as well as R75 airtime. Then since my ADSL line hasn’t been installed in my new house yet and MTN has only EDGE coverage I bought a Vodacom Prepaid Starter Pack (R2) and then charged the airtime up through my online banking to buy a 1GB data bundle (R289) using a mobile phone – no calls. Bigger bundles are available as well. If you run out, you can recharge your bundle when it is under 10MB remaining. Quick and easy.

  10. Dell Laptops To Offer Qualcomm Gobi Mobile Broadband

    Dell (NSDQ:Dell) and Qualcomm paired up Tuesday to offer next-generation laptops that enable users to access multiple 3G cellular networks globally, the two companies announced Tuesday.

    According to Dell, the company’s next-generation laptops will be imbedded with Qualcomm’s new Gobi mobile broadband technology, which lets notebook manufacturers ship Gobi-equipped notebooks in all global distribution channels to deliver roaming and connectivity capabilities across worldwide networks.

    More info at http://broadbandmobile.blogspot.com/

  11. Dell Laptops To Offer Qualcomm Gobi Mobile Broadband

    Dell (NSDQ:Dell) and Qualcomm paired up Tuesday to offer next-generation laptops that enable users to access multiple 3G cellular networks globally, the two companies announced Tuesday.

    According to Dell, the company’s next-generation laptops will be imbedded with Qualcomm’s new Gobi mobile broadband technology, which lets notebook manufacturers ship Gobi-equipped notebooks in all global distribution channels to deliver roaming and connectivity capabilities across worldwide networks.

    More info at http://broadbandmobile.blogspot.com/

  12. Dell Laptops To Offer Qualcomm Gobi Mobile Broadband

    Dell (NSDQ:Dell) and Qualcomm paired up Tuesday to offer next-generation laptops that enable users to access multiple 3G cellular networks globally, the two companies announced Tuesday.

    According to Dell, the company's next-generation laptops will be imbedded with Qualcomm's new Gobi mobile broadband technology, which lets notebook manufacturers ship Gobi-equipped notebooks in all global distribution channels to deliver roaming and connectivity capabilities across worldwide networks.

    More info at http://broadbandmobile.blogspot.com/

What do you think?

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