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Orange Mobile Broadband - Orange Mobile Broadband

Niall Magennis

By Niall Magennis



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The dongle also has two other interesting features hidden behind a pair of flip-out plastic covers. The first is a special socket that lets you use it with an external aerial to improve reception in dodgy signal areas. Most people won't need this, but it may come in useful for those using mobile broadband at home as a replacement for a fixed-line service in areas where the signal is not as robust as it could be. The second flip-out cover opens to reveal a microSD card slot. This allows the dongle to act as a microSD card reader or alternatively you can just keep it permanently loaded up with a card and let the dongle double as a USB memory key.

The stick is actually a rebadged Huawei Mobile Connect E160E. It supports a maximum download speed of 3.6Mbit/s via HSDPA (or 3g+ as Orange calls it), but will also connect using 3G, Edge, GPRS and GSM according to what type of signal is available in the location where you're trying to use it.

Unfortunately in our test location in east London Orange has relatively poor coverage compared to other networks like T-mobile, O2 and Vodafone. As a result it frequently skipped between HSDPA, 3G and GPRS data download speeds, which was annoying. Here the maximum download speed it could achieve was 1.1Mbit/s. However, when using it out and about in the middle of London it performed reasonably well, clocking up a top speed of 2.2Mbit/s. However, more often than not it connected at around the 1Mbit/s mark, which is pretty much par for the course with mobile broadband in our experience.

When you've got good reception the service feels pretty sprightly for day-to-day surfing and certainly has enough speed to let you comfortably stream video reviews from TrustedReviews or shows from BBC iPlayer. You can check the coverage for your postcode online and Orange will also let you return the product within two weeks if you don't think the coverage is good enough in your area.


March 11, 2009, 1:55 pm

I've just ordered a compaq mini 700 on the Three network (Got a good deal being an existing Three customer, loving my Inq1 phone). I didn't see any mention of the Three network in this article, does anybody know how it compares to the others?


March 11, 2009, 4:10 pm

I just starting to look into all this, so thanks for the timely review! Looking to purchase a Sony Z series laptop in next couple of weeks and need to find out if you just use the sim card directly in the laptop as it 3G networking comes inbuilt (don't really want to be messing about with a USB dongle). Tried talking to the various mobile companies in their stores, but whilst their general knowledge is good, I stumped them on this one.


March 11, 2009, 4:27 pm

Just got the Virgin Mobile, ٣ per month for 1Gb, no upfront cost at all which was surprising.

Uses Huwai E160 again, which is very nice...I do like the rubberized plastic feel:)


March 12, 2009, 2:58 am

@Neil when i bought my Vaio TZ which had integrated 3g module, it was bundled with a t-mobile sim card. I have tried my 3 sim in it to connect but to no avail. To be honest I haven't pursued it much further as that sim is usually in my phone, which can connect the laptop over bluetooth so it wasn't a problem. The 3 sim in question is an actual data sim for use with one of their modem dongles.

So that said, my assumption is that the module is locked to T-mobile, but whether or not you can unlock it and if it is still T-mobile with their newer laptops is unknown to me.


March 12, 2009, 12:42 pm

Thanks Garfee! Why does it have to be so complicated... will have to contact sony and then check with orange about this. Checking the different mobile companiy's coverage areas, it was actually ornage that would suite me best due to my parents static caravan being in the Scottish Borders which I intend to use when my office goes mobile.


March 17, 2009, 4:43 pm

Neil - I have tried this on my Sony Z series laptop and it works fine - it is not locked to T-mobile. You will need to find the login details for 'orangeinternet' to set in the Globe Trotter Connect software but these are easy to get from a search.

Andrew Fawcett

July 10, 2009, 4:55 am

FOUND ! The Uk’s Most Expensive Mobile Broadband ??

In February 2009 I purchased a T-Mobile Dongle and ShareDock from the York T-Mobile shop. After just over two weeks the unit ceased to work. After several phone calls I took it back to the shop from which I purchased it and was told that as it was more than 14 days old it needed to be returned for repair. I was given the telephone number to call T-Mobile (at 10p per minute) and after some delay got to speak to an operator. I was told that a returns bag would be despatched to me and the item would be returned for repair and that this would normally take up to 28 days. I asked if it was possible to have a replacement unit whilst it was in for repair and the shop said this was against T-Mobile policy (even though they clearly had stock and demonstration units in the store). I explained that I felt this unfair as I was being charged for a service which I had - through no fault of my own - no means to access.

Three weeks passed (during which the line rental was efficiently taken from my account as it has been on a monthly basis since) and no returns bag appeared. As I needed mobile access I took out a Pay as You Go deal with another service provider to tide me over. Total cost was now approaching £200 for two weeks T-Mobile broadband access.

Several phone calls via India later I was told to take the USB stick back into the shop, which I did. The shop agreed to return it on my behalf and ‘marked it on the system as urgent’.

By May I had still not heard anything. The unit was variously described as ‘being tested’ and ‘on its way back to me’. My frustration was starting to show with the help desk. I had to repeatedly relay the whole story to several people on each call as they tried to help me. On two occasions I was mysteriously ‘cut off’ in the process and consigned to the back of a 20 minute (at 10p per minute) queue.

In June I finally lost patience with T_Mobile. I expressed my utter outrage at the way I had been treated. The complaints' team escalated the case and investigated. I was informed that the unit had already been sent back by recorded delivery. Eventually they ascertained it had been sent back to the shop (not to my home address as I had been told) four weeks ago and was ready for collection. The shop had apparently sent me a text message to inform me of this. Problem was that without the Dongle I had no means to receive said text message. D’Oh (in Homers words) To rub in the salt the shop assistant told me that they were aware of this but there was nothing else they could do (but were happy to sit on it – marked as urgent, or so I was told, for four weeks or more). I was also given an interesting insight into what the shop thought of the helpdesk.

I contacted the complaints team again and demanded that they cancel my contract. This was refused. A ‘final’ offer of the balance one months free line rental was made.

By all accounts I think I deserve more having spent well over £150 per week and counting (yes, you read it correctly) for T-Mobile Broadband Access – Is this some sort of a record I wonder (perhaps you can poll your readers?). I have been five months without (and paying for) a service which I am physically unable to access due to the suppliers incompetence and no fault on my part whatsoever. I am similarly bound into a contract upon which I believe t-Mobile have defaulted.

If the rumours are true and Vodafone are about to buy T-Mobile I hope they can sort them out. They certainly cannot make it worse from my experience.


January 18, 2010, 3:33 pm

I signed up with Orange Mobile broadband in August 2009. I have received two bills for 6 weeks usage of £969.15. My limit was 3GB per month and I have been with Vodafone before this and never exceeded their limit.

Basically, I have been using my connection to access my mail and facebook and a few Windows update.

I have declined the invoices but according to their customer service they have already given me a bad credit report.

Have sent an email to Jackie O'Leary (vice president of Orange Personal Communications). After that I got contaced by Executive department. First they offered me 25% off, when I did not agreed to that, the next offer was 50% off. I offered them to pay 25% and have a written document that I would not receive any bad credit report. At this point they are not willing to offer me that.

To me this totally outrageous, I know I am not responsible for the 19GB they claim I have been using. In Executive department they said that the case might be that I left the dongle in the computer over night and that is has been updating internet during that time.

I believe there is a major fault in Orange billing system and from what I learn many people share the same experience.

The next step for me is to send an email to BBC Watchdog and as many news papers as I can.

I have found a large number of reviews about Orange Mobile broadband and their excessive and incorrect billing. I am asking other people with the same experience to contact me via mail (esteban.london@hotmail.com). Together we can seek legal action against Orange.

I am not going to let Orange get away with charging me this amount and claim it is correct and also give me a bad credit report while I am in a dispute of there outrageous invoices

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