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I would also like to offer a service, where if you email details of the kind of offer you are interested in for your Telecommunications wants, including Mobile Data, Mobile Phone, Broadband, etc. services, I will check over the companies I am affiliated with and email you back with some links and my opinions on the pros and cons of the services compared to your requirements. Be sure to include your postcode and I will check coverage in your area where possible.

Please note any opinions given are purely my own opinion on the matter, and my search for offers will be limited to the companies I have affiliated with. (A list of which can be found in the list of links on the left.)

Thursday, 28 August 2008

Email as a dirt cheap alternative to Text Messaging

For people who use Text Messaging a lot, you may find that you are paying a stupidly large amount of money for this service. You can usually send a email with exactly the same message for less than a penny each. There are of course some advantages and disadvantages to Text Messaging over Email and vice versa.

The most obvious one is that not all mobile phones support email and you need to set it up with your email details if it does. These can be small issues, a lot of phones now do support email, and I would recommend checking your manual to see if yours does. And setting up email can be automated with some phones, so you can go to your manufacturers or networks website, enter in the details of your email account and then a settings message gets sent to your phone. Otherwise you may need to contact your manufacturer, network, and email provider.

Next, depending on your network you may need to set up a email address before you can use email. Others may have set up a email address for you automatically, or will be able to arrange this for you.

Then, the people you want to send emails to also need to have this set-up. This is exactly the same as with Picture Messages. An advantage to email is that it can be viewed from your computer instead of your phone, and you can send messages from there as well. Some services allow you to send Text Messages via Email so you send the email to the company and they forward it onto the recipient as a Text Message, these services will often also relay the Text Message replies back to your email.

An advantage to Text Messaging is that the messages are sent direct to your phone and so unless there is a network or phone problem you will get the message straight away. Whereas with most email you need to ask the phone to check for new messages. With many phones you can set it to check automatically, but this may be every half an hour as a maximum depending on the phone, so you would be waiting up to 30 minutes for your message notification. Unless of course you have a Push email service like Blackberry Internet Solution or Windows Push Email. If this is the case then you will get the emails immediately like with a Text Message.

Another advantage to Text Messaging is you do not get charged for receiving messages and there are no other 'overhead' charges. But, the charges are so much less than Text Messaging that I think this is not a major issue. The reason you get charged for receiving emails is because networks charge for all internet data sent and received, and when you receive a email you are receiving data from the internet. The problem with what I called overhead charges is that the phone needs to connect with the internet to check if there are any emails waiting, and this means you get charged for sending the request to see if there are emails waiting and again for the notification as to whether there are any or not, and then there is the email itself. This sounds like a lot of charges when spelt out like this, but it still comes to a fraction of a penny. But it does mean even if there are no emails you will be charged for the data used to check or the data will be deducted from any allowance you have. I would estimate as a maximum for 0.5p per day if you have no emails, so approximately 15p per month. This would be based on 1kb used each time the email was checked (a huge overestimation, but easier for basic calculations), with email being checked automatically every 30 minutes, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with data charges at £10.00 per MB (Prices vary from £1.00 per MB up). On top of this I would also estimate a charge of 1p per message sent or received, which can be a longer message than a Text Message. For the 1p charge the email can be approximately 287 characters long whereas a standard Text Message is up to 160 characters. Overall I feel these charges balance in favour of email over Text Messaging.

Do give some indications of how many emails you can get on some networks. On T-Mobile you get charged up to £1.00 per day for internet usage, this is based on a charge of £7.50 per MB. So this comes to approximately 0.7p for each email (287 characters long) for the first £1.00, which would be approximately 142 emails and then you get a fair usage policy of 40MB during that day (midnight to midnight) for your £1.00. Which would give you approximately 5,680 emails for £1.00 if you used the full 40MB. If you regularly send a lot of emails each day you may be better off with their Web'n'Walk handset option which would give you 1GB of data for £7.50/month. This would give you approximately 148,897,792 messages to use each month. T-Mobile also have Mobile Broadband Plus, which is 3GB for £12.50 and can be 446,693,376 messages, and Mobile Broadband Max, which is 10GB for £22.50 and can be 1,488,977,920 messages. Now, all of these offers on T-Mobile are only available on contract in addition to a standard price plan, except the £1.00 per day offer which is also available on Pay as you Go.

Now, for another example if you took 3 Mobile Broadband you can get the 148,897,792 messages mentioned above for £10.00. And if you were to up it £15.00 you would get 3GB of data which can be 446,693,376 messages, or to £25.00 you would get 7GB of data which can be 1,042,284,544 messages. Now, all of these offers on 3 are available on Pay as you Go on their own.

Of course any data not used for email can be used for surfing the internet, downloading, etc.

Plus note, all figures in this post are estimates and there are a number of factors which can increase or decrease the actual cost paid. Including the network you are using, the software used to send/receive email, the size of the emails, and where it is being sent from (e.g. UK or overseas). No figure in this post is a guarantee and should be treated as a rough guide.

Monday, 25 August 2008

Limits of Video Streaming on UK networks

An interesting post, that gives some details on current limits of video streaming on UK mobile telephone networks, amongst other things.

Sunday, 24 August 2008

Mobile Broadband on Linux!: Part 3

And another article, a definite series. This one is written from a Singapore perspective and details how to to connect to Nokia N95 8GB using Bluetooth to use it as a modem from Linux. Again, should be more generally applicable. Enjoy.

Mobile Broadband on Linux!: Part 2

Wow, this could become a series. I've just found a post with nice easy instructions for getting a 3 USB Modem working with Linux. Enjoy.

Saturday, 23 August 2008

Great guide to the potential of WiFi

I've just found this great guide to WiFi. It's written from an American perspective but the majority of it is universal. It covers a few interesting areas like Aggregators, 3G/Cellular Routers, Laptops as Hot Spots, and Mobile Phones as Hot Spots. The two middle ones I was already aware of and researching, the other two I wasn't aware of but will definitely be keeping an eye on for future developments.

Friday, 22 August 2008

Increase the potential of your Mobile Broadband by partnering it with Wi-fi

Some Mobile Broadband services are coming complete with Wi-fi hotspot access. The two main networks for this offer are T-Mobile and O2. So, when you have Mobile Broadband, why would you want to use Hotspots as well? As great as Mobile Broadband is, it is not yet the most reliable of ways to connect to the internet, when the mobile telephone network in your area has gone down, or you just have a poor signal you may be able to connect to a Hotspot to get high speed access again. Another benefit to partnering your connection with Wi-fi Hotspots is that depending on how much you use the internet and what your allowance or fair usage policy is like, you could benefit from the extra allowance that the Hotspot can provide. So, with T-Mobile and O2 offering Wi-fi as part of their packages and an increasing number of places offering free Wi-fi you can't really go wrong. Whether you use it as a back-up when you network doesn't work, as a speed boost when your network connection is slow, or as a way of getting more data usage. Also as mentioned in a previous post O2 is currently offering free home broadband with their mobile broadband, so you can have Mobile broadband, Home broadband, and Wi-fi access all for a single price of £20.00 per month.

Mobile Broadband on Linux!

I've just found this blogpost and this which gives some brief details on setting up Linux for Mobile Broadband. The software used is a device driver for a Vodafone Mobile Connect Card but the author of the post has got it to work with a 3 Ireland SIM in the UK. So, the software should definitely work with Vodafone's service and apparently with a little tweaking other networks as well.

For more information on the software:

Thursday, 21 August 2008

Top 10 Handsets

These are the top ten handsets as sold by O2 last week.

1 Sony Ericsson T650i
2 Samsung Soul
3 Samsung E250 Lilac
4 LG KF700
5 Samsung G600 Pink
6 Samsung D900i
7 Nokia 6500 Classic Silver
8 Sony Ericsson W980i
9 Sony Ericsson C902
10 Sony Ericsson W890i Mocha Brown

Great new offer for football fans

Get a free Football shirt worth up to £39.99 and 6 months free subscription to the 24-7 Football service when you purchase selected Sony Ericsson phones with O2 on Contract and Pay as you Go.

Click here for more details.

Increase the potential of your Mobile Broadband by partnering it with Home Broadband

If you have a home phone line you can also get Home Broadband, this can be more reliable than Mobile Broadband as it is does not rely on signal strength and is generally not affected by atmospheric conditions. The downside is basically that it is not mobile. But, with many services offering a Wireless Router as part of the package you can get a degree of mobility. I think the average range of a Wireless Router is about 10 metres. Which means it would comfortably cover most homes, and possibly even your garden if you have one.

But, what you can also do is if you keep your computer switched on and connected to the broadband you can use your Mobile Broadband to connect with your home computer wherever you can get a signal. I will go into some of the things you can do with this in future posts.

Now the biggest potential at the moment for combining Home and Mobile Broadband is O2's service. Which if you take their Mobile Broadband offering you get free Home Broadband for 12 months. (Actually you get a £7.50 discount for 12 months, but the lowest package is £7.50 so you get it for free.) This offer is available until the end of October. And you also get unlimited Wi-fi access, which I plan to cover in my next post.

Other Home Broadband providers include AOL and Orange.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Things you can do with Mobile Broadband Part 1 : VoIP

Now this is the first in a series I plan to do on what you can use your Mobile Broadband for. This one is all about VoIP, which is Voice over Internet Protocol. Which basically means making telephone calls over the internet. Some of the advantages of VoIP is cheaper rates on calls particularly when calling internationally. Most (all?) of the time calls to other users of the service are free and this includes to any destination in the world, and calls to other numbers are generally a lot cheaper than other telephone services. You just need to keep an eye on your data usage if you've got a limited allowance.

Now, when using VoIP on mobile networks you need to make sure you have good coverage and that your network has good Uplink (how fast it sends data) speeds as well as Downlink (how fast it receives). When I've tried to use VoIP with my network, I've always had problems with my voice sounding very choppy to them, but I can hear them fine. This is due to the data being sent a lot slower than it receives. This is standard on most (all?) consumer internet connection as consumers tend to download a lot more than they upload. (It's been a few months since I last tried this so the service on my network may have improved.)

Ok, now that you have your connection all checked out you need to decide on a VoIP provider. I would say the most popular provider at the moment is probably Skype.

Now one thing you need to bear in mind with Skype is that it is a closed network. This means you can only call other Skype customer, and only other Skype customers can call you. Unless you opt for the SkypeIn service which gives you a telephone number for your VoIP service. But this isn't generally a problem as possibly most people are Skype customers that have VoIP service. Another great advantage to Skype is that if you have your Mobile Broadband through 3 you get Skype access free of charge, so no charges for Skype-to-Skype calls on the 3 network. You can get this offer on both contract and Pay as you Go. On Pay as you Go you just need to top-up and you free Skype for 30 days, just top-up again within that 30 days and the free Skype continues. Three also offer a specialised SkypePhone. Also, in order to make calls to non-Skype customers you will need to add their SkypeOut service, which just works like a Pay as you Go phone, top it up and use the credit until it runs out, and top up again.

Now the other main service available is SIP compliant VoIP. This is a open system. Meaning that anyone with SIP service can call anyone else with SIP service regardless of who their supplier is. And as most VoIP-to-VoIP calls are free of charge you can do this from and to any SIP compliant service. As with Skype a lot of these services offer 'real world' telephone numbers you can be called on, and a service to allow you to call 'real world' numbers. By real world I mean not VoIP.

Nokia E71

Great news! Nokia have released what is essentially a follow-up to the Nokia E61 (My current and favourite phone). It is the Nokia E71, and from what I've seen so far it's got all the great features of the E61 plus Camera and GPS. Plus there's probably lots more besides. Get some more info at:

Article comparing Mobile Broadband services in UK

3 win top UK mobile broadband prize

Saturday, 16 August 2008

Blackberry Bold Coming Soon

For more information on Blackberry Bold, go here.

Friday, 15 August 2008

Mobile Broadband with Laptop

A great new offer from Orange. Purchase their Mobile Broadband dongle at £25.00 per month on a 2 year contract and get a Eee PC Laptop. I've heard this offer is just available until the end of the month. (August 2008) Or for £15.00 per month on a 24 month contract get the same Mobile Broadband without the Eee PC Laptop.

Thursday, 14 August 2008

SIM Only Mobile Broadband

A new option I have just become aware of is a SIM Only version of Mobile Broadband. This has some of the benefits of Pay as you Go as well as some of the benefits of contract. As it is SIM Only there is just a 30 day rolling contract so you can cancel the contract at any time, giving 30 days notice. But, as with a contract you get your bill each month to pay, so it automatically renews each month with no intervention.

I only know of one company at the moment that offers SIM Only for Mobile Broadband, which is O2. You get it with a USB Modem which costs £99.99 and the monthly line rental is £20.00.

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Pay as you Go Mobile Broadband

Pay as you Go Mobile Broadband is the main way I connect to the internet at the moment. I use my handset (Nokia E61) as a modem, connected via a USB cable. Pay as you Go Mobile Broadband can give an economical way of accessing the internet wirelessly wherever you can get a mobile signal without a contract, so you just top up as you want to and maybe purchase an add on. This also allows you a very effective way of budgeting your expenditure, as if you have no credit there will be no chargeable access. At the moment I only know of two networks in the UK who offer Mobile Broadband on Pay as you Go.

The first is T-Mobile, which is a service I would not recommend except to trial the network and service before taking a contract as it can run very expensive. You get charged for the first £4.00 of usage each day and then the rest is free. There is a fair usage policy of up to 3GB per month, but unlike some providers they do not charge if you go over this fair usage limit. If you go over two consecutive months you get a speed restriction placed on your line for 2 weeks, and if it happens for a 3rd consecutive month you get the speed restriction for 2 months.

Now, the service I would definitely recommend, and the one I am currently using to post this, is the service with 3. The available add ons were until very recently the same as on contract, the same price for the same allowance. £10.00 for 1GB, £15.00 for 3GB, £25.00 for 7GB. I'm sure you can see straight away how this is more economical than the T-Mobile service. If you use your 3GB in 3 days, then you would save money with T-Mobile, otherwise you can be paying up to £124.00 for it. Now, once this allowance has been used up you do get charged for any extra usage, this is at a rate of £1.00 per MB. But you can add a new add one at any time. Each add on lasts for 30 days and anything not used is lost. With the Pay as you Go option on 3 you also can easily pick and choose how much you expect to use or want to pay for at that time. ou also get a SMS notification when your allowance is running low, to let you know you need to add a new bundle soon or you will start getting charged the £1.00 per MB. You can also keep track of your remaining allowance with the My3 service which keeps you up to date with your remaining allowances and credit. With contract you would need to change your price plan each time you wanted it changed. With Pay as you Go, you just add the relevant add on as and when you need it. Now, the only real problem I have had with the service from 3 is problems with topping up using my Debit card. I have now given up on this, it worked for the first two months but now I need to get a voucher to get it topped up. I consider this a minor problem, and may not be a problem to anyone else.

Saturday, 2 August 2008

New Blog

My main interest in setting up this blog is to promote various Mobile Data products available here in the UK, and to compare the services available from our various networks. I hope to update soon with the first informative post.