Articles on the topic : Mobile Broadband News
Bundle deals involving 3G mobile broadband access and the newly launched Apple iPad could be on their way to the UK later this year.
Following the sucess of mobile broadband and laptop packages, speculation is mounting that the UK’s mobile broadband providers like Vodafone, Orange and O2, together with 3rd party retailers like the Carphone Warehouse are eying similar deals involving the Apple iPad.
Talking to the Guardian, the UK Chief Executive of the Carphone Warehouse, Andrew Harrison welcomed the launch of the Apple iPad, saying: “To me, the really interesting thing is what we are seeing is devices designed with how the consumer uses the internet very much in mind, rather than just a computer that was made for business use trying to fit the consumer”.
Harrison continued: “Our perspective is we play in the world of connectivity and particularly mobile connectivity and this device fits well within that; we think there will be a whole range of them. This is an extension of a smartphone perhaps even more than it being a smaller PC. It is much more in the territory that we operate in.”
One of the new Apple iPad models features both Wi-Fi and 3G mobile phone network connectivity which will enable future UK iPad users to access the Internet pretty much anywhere in the UK.
Amongst many exciting functions, Apple iPad users will be able download and use apps, music and videos from the iTunes store, aswell as playing games and storing photos.
Apple iPad prices will start from £307 for the 16GB model. It is expected to be available to buy by the end of March 2009.
The pay as you go mobile broadband dongle from O2 is now available to order online at the o2.co.uk website for half price at just £14.67.
Available in white or pink, the O2 dongle, known as the USB modem E160, is MAC and PC compatible.
Perfect as a Christmas present, users receiving the O2 dongle can simply top up with the data usage they need.
Options include paying £2 for one day’s worth of data (500MB), £7.50 for one week (1GB data) and £15 for one month (3GB data).
Once topped up and plugged into a users laptop or desktop, the dongle connects to the O2 network which provides mobile broadband speeds up to 3.6Mbps.
There’s also unlimited access to over 6,100 Wi-Fi hotspots in the UK provided by The Cloud and BT Openzone.
Readers can find out more info at the o2.co.uk website or compare pay as you go mobile broadband deals from O2, 3, Vodafone and T-Mobile here.
HSPA+ technology could be deployed by UK mobile broadband operators to help ease the strain on their networks, according to mobile industry analysts Informa.
The technology will be used as an interim measure from the current HSPA to the future LTE Mobile Broadband which promises speeds up to 150Mbps without the bottlenecks.
Informa claim that mobile broadband operators are feeling the strain of increased users and estimate that by 2012 mobile data traffic could increase by up to 25 times.
Talking to PCPro, Dimitris Mavrakis from Informa said: “The networks in developed markets in the UK and the US are starting to saturate. We see a lot of bottlenecks in data-centric areas such as London and New York”.
According to Mavrakis, the next generation of mobile broadband, known as LTE (Longer Term Evolution) will ease the pressure on mobile broadband networks.
However, despite rollout of this new technology starting early next year, full implementation may not be until 2012 or later.
With this in mind, experts like Informa believe mobile broadband operators will add HSPA+ technology to their existing networks to ease the strain prior to LTE arriving.
The wholesale wireless network operator, Bluenowhere, has said that a UK wide mobile WiMax broadband rollout is unlikely.
This is reported to be due to a lack of backing from any of the top five mobile broadband providers in the UK, which means that WiMax is likely to only be available for select niche groups.
The main reason why mobile WiMax hasn’t been backed by the UK’s mobile broadband suppliers is because it is a competitor to the Long Term Evolution of 3G for the title of 4G. It seems that most mobile broadband ISP’s prefer LTE to be their future service.
The Chief Executive of Bluenowhere, Harry Aldridge said to ZDnet.co.uk, “We don’t rule out that mobile WiMax could be deployed as a 4G type service in the UK, but it’s our view that it would require either an existing mobile operator to commit to deploying it as their 4G solution, or it would require an equally established company with big pockets to deploy on that basis to have any chance of making it a success”.
Consequently it could be likely that WiMax is used to help fill the gaps that currently exist in the UK’s fixed line broadband coverage network. This could be in various isolated areas across the UK.
Sheppard was speaking at the government’s Broadband for All eForum seminar where discussions were taking place on how best to implement the government’s broadband for all pledge in its Digital Britain report.
He said, “Mobile Broadband tends to be capable and commercially capable of providing the 2Mbps broadband universal service commitment and is an extremely efficient way of doing it”.
He continued, “It is very cost effective, it actually doesn’t need government funding, what it needs is access to spectrum, that’s the key”.
Access to the spectrum is an opinion held by a number of other UK mobile broadband providers.
It concerns Ofcom’s attempts to persuade Voadone and O2, the owners of the 2G (900Mhz) band to release it to operators like 3 who could convert the band to 3G and extend their mobile broadband coverage considerably.
This would then allow areas of the UK with no fixed line access to the Internet to receive mobile broadband access instead.
Ofcom has published maps of UK mobile broadband coverage which shows numerous mobile broadband ‘Not-Spots’.
These are areas of the country that either have very poor, or no access to mobile broadband services.
The research looked into the coverage provided by all the UK’s 3G networks like 3 and Orange and found East Anglia, the South West of England and Scotland to have the worst mobile broadband coverage.
In order to improve coverage the Government is aiming to free up more of the 3G spectrum. This follows a pledge it made in the recent Digital Britain report.
Ofcom has said that they will help with this goal whilst also conducting further research into the quality of mobile broadband services.
In a statement Ofcom said, “ Mobile network coverage in the UK is generally good but some problems persist, particularly in rural areas. Ofcom is focusing on persistent so-called ‘Not-Spot’ areas and working where it can to facilitate better mobile coverage”.
It is no big surprise that more people are starting to access the internet from their mobile phone or laptop using dongles or data cards. As technology has improved, the need to go online whilst out and about has become increasingly important. However, as Ofcom publishes maps of UK mobile broadband coverage, it is easy to see that not everyone is getting a reliable service.
Readers can check mobile broadband coverage at the Ofcom website or on our mobile broadband comparison page where mobile broadband packages from 3, T-Mobile, Orange, Vodafone and O2 are also compared.