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Three's Mobile Broadband (3G) Service Tested
By: MarkJ - 05 December, 2007 (9:28 AM)

Mobile Broadband (3G) services are still extremely young and have only just become affordable this year, thanks in no small part to new services from T-Mobile, Three and Vodafone (package list & comparison).

Sadly there are very few people around that can honestly tell us about their experiences. Thankfully Techrepublic's Justin Fielding has managed to take Three's HSPA (3.5G) based UK product for a test drive and apparently it's not too shabby but does have its flaws:

So far Iíve tested the mobile broadband in several locations from cafťs to train stations and supermarket car parks! In all instances Iíve been able to obtain a reasonably strong 3G signal and connect to the HSDPA network. Broadband speed tests vary but average out to an indicated 1.5 Mbps downstream and 128 Kbps upstream. I can quite happily watch a live news stream from the BBCís website without being interrupted by re-buffering or dropped frames.

Using HSDPA at home has been a little more hit and miss. I can pick up a 3G signal in most areas of the house although there seem to be black spots where I canít receive a thing. When I have a signal the service works fine. I guess this is pretty standard and something most users will have experienced with their mobile phone at some point. If you have problems picking up a 3G signal on a mobile phone in your area then mobile broadband may not be for you. Three mobile offer a coverage guide to help you work out if your area has HSDPA available yet.

During testing I have had a few issues with the modem and/or connection manager. Despite the connection manager and modem indicating a solid connection, I have found that sometimes the computer would refuse to connect to the Internet. This could be rectified by messing around with the modem (disconnect, close the connection manager, reconnect the modem and restart the software) or rebooting the computer. I have my suspicions that this issue may actually be caused by the BitDefender Anti-Virus/Firewall/Anti-Malware software Iím using.

The full piece can be read here:


Fielding was generally "quite impressed" with the service despite some problems, although this is only one test and it's worth pointing out that others have told us of more problematic experiences.

It may not be a complete replacement for fixed-line broadband services but it's a good start and excellent if your only desire is casual surfing.

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