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Vodafone UK Launch 4G Gigacube B818 Mobile Broadband Plans

Friday, January 22nd, 2021 (10:45 am) - Score 3,096
HUAWEI_B818_front_and_back_picture

Mobile operator Vodafone UK has launched a new 4G based Gigacube B818 router and several associated mobile broadband plans. The new kit is described as being a “flexible alternative to standard broadband“, which they claim will allow customers to “benefit from high-speed internet access in areas without fixed-line connectivity.”

The device itself is said to be “capable” (theoretically) of handling speeds up to 1.6Gbps download and 150Mbps upload (LTE-Advanced CAT19), but since you’re about as likely to get that on a 4G mobile network in the UK as Elvis is to become Prime Minister in the next 10 seconds then you should probably have more.. modest expectations (RootMetric’s recent report found Vodafone’s network delivered a median download rate of 21.1Mbps).

The router itself appears to be a re-branded HUAWEI B818 device (HiSilicon Balong V7R65 chipset or similar), which means that it should be able to connect up to 64 devices via 802.11ac WiFi (Wi-Fi 5) with MIMO 3×3 in the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands (32 devices on each band) and over a “range of 250 metres” (we think they forgot “up to” as there’s no way you’d get that sort of coverage indoors).

You also get 2 x Gigabit ports (1 LAN, 1 WAN), 1 x RJ11 phone port (VoIP / SIP) and 2 x TS9 connectors for an external 4G antenna connection (very good). Meanwhile customers can choose this router alongside either a fixed term or rolling contract, with the option to have up to 300GB of data per month. Sadly, they haven’t extended their “unlimited data” tariff to this bundle (you could the router separately for this but it’s c.£200).

Vodafone’s Gigacube 4G Plans (24 Month Term)
100GB – £30 per month
200GB – £40 per month
300GB – £50 per month

If you take a 30-day term instead of the 24 month one then the monthly pricing is the same, but you’ll also pay an additional £100 upfront charge. Vodafone say their Gigacube is “ideal for those who run a small business, have a second home or a home office,” although the above pricing is all including VAT.

As for that opening remark about allowing customers to “benefit from high-speed internet access in areas without fixed-line connectivity,” it’s worth pointing out that good 4G mobile signals aren’t always available in such areas either and the performance can vary quite a lot.

UPDATE 12:40pm

We’ve had it confirmed that the prices are in fact including VAT and not excluding it.

Leave a Comment
28 Responses
  1. Avatar Zakir Hussain says:

    Its quite pricey kf you compare that to Three network I rather stick with Three network Broadband which i have 5G broadband there unlimited but coverage on Three network is very limited but Three say they are growing

  2. Avatar Stephen says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong but haven’t Vodafone been offering the 4G + 5G Gigacubes for many months now?

    1. Mark Jackson Mark Jackson says:

      Yes but this appears to be a new model, they previously had a much slower option in the 4G-only tier of service.

  3. Avatar The Wee Bear says:

    Yes they have Stephen, I purchased my very first Huawei CPE Pro with them nearly 2 years ago.

  4. Avatar The Wee Bear says:

    I’m surprised at the price too, it’s a bit on the EE price of things.
    I’M also on 3 unlimited everything for £20, great value if 3 is acceptible in your area.

    Not sure I’d fork out £50 though. Well I am sure, I wouldn’t.

    1. Avatar Bubblesthefish6 says:

      I agree. I moved from 3 to smarty, I seem to get much better speeds with them.

    2. Avatar GaryW says:

      It’s beyond EE prices….and with low data limits. EE now offer 500GB (versus Vodafone’s 300GB) for £50/month and Unlimited for £55/month. Or if you’re happy to go with a phone SIM, EE is £37 for Unlimited. Three is cheaper, but based on personal experience EE is better in terms of speed and latency (rural, co-located masts).

    3. Avatar Buggerlugz says:

      You’re paying £50 for the router, that’s all. If they’d made it a £25 service with a crappy router it would provide the same speed, they just don’t want thousands of customers nailing their network so the overkill in the router (and price) solves that problem.

  5. Avatar Kyle says:

    Is this kit capable of carrier aggregation? I’ve found that with my direct line of sight to a mast, I can touch 200Mbps on 4G.

    1. Mark Jackson Mark Jackson says:

      As it’s CAT19 then I’d assume so.

    2. Avatar Billy Nomates says:

      if it’s the B818-263 then yes

      “4G + LTE Advanced 5CA Router Aggregation up to 5 frequencies maximum Category 19”.

    3. Avatar CJ says:

      A cat 19 router supporting 5 channel carrier aggregation is a tad over-specified for anyone intending to use it on Vodafone in an O2-controlled area.

    4. Avatar Aled says:

      In general, how do you determine how many freq channels you can aggregate on a provider?

      I think my dad has a rural (Wales hilly) EE 4G Max WiFi box with MIMO external antenna, with ~8 mile direct line of sight to the mast, seems to be getting consistent 20-40mb connection, but interested to know if there was likely to be future improvements/options.

      Not bad really, as the closest fibre is 3 miles away.

    5. Avatar Buggerlugz says:

      Aled, With all the complications and quirks of a radio access network/router cats/interference and a million other factors, you may as well throw a dart at a dart board and it will give you a better answer.

    6. Avatar Buggerlugz says:

      CJ, a “touch” over specified? It’s a marketing gimmick, nothing more. It won’t provide any better speeds than a CAT 4-6 device. Voda would have been better off offering a cheaper service with a cheaper router, but they didn’t want to do that, they wanted to charge more so they could maintain lower numbers on their network to keep it functioning, rather than building in more capacity.

    7. Avatar CJ says:

      cellmapper.net has crowd-sourced data collected via their app, but it’s not as reliable in less populated areas by the nature of crowd-sourced data.

  6. Avatar TrueFibre says:

    That’s great news the mobile router looks great and a great idea. But would rather stay with fixed broadband as it’s so much cheaper. It’s still great.

  7. Avatar Ben says:

    Why launch a new *4G* router – surely right now mobile providers should be preparing for their 5G networks?

    1. Avatar TrueFibre says:

      Good Point hopefully it will handle 5G

    2. Avatar Buggerlugz says:

      Because UK 5g is a pipedream and will NEVER be able to deliver what they’re promising.

  8. Avatar Jay Lanx says:

    Ive got a b818 on three and the modem on this thing is fantastic. even with the internal antennas im getting a good 140mbps on band 1 and 3. Ive no line of sight the tower and its about 1km away. Fantastic piece of hardware

  9. Avatar Rob says:

    B818 refurb @ efones.com £169

    Unlimited Vodafone data&voice sim

    Upto 200Mb down and 42Mb up

    Very impressed but 700m from a B7 mast so lucky.

    1. Avatar I dont like spam says:

      advert

      efones suck. rude customer service, everything out of stock.

    2. Avatar Rob says:

      I’ve purchased one item from them, it was a good price and works well.

      Maybe in the future it will break and I will have a poor customer experience but if and when that happens I won’t accuse those who have had a different experience of posting adverts. When they are merely sharing their experience with the product within the news item.

  10. Avatar Buggerlugz says:

    For how good the UK’s 4g is, they’d have saved a fortune chucking a CAT4 device out to customers instead. But they went and decided to use the all singing all dancing CAT19 device knowing damn well it wouldn’t provide anything its capable of instead!

    Loved this paragraph Mark….

    “The device itself is said to be “capable” (theoretically) of handling speeds up to 1.6Gbps download and 150Mbps upload (LTE-Advanced CAT19), but since you’re about as likely to get that on a 4G mobile network in the UK as Elvis is to become Prime Minister in the next 10 seconds then you should probably have more.. modest expectations (RootMetric’s recent report found Vodafone’s network delivered a median download rate of 21.1Mbps).”

    Hopefully more broadband news outlets start taking the same approach. Something needs doing about it.

  11. Avatar James says:

    300gb 5G 50 pounds I will take 4G unlimited data anyday over this these companies are definitely cashing in by putting prices up….

  12. Avatar Mark says:

    My unlimited 4G SIM (soon to be 5G supported in the Spring) costs me £10 a month and I get 40Mb down and 18Mb up. It would actually go faster but sadly its limited by the provider to 40Mb, it’s about £12 a month cheaper than a 40/10 FTTC line so no complaints really. Also uses the EE network which doesn’t seem to have the oversubscription issues that Three does in my area (I was getting less than 1Mb on Three!)

  13. Avatar Dave says:

    I just got a B818 on Sunday. After quite a lot of fine tuning the postion I’ve gone from 60/25 on my old Huawei USB stick with external antenna to 100/40 and ~15ms improved ping (A big deal with a 15yo in the house, no doubt due to processing power in the B818). I’m on Smarty (Three) I do not appear to get any large improved aggregation, but I am in fields on the edge of town and can only see one mast ~800m line of sight. One big issue with the B818 is you cannot control the connection bands. I spent a couple of hours stuck on an adjacent cell B20/5MHz and not the B3/15Mhz cell I want to be connected to. (cellmapper.net is invaluable here as it has bandwidth information for each cell on a particular tower)

    My USB stick HiLink interface allowed me to select active bands and prevent connection to B20, the B818 is a BIG step backwards in that respect. Luckily I found HuaCtrl in the Android Play store. A great piece of software for reporting real time connection data and selecting/deselecting bands. I’ll be buying the paid for version, not for the limited extra features, but to say thank you for giving me the tools Huawei appear to have removed from a £200 modem which was really well presented in an ancient Huawei CAT4 £30 USB stick. I guess that’s progress!

    Finally I do plan to test an EE (20MHz bandwidth on local tower) and Vodafone SIM (10MHz bandwidth ) just to see if ‘premium’ providers offer aggregation and therefore higher throughput. Anything is better than the REIN infested 20/1 Openreach service I spent 3 years and 20+ visits trying to get sorted after a neighbour moved in and took the entire street from 40/10 overnight.

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