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Thread: News - 3G dongles in decline?

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    News - 3G dongles in decline?

    The growth of tablets with integrated modems threatens the 3G dongle industry.
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    Re: News - 3G dongles in decline?

    I wish all 3g providers would provide a alternative to dongles. my mate has been through at least 5 dongles during the time he has had 3g. would prefer an addon card for laptops and desktops without 3g connectivity. its less likely for an addon card to get knocked. I also hope pay as you go tariffs get changed soon. I feel the current system of pay so much and it only lasts for a certain time should be banned. im sure alot of people would buy a 3g dongle /addon card pay as you go for emergency purposes if they could topup some cash and it stays until used.

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    Re: News - 3G dongles in decline?

    Quote Originally Posted by lodore View Post
    I feel the current system of pay so much and it only lasts for a certain time should be banned. im sure alot of people would buy a 3g dongle /addon card pay as you go for emergency purposes if they could topup some cash and it stays until used.
    Hmm, I agree with what you're saying - especially if there was a way to ensure that they didn't terminate the number if you didn't use it for 60/90/whatever days. I got a T-Mobile dongle two years ago and it was pretty good value in PAYG form. And I was really impressed when I managed to actually use it in a cottage in the middle of Wales. Unfortunately, I forgot about the inactivity clause - so now I've got a dead dongle. I must get around to checking if there's a cheap/easy way to get it reactivated...

    I think we're only going to see some sense in the market if the supermarkets get involved and start putting some real downwards pressure on the prices.

    Second interesting point about that dongle (Huawei) - it was an absolute pig to get working on the two Windows XP systems. On the other hand when I tried it on Ubuntu 9.04 Netbook, the system just popped up a dialog box asking me what carrier I was on, then the account details, and away I went - real plug n play.

    Getting back to the article - maybe dongles would bounce back if someone figured out a way to use them with slotless tablets - e.g. some form of docking connector addon for iPad, software support for Android tablets (most of which seem to have USB provision). Certainly it seems to me to be a bit of a missed opportunity on the part of the manufacturers.

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    Re: News - 3G dongles in decline?

    Quote Originally Posted by lodore View Post
    .... I also hope pay as you go tariffs get changed soon. I feel the current system of pay so much and it only lasts for a certain time should be banned. im sure alot of people would buy a 3g dongle /addon card pay as you go for emergency purposes if they could topup some cash and it stays until used.
    Indeed. I'd buy one for a start, for occasional use when away for a few days. But not under the current system.

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    Re: News - 3G dongles in decline?

    I suspect some of the drop in usage is down to WIFI being far more available and less people signing up for netbook/dongle contracts after being suckered in by the salesmen.

    Quote Originally Posted by Saracen View Post
    Indeed. I'd buy one for a start, for occasional use when away for a few days. But not under the current system.
    Vodafone used to have a dongle that did just that. I have clients who still have some of the original data package left on it two years later. I think Vodafone lost a ton of money on them so stopped doing them.

    I'm in the same boat as you, though now I use Three I can at last tether my iPhone to my laptop for free.

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    Re: News - 3G dongles in decline?

    Why the fixation with tablets? Surely smartphones, with a much larger market, play more of a part in relegating dongles to the junk drawer?

    I can use mine to let a tablet, netbook, my friends devices and anything else with wifi connect over 3G. Android 2.2 introduced a wireless hot spot app, others had been doing it for ages on their rooted devices. Then you have regular tethering too. The vast majority of those with the need for a dongle already have a smartphone, ergo, sales of dongles will drop.

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    Re: News - 3G dongles in decline?

    Quote Originally Posted by Funkstar View Post
    I can use mine to let a tablet, netbook, my friends devices and anything else with wifi connect over 3G. Android 2.2 introduced a wireless hot spot app, others had been doing it for ages on their rooted devices. Then you have regular tethering too. The vast majority of those with the need for a dongle already have a smartphone, ergo, sales of dongles will drop.
    Problem with that is - at least from the limited research I've done* - that carriers specifically exclude tethering from their plans. Which I've always thought was pretty damned dumb - after all, they've got your money, so what the 'eck does it matter if you're generating traffic from that shiny smartphone or from a netbook that's tethered to it?

    (*Three's "One Plan" is the only one that makes a point of saying that tethering is okay that I know of. My Three plan and my daughters one with T-Mobile both go to great pains to exclude it).

    Actually, how does T-Mobile, Three, Voda etc know that you're tethering - especially if you've already rooted and Cyanogen'd your phone?

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    Re: News - 3G dongles in decline?

    Quote Originally Posted by Funkstar View Post
    Why the fixation with tablets? Surely smartphones, with a much larger market, play more of a part in relegating dongles to the junk drawer?

    I can use mine to let a tablet, netbook, my friends devices and anything else with wifi connect over 3G. Android 2.2 introduced a wireless hot spot app, others had been doing it for ages on their rooted devices. Then you have regular tethering too. The vast majority of those with the need for a dongle already have a smartphone, ergo, sales of dongles will drop.
    The YouGov study restricted itself to perceived computing devices, a category from which it excluded smartphones. But I'm with you - I think there's an argument for calling smartphones computing devices too, despite their small size.

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    Re: News - 3G dongles in decline?

    i think the 3g mifi things would be much more appealing to someone that did want a dongle who didn't/can't/won't want to use their phone or wifi. they aren't that much more to buy or on contract and can be a cheaper option to use with a tablet than in built 3g. more flexibility too, apart from carrying an extra thing with you

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    Re: News - 3G dongles in decline?

    Vodafone don't support tethering, but they don't disallow it either - it's just that you're on your own if you want to. Frustratingly, talkmobile explicitly exclude tethering in their T&Cs, despite using Voda as their partner carrier. So despite being on the same network, I can no longer (officially) tether my smartphone. Hm.

    I've never worked out why mobile companies disallow tethering: If I have 1GB of data to use each month, why does it matter what device I use my 1GB of data on? I could understand it 5 years ago when phones were much simpler and were unlikely to make heavy usage of mobile data, but given my smartphone's pretty much as powerful as some of my desktop PCs, and I can (if I want to) browse flash-rich websites whilst streaming internet radio and downloading applications / software updates on it, I really don't think it makes that much difference any more...

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    Re: News - 3G dongles in decline?

    The three one plan allows tethering. The vast majority of people I have known that use dongles have been business users, non use tablets, all now either have lap[tops with 3g modems built in, or tether.

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    Re: News - 3G dongles in decline?

    Quote Originally Posted by lodore View Post
    I wish all 3g providers would provide a alternative to dongles. my mate has been through at least 5 dongles during the time he has had 3g. would prefer an addon card for laptops and desktops without 3g connectivity. its less likely for an addon card to get knocked. I also hope pay as you go tariffs get changed soon. I feel the current system of pay so much and it only lasts for a certain time should be banned. im sure alot of people would buy a 3g dongle /addon card pay as you go for emergency purposes if they could topup some cash and it stays until used.
    This 100%, I still use an old 1GB/£15 Vodafone Topup and Go non-expiry SIM for emergency use. I cannot consider these current 30 day expiry tariffs as I couldn't really justify them. I'm also on my 3rd dongle due to various faults.

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    Re: News - 3G dongles in decline?

    I think the issue is that you are less likely to use your data allowance if you are just using your handset, it's not impossible, just not as easy.

    Not allowing you officially to use your handset for tethering also means to stick to the T&Cs you should have a dongle as well, paying another subscription fee, so ultimately it would mean more revenue for the networks if you stuck to the terms. Which a lot of businesses do.

    I have a stock HTC Desire from T-Mobile, if they didn't want me to use it for tethering, then they shouldn't have included the stock Froyo hotspot app. I don't pay any additional charges to allow me to tether, unlike owners of fruit based smartphones.

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    Re: News - 3G dongles in decline?

    Quote Originally Posted by Funkstar View Post
    I think the issue is that you are less likely to use your data allowance if you are just using your handset, it's not impossible, just not as easy.

    Not allowing you officially to use your handset for tethering also means to stick to the T&Cs you should have a dongle as well, paying another subscription fee, so ultimately it would mean more revenue for the networks if you stuck to the terms. Which a lot of businesses do.

    I have a stock HTC Desire from T-Mobile, if they didn't want me to use it for tethering, then they shouldn't have included the stock Froyo hotspot app. I don't pay any additional charges to allow me to tether, unlike owners of fruit based smartphones.
    apple allowed free tethering a while back. unofficially it's been around for years. with the legit tethering it's up to the carrier whether it's free or not, so presumably the same per carrier regardless of what phone you have. i have free tethering from o2 in my iphone4 and tried it successfully when my home broadband was down. you can tether with wifi, bluetooth or connect via the standard usb charge/synch cable

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    Re: News - 3G dongles in decline?

    I've found that dongles have other uses too, I specifically bought one for texting though the network I'm on has some strange terms and conditions that say you should never have a modem connected to a personal computer even though a phone counts as a personal computer (it processes data and only you will use it). It was either find a nice phone with good custom firmware support, a hardware keyboard, a fast CPU and plenty of RAM (doesn't exist) or get a dongle if I wanted to text using a comfortable keyboard.

    So, while dongles for 3G data might be in decline (I use all my data on broadband or through my phone) dongles certainly aren't dead if they're still cheap phones-in-a-stick. Now, if only I could make calls with it too...

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    Re: News - 3G dongles in decline?

    I used to have a dongle, but now I just tether my iPhone (on 3 One Plan), whenever i'm away on business, should i need to use my laptop.

    To be honest, the phone does most of what i need anyway though.

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