Mobile broadband (3G) from Three: a year on

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I’ve had my mobile broadband for over a year now – and I’ve kind of forgotten about it.  Not because it is seamless and smooth to use, but for the opposite reason.

When I started using my mobile broadband a year ago it was nippy and fast.  It didn’t matter where I used it – it was always fast and responsive.  Unfortunately my experience has gone downhill over the last few months.

When I connect at home I get a reasonable connection, probably due to the fact that my house is at the end of the street to the mast, and on the edge of open countryside so not many people are using this base station.  I also get a responsive connection when at my mum’s house in Whitby.  Unfortunately when I connect in Mansfield where I work the connection is poor, despite having a good signal.  After a matter of minutes the connection becomes more and more sluggish, until a reconnection (or two) is the only thing that can stir it back into life.  I’ve tried using the 3G dongle and my internal 3G modem – both suffer from the same problems. 

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The results of my experiments seem to suggest a contention problem, with too many people attempting to use Three’s service in Mansfield (they do seem to have over sold in the area).  Other colleagues at work have experienced similar problems.  Phoning up gets you a customer service agent reading a script, who is reluctant to admit that Three have got problems.

I’m fortunate.  I’ve got just over 4 months left on my contract (and it’s only cost me an average of £3.50 a month for 1Gb data thanks to a combination of deals that I took).  If you are thinking of getting Three mobile broadband, my advice would be to buy a PAYG dongle and then sign up for a 1-month SIM only deal – meaning you can leave the service any time you want.  I know I’ll be cancelling my connection when my contract is up – what’s the point in paying for something that you can’t use properly?