New technology in 3G mobile networks is the key to the new service. To use it, you need to buy a data card which slots into your laptop and you can then access broadband that’s more than four times faster than accessing the internet using just 3G.
However, the services are more expensive and slower than than home broadband; they’re targeted mainly at business users who want to access the net while on the move.
Vodafone launched its service last week for customers in Greater London (within the M25), Glasgow, Sheffield, Greater Manchester and Tyneside. It plans to roll out the service across 3G coverage areas.
Mark Bond of Vodafone UK said: ‘3G broadband is designed to meet the needs of today’s “work anywhere” business culture, as more and more people access their email or office network whilst on the move or away from the office.’
Vodafone prices start from GBP 29.36 per month for a capped service which includes 250 Mb of data, or up to GBP 52.88 per month for unlimited usage. Cards cost GBP 99 on the cheaper price plan and GBP 49 on the more expensive version.
T-Mobile’s mobile broadband service begins in August and already covers 65 per cent of the UK’s population including all major urban areas, as well as major roads, transport hubs and public facilities.
As with the Vodafone service, you’ll need a data card from T-Mobile – called Web’n’walk – to access it. This slots into a compatible laptop to allow the new service, known as high-speed downlink packet access (HSDPA).
The data card costs GBP 17 per month as an introductory offer for web browsing and e-mail. New customers can get a free data card if they sign up to an 18 or 24 month minimum term contract from T-Mobile.