February 26, 2008

Mobile Broadband Modem

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I don’t have a home phone line, so until recently I used open wifi points to access the internet. Seeing a large number of ads for mobile broadband modems (modems that connect to the mobile phone network) I thought I could improve my connection’s reliability and expense.

I bought a Pay As You Go Huawei E220 USB modem from 3, advertised as very simple to use, and plugged it in. It didn’t work. At this point my biggest mistake was calling the 3 support line – what a dismal experience! The support people kept me waiting for ages and suggested clearly stupid solutions. They refused to listen to my reasons why their obviously wrong suggestions wouldn’t work and seemed eager to end the call. I made them wait for me to try their solution, and when it didn’t work, the cycle repeated (starting with the wait while on hold). After about half an hour I gave up on them. The next morning I was angry and determined to return the modem for a refund. However, I tried a quick google search at work first and found the answer – it seems these modems do not play nicely with others. I disabled my laptop’s internal modem and the Huawei modem has worked fine since.

Overall, I’m happy with my purchase, but very unhappy with 3. Internal modems are common and to have conflicts with them would, in my mind, preclude claiming something as plug and play. I will never call the 3 support line again – I found them hopeless (why not just have them search google?). Since my dealings with 3 I have found others with similar problems. YMMV.


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