Tuesday, September 2, 2008

3G Mobile Internet Picks up in UK

mobile-broadband-donglesThe imminent rise of 3G technology in the UK over the last few years has been a sudden burst of fresh energy, but has also generated quite a flurry of activity! Unlike US, the 3G hype was merely seen as another mobile voice calling technology. However, looks like the people have become more adaptive about the 3G based mobile internet technology as it promises to become a viable alternative to traditional broadband for UK users. The rapid rise in 3G followers is nevertheless intriguing, and definitely worth a second look at the technology in question!

As Rory Cellan-Jones of BBC puts it "Mobile Broadband has really taken off!", supporting his statement with a graph showing how the amount of data crossing the 3G network has increased 14 fold in just six months! This massive increase in traffic is attributed e to what is referred as dongle - a plug-and-play USB modem that use High-Speed Downlink Packet Access or HSDPA technology (sometimes referred to as 3.5G) to enable laptops to use mobile broadband, which simply means "fast computer internet access without a land-line", in layman's terms.

The dongles are being offered with a fixed price plan (for example 3GB of data for £15 a month) which has triggered a price war in the UK market with other operators such as T-Mobile and Vodafone competing with similarly aggressive deals. It is estimated that as many as half a million new users have signed up to 3's dongle and now use mobile broadband with their laptops!

This means this is certainly the preferred choice for users in the UK, who are letting go of traditional wireless LAN or fixed broadband services, which often incur significant installation fees for new users andmay not be as cost-effective as the dongles. This also poses a serious threat to WiMax (or 802.16e), as the success of 3.5G/HSDPA based services may impact it's roll-out over the next few years.

Like anything new, people take time to warm up to an idea or concept, and same was the case for 3G. But now, after comparing their options, 3G technology and Mobile Broadband seems to have gained a significant foothold in the UK market. Whether it can maintain its winning streak, or lose to competing technologies like WiMax, only time will tell. Till then, I'm happy that we have found something that at the end of the day, is more beneficial to everyday users like you and me!


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